Psychoanalysis is esentially a Freudian theory, expanded on by his students and colleagues, notably Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, and others. Erik Erikson modified and extended Freud's theory to stress lifelong development as opposed to a personality permenantly shaped in childhood. It aims to make people understand their problems and difficulties through
examination of the deep personal feelings, relationships, and events that have shaped motivations and behavior.
Nature (heredity) versus nurture (environment) is an on-going debate that, due to unmeasurable biological combinations and environmental factors, remains inconclusive.
Heredity and environment interact. Inherited characteristics give each person a unique start in life. Contexts such as family, status and culture are environmental factors that affect people differently, historically and according to the timing of influences.
Psychoanalytic theory focuses on behavior that is controlled by powerful unconscious urges. According to Freud, inherited factors are modified by environmental experience. The personality has three parts - the Id (pleasure principle and present from birth), Ego (reality principle which finds ways to satisy the Id) and Superego (includes the conscience and socially approved 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts').
Psychoanalytic theory examines childhood experiences and attributes current problems to those events - even if the memories had been repressed. Theory posits that understanding the cause of something can greatly assist a person in the healing process.
The psychoanalytical approach favors the hereditary/biological factors but, as there are limited means to explain these factors, environmental factors are explored to determine why the biological factors may exist. Resolving unconscious emotional conflict according to the psychoanalytical approach can only be successful when first considering the biological factors.