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Psychosexual Stages of Development and Psychoanalytic Theory

Psychoanalytic theory posits that conflicting unconscious structures and forces are primarily responsible for behavior and emotions. According to this theory, the resulting distress produces personality differences and clinical disturbances. The avoidance of anxiety is the chief motive in this system and is accomplished by unconscious defense mechanisms that distort reality to reduce tension. Psychosexual development in early childhood features a sequential focus and a preoccupation with different body parts, each entailing a distinct self-concept and relationship style with caregivers. Anomalies at any of these stages affect personality, anxiety patterns, and psychological symptoms, which can remain with the individual throughout adulthood.

Psychoanalytic Theory

Psychoanalytic theory, developed by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), extends the orientation of evolutionary biology to mental health disorders and to the understanding of psychology, personality, ...

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