Who Am I?

An examination of the concept of personality development by looking at the psychoanalytic versus the sociocultural approach.

The psychoanalytic tradition in psychology emphasizes the unconscious aspects of the mind, conflict between biological instincts, and society?s demands and early family experiences. The paper explains that its main proponent is Sigmund Freud, the Viennese neurologist who introduced psychoanalysis in 19th century, which uses the method of analyzing an individual?s ?unconscious? self, which includes innate sexual drives and desires, as therapy. It also shows that the sociocultural approach, on the other hand, emphasizes that culture, ethnicity, and gender are essential to understanding behavior, thought, and emotion. These two approaches provide a micro- and macro-level (the individual and his/her relationship/interaction with society) of understanding the individual and self-development. This essay provides a detailed account of the theories that contribute to both the psychoanalytic and sociocultural traditions in the study of human development, particularly the formation of the self and identity. Furthermore, this essay posits that both traditions are both essential factors needed in studying human development, especially in determining the development or formation of self-identity.
“In the domain of psychology, social scientists focus on the development of the individual, the composition and changes that result to the formation of one’s Self and identity. Through psychological studies, the individual is studied through different approaches that take on the personal history and experiences as well as the cultural values held important by an individual. In the study of human development, two prevailing traditions emerge as the most influential and prevalent thought for 20th – 21st century psychology. These traditions are the psychoanalytic and sociocultural traditions/ approaches.”