The impact is too monumental to embrace and at the same time too omnipresent to detect, “(O’Brien, 1992: 611; Flavell, 1996: 202). This discussion will compare and contrast the theories of Freud and Piaget, who, except for B.F. Skinner, remain the most influential names in twentieth century psychology.
Psychoanalysis views the individual as being in a constant state of conflict among the id, ego and superego. Lack of mental health, i.e., anxiety, is the result of these conflicts that are often ameliorated in the individual through the use of defense mechanisms. Various approaches and techniques are used in psychoanalysis to help unearth the unconscious factors responsible for creating anxiety in the individual, but the concepts and ideas of Sigmund Freud remain at the heart of most psychoanalytic approaches. Many of Freud’s theories and terms have become household words, even to those who have never read any of Freud’s work, simply because they have become so influential in the field of psychoanalysis that they have permeated many other fields and aspects of society, “People who have never read a word of his work nonetheless known of things that can be traced, sometimes circuitously, back to Freud: penis envy; castration anxiety; phallic symbols; the ego, id and superego; repression; Oedipus conflict; sexual sublimation. This rich panoply of metaphors for the mental life has become...something very close to common knowledge,” (Gray, 1993: 1).