Freud believed that we are dominated by biological needs, especially sexual, that must be controlled if we are to become civilized human beings. In his view, our perpetual struggle to tame these impulses leads to the emotional conflicts that shape our personality. According to his Psychoanalytic Theory, personality is shaped by an ongoing conflict between peoples primary drives, particularly sex and aggression and the social pressures of civilized society. Also early childhood experience plays a major role in molding personality.
Freud’s theory in this case might be argued in two basic ways. First, he might argue that the girl became unbalanced and her Ego lost control and her Id was overpowered by her Super Ego. More likely he would argue that some traumatic experience in her past was buried in her subconscious and sealed off by defense mechanisms. During the incident at the church, something started breaking down those defense mechanisms and the proverbial dam burst, sending her into emotional turmoil due to the fact that she was not able to cope with the original problem in her childhood. She remained in a state of anxiety and delusion until she was able to re-build the defense mechanisms and bury the memory once again. Once she had done that she was able to be released.
Erikson believed that a person’s personality is determined by how he deals with particular problems during specific stages during his life. A brief outline of the six relevant stages which would be encountered in this article (the first six stages) would go as follows. First, would be Trust verses Mistrust. This stage takes place during the first twelve to eighteen months of a child’s life. During this time the girl in the article lost her father and her mother showed no compassion for her. Her mother brought home boyfriends who were not only unsupportive but actually made sexual advances toward her on some occasions. Erikson would certainly have felt that she learned to mistrust the world. The second stage is when the child is from eighteen months to three years old. This is when, according to Erikson, a child develops autonomy or shame and doubt. For the same reasons mentioned before, (the reasons remain primarily the same straight to the beginning of the forth stage) she took on the latter quality.