Personality Theory

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Personality Theory in the helping process

APA Research Paper

Personality Theory in the helping process


The term “personality” has different meanings for philosophers, sociologist, and theologians. Within the discipline of psychology, it has been defined in countless ways. Child (1968) noted that personality refers to more or less stable. Internal factors that make a person's behavior consistent over time, yet is different from the behavior that other people will manifest in comparable situations. Maddi (1980) described personality as “the stable set of characteristics and tendencies that determine those commonalties and differences in the psychological thoughts, feelings and actions of people that have continuity in time and that may be easily understood as the sole result of the social and biological pressures of the moment” (p. 2).

The concept of personality has been viewed from various theoretical perspectives and different levels of abstraction. These divergent perspectives are valuable in understanding various aspects of human behavior and experiences. Consequently there are several existing personality theories that explain and support personality characteristics. In this research paper, we are going to discuss the most popular ones and the impact of these theories on the communication.

Personality Theories:

There are many personality theories, but in this section we are going to focus on the most popular ones in the field of psychology.

(1) Jun_g's Personality Theory

Jung firmly believed that people conform to two basic types of personality types namely, extraverts and introverts. In addition to these attitudes, he included four primary modes of functioning, namely sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition. He was convinced that the various combinations from all these factors described the possible permutation of personality. With the different combinations, there are 16 possible types (Hall & Lindzey, 1978).

(2) Freud's Personality Theory

Freud categorized personality into three prime systems: the “id”, “ego” and “superego.” Despite the fact that each of these systems has separate functions, they also interact closely with one another, making it difficult to disentangle their effects and to account for their relative contributions to human behavior. Freud described the “id” as the original system of personality. “It is the matrix within which the “ego” and the “superego” become differentiated”(Hall & Lindzey, 1978. p. 36). It serves as the reservoir of psychic energy and furnishes all the power for the operation of the two systems. The “ego” comes into existence because the needs of the organisms require appropriate transaction with the objective world of reality. Consequently the 'ego” obeys the reallty principle. The “superego” which is the last system of the personality to develop, acts as the guiding conscience that influences moral decisions, traditional values and society's ideas Freud made an analogy of personality to an iceberg. In addition, Freud stated that most of an individual's personality exists below our level of awareness just as the massive part of the iceberg is beneath the surface of the water. Freud contended that most of the important part of the personality processes occurs below the level of conscious awareness, whereas, the “ego” and the “superego” are partly conscious ...
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