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Freud's Theory of Defence Mech

            Freud's Theory of Defence Mechanisms.
             Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud's theory of psychoanalysis is regarded as the earliest of those categorised as psychodynamic theories (Gray, 1999). J.P. Chaplin (1975, p.418) defines psychodynamic as "pertaining to the branch of psychology which investigates motivation and emotional processes." Dynamic refers to the idea of mental or cognitive forces or energies.
             Psychoanalysis was Freud's "theory of personality and system of therapy for treating mental disorders" (Schultz & Schultz, 1994, p.36).
             It examines the roots of human behaviour by exploring unconscious motivation. Much of Freud's theory was based on primal, sexual or aggressive urges. The main driving force behind human behaviour was what he called the libido, which is basically defined as sexual energy. .
             Psychoanalysis claims that the human psyche is composed of the id (the base or instinctual component of the personality), the ego (the rational part of the personality) and the super-ego (moral branch of the personality, which distinguishes right from wrong). From a psychoanalyst's viewpoint, the interaction and conflict that occurs between these three elements is what dictates human behaviour and personality (Chaplin, 1975).
             A key component of personality under the psychoanalytical perspective is the existence of anxiety.
             To Freud, anxiety was an "objectless fear", for we often cannot pinpoint its origin or source. Some anxiety, however, does serve an important purpose. It can act as a kind of "warning signal" against real and tangible danger. Freud called this kind of anxiety reality or objective anxiety (Schultz & Schultz, 1994).
             For example, if a person viewed a venomous snake ahead of them whilst bushwalking, their fear would prevent them from proceeding any further, and a potentially fatal situation may be avoided. In this way, we can benefit from objective anxiety.
             Freud suggests, however, that other types of anxiety, namely neurotic or moral anxiety can actually have a harmful impact on the human psyche.

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