The Intrapsychic Domain

We now turn to the intrapsychic domain. This domain concerns the factors within the mind that influence behavio, thoughts, and feelings. The pioneer of this domain was Sigmund Freud. Freud was a medical doctor and neurologist and was highly influenced by biolog . He often applied biological metaphors to the mind—for example, proposing that the mind had separate "organ systems," which operated independently from each other yet that influenced each othe . His goal was to analyze the elements within the mind and describe how the elements worked together. He named this enterprise psychoanalysis, which refers both to his intrapsychic theory of personality and his method of helping people change.

In this domain, we will devote two chapters to psychoanalysis. In Chapter 9, we will cover the foundations of classical psychoanalysis, primarily in terms of Freud's original ideas and formulations. We will present Freud' s most influential ideas including the notion that the human mind is divided into two parts, the conscious part and the unconscious part. Moreover, Freud proposed three forces in the human mind— the id, the ego, and the superego —and these forces were constantly interacting over taming the twin motives of sex and aggression, or the life and death instincts. We will also present Freud's ideas on personality development and how he stressed the importance of childhood events in determining the adult personality.

Some of Freud's ideas, such as repression, unconscious processing, and recalled memories, have stood the test of time and are active research topics in personality today. However, many students of Freud have modified some of his ideas, so w will devote Chapter 10 to a discussion of contemporary topics in psychoanalytic theory. These include the idea of personality development as continuing through adulthood rather than stopping in childhood as Freud originally proposed. Another key development in contemporary psychoanalysis concerns the importance of a child's attachments to caregivers in influ encing his or her subsequent relationships.

The intrapsychic domain differs from all the other domains in that it is concerned with the forces within the mind that work together and interact with each other and the environment. To some extent, this domain is similar to the biological domain in that the biological domain also emphasizes forces within the person. However, in the intrapsychic domain, the concern is with aspects of psychic functioning. In the biological domain, we are concerned with aspects of physical functioning, such as the brain, genes, and the chemicals in the bloodstream.

A fundamental assumption of psychologists working in the intrapsychic domain is that there are areas of the mind that are outside awareness. Within each person, there is a part of him- or herself that even he or she does not know about.

This is called the unconscious mind. Moreover, the unconscious mind is thought to have a life of its own, with its own motivation, its own will, and its own energy.

Another assumption within the intrapsychic domain is that most things do not happen by chance. That is, every behavior, every thought, and every experience means something or reveals something about the person' s personality. A slip of the tongue, for example, occurs not by accident but because of an intrapsychic conflict. A person forgets someone's name not by accident but because of something about the person whose name cannot be remembered. Or a person dreams of flying, not because dreams are ran dom but because of an unconscious wish or desire being expressed in the dream. Everything a person does, says, or feels has meaning and can be analyzed in terms of intrapsychic elements and forces.

We will also examine some of the main ideas of a few of Freud' s students, including Carl Jung and Karen Horney. Jung developed the idea of a collective unconscious, common to all people. Horney was among the first to apply a feminis interpretation of Freud's ideas.

In Chapter 11, we examine work on motivational aspects of personality. Here psychologists emphasize the common motives that most people have to varying degrees. Individual dif ferences in motives help psychologists answer the question: "Why do people do what they do?" The three most common motives studied in this domain are: the desire to achieve, the need to have close relationships with other people, and the motive to have power and influ ence over others. We will present some of the basic findings on each o these three motives, as well as describe a projective technique that has been developed for assessing these needs. We will also describe a contemporary notion that suggests that motives can be conscious or unconscious and that unconscious motives affect dif ferent kinds of behavior than conscious motives.

Most of the research on motives emphasizes deficit motives that is, motives that arise because something is lacking. There is, however, the notion that one particular motive is not based on a deficit, bu rather is based on growth and change. This motive refers to the more abstract need to become who we are, to actualize our potential as the persons we were meant to be. The need to self-actualize can also operate outside awareness, and we may engage in certain behaviors, not because we have thought everything through, but because it just feels like the right thing to be doing at the moment.

In Part Three of this book, we will explore some of the major ideas and findings from the in-trapsychic domain of personality . As you read this part, it is important to keep in mind that the in-trapsychic domain, as well as all the other domains, refers to just one set of factors that influence personality. Personality is determined by many factors; like a jigsaw puzzle, it is made up of many parts. Let's now consider the part that dwells in the deeper reaches of the human mind.


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  • kate
    What are the three intrapsychic personalities?
    4 months ago

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