Personality Disorders And Their Diagnoses: Personality Theories Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Psychology Type: Essay Paper: #38634538 Related Topics: Personality Theory, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Psychodynamic Theory, Psychodynamic Theories
Excerpt from Essay :

Personality Theories: Personality Disorders and Their Diagnoses

Personality theorists often differ on how the term personality should be used. In fact, Gordon Allport, one of the first psychologists to focus on personality, had more than fifty different definitions for the term. According to Engler (2014), Allport's basic idea was that personality is the true nature of an individual that influences the way they behave and think. Carl Rogers, another influential psychologist, believed that personality is the organized and persistent individual perceptions that determine their experiences. Sigmund Freud, popularly referred to as the father of psychoanalysis, argued that personality is often concealed and it is not conscious or easily known. In light of all these conflicting definitions, one thing is evident: there are a variety of personality theories which attempt to define what personality is and how it influences the lives of people. The American Psychological Association, APA (2015) defines personality as the differing characteristic thought patterns that individuals possess, which influence the way they feel, think, and behave. APA posits that psychologists first have to learn differences in personality traits before they understand how these traits combine to make the individual. This text takes a look at three personality theories: the psychodynamic, humanistic, and social cognitive theories, and how they help us understand human personalities. It also examines psychological disorders and their diagnoses and whether people with these disorders should be given psychiatric labels.

How the psychodynamic, humanistic and social cognitive theories help in understanding human personality



Two examples of these theories are the psychosocial development stages by Erik Erikson and Freud's psychosexual stage theories. Freud believed there are three basic structures in the personality anatomy: the id, the superego, and the ego (Schultz and Schultz, 2013). The id determines the urges and needs a person has and the ego influences their ideals and socially accepted behavior. The superego determines our unconscious beliefs of what is right and wrong. On the other hand, Erikson believed that personality is formed through different stages that conflict. Only when conflicts at one stage are handled can it be termed successful. Psychodynamic theories are important because they emphasize the importance of a person's childhood. They also help in understanding defense mechanisms, which stem from conflicts between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

Humanistic theories focus on how unique each person is. They take a holistic approach -- that self-concept, individual experiences, and free will are essential in the development of the personality of a person (Schultz and Schultz, 2013). Human theorists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers held that a person's behavior is motivated by their need for personal growth, which is brought about by self-actualization (Engler, 2014). The humanistic approach is important in understanding human personality because it focuses on the individual as…

Sources Used in Documents:


Engler, B. (2014). Personality Theories. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning

Schultz, D.P. & Schultz, S.E. (2013). Theories of Personality. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning

The American Psychological Association (2015). Personality. Psychology Topics. Retrieved 9 March 2015 from

Cite this Document:

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