Personality Theories: the Psychodynamic, the Humanistic, the Sociocultural

The three personality theories that I have chosen are the Psychodynamic Theory, the Humanistic Theory, and the Sociocultural Theory. The three theories all deal with a form of love as being a part of a healthy personality. The Humanistic Theory and Sociocultural Theory are comparable in that both deal with an understanding of the self, the concepts we have of self, and developing part of that concept from how we feel others view us.

The Psychodynamic Theory limits the explanation of who we are as simply being driven by basic human driving forces, needs, and desires. The Humanistic Theory and Sociocultural Theory give importance to the needs of love and belonging through social groups, family, and friends, while the Psychodynamic Theory relates that love and belonging to be driven by sexuality, inferiority complexes, developed traits, or social functioning. The theories provide for the self-identification process as happening through environmental experiences; however, the extent of environment and the factors associated within it are drastically different.

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Psychodynamic Theory gives no true individual power to personal choice. The theory limits people to functions. Some portions of the theory include unconscious programming, even a collective unconscious, as reasons for why people act in certain ways, rather than providing for learned actions, tradition, family, or a desire to be an individual with a purpose. The Psychodynamic Theory deals specifically with human function, natural drive, and relationships, portraying these as programmed within us through pre-existing conditions.

Some of the theorists within this category extended the concept to include the development of humans to come from our interactions with others, but merely on a social level, rather than true identification of self or development of real belonging through others. The Psychodynamic Theory essentially presents every individual as programmed or learned characteristics. Humanistic Theory, while giving much personal power to each individual, limits the effects of personal choices and environment to a very broad description of choices and environment.

The Humanistic Theory deals with all aspects of choice as being completely dependent upon the self, accepting all responsibility for our actions, regardless of reasoning for actions. It does not consider the full extent of environmental causes that may develop a conflict within the self because of the view of others. The theory is broad in its definition of the view of others, in which it does not give power to social disapproval as a way of determining self. The Humanistic Theory essentially presents every individual as completely free.

The theory allows for self-actualization, but the definition is contained entirely within one’s self. The Humanistic Theory provides that we have biological needs and safety needs, basic needs as is the Psychodynamic Theory, but extends the self to include need for esteem and growth through fulfillment of personal actions. Social development is not limited to a function; however, it is restricted to an individual development that is selfishly driven. The Sociocultural Theory gives a complete perspective on environmental factors, but does not truly deal with individual desires.

The theory relates who we are to be determined by environment, including race, nationality, gender, religion, economic status, personality, and adjustment within these conditions. The theory gives culture the most importance to determining behavior, rather than personal desires or needs. Sociocultural Theory defines a healthy personality as one that meshes personal identities with a collective identity. The personal identity is developed through the cultural and social aspects of environment, while Psychodynamic explains this as merely a function, and Humanistic simply explains it as a need to belong.

The Sociocultural Theory does not limit our heritage to what a person makes of it, or a collective unconscious, but expands on the concept by developing who we are through heritage and tradition and becoming part of that heritage and tradition. The Sociocultural Theory does give personal power to choice to mesh heritage and tradition, to change in order to accommodate dominant culture, but not much personal choice beyond this aspect. The entire identification of self seems to come from how we fit within culture, rather than who we make ourselves to be.

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Personality Theories: the Psychodynamic, the Humanistic, the Sociocultural. (2018, Jun 12). Retrieved from