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Life Theories

Psychology of Gender →

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The problem of identity is the central in psychology. The representatives of various psychological areas and schools have been trying to solve them for years. Based on the conceptual position, some scholars emphasize the biological role in the development of the personality, others - consider the identity as a product of the socio-historical and ontogenetic development. However, the complexity of the problems and the differences in the approaches does not allow forming a generally accepted theory of the personality.

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We can divide the personality theory into the following categories:

1) Traditional

2) New

3) The latest

All the theories are presented in the behavioral and neobehavioral, psychoanalytic, humanistic, interaction concepts and others. The most popular among them is the psychoanalysis introduced by Z. Freud, in which the main role is played by the notion of the unconscious. It is the key to understanding the complexity of human life. Diverting the significant place - a childhood as a period of identity formation, he argues that during this period personality some complexes exist, and they can appear in various forms in the behavior of the adults. In the personality development Freud identified the major periods of the crisis, analyzing the phase of sexual desire detection. Consequently, he viewed that the human biological approach has dominated.

The Freud’s contemporaries have seen several contentious issues in the psychoanalytic theory. They criticized the inherent motivation of the human behavior, instincts, the fatal antagonism statements between the conscious and unconscious and between the individual and society.

One of Freud's closest associates was the Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist, the founder of the analytical psychology - K.-G. Jung. According to Jung, human mind has three levels: conscious, personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The major role in the structure of the personality, by his theory, the collective unconscious part plays, which is a kind of the memory of mankind, and affects the individual's behavior since his birth. It consists of the archetypes (original formations of prototype), manifested in the works of art, the dreams, the myths, the beliefs and so on. Central among the archetypes, according to Jung, is the Self - the potential core of the personality, unlike Freud`s Ego (I) - the core of consciousness. The personal unconscious part is formed by the experiences that were originally present on the conscious level, but then they were relegated. The process of the identity formation by Jung is called individuation. Thinking, intuition, feeling, according to him, helps people adapt to the living conditions. A student of Freud, the founder of the individual psychology - A. Adler believed that not the instincts are the main element in the personality, but the sense of community. According to Adler, the innate potency is primordial instinct of human nature. The cause of personality is attracted to the self-determination and power. Normal person wants not only to have the power, but also use this power in the society. In this case, the individual's feeling of inferiority is set in the various means of compensation. One of the varieties of neofreudizm is presented by the American psychologist Erik Erikson-Homburhera (1902-1994), his theory of personality states that there is no antagonism between the society and individual, and its development is determined by the social rather than the biological factors. The identity of the individual is in its identification the social group and environment, recognition of human values and its social role. Erickson also demonstrates the social nature of Y.

Crisis After 40

The period between after forty years (it will be noted soon that this graduation age is conventional and inaccurate), comes to an overestimation of their previous choices of spouse, career, and the life goals. Sometimes, it comes to divorce and career changes. The most visible and potentially valuable symptom in the middle age is an internal conflict. “It is an absolutely intolerable internal discord - writes Jung - that is proof of your real life. Life without internal contradictions - is only a half of it, or life in the beyond, which only angels live.” The transformation in the middle of life is the key to the transition from the first to the second half of life. It reflects not only a crisis of ego, but the possibility of selfhood and identity, birth of a new center in personal consciousness, namely, the “Self”.  What is rooted in this period in the personal stories, will give its psychological benefits for the entire life of the individual.

There are several fairly common problem descriptions collected by researchers, who described the problems that are inherent in people in a crisis of middle age:

a) The person understands that he has already achieved what he wanted, which is the maximum and he can no longer aspire to;

b) Instead reaching the top, he finds a plateau, where the only part of his plan was implemented (For example, career, intelligent child, and her husband / wife in a divorce; Or, husband / wife, children, an interesting job, where you are appreciated, but the rented apartment and always barely enough money to pay; Or money, career, a perfect marriage, but no children, and no longer giving a birth to health);

c) Sometimes a mid-life crisis begins when something happens in your life (instead of the high position and profit, a person get a collapse in a career).

d) It may be that after the postponing, one notices that the other one had long surpassed him, and he would hardly have time to catch up with other members.

This period of life is also called the “decade of the point of no” and “mid-life crisis”. Its main characteristic is the recognition of differences between the dreams and the goals in life and the reality of human existence. Since the human dreams almost always have some unrealistic features, sometimes even fantastic, assessment of their divergence from reality in this period is painted, usually in negative emotional and a painful tone. Time is running out, so the gap between the dreams and the reality is quite striking, sharp and painful for the person. Quite often, in this period, the person feels a sense of emptiness and lack of meaning in life. Most scientists point to some characteristics of this period, such as the long-lasting mood of apathy and depression, feelings of disillusionment and frustration, either in life or in general, or in certain individuals, whom a person had previously idealized, dreams of youth fade or are roughly broken, anxiety about death creeps into the soul, and people often say that their life is going to end sooner than they are “truly live”.

Ericson’s Theory Applying: Spiritual

According to Erikson's theory, the specific development and the related conflicts have become critical only at certain points of the life cycle. Each of the eight stages of the personality development corresponds one of the challenges of development, or one of those conflicts becoming more important than the others. However, despite the fact that each of the conflicts is critical, it is present in life. For example, the need for autonomy is particularly important for children from 1 to 3 years, but during the whole life, people have constantly check the degree of their independence, they can show it by entering into new relationships with other people. The following stages of development are represented by their poles. In fact, no one is absolutely trusting or suspicious: people vary the degree of confidence or no confidence throughout the life.

According to Ericson, there are eight stages of the personal development. The interviewed person is a female of the age of 43. Thus, we should analyze her in accordance to the seventh stage: Maturity: productivity / inertia. Seventh stage falls on middle years of life (from 26 to 64 years old), her main problem is the choice between the productivity and inactivity. The productivity acts as care of the older generation of those, who will replace them and is about to help them to consolidate himself in life and choose the right direction. A good example in this case is a sense of self-realization in a person associated with the achievements of his descendants.

If the ability of adults is a productive activity, then the pronounced that dominates inertia, it shows a positive quality of this stage - caring. Those adults, who fail to become productive, gradually pass into a state of absorption, when the main subject of concern is their own personal needs and conveniences. These people do not care about anyone or anything, they are just self-indulgent. With the loss of productivity of the individual stops functioning as an active member of society, life becomes a satisfaction of their own needs, the impoverished interpersonal relationships. This phenomenon - the "crisis of older" – is expressed by a sense of hopelessness, meaninglessness of life.

The researched person is the women of 43 years. She is at the seventh stage of maturity: productivity / inertia by Erikson. According to the interviewed person, the main question that is always in her head is “What can I offer to future generations?” According to Ericson, the main characteristics of the interviewed person are as follows: commitment, productivity, impoverishment of personal life and regression. According to the researched person, she is in the crisis now. The main reason for this devastating crisis is the inability to have a family. The woman is more focused on a personal life: a successful marriage, birth and parenting. The researched woman is in the crisis as she doesn`t have a family. We have researched that the woman is in the first stage of the crisis, as it is associated with the irreparable loss and requires a separation from the past - the past dreams, myths, ideals and illusions. She doesn`t believe that her dream to dance can be reached, as she is not a young girl any more. She has an uncertainty: there are many questions, the main of which is the question of his former identity and self-understanding. However, she is not in the critical stage. This critical stage is called the liminal. It is important to note that the period of liminality ends soon.

Kohlberg’s Theory Applying: Moral

Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1963) attached a great importance to the moral development of people, and has developed another approach to the problem, which can have a strong influence on the theory of Piaget. Kohlberg identified six stages of moral development, which replace one another in a strict sequence at the same cognitive stages of Piaget. The transition from one stage to another is due to the improvement of cognitive skills and the capacity for empathy. Unlike Piaget, Kohlberg does not bind  moral development of a separate period with a certain age. While most people reach at least the third stage, some are morally immature for life.

The first two stages seek to avoid the punishment (the first stage) or merit promotion (the second stage). In the third stage, the people clearly understand the views of others and seek to act so as to gain their approval. Although at this stage, the start of formation of their own notions of good and bad take place, people generally tend to adjust to the outside to earn the social approval. In the fourth stage, people are aware of the interests of society and the rules concerning how to conduct in it. In this stage, the moral consciousness happens: the man, who gave the cashier, returns it, because "it is right." According to Kohlberg, the last two stages of the people’s development are able to make the highly moral behavior.

In the fifth step, people make sense of the potential for conflict among different moral beliefs. At this stage, they are able to generalize, and to imagine what would happen if everyone were to act in a certain way, forming his own personal judgment about what is "good" and what is "bad." In the sixth stage, people will form their own ethical sense, universal and consistent moral principles. These people have no self-centeredness; they present themselves to the same requirements as any other person.

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The interviewed person has already been the developed personality in terms of the Kohlberg’s moral theory. The primary socialization agents for the analyzed person are the parents, the grandparents and all other relatives, family friends, peers, teachers, doctors, coaches, etc. Those people, who are associated with the individual, close personal relationships. The secondary socialization refers to the indirect, or formal, environment, and consists of the impact of institutions, and its people perform the related formal business relationship. Thus, the secondary socialization for the interviewed person is his work.

Piaget’s Theory Applying: Spiritual

Eminent psychologist Piaget, a brilliant representative of the genetic psychology, based his theory on the idea of the foundation of the psychological development on the development of intelligence. Stages of mental development are the stages of intellectual development, through which the child passes slowly in the formation of more adequate scheme of the situation. The basis of the scheme is the logical thinking. Piaget said that in the development of an organism, he adapts to his environment. This activity is a necessary condition for the development, since the scheme does not provide a ready-made person at birth, and there is none in the world. The scheme is developed only in the course of active human interaction with the environment.

The descriptions of the individual and the events in his life, mainly are focused on the present life experiences, and not on the past or future, and are given in terms of the “meaning of life”, “life goals”, “value”, and etc. The image of the “I”, is made up by the personal experience that, in turn, has an impact on the perception of this man by the world, other people estimate the behavior as it is offered by the people themselves.


To conclude, the interviewed person has been analyzed according to the different personal development theories. The crisis of the middle ages was detected. Therefore, there has been created the recommendations on how to overcome it, for example:

-  Do not bring yourself to the chronic fatigue and exhaustion, because in this state, mid-life crisis will not be avoided for certain. Often, a person’s companions are the irritability and fatigue.

-  Meet new people, with whom you have the common interests, and spend more time with friends, doing things you love. Try to change your lifestyle.

-  Analyze your attitude to work;

-  Do not idealize anything, look at the things realistically. This helps people understand themselves more quickly.

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