In psychology, personality can be described as the "the patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion unique to an individual, and the ways they interact to help or hinder the adjustment of a person to other people and situations" ("personality," 2013). Psychologists may make use of idiographic or nomothetic techniques in order to study personality of an individual. Many characteristics of human behavior can be examined while studying one's personality. To put in simple words, personality theories are utilized for organizing what is known, stimulating new research, and specifying a view of personality in a formal way (Kasschau, 1985). Psychoanalytic theory, person-centered theory and existential theory are three such theories which have been developed in the precedent century and cover a lot of information regarding the pathology, health/wellness, treatment and the weight or significance of early life.
Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory
The Psychoanalytic Theory was put forwarded by Sigmund Freud in which he considered the human personality as a whole by dividing it into 3 functional parts namely id, ego, and superego. Freud regarded the id as the unfathomable stage of the unconscious, subjugated by the gratification principle. He viewed it as having an object to gratify the instinctual drives. He saw the superego to have been originated in an infant through identification with parents. The supergo, according to him, has a purpose of functioning as an inner repressor of the urges of the id in response to social pressures. In contrast, ego was seen by him as a part of the id tailored by getting in touch with the outside world.
Despite the fact that personality development elaborated in Freud's theory covers the early life of human beings, Freud did not work with children. Instead, he spent time with mature people to practice psychoanalysis. By recollecting their childhood memories, Freud propounded the theory of psychoanalysis. However, Freud's psychoanalytic theory is widely acknowledged as the most influential one among all the personality theories till date.
In his theory, Freud made the assumption that "children were active creatures who passed through a series of psychosexual development phases, in which they were confronted with certain inner conflicts, desires and fantasies; the manner in which they overcame these was critical for whether they became mature adults capable of work and love, or whether they remained fixated at an earlier stage of development" (Diem-Wille, 2011). Freud associated development of personality with the development in early life and relationship of an individual with his/her parents and this thesis turned out to be a revolutionary one with an extensive influence.
Client-centered theory which is an exceptional psychotherapeutic approach is also known as person-centered approach and was promulgated by Carl Rogers. Change is real and no one can deny it. People change with time. Sometimes they make small changes and at other times they make major decisions. This person-centered theory has its main focus on "the person as a living process: moment-by-moment living, learning, growth, creativity, future orientation, interaction, the self-in-context, agency, the multiplicity of personal reality, communication, self -- self relationships, experiencing and feeling, and the self-as-process" (Gurman & Messer, 2003).
According to Existential theory, human beings' primary tasks in life are completed through decision-making. It depicts that the exceptional self-determination powers possessed by the human beings help them to decide about something within the limits of biological conditions, society and psychology. For the reason that the personalities of people are shaped by their decisions' nature (past-oriented decisions, future-oriented decisions etc.), this trait helps them to adapt to self-determination that further help them in self-actualization. Thus, existential theory is also considered as a humanistic theory as "it attributes to people an awesome freedom and responsibility for self-determination while recognizing the pain entailed in consciously relinquishing security for growth" (Kitano & LeVine, 1987). The existential theory demonstrates that people tend to find philosophical meaning of life when they are challenged with anxiety by choosing to feel and take action realistically and sensibly. Every human being has the responsibility of sensing the true meaning of his/her life and this meaning is shaped and derived by the experiences since early life.
Comparison and Contrast
The three mentioned personality theories have a distinct difference in their approaches. On the whole, Psychoanalytic theory is deterministic in nature. On the other hand, both Person-Centered theory and Existential…