Over the course of the past century a number of scholars have contributed to the field of psychology. While many have only made small contributions—falling into literal obscurity over time—several prominent individuals have developed theories that, while having noted controversies, have withstood the test of time. Such is the case with Sigmund Freud and his development of psychoanalytic theory. In order to fully understand the contribution that Freud made to the discipline of psychology, this investigation considers both Freud’s work and his theoretical proposition on the development of personality. By examining Freud’s contribution to psychology, it will be possible to demonstrate why Freud’s theories continue to remain a lynchpin of educational development in psychology.
Before the specifics of Freud’s view on the structure of personality can be discussed, a consideration of psychoanalytic theory and its basic tenets is first warranted. By examining the underlying philosophies of psychoanalytic theory first, it will be possible to provide a broad framework for understanding Freud’s basic ideologies overall. From this point, it will then be possible to narrow the subject so that a critical examination of Freud’s structure of personality can be effectively delineated.
Exploring the central philosophies of psychoanalytic therapy, an author (2001) notes the following: “Human beings are basically determined by psychic energy and by early experiences. Unconscious motives and conflicts are central in present behavior. Irrational forces are strong; the person is driven by sexual and aggressive impulses”. Covey further notes that understanding early childhood development is essential to the process of therapy as repressed conflicts from this period are often the root cause of dysfunctional behavior. Thus, the importance of the development and structure of personality become evident.