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the skepticism of the unconscious mind

Psychosexual Stages
In the highly repressive “Victorian” society in which Freud lived and worked women, in particular, were forced to repress their sexual needs. In many cases, the result was some form of neurotic illness.

Freud sought to understand the nature and variety of these illnesses by retracing the sexual history of his patients. This was not primarily an investigation of sexual experiences as such. Far more important were the patient’s wishes and desires, their experience of love, hate, shame, guilt and fear – and how they handled these powerful emotions.

It was this that led to the most controversial part of Freud’s work – his theory of psychosexual development and the Oedipus complex.

Freud believed that children are born with a libido – a sexual (pleasure) urge. There are a number of stages of childhood, during which the child seeks pleasure from a different ‘object.’

Psychosexual Stages

To be psychologically healthy, we must successfully complete each stage. Mental abnormality can occur if a stage is not completed successfully and the person becomes ‘fixated’ in a particular stage. This particular theory shows how adult personality is determined by childhood experiences.