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There have been different definitions of personality. Personality can be generally defined as a characteristic that a person possesses, that affects the behavior, cognitions, interpersonal orientations, motivations and emotions in various situations and circumstances. These characteristics are dynamic and organized. Different dynamic traits affect a person differently in different scenarios. The personality of a person affects the feelings, thoughts, social perceptions and adjustments. This in turn affects the values, attitudes, orientations, self-perceptions and expectations in life. A person can use another person’s personality description and analysis to predict the reactions to different situations, identify the character and predict the future actions in times of stress, pain, happiness and other situations. This paper discusses the personality of Alex Sucre, a 20 year-old man of Mexican origin living in the U.S.. The theoretical perspectives used to explain Sucre’s character are the psychoanalytic and dispositional (trait) and the psychodynamic perspectives.
Brief Description of Alex Sucre
Alex Sucre is twenty years old. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. His mother is of Mexican origin while his father was born in the city of Chicago, and Alex is their only child. Alex used to live in Mexico City until he was thirteen, when they moved to the United States of America. His father works in a humanitarian group in policy formulation. His mother, on the other hand, is a karaoke singer in a restaurant. He studies Business Administration in college. He is athletic but does not take part in sports at school. Alex shows compassion and understanding when he is around his peers. He always tries to help those who are around him. At home, he is always quiet and reserved. He walks out of the house when he is in an argument with his parents. He takes a lot of time to adapt to new environments. Since he moved to Chicago, he has made remarkably few friends. His main hobbies are playing the guitar and reading. He is not outgoing and spends most of his free time in his room. He has a girlfriend back in Mexico and has been friends with her since childhood (Freud 1955). Alex is concerned about his future. He is afraid that his parents might move to another town or country before he finishes his education, due to the nature of his father’s job. Alex is also impatient and has a short temper. He easily gets into arguments with other people which always leads to fights. His parents are also worried that he might be involved in drugs due to his reserved nature, and a negative attitude towards correction. His grades in school are average. His parents feel that he can perform better and that he does not try hard enough. He rarely has a conversation with them and has been even ignoring them lately. He is self-centered and does not seem to recognize the presence of authority over him.
Personality Analysis Using the Dispositional (Trait) Theories
This theory suggests that the personalities of an individual have different depositions. A trait is much of a stable characteristic that influences behavior and personality. The trait theories are different from psychodynamic theories in that they focus on differences between individuals. These traits interact and combine to form a unique personality in every person. The trait theories concentrate on identifying and measuring individual characteristics. The main psychologists who developed different trait theories are Raymond Cattell, Gordon Allport and Hans Eysenck. Gordon divided the traits into three levels: the cardinal, central and secondary traits. The cardinal traits point out to the whole life of an individual (Geier 1989). Central traits are those descriptions that are made by other people while secondary traits are attitudes and preferences of the person. Raymond summarized the traits from Gordon to 16 main traits that identify human personality. Eysenck identified three dimensions on personality: introversion/extraversion, neuroticism/emotional stability and psychoticism (Coon 2008).
The description of Sucre’s personality can be analyzed on the basis of the above perspectives, generally from the three psychologists. The personality description provided above is largely based on the five-factor model personality. This describes a personality as extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness or conscientiousness. The description of Sucre shows that he lacks openness. This is a variety of experience and the desire to explore. Alex’s also shows introversion. This is a state of being self-centered and not going out with friends. From the description, he is athletic, but not energetic in behavior. He also shows signs of neuroticism by constant worries and vulnerability (Ewen 1998). He does not exhibit agreeableness but is not rebellious. Alex does not show complete psychoticism since he has no difficulty in dealing with realities. However, he has different antisocial and hostile traits that describe a low level of psychoticism. This analysis of personality has some advantages over the other perspectives. First, it gives definite divisions of personality, summarizing personality to different definite traits. Therefore, it summarizes the description of traits and identifies a particular individual with specific personality. On the other hand, the trait approach to personality also has its own shortcomings. First, it is difficult to summarize all human traits to five classes only. Traits are also poor in predictions of behavior (Maddi 1968). In the case of Alex, it would be difficult to determine his actual personality and predict his future behavior using this approach. This perspective is also weak in the sense that the person may not always behave according to the traits in different situations. The cognitive and intellectual dynamism will always result in the behavioral changes. This perspective does not recognize this fact. There is an assumption that Alex will continue exhibiting such behavior as an adult. It ignores the fact that Alex is in the process of adolescence and may change his behavior in the future.
Personality Analysis Using the Psychoanalytic Theories
The founder of the personality analysis using psychoanalytic theories is Sigmund Freud. These perspectives explain human behavior in terms of the interactions of the individual with various personality components. This theory focuses substantially on the unconscious and dynamic psychological conflicts. The conscious mind involves everything we can think of rationally, and are aware of. The unconscious mind includes memories, feelings, urges and thoughts that go on without being noticed. The unconscious mind still influences the behavior, according to Sigmund Freud. These perspectives identify three components in human personality: the ego, id and super-ego. The id demands gratification immediately without necessarily considering the external environment. This means that an individual will react due to the pleasure demands. The ego deals generally with reality. It means that a person will behave according to the wishes of the mind. The super-ego involves the rules that are already in place in society. The unconscious mind controls behavior according to moral judgment (Freud 1957).
This perspective can also be used in analyzing Sucre’s behavior. His background, according to Freud, is the key determinant of his current behavior. All the childhood experiences, especially at the age of five, are playing a vital role in determining his behavior. According to Alfred Adler, the behavior at the adolescent developmental stages is largely determined by general childhood experiencing. Sucre’s behavior of ignoring his parents may exist because of how they treated him during childhood. They may not have consulted him or reasoned out with him before leaving Mexico. He may also ignore the parents to try and show them that he is no longer a child and as a revenge for their ignorance when he was a child. His reserved attitude may arise because of his deprivation immediate gratification. Alex is not ready yet to move his life to another country and may be tense and anxious about the future. He still has friends in Mexico, which means that his id and ego are not yet ready to let go. This can also explain his tempers and lack of hobbies, and his lack of ambition in studies. His super-ego shows that it is controlling him to positive behavior. This is explained by the fact that he helps other people in his school and maintains wholesome discipline in general (Schultz 2005).
These perspectives also have their pros and cons. They are strong in personality analysis in the sense that they analyze behavior wholesomely. They focus on the cognitive part of behavior determination and recognize both internal and external factors such as societal rules. These perspectives also have their weaknesses. It is difficult to determine the balance between the id, ego and the superego. These perspectives are not applicable to personality analysis that is needed within a short time. They focus on a large span of time and adequate provision of background information. Psychologists can only use these perspectives in situations where adequate information is available, not only from the first person, but also from other individuals such as parents and guardians. Therefore, the personality analysis using these methods is a time-consuming procedure (Schultz 2005).
This involves determining the personality disorder and abnormalities in a person. The assessment follows the personality analysis and description. For diagnostic assessment of an individual, the psychologist must use more than two approaches to analyze the personality of the individual. This is done to ensure that the personality profile of the individual is complete and diverse. This avoids the errors of using only one method and increases the chances of knowing the real personality of and individual. After analyzing Sucre’s personality, it is evident that his negative personalities might have many causes. This follows the trait and the psychoanalytic theories. According to the trait theory, Sucre’s behavior still differs from the societal expectations. His traits display that he has phychoticism, introversion and mild neuroticism. His personality can change with the right therapy and advice. According to the psychodynamic approaches, Sucre still has a personality disorder. This is explained by the fact that he does not show a balance of his id, ego and superego. He exhibits mild mental instability, and must seek the help of an expert to move on with his life (Lundin 1969).
Sucre’s treatment plans should commence immediately. The treatment will be a gradual process because he is still at his developmental stages. This means that his cognitive processes can still accommodate changes in his life. The first action he should take is finding a way to communicate effectively with his parents. This can only happen with the help of a third party. Sucre displays respect to societal laws, which means that he is ready to change to be better. Another person will facilitate communication between Sucre and his parents. They will provide information about his past, and what they expect of him. Sucre will, on the other hand, give his side of the story, stating his expectations. They should all give solutions to their problems. This will correct the problem of conscientiousness. Another possible action will be involvement in the group activities at school and outside community. This will provide him with more friends. Interaction with other members of the society will also go a long way in making him appreciate the new culture and adapt to it (Kohut 1971). The family should also consider activities outside the house to create an atmosphere of bonding. These activities will involve hiking and camping. In this way, they can easily determine whether Alex is on drugs and learn more about each other. In these simple activities, the personality’s disorders will heal gradually. Alex will be a normal young man having a pleasant personality.
A person’s personality is crucial, not only in private life but also in his relationship with the society. A good society, according to Freud, is one with the majority of people having balanced id, ego and the superego because they will influence others around them to behave in the same way. Personality analysis theories are indispensable in psychology. They give a basis for identifying and measuring people’s personalities. They also give different diagnosis assessment and treatment plans for individuals with personality disorders. It is easy to identify and treat mental illness patients, before it is too late. The understanding of methods of personal analysis is the first step in achieving a balanced society. Individuals can also improve their personality types. Therefore, the usefulness of personality analysis in psychology cannot be overemphasized.