For Freud, the unconscious is the source of motivation and includes that which is not easily accessible to the conscious. Human behavior is motivated by life and death instincts and drives and the life instinct is called libido. The id, ego, and superego are a part of Freud's system, with the id being driven by the pleasure principle and underlying instincts, the ego being involved in problem-solving and id-control activities, and the superego providing the conscience. Since the sex drive is the most important motivating force, psychosexual stages of development are presented during which the individual may experience a trauma, which results in an interruption of growth and development. When this occurs the individual remains at the interrupted level and is faced with ongoing and related impulses. Defense mechanisms develop to cope with anxiety or threats to the ego when id impulses threaten to be overwhelming. Personality is developed based on experiences growing up to include traumas that take place during a developmental stage; thus an oral-passive personality would develop if the oral stage is interrupted. Psychoanalysis is focused on observing the unobservable or unconscious (Fuchs, 1999).
Skinner, Freud, and Interpersonal Theory
Interpersonal theory contrasts Freud's theory in that it has a focus on relationships rather than the unconscious or psychosexual development. Interpersonal theory stated that individuals develop according to interactions with their families or parents. This theory incorporated behaviorism since it includes the reinforcement of behaviors by the family or parents for the shaping of behaviors and personality (Schwartz & Waldo, 2003).
Skinner's theory can be used to understand the development of an adolescent and personality. The individual develops through experiences with the environment, which includes interactions with others