Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stress: Psychoanalytic Approach

In the last byte, we looked at person-environment fit as a source of stress. In today's byte, we look at the psychoanalytic approach to understanding stress.

In our formative years we create a set of expectations of our "prefect" self and improve on this perfect self as we mature. As time progresses, we begin realizing that there exists a self image that is pretty distinct from the ideal self that we had imagined. Here we talk of 2 distinct terms:
  1. ego-ideal: Is the embodiment of a person's perfect self
  2. self-image: Is how a person sees himself or herself both positively and negatively.
These 2 terms were coined by Harry Levinson who defined stress based on the Freudian psychoanalytic theory. He believes that 2 elements defined above interact to cause stress.

Stress results from the discrepancy between the idealized self (ego-ideal) and the real self image. The greater the discrepancy, the more stress a person experiences. This theory helps us understand the role of unconscious personality factors as causes of stress within a person.

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