Ego Formation

Ego formation is generally understood as the development of one’s sense of self in connection with reality. There are various theories on how the ego is formed. The most popular is that of Sigmund Freud’s Structural Model. Freud theorized that upon birth, the “id” which is the pleasure principle, is present. This is evidenced by babies’ impulse to immediately gratify their needs without considering others. Within the next three years, the “ego”, which is the reality principle, starts to develop as evidenced by their increasing awareness of norms, their identity, and learning to have a sense of self-control. This is then followed by the development of the “superego” or moral principle which dictates our sense of being right or wrong.

However, object relations theory specifies that the super-ego is present at birth, also the ego is in its primitive state which continues to develop overtime. In addition, Jane Loevinger Weissman, an American developmental psychologist, suggested that ego development ("insert link") is composed of nine phases: pre-social, impulsive, self-protective, conformist, self-aware, conscientious, individualistic, autonomous, and integrated.

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