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Psyche R. Peters Various Definitions • Dictionary.com = – the human soul, spirit, or mind. • Americanheritage.com = – The mind functioning as the center of thought, emotion, and behavior and consciously or unconsciously mediating the body's responses to the social and physical environment. – The mind, soul, or spirit, as opposed to the body. In psychology, the psyche is the center of thought, feeling, and motivation, consciously and unconsciously directing the body's reactions to its social and physical environment. Freud’s Take on the Psyche – Sigmund Freud - the father of psychoanalysis (treatment for mental illnesses) – Believed that the psyche was composed of three components: • The id, which represents the instinctual drives of an individual and remains largely unconscious. • The super-ego, which represents a person's conscience and their internalization of societal norms and morality. • The ego, which is conscious and serves to integrate the drives of the id with the prohibitions of the super-ego. Freud believed this conflict to be at the heart of neurosis (mental illness). The Id or It • Consists of all the inherited (i.e. biological) components of personality, including the sex (life) instinct • The id is the impulsive (and unconscious) part of our psyche which responds directly and immediately to the instincts. • The personality of the newborn child is all id and only later does it develop ego and super-ego. • The id demands immediate satisfaction and when this happens we experience pleasure, when it is denied we experience unpleasure or pain. • The id is not affected by reality, logic or the everyday world. • It operates on the pleasure principle (Freud, 1920) which is the idea that every wishful impulse should be satisfied immediately, regardless of the consequences. The Ego or I • • • • • • • • Part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world (Freud 1923). The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. Ideally the ego works by reason whereas the id is chaotic and totally unreasonable. The ego operates according to the reality principle, working our realistic ways of satisfying the id’s demands, often compromising or postponing satisfaction. Like the id, the ego seeks pleasure and avoids pain but unlike the id the ego is concerned with devising a realistic strategy to obtain pleasure. Freud made the analogy of the id being the horse while the ego is the rider. Often the ego is weak relative to the head-strong id and the best the ego can do is stay on, pointing the id in the right direction and claiming some credit at the end as if the action were its own. The ego has no concept of right or wrong; something is good simply if it achieves its end of satisfying without causing harm to itself or to the id. Superego or Above I • • • • • The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others. It develops around the age of 4 or 5. The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection. The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. – – • • • The conscience can punish the ego through causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to id demands, the superego may make the person feel bad though guilt. The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behavior as a member of society.Behavior which falls short of the ideal self may be punished by the superego through guilt. The super-ego can also reward us through the ideal self when we behave properly by making us feel proud. If a person’s ideal self is too high a standard, then whatever the person does will represent failure. The ideal self and conscience are largely determined in childhood from parental values and you were brought up. Defense Mechanisms • Identification with the Aggressor:A focus on negative or feared traits. – I.e. if you are afraid of someone, you can practically conquer that fear by becoming more like them. • Repression: unconscious mechanism employed by the ego to keep disturbing or threatening thoughts from becoming conscious. – Thoughts that are often repressed are those that would result in feeling of guilt from the superego. – This is not a very successful defense in the long term since it involves forcing disturbing wishes, ideas or memories into the unconscious, where, although hidden, they will create anxiety. • • • • Projection: This involves individuals attributing their own thoughts, feeling and motives to another person. – Thoughts most commonly projected onto another are ones that would cause guilt such as aggressive and sexual fantasies or thoughts. Displacement: the redirection of an impulse (usually aggression) onto a powerless substitute target. The target can be a person or an object that can serve as a symbolic substitute. Sublimation: similar to displacement, but takes place when we manage to displace our emotions into a constructive rather than destructive activity. Denial: involves blocking external events from awareness. – If some situation is just too much to handle, the person just refuses to experience it. – A primitive and dangerous defense - no one disregards reality and gets away with it for long! – It can operate by itself or, more commonly, in combination with other, more subtle mechanisms that support it. • • • Regression: A movement back in psychological time when one is faced with stress. – When we are troubled or frightened, our behaviors often become more childish or primitive. Rationalization: cognitive distortion of "the facts" to make an event or an impulse less threatening. – We do it often enough on a fairly conscious level when we provide ourselves with excuses. – But for many people, with sensitive egos, making excuses comes so easy that they never are truly aware of it. Reaction formation:where a person goes beyond denial and behaves in the opposite way to which he or she thinks or feels. – By using the reaction formation the id is satisfied while keeping the ego in ignorance of the true motives. – Conscious feelings are the opposite of the unconscious. Love - hate. Shame - disgust – Usually a reaction formation is marked by showiness and compulsiveness.