Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Freud’s Psychosexual Stages

How are Freud’s psychosexual stages understood today?

Much has changed in psychoanalytic circles since Freud’s day. In general, Freud essentially equated particular personality traits with specific body parts. Even though Freud’s erogenous zones do play important roles in childhood (the mouth in infancy, toilet training during the toddler years, and genitals in adolescence), the psychological tasks of child development cannot be reduced to parts of the body. Moreover, although sensual and sexual pleasure does play some role in childhood, there are few psychologists today who would put sexual pleasure at the heart of childhood development as Freud did.


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