The Psychodynamic Theory, the Humanistic Theory, and the Sociocultural Theory are three personality theories I have chosen. All three theories emphasize the significance of love in maintaining a healthy personality. The Humanistic Theory and Sociocultural Theory share similarities in their exploration of self-understanding, self-concept, and the influence of others’ perceptions on ourselves.
The Psychodynamic Theory restricts our understanding of our identity to being influenced solely by innate human motivations, needs, and wants. On the other hand, the Humanistic Theory and Sociocultural Theory emphasize the significance of love and connection through interactions with social groups, family, and friends. In contrast, the Psychodynamic Theory suggests that these feelings of love and belonging stem from sexuality, inferiority complexes, personality traits, or social functioning. While all the theories acknowledge the role of environmental experiences in shaping our self-identification process, there are substantial differences in the extent of environmental influence and the specific factors involved.
The Psychodynamic Theory disregards personal choice and instead emphasizes functions. It suggests that certain actions are influenced by unconscious programming or a collective unconscious, rather than being learned behaviors or driven by personal desires, tradition, family, or a sense of purpose. This theory focuses on human function, natural drive, and relationships, viewing them as predetermined conditions within us.
Within this category, some theorists expanded the notion to encompass how humans develop through their interactions with others, albeit only on a social level rather than truly identifying oneself or developing a genuine sense of belonging through others. Psychodynamic Theory essentially views each individual as being shaped by programmed or learned traits. On the other hand, Humanistic Theory grants considerable personal power to each individual, but places limitations on the impacts of personal choices and environment by offering a very broad portrayal of choices and environment.
The Humanistic Theory asserts that every individual is solely responsible for their choices and actions, disregarding any justifications or reasons. It disregards the influence of external factors that may create internal conflicts due to other people’s perspectives. The theory encompasses a wide range of opinions from others, not giving weight to societal disapproval as a means of self-evaluation. Essentially, the Humanistic Theory portrays each person as being fully autonomous.
Self-actualization, as per the theory, is attainable but is solely defined within oneself. The Humanistic Theory recognizes biological and safety needs, akin to the Psychodynamic Theory, but also encompasses esteem and personal growth through fulfilling actions. Although social development is not confined to a particular role, it is limited by self-interest-driven individual development. The Sociocultural Theory offers a holistic perspective on environmental factors but does not fully address personal desires.
The theory proposes that our identity is influenced by different environmental factors, including race, nationality, gender, religion, economic status, personality traits, and our ability to adapt to these circumstances. It suggests that culture is highly influential in shaping our behavior and considers it more important than individual desires and needs. Sociocultural Theory defines a healthy personality as one that successfully combines personal identities with a collective identity. In contrast, Psychodynamic Theory sees this integration as only functional while Humanistic Theory views it as a necessary requirement for establishing a sense of belonging.
The Sociocultural Theory goes beyond the idea that our heritage is only defined by what we make of it or a collective unconscious, but rather emphasizes the role of heritage and tradition in shaping our identity. It grants individuals the power to choose how they integrate their heritage and tradition, allowing for adaptation to the dominant culture. However, personal choice is limited to this aspect, as our self-identification predominantly stems from our alignment with culture rather than our self-creation.