Psychoanalytic And Trait Approaches

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Psychoanalytic and Trait Approaches Personality Assessment

Psychoanalytic and Trait Approaches Personality Assessment


How many times has one heard the saying that one does not have a personality? The fact is that everyone has a personality. Some people personalities are very extroverted where one can put a label on what one thinks his or her personality displays. Other people have introverted personalities where one could not readily assume his or her personality. According to Jerry M. Burger, who wrote the book Personality, he states that personality can be defined as “consistent behavior patterns and intrapersonal processes originating within the individual” (Burger, 2007). So why are people the way they are? This paper will speak about Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory and his Trait Theory to see if his theories are relevant to what makes who they are and what makes people the way they are.

Psychoanalytic and Trait Approaches Personality Assessment

According to Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalytic approach focuses on the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind would mean that one's behavior is determined by one's past experiences (Burger, 2000). Take driving to work for instance. One may find that one remembers leaving for work, but does not remember the actual drive when one gets to work. What happens is the unconscious mind took over and remembered past experiences on how to get to work and that was how one arrived. Another example would be that one consciously remembered sitting at the red light waiting for it to change green. When the light finally turned green, one was in an unconscious state. The unconscious state from past experiences knows that when the light turns green one may proceed. When one regains a conscious state, one is in a different location not remembering consciously getting to that location. Just as the psychoanalytic approach focuses on the unconscious mind, the trait approach focuses on a person's identity of whom he or she is.

According to Sigmund Freud, the trait theory believes that the trait is the innate characteristics that determine one's personality (Burger, 2000). The trait approach to personality is focus on the differences between individuals. People can be classified in groups according to their personality traits. Trait approach personality is built on the assumption that a person's personality characteristics are stable over time. Every time one sees a person at a social function and that person was the life of the party, one could conclude that the person is very sociable and enjoy being around people. On the other hand, if the person was withdrawn every time he or she showed up at a social function, one might conclude that the person is not sociable, but withdrawn and shy. The trait approach personality is also based on the assumption that personality characteristics are stable across situations. During peace time operations a soldier always displayed bravery as one of his personality characteristics. However, during combat time where the soldier's life may be in danger, the soldier is withdrawn and ...
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