Brief History of Psychology
The objective of this essay is to give an overview of the history of psychology. Within this essay I shall be studying the main themes of Psychology including; Psychoanalysis, Gestalt, functionalism, behaviourism, structuralism and humanistic psychology. I shall be looking at specific psychologists in relation to their respected fields within psychology. In regards to psychoanalysis, I will be studying the works of Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget. Within behaviourism I shall be studying the theories developed by John B. Watson. In Gestalt psychology I will be looking at Max Wertheimer. Edward B. Titchener was credited for developing structuralism. William James and G. Stanley Hall are associated with functionalism and I will be studying their theories. Abraham Maslow founded the theory humanism.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was the first to develop the theory of Psychoanalysis. He presented the concept of the unconscious mind. He stated that humans are internally controlled by drives and urges that are held deep within the unconscious. This relates to the child as he puts forward the idea that the child is not utterly in control of their development and that it is an unconscious drive. Personality and ‘abnormal behaviour’ such as mental illness and behavioural problems can also be understood by analysing the unconscious.
‘Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world’, (Freud, 1899)
According to Freud, the unconscious has a function. It keeps thoughts and urges that are deemed by society as unacceptable, repressed. An example of this is his theory of the psychosexual child. He believes that the emergence of gender identity starts at a very young age. This is learnt based on the presence or absence of a penis, symbolising masculinity and femininity. At around the age of 4-5, the boy begins to see his father as competition for the mother’s...