• Jul 26, 2021
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Stages of psychosexual development - Freud's Theory

Like any theory that is proposed, it is important that we make use of our critical thinking, this means questioning ourselves from different perspectives what they propose to us, such as, for example, asking us where the psychosexual theory comes from, who founded it, why he did it and when growth.

In this Psychology-Online article we will explain the stages of psychosexual development according to Freud's theory, trying to expand the historical context and the circumstances of the time in order to provide a broader vision of the issues that gave rise to this theory.

Sigmund Freud He was an Austrian of Jewish origin, a neurologist, belonging to a bourgeois society. In 1885 Freud moved to Paris to study with the renowned neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, creator of the theories on hysteria that Freud later used as his own after requesting permission to translate them into German. After this study and reappropriation of hysteria, Sigmund Freud became interested in the evocation of primary trauma, thus focusing on the origin of the disorder, he named this psychoanalysis.

In the early days of him Freud made a thesis on the child sexuality, a very controversial subject in the social sphere in which he found himself, even today it is a difficult subject to read about it, since the Sexuality is still partly a taboo subject and more if we enter the field of infantile sexuality, referring to the development of this from the childhood.

Freud was well aware that controversy he was a great tool to make himself known and he exploited it to the fullest to carve out a reconnaissance post in his time. Although it is true that today he is one of the best known names in psychology, Freud was not so well seen by society bourgeoisie to which he belonged, in reality social recognition came to him shortly before he died and it was thanks to his nephew Edward Bernays.

Bernays was a resident of the United States, he was the forerunner of Public Relations and a great publicist. To substantiate his theories on advertising and mass manipulation he used Freud's psychoanalytic theories on the unconscious Y the primary drives. Thanks to the diffusion of this theory to support his advertising theories, Freud achieved the renown that he had always desired, thus becoming the "father of psychoanalysis".

Once the context is understood and understanding that psychoanalysis is based on the hypothesis that people's development is based on sexualityIt is logical that his theory goes back to the earliest stages of the individual.

On the other hand, it is interesting to understand Freud's vision of childhood, he considered that the child had the consciousness of perversion, that is, any act performed by the child was consciously and with the intention of achieving something. This is reflected in a fragment of his work Three Essays on Sex Theory:

It is instructive that under the influence of seduction the child can become a polymorphous perverse, being misled to practice all possible transgressions. This shows that in his disposition he brings with him the aptitude for it; such transgressions meet with little resistance because, depending on the age of the child, they have not been erected emotional dams against sexual excesses are still or are in formation: shame, disgust and moral. (...) it is impossible not to recognize something common to all human beings, something that has its origins in the uniform disposition to all perversions.

The idea of ​​the child as perverse shows a rigidity of thought that has done much damage to psychology, creating confusing guilt and roles in both children and adults. If unconsciously it is believed that the child "seeks" a sexuality as we understand it in adulthood, automatically the adult blames the minor of "inappropriate" sexual attitudes or even in possible cases of abuse, since they are based on the belief of the intentionality of the less. And this is precisely the thought that psychoanalysis has transmitted about sexuality.

Studies show that critical thinking develops around the age of 10, beginning the cognitive development in an objective and analytical way of the world around us. This does not mean that at the age of 10 we are capable of psychologically understanding attitudes, behaviors, values, beliefs, roles, etc., but at that age, more or less, is when we begin to develop cognitively and be able to interact with the environment in a more aware.

The Freud stages of psychosexual development that define the adult personality are the following:

  1. Oral stage
  2. Anal stage
  3. Phallic stage
  4. Latency stage
  5. Genital stage

Next I will leave a brief explanation of each of the stages of the psychosexual development on Freud's theory.

According to Freud this stage is located in the first 15 months of life. In it, Freud related the satisfaction of libido directly with the mouth, at this stage the baby is mainly related to the environment through the mouth thus obtaining the pleasure.

One of the key moments in this stage that could cause a disorder when reaching adulthood, was the moment that weaned the infant, causing the feeling of loss and abandonment, if this transition was carried out in an abrupt way, it could affect the construction of the personality. In the same way, the impediment of the exploration through the baby's mouth, could cause that when reaching adulthood a disorder related to the passive dependence or envy problems and manipulative personalities.

Freud argued that the end of one stage gave way to another immediately, therefore the anal stage began over 15 months to 3 years. At this stage the baby begins to learn the sphincter control, in his theories according to learning, in a natural or abrupt way by adults who educated, the infant could develop different disorders depending on how traumatic the learning.

In this apprenticeship, two committed forces were seen, on the one hand the satisfaction of the primary urge to defecate (related to It), against the demands of adults who prevented this act from occurring naturally. If the learning that she did in a gradual and comprehensive way, according to this theory there should be no problem in the development of the ego, but if, on the contrary, education was too demanding or permissive it could lead to a very disciplinary and rigid personality or on the contrary very disorganized and passive.

Freud's third stage is comprised between 3 and 6 years of age. In this period the infant begins the discovery of her own body and with it of her genitals corresponding. This individual curiosity is intertwined with curiosity in other bodies, such as that of the mother or father, in differences and similarities.

This stage is the most commonly known as it can lead to the Oedipus complex related to mens and the Electra feminine attitude, for the women. This complex is based on the awareness of oneself and the need for possession of the other, Freud differentiated:

  • In the case of the child, the psychological attitude was to possess the mother, so the father became a rival.
  • While in the case of girls the desire for possession was the father, making the mother the enemy.

This desire for possession of the mother and rivalry with the father (although Freud referred to girls occasionally and the possibility of experiencing this complex, he did not consider female sexuality as such, therefore, he did not think it was necessary to talk about it, hence that his theories are focused on men) made that if the separateness that he felt with the mother were very strong, the personality would be built on an emotional block, returning to the adult introvert, withdrawn, shy or as Freud qualified with castration complex. On the other hand, if the child tried to overcome paternal rivalry and acquired personality traits from the father, he could overcome this castration complex and approach paternal approval.

In Freud's fourth stage he develops between 6 years and puberty. This period is related to the consolidation of what was acquired in the previous stages and the integration in the construction of Yo, but this process happens in the unconscious since the impulses in the first three stages are blocked, Freud related the neuroses caused in this stage by poor resolutions of the stages previous. In this period the individual seek pleasure in a social way, with the greatest possible integration in social relationships or the acquisition of knowledge.

The last stage of Freud is the genital, this begins at puberty until adulthood, encompassing sexual development in a full and adult way. It is at this stage that the adult can create a psychosexual independence, independent of their parents and leaving the wishes of child satisfaction. In this period the abstract construction of the relationships with others, considering the unions at the cognitive and symbolic level.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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