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Sigmund Freud’s Theory on Psychosexual Development

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Freud believed that the first few years of life are the most important for the development of a child’s personality and character. He conceptualized several; distinct stages of development and called them “psychosexual stages,” each is concerned with a major biological function and each influences personality development.

1. Oral Stage
In this stage, the pleasure giving part is the mouth. Infants, for example, derive pleasure from their sucking reflex. This is important in developing trust and comfort between the infant and the caregiver. The primary conflict is said to be the “weaning process”(the child must become less dependent upon caretakers). The issue is for the infant to become dependent or less dependent. If unresolved, he/she may have problems relating to dependency, aggression or gullibility. Individuals will tend to be fixated in this stage if there oral needs were not met. This will project in their later life as over-eating, nail biting, smoking, etc.

2. Anal Stage
Erogenous zone is elimination of body wastes, both defecation and bladder elimination. The conflict is in toilet training and the resolution lies on how the parents handle the situation, whether they will take it positively or negatively. Too strict parent will lead to anal retentive personality characterized by obsession with organization, neatness and frugality (not wasteful). The child may hold back his feces and become constipated. On the other hand, too lenient parents will lead to anal expulsive personality characterized by being messy, wasteful, destructive, etc. On the other hand, if the mother is the type who pleads with the child to have a bowel movement and who praises the child extravagantly when he does, the child will acquire the notion that the whole activity of producing feces is extremely important. This idea may be the basis for creativity and productivity.


A strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behavior that persists throughout life

Oral fixation
Oral fixation has two possible outcomes.
* The Oral receptive personality is preoccupied with eating/drinking and reduces tension through oral activity such as eating, drinking, smoking, biting nails. They are generally passive, needy and sensitive to rejection. They will easily ‘swallow’ other people’s ideas. * The Oral aggressive personality is hostile and verbally abusive to others, using mouth-based aggression. Anal fixation

Anal fixation, which may be caused by too much punishment during toilet training, has two possible outcomes. * The Anal retentive personality is stingy, with a compulsive seeking of order and tidiness. The person is generally stubborn and perfectionist. * The Anal expulsive personality is an opposite of the Anal retentive personality, and has a lack of self control, being generally messy and careless.

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