Psychoanalytic Personality Assessment


Freud, Jung and Adler developed personality theories that have beenvery influential to date. Their contributions to psychology has beenfelt to today’s approaches to personality. The three psychologistsdeveloped different approaches to personality development. Freud andJung were great friends and agreed on many issues regardingpersonality development. As this paper discusses, the two disagreedon the role of sexuality in personality development. This paper alsofocuses on the development stages proposed by Freud. The defensemechanisms by Freud and some examples are given towards the end ofthe paper. The paper generally compares and contrasts the approachesthe three psychologists used with regard to personality development.

Freud developed the psychoanalysis which asserts that humanpersonality is shaped through the experiences that a person has at ayoung age. He also asserted that the unconscious part of the braininfluences the behavior of individuals without their knowledge. Freudalso asserted that the interaction between the Id, Ego and the superEgo was responsible for the behavior and personality of an individual(Cherry, 2015). He proposed various developmental stages throughwhich the personality of a person is shaped. The stages are the oral,anal, phallic, latency and genital stage. Freud argued that it isessential for every person to go through every stage and haveexperiences which are placed in the three sections of the mind.Sexuality also played a pivotal role in Freud’s development ofpersonality.

Although Carl Jung was a close friend of Freud, the two disagreedsharply on the role of sexuality in personality development. Thisdisagreement ended their longtime friendship. Besides the differenceon their theories with regard to sexuality, Jung held other viewsregarding personality which were similar to those of Freud. Jungbelieved in the role that the childhood experiences played in theformation of personality (Cherry, 2015). However, Jung also believedthat the future aspirations of an individual also helped to shape thepersonality of a person. This was contrary to the idea by Freud. Jungalso differed with Freud in terms of the nature of the unconscious.Jung believed that the unconscious part of the brain was a store forthe ancestral and the repressed memories. This is unlike Freud whoasserted that the unconscious part of the brain contained theunacceptable and the repressed desires for the specific person(Mitchel, 2005). Jung, however, believed in the role the unconsciousmind played in shaping the behavior and the personality of anindividual.

Adler disagreed with both Jung and Freud on the issue of personalityand behavior formation. Adler did not dwell too much on the aspectsof the mind including the conscious and unconscious, but he largelybelieved that people are driven to behave in certain ways for theirneed to attain greatness or perfection. Adler argued that earlyexperiences with the family may affect the behavior of a person inlater life. Adler believed that the good of the society was equallyimportant as the good for the individual (Mitchel, 2014). It is alsoclear that Adler believed that people act or behave in a certain wayto compensate for the inferiority that they think is seen in them byother people. In terms of the childhood experiences that shapepersonality, Adler seems to agree with both Freud and Jung. However,on the aspect of what drives the behaviors of individuals, Adlerdiffers significantly with Freud and Jung (Mitchel, 2014).

I agree with the aspect of the effect of the childhood experienceson personality. It is clear that the childhood experiences haveimmense effect on the behaviors of the individuals when they grow up.Additionally, future aspirations are also a drive of behavior. What aperson aspires admire to be may affect how he or she behaves. Ihowever disagree with Freud’s notion that sexuality can indeeddrive people to act in certain ways. Additionally, I also disagreewith Adler on the aspect of acquiring perfection through acting incertain ways.

Freud developed several psychosexual stages of development. Thefirst stage is the oral stage of development which is between 0-1years. The child’s libido is focused at the mouth. People with thepersonality of smoking or nail biting were fixated at this stage. Thesecond stage is the anal stage where the child derives pleasure fromdefecating. Children who have harsh and strict potty training candevelop a clean or neat personality. Phallic stage is where the childderives pleasure from touching his or genitals at the age of 3 to 6years. Oedipus complex develops at this stage where the boy child isattracted to his mother and the girl child is attracted to the fatherin Electra complex.

The latency stage is where all libido is hidden. Freud argues thatthere is no development which occurs at this stage and the childfocuses mainly on acquiring new knowledge. The last stage is thegenital stage where signs of adolescent are common (Mitchel, 2004).The child at this stage of psychosexual development develops lovewith the child of the opposite gender sexual intercourse may occur.

There are numerous defense mechanisms that were developed by Freud.One of them is repression. This is a defense mechanism where the egokeeps away disturbing thoughts from becoming conscious. For instance,during the phallic stage of development, the ego represses thoughtsof same sex parents. A real life example is when a child will repressthe possibility of her parents being of the same sex especiallyduring this time when same sex marriages are allowed. Displacement isyet another defense mechanism that was developed by Freud (Cherry,2015). He argued that this is a mechanism where the subject replacesan aggression with a substitute. A real life example would involve anemployee who is aggrieved by the boss and goes home to hit his dog(Cherry, 2015). Lastly, projection is a defense mechanism where thesubject transfers his unacceptable thoughts to other people. For areal life example is when an employee hates a fellow employee atwork, he may assume that he does not hate the employee, but theemployee hates him instead.

It is clear that the three psychologists had a great grasp on theaspects of personality development. They formed the current trends inpersonality understanding, as well as in treatment of personalitydisorders such as depression. Freud and Jung believed largely on theaspects of conscious and unconscious mind. This was contrary to whatAdler believed since he believed in achievement of perfection andattainment of goals as the drive of behavior. It is evident from thediscussion that the three scholars agreed on the role of pastexperience during childhood as contributing factors to behavior(Therapy, 2014). The developmental sages proposed by Freud have alsobeen discussed in the paper. It is useful to realize that theindividual has to pass one stage successfully in order to develop tothe next. Some of the personalities depicted in mature age are as aresult of people stagnating at some stages in their developmentalstages. The paper has also focused on the various defense mechanismsuch as repression, displacement and projection.


Cherry, K. (2015). Personality perspectives. Retrieved from:

Mitchel, G. (2005). Alfred Adler &amp Adlerian individualpsychology. Retrieved from:

Therapy, H. (2014). Freud vs Jung – Similarities and Differences.Retrieved from: