For the sake of anonymity, we shall refer to the subject as “Sue”. Sue is a 28 year old college student currently in the 4th year of her studies. She grew up bearing many issues from her restricted childhood. A brief glimpse of her childhood reveals she was not very good in her studies; her grades were average at most. Although she was not that geared intellectually, she was very much interested in extracurricular activities. During her primary education she was an active member of her track and field club. She was very much involved in rough outdoor games such as soccer, and she would rather play with boys than girls at that time.
She stays after school to practice until evening, and her diligence paid off as she won most of the track events she joined. Sue’s parents married in spite of resistance from her father’s parent’s wishes. Her grandmother and her mother have been in constant conflict and this affected her very much. This particular conflict rose to new heights as her mother was expecting another child.
Later, her father was unable to work properly due to his failing health condition and as such, Sue and her mother resulted in faming to help compensate for their poor financial condition. Framing was difficult for young Sue and her mother, which had some sort of uterine disease at that time forcing her to miscarry her baby. Her parents enforce a curfew of 9 pm for her until she went to college. Her father was rather conservative and forbade her to wear jeans and high heeled shoes as this was not proper for a lady like her to wear one according to him.
Her parent’s strictness on her was probably one the reasons she chose a university which was far away from her home. As she graduated and found work, she stated to seek out love from among her peers. Of course she bore these issues up to her adulthood and these have reflected negatively her life. Sue’s case was subjected to several psychoanalytic theories which includes Freudan, Banduran and Humanistic approaches. Her overall psychological profile is summarized after the analysis. Freud on Sue’s caseAccording to Freud the human psyche is composed of three parts: the id, the ego and the super ego.
The id is the part of one’s self which is primal and instinctive, it relies on emotions and reflexes rather than actual intellect. From the id, the personality of the person originates. It always seeks instant gratification (Pleasure Principle) and does not tolerate pain, displeasure, or disappointment. It operates through two basic instincts: Eros and Thanatos. Eros focuses on love and creation while Thanatos focuses on pain and destruction in any form.
The primary concept around the id is “I want this, right here, right now”. The ego results from the id’s exposure and understanding of the external environment and the ego adjusts to it. It is the knowledge, the awareness of one’s self. It is the “Me” in a person. The ego surpasses the id’s instincts and at this point the individual begins to learn about the things around him/her, therefore it is driven by the person’s own intellectual capacity. The ego is rather self-centred and selfish, and will try defending and preserving itself to its best abilities.
Inhibition of the ego’s wants and needs leads to some form of inhibition which may have later repercussions in one’s life. A person’s ego reacts to threats through stress and/or unease. The ego relies on a number of so-called “defence mechanisms” to deal with threats. Among these are: repression, projection, rationalisation, intellect, and bad behaviour. But an exaggerated use of these “defence mechanisms” result to neuroses, a series of abnormal behaviour patterns resulting from anxiety. The third part of an individual’s psyche is the super-ego which results from the ego’s set of ideals.
It forms the person’s life values and standards and determines if he will be lawful or unscrupulous. In short, the super-ego is one’s “conscience”; it operates through the Morality principle. It is constant conflict with the id and it seeks to stop the id’s libido rather than riding along with it. These three are all powered by what we call libido a strong force that drives one’s desires (Farrar, 1997).