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Psychodynamic Personality Theories Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2021

Theory Assumptions Reliability Validity Application
Psychoanalytic Theory
Alfred Adler’s Individual Theory
  • According to Adler, each person is born naturally feeling inferior. Therefore the major driving force for personality and behavior is the strife for superiority
  • When trying to understand people, one must look at the whole being considering all the elements of development like environmental influence, physical and social aspects
  • People usually face challenges in life and they are described based on how they reach which could either be via compensation, acceptance, or overcompensation
  • Human personality is largely shaped by birth order, the experiences of an early age, and other environmental factors
  • The nature of an individual’s zeal to attain perfection or superiority and their characteristic reaction is evident through their psychological behavior or the difference in charisma or energy. This is where the leader types personality are seen to be aggressive and dominant and full of charisma just like personalities of Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods. On the other hand, the learning type shows low energy levels, and they are seen as struggling to safeguard themselves and depend on other people when faced with challenging situations in life. The avoidant types demonstrate the lowest charisma and try to avoid other people in life and as a result, they are seen as psychotic. Adler’s theory identify the socially beneficial type of personality as the best position and these people exhibit personality full of energy and social interest. This is a healthy personality level
Adler’s theory has high reliability because of its consistency and dependable characteristics. This is because his reasoning features almost all aspects of human development including the environmental, personal, and social factors among others. All these aspects can inspire the struggle or strife for perfection or superiority hence influencing personality. This zeal is closely related to individual energy levels. This driving force and its impact rely extensively on the external factors that Adler’s theory addresses via a Holistic perspective seeking to include all environmental factors.
All these factors affect the development of human personality and the way a person will live his/her life and interact with others. Parenting style, for instance, children who were pampered and got much attention from parents often become dependent on others and ill prepared to deal with life challenges. Those who were neglected can grow to view the world as aggressive and consequently show mistrust of others and shy away from others. This coherence makes this theory very reliable
Alfred Adler’s theory demonstrates high validity since it looks at individual personality from a holistic perspective. It, therefore, addresses various life and character formation dimensions and other aspects that affect life directly. These dimensions and aspects of life are very crucial for instance early life, people feel inferior as children and strive to overcome their deficiencies hence building personalities. Based on genetic inheritance and environment, each individual can develop creative power to develop a unique personality. These conclusions have been affirmed by other theorists and scholars despite Adler’s splitting from the Freudian theories which emphasized that sex instinct was a dominant characteristic in developing personality. This theory revolves around instinct but the instinct to succeed (success drive) and environmental interaction. Consequently, the validity of this theory is limited by considering personality to be a product of instinct and environmental influence hence disregarding intellectual freedom. Yet this is a very important aspect of developing human psychology and personality. This personality theory is applied to an individual who is psychotic or neurotic and also on people who have made it in life against all odds.
Bill Clinton for instance, has demonstrated a formidable ability to survive and adapt to the changing environments and threatening situations and a great zeal to achieve his ambitions. In his childhood, Clinton is said to have shown great concern on the issue of racial discrimination. In his teenage life, he played a crucial role just like an adult mediating the marriage of his mother which was on the brink of collapsing. He was a great scholar in college and developed a great career as a law professor and politician. Throughout his career, he was able to overcome several hardships with great management and decision making abilities. He also sought the attention of women outside his marriage by having an affair.
Looking at this example in light of Adler’s theory, one can understand the influence of energy level as a major aspect of developing personality compared to physical strength. Bill Clinton can probably be considered to be a socially useful person highlighting the environmental stimulation and his self-drive to attain perfection.
A negative application of the theory is when a person develops an inferiority complex especially influence by birth order or physical characteristics like body size and so on. Such a person has a very low social interest and energy level. Consequently, he/she may lack a success drive. Therapy intended to help comes from neurosis and helping the person to overcome life challenges and misconceptions. This will help them to enhance their response to situations, self-esteem, and lifestyle

Personality Theory

Psychodynamic Theories Affect Individual Personalities

The theories are founded on the premise that personality or human character and interaction are determined and shaped by the conscious as well as the unconscious influencers. These influencers include motivation and personal drives, the type of early childhood experiences and parenting styles, internal processes, and the environment in general (Feist & Feist, 2008, p. 123). Personality is essentially the whole pattern of the psychological profile of a person in terms of character, feelings, thoughts, and charisma that differentiate a person from others. This usually determines the lifestyle of people in the community. Society develops a person’s uniqueness and this tends to be a long-term behavior.

Psychodynamic Theories Influence Interpersonal Relationships

Being able to understand the behavior of an individual is very important and it’s explained by the psychodynamic theories. Human beings are social beings and as such, they have social interests. During childhood, a person loses the influence of heredity on behavior and the instinctive predispositions are controlled by the social environment (Feist & Feist, 2008, p. 139). The degree of social interest is very crucial in how people develop interpersonal relationships. A person struggles to overcome developmental conflict by developing affection, friendship, trust, hate, suspicion, and independence in other interpersonal relationships.

Reference List

Feist, J. & Feist, G. (2008). Theories of personality, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Boeree, Dr. C. George. (2006). Personality Theories. Web.

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