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Freud Vs. Rogers: The Theory of Personality

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Famous psychological theorists, Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers, possibly two of the greatest thinkers of our time, both made much advancement in the field of psychology with their theories, clinical evidence, and expertise. Some views they shared, others they did not. However, both psychologists theorized that people have a 'hidden' personality within them, one which they are not aware of. Although both theories were developed through many years of clinical experience, they are each based on their own, inherently different assumptions; although both theories include a 'hidden personality', the concept of human nature and the role it plays in the rationale behind human motivation are diametrically opposed.

In Freud's view, humans are primarily driven by sexual and aggressive instincts, and seek unlimited gratification of all desires. However, the endless pursuit of pleasure, driven by the id, or unconscious, directly conflicts with society, as the uncontrolled satisfaction of personal pleasure is not acceptable. Social, cultural, religious, and moral restraints are all factors. Freud believed that inherent sexual and aggressive energy, prevented from being expressed, would cause "civilization to be miserable, and the forfeiture of happiness." Freud's psychoanalytic view of personality theory is based on the concept that much of human behavior is determined by forces outside our awareness. That the relation between the person and society is controlled by primitive and destructive urges buried deep within us. It is these urges, Freud claimed, that form the basis of the hidden self. Therefore, in Freud's view the essence of human nature is destructive. In fact, Freud theorized that people have an unconscious mind that would, if permitted, manifest itself in incest, murder and other activities which are considered crimes in contemporary society. Freud believed the control of these instincts is necessary for society to exist. Certainly these restrictions would frustrate the id's yearnings for instinctual satisfaction. Therefore, Freud claimed that for the human race to survive, humans must be kept frustrated, and that civilization is inevitably accompanied by human discontent.

In Rogers' view of the personality theory, a person's identity is formed through a string of personal experiences, which in turn reflect how the individual is perceived by himself (or herself), his or her peers, and the outside world. Rogers called this the phenomenological field. Rogers also believed the concept of self is primarily conscious (unlike Freud who believed we are primarily controlled by unconscious urges) and that people are driven to engage in activities that result in personal satisfaction and a beneficial contribution to society. He called this the 'actualizing tendency'. Rogers' humanistic (and optimistic) view of human nature led him to believe that all people and living organisms strive to develop their potential to its fullest extent, in an effort to reach self-actualization, also known as the peak of self efficiency. Rogers' personality theory distinguished between two different personalities: the real self, created through the actualizing tendency, which one can become, and the ideal self; created through the demands of society, it is an ideal imposed on us that we can never fully reach, one that guides us within society. It is this view that led Rogers to believe that human nature is inherently good, and that it is cultural and social factors that lead individuals astray, and warp the human organism in destructive directions.

Although both theories include a 'hidden' personality, both concepts are very different, and occupy opposite ends of the spectrum. Freud believed this



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