The genital period begins at puberty and continues throughout the individuals lifetime. It is a stage attained by everyone who reaches physical maturity. In addition to the genital stage, Freud alluded to but never fully conceptualized a period of psychological maturity, a stage attahied after a person has passed through the earlier developmental periods in an ideal maimer. Unfortunately, psychological maturity seldom happens, because people have too many opportunities to develop pathological disorders or neurotic predispositions.
Although Freud never fully conceptualized the notion of psychological maturity, we can draw a sketch of psychoanalytically mature individuals. Such people would have a balance among the structures of the mind, with then ego controlling then id and superego but at the same time allowing for reasonable desires and demands (see Figure 2.3). Therefore, their id impulses would be expressed honestly and consciously with no traces of shame or guilt, and then superego would move beyond parental identification and control with no remnants of antagonism or incest. Their ego-ideal would be realistic and congruent with their ego, and hi fact, the boundary between then superego and then ego would become nearly imperceptible.
Consciousness would play a more important role in the behavior of mature people, who would have only a minimal need to repress sexual and aggressive urges.
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Indeed, most of the repressions of psychologically healthy individuals would emerge in the form of sublimations rather than neurotic symptoms. Because the Oedipus complex of mature people is completely or nearly completely dissolved, their libido, which formerly was directed toward parents, would be released to search for both tender and sensual love. In short, psychologically mature people would come through the experiences of childhood and adolescence in control of their psychic energy and with their ego functioning in the center of an ever-expanding world of consciousness.
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