Ok, so for this week’s blog I want to start off a debate which is already controversial in the Psychology world. I want to discuss Freud’s theory of Psycho-sexual stages of development, also looking into each stage to see whether or not his views are shared or rejected in this day in age?
Sigmund Freud was an influential scientist as well psychologist. He came up with a theory, where personalities can be explained from five psycho-sexual stages of development.
I must be totally honest at this stage; I know very little of Freud’s theory, but am interested in his concepts and wanted to learn more about his theory, after talking briefly about it with a friend. Reading Freud’s opinion on psycho-sexual it definitely pushes the boundary’s, and in some aspects of his theories, promotes views that are not only controversial, but also negative views on women.
The first stage in development was the Oral stage; Freud believed that during the ages 0-18 months, the child would develop a sexual instinct to their care giver (his mother). This is quite disturbing to read but Freud interpretation on sexual was something that gives pleasure through the body i.e. cuddling a teddy bear or receiving a hug; not in a sexual way.
The second stage was the anal stage (18-36 months). The child was able to control their bowls; where his focus was on this element of control. He believed that if you were unable to develop from oral to anal stage (Fixed), the child would seek self gratification through smoking or thumb sucking etc.
He thought that becoming fixed at this stage was down to the mother not breast feeding the child enough or that they exerted too much pleasure at the breast.
The third stage was the most shocking; in my opinion, and has created world wide controversy in his field. He believed that at the age 3-6 years the child develops an interest to their genitals, but also on the opposite gender parent; their mother. This introduces the Oedipus complex, where the boy basically wants to have his mother’s full attention, and is envious of his father. But at the same time is anxious that his father will find out about his feelings.
Other stages were the Latency stage, where little development takes place and the genital stage (puberty) main focus in on the genitals and relationships.
Freud was interested in Darwin’s theory of evolution and also the Oedipus conflict; which he named his third stage.
In Greek mythology Oedipus fell in love with his mother and killed his father, only later realising who they actually were. (COLLINS Second Edition, Cardwell. M, Clark. Liz, Meldrum. C, Psychology for A Level, p480).
Freud also believed women fell into this category during the Phallic stage, but to their opposite gender care giver. Questioning that woman went through the Electra complex; which in a nutshell was to have penis envy?
Us women apparently blame our mothers for us not having a penis and is something that would stay with us, until we had our own desire to have children?
Personally I don’t fancy the idea of having a penis or have the desire to have children anytime soon!
Freud was a man who was very sexual; which showed in his studies, but also into Cocaine. You could argue that his opinions on the Oedipus complex theory were clouded by his own bias feeling towards his mother.
COLLINS Second Edition, Cardwell. M, Clark. Liz, Meldrum. C, Psychology for A Level, p480-482.
Norton, Gleitman. H, Gross. J, Reisberg. D, International student edition Psychology, P609-610