21 Sep 2003
Firstly, it is important to understand that psychoanalytic theory was not designed as a personality theory per se. Rather, it was the first major, coherent, psychological theory. Psychoanalytic is broad in scope and offered unique, controversial insights into how the human mind worked. In addition, psychoanalytic theory provided a new approach to psychotherapy, thus it provided new treatment techniques for psychological problems that had previously puzzled doctors and others. Unlike other personality theories, the psychoanalytic theory is relatively cohesive (e.g., the Biological Theory consists of many different, separate ideas, models and theories). This approach to personality takes up the challenge of explaining what is going on when what is going on is difficult to understand.
The main thrusts of the psychoanalytic perspective on personality are that: