Monday, 22 September 2014

Development Psychosexual Stages-

 To shed light on these crucial early years, Freud formulated a stage theory of  development. He emphasized how young children deal with their immature but powerful sexual urges. These sexual urges shift in focus as children progress from one  stage of development to another. Thus, “psychosexual stages are developmental periods with the characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult personality”.

The notion of fixation plays an important role in this process. Fixation can be caused by excessive gratification of needs at a particular stage. Freud described a series of five psychosexual stages. Let’s examine some of the highlights in this sequence.


Oral stage encompasses the first year of life. During this period, the main source of erotic stimulation is the mouth (in biting, sucking). In his view, the handling of the child’s feeding experiences is crucial to subsequent development. He attributed considerable importance to the manner in which the child is weaned from the breast of the bottle. According to Freud, fixation at the oral stat could form the basis for obsessive eating or smoking later in life.

Anal stage: in their second year, children get their erotic pleasure from their bowel movements. The crucial event at this time is toilet training, which represents  society’s first systematic effort to regulate the child’s biological urges. Severely  punitive toilet training leads to a variety of possible outcomes. For example, excessive punishment might produce a latent feeling of hostility toward the trainer, usually the mother. The genital anxiety derived from severe toilet training could evolve into
anxiety about sexual activities later in life.

Phallic stage: during the fourth and fifth years of life, the libido is centered in the genital region. Children at this age are frequently observed examining their genitals, and asking question about birth and sex. According to Freud, the conflict in the phallic stage is the last and most crucial conflict with which the young child must cope. The conflict involves the child’s unconscious wish to possess the opposite sexed parent and at the same time to do away with the same sexed parent. Freud called this
situation the Oedipus complex.

Latency and Genital stage: from around age through puberty, the child’s sexuality is largely suppressed, it becomes latent. Important events during this latency stage centre on expanding social contacts beyond the immediate family. With the advent of puberty, the child progresses into the genital stage. Sexual urges reappear and focus on the genitals once again. At this point, sexual energy is normally channelled toward peers of the other sex, rather than toward oneself as in the phallic
stage.In arguing that the early years shape personality, Freud did not mean that personality development comes to an abrupt halt in the middle childhood. However, he maintained that the future developments are rooted in early, formative experiences and those significant conflicts in later years are replays of crises from childhood.

Freud’s approach can be expounded in four main areas. The first is his strict application of determinism – the principle that every event has preceding causes – to the realm of the mental. The second and most distinctive feature is that he showed the distinction between conscious, reconscious, and unconscious. The instincts or drives are a third main feature of Freud’s theory. The fourth main point in Freud’s theory is his developmental account of individual human character.

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