Psychoanalytic vs Humanistic Perspectives Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  721 Words
Date:  2022-02-17

Personality is one of the most significant aspects of many theories of psychology. Various theories are explaining this aspect, such as traits theory, psychoanalytic theory, biopsychological and humanistic theory. These theories attempt to explain elements of personal psychology in different perspectives. Psychoanalytic approach perceives personality in a pessimistic and negative way whereas humanistic theory perceives human personality in a more optimist a positive manner. The two approaches view personality development differently and have different ideas on how the society influences personality of an individual. Humanistic approach and psychoanalytic theories only differ in their objectives but also in their perspectives and understanding of personality development (Pennington, 2018). This paper, therefore, compares and contrast some of the aspects of psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches on personality.

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Psychoanalytic perspectives view personality and behaviour as a determining factor, whereas humanistic theory perceives personality as a free will and choice. The two theories of human personality are very contradictory; the psychoanalytic approach attempts to explain human behaviour as a product of an interaction between different elements of personality. Freud explained that the model of humanity is based on the idea of psychic energy. This energy can be defined as a form of motivation that encourages an individual to do or not to di something (Zhao & Wang, 2019). In psychoanalytic approach, it is believed that there are things that drive a person in the psychic system to provide personal instincts and perspectives on a particular thing. The development of humanistic on the other hand acted as a reaction towards psychoanalytic theory, and this approach criticizes Freud's idea on personality development. Humanistic psychologists believe that the behaviour of an individual is usually a choice that a person makes and he or she takes the responsibility of the choices they make. Humanistic perspective explains that human behaviour defines who we are that is self-concepts as well as self-actualisation. It is how people view themselves and understand their decision that is important in personality development.

Both humanistic and psychoanalytic theories differ from one another in various perspectives; their contradictive explanations on personality development are significantly evident. One of the most typical difference is their perspective on the nature of humanity as well as the influence of society. Psychoanalytic theory suggests that all people are born with a selfish and evil monster within us and we are inherently wrong (Zhao& Wang, 2019). Deep down our minds, we are all after disgusting and revolting pleasure. Psychoanalytic psychologists suggest that their destructive and erotic motives define humans; society is identified as an anchor of morality and the ego.

Humanistic psychologists, on the other hand, perceive the nature of humanity as good, instead of people being born having wickedness, they suggest that people are born good and upright (Orr et al. 2016). To them, everyone can grow and mature appropriately into sober beings and utilize their potentials well in their lifetime. The humanistic approach views society as the source of destructive forces and makes one develop negative virtuous. The society, in this case, is perceived as harmful to the positive development of personality (Bland, & DeRobertis, 2018).

Another contradicting perspective of personality between the two theories is their view on personality development. Psychoanalytic psychologists believe that behaviour is shaped as an individual goes through different stages in life that are from infantry to adulthood. It is believed that the stages that someone passes through in life are vital in shaping one's personality. This perspective is explained through five stages of psychosexual development. On the other hand, humanists suggest that for a person to develop full potentials to being human may take a lifetime. This idea is explained through a hierarchy of psychological needs where a person. Humanists do not claim that people have no control over personality development (Pennington, 2018). This theory suggests that by trying to satisfy a particular need a personality is developed.


Bland, A. M., & DeRobertis, E. M. (2018). Humanistic perspective. Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences, 1-19.

Orr, P. M., Landy, O., Lynch, K., McLoughlin, D., O'Rourke, N., Sheridan, C., & Tuohey, M. (2016). Patrick Pearse: Psychobiographical reflections on an enigmatic, paradoxical personality. Studies in arts and humanities, 2(1), 33-51.

Pennington, D. (2018). Essential personality. Routledge.

Zhao, G., & Wang, Y. (2019, August). Analysis of Paul's Personality Development from Freud's Personality Structure Theory. In 1st International Symposium on Innovation and Education, Law and Social Sciences (IELSS 2019). Atlantis Press.

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