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Psychological Explanation of Concepts of Oedipus and Electra Complex

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The Freudian Psychology, named this due to the vast amount of work put in by Sigmund Freud. He theorised that an individual’s behaviour was made more form psychological factors than biological ones or environmental factors. He argued that individuals are born with these basic needs and instincts which the unconscious mind acts on through the persons behaviour. A large part of his theory was that an person’s personality was created through a series of stages commonly referred to as the psychosexual stages. He emphasised that these stages were a vital part in development as people need to be able to release their sexual energy (libido). Freud would argue that a person would experience tension due to the compilation of this energy and that the pleasure would occur from it being released. 

Phallic Stage (3-6 Years)

During the different stages the individual’s energy would be expressed in numerous ways and through different parts of a person’s body. For example after anal stage comes the phallic stage which occurs at the ages 3 – 6 years. The sexual energy is focused now on the child’s genital, this is when the Oedipus complex and Electra complex come into play. 

The Oedipus Complex

The Oedipus complex, describes a child’s feelings of the sexual energy for his or her opposite-sex parent and jealousy and anger toward his or her same-sex parent. Essentially, a male child will feel that they are competing with their father figure for the ownership of their mother. Freud argues that the Oedipus complex was an important aspect within the phallic stage of the psychosexual development. He theorized that a successful conclusion of this stage involved the boy associating with there father which would eventually cause the child to develop a mature sexual identity. Freud believed, the male child desires to have his mother as his own in turn he would replace his father, who he sees as a competition for the mother’s love. During this stage of psychosexual development, Freud theorized that the boy acquires a sexual attraction to his mother and hostility towards his father. 

The Electra Complex

The Electra complex is used to described when female children feel yearning for their fathers’ figures and a hostility towards their mothers. The term Electra complex was actually created by Carl Jung to describe how the Oedipus complex is displayed in girls. Freud also believed that when girls find out that they do not possess a penis, they then begin to have penis envy and this causes them to have resentment toward their mum for ‘sending her into the world so insufficiently equipped.’ Eventually, this resentment changes and allows the girl to connect with her mother and the process of internalizing the attributes and characteristics of her mother. 

Case Study

The Oedipus complex can be seen in the Little Hans research. Hans was a 5-year-old boy who was terrified of horses. When he was three years old, little Hans began to show an interest in ‘widdlers’, This included his own penis along with those of other males and even male animals. In retaliation his mum told him she would cut of his penis if he didn’t stop playing with it. This caused his phobia of horses to get worse, it got so bad that he would refuse to leave the house in case he came across a horse. Freud believed that his phobia was in fact linked to the horses large gentile. Freud’s analysis connected Hans’s fear to the Oedipus complex, the horses were unknowingly embodying his fear of his own father. Freud implied that Hans overcame this conflict as instead of being afraid of his father he identified with him and then began to fantasise himself with a large penis and married to his own mum. 

Conclusion

The advantages of Freuds theory is that it contains practical applications which can be seen to help people, such as other coming phobias. The theory also uses case studies, this is makes the theory more reliable because it allows researchers to have a collection of qualitative data. However, the studies which are used are often small samples. This is a limitation as it means the approach is not able to be widespread to the larger population. Furthermore, the approach is founded on theories which cannot be observed or tested.

References

  • Cherry, K., 2020. The Oedipus Complex in Children. [Online] 
  • Crossman, A., 2018. Thought.co. [Online] 
  • DIXON, T., 2018. IB Pschology. [Online] 

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Psychological Explanation of Concepts of Oedipus and Electra Complex. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychological-explanation-of-concepts-of-oedipus-and-electra-complex/
“Psychological Explanation of Concepts of Oedipus and Electra Complex.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychological-explanation-of-concepts-of-oedipus-and-electra-complex/
Psychological Explanation of Concepts of Oedipus and Electra Complex. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychological-explanation-of-concepts-of-oedipus-and-electra-complex/> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2022].
Psychological Explanation of Concepts of Oedipus and Electra Complex [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2022 Sept 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychological-explanation-of-concepts-of-oedipus-and-electra-complex/
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