There are two ways that the Id typically manifests in therapy. The first is if an individuals’
Super Ego is under developed. If the voice of reason, morality, social training has not been developed sufficiently to help moderate the Id, the person may present as impulsive, aggressive, or reckless. There is, in essence, no filter between wants/needs, and the reality of an individuals the situation (e.g., is this the time for the need, is it appropriate to ask this person to meet my need). In children this is somewhat understandable, they are frequently depended on parents responding to their needs immediately regardless of if it is convenient for the parent or not; the goal in therapy becomes to help develop their Super Ego as a regulatory mechanism, to instill the parent inside their head. When it occurs in adults, it may be something you’d expect to see in an individual who has had multiple incarcerations or has violated the law in some way and has not gotten caught. It can also manifest as someone who has alienated all but a core group of friends because of a lack of empathy or failure to demonstrate concern for others when seeking to get their needs met. As with the child, the therapist will try to help clients develop a Super Ego or other regulatory mechanism, but this becomes much more difficult in adults who have been “successful” in being Id driven to the point where the negative consequences are speed bumps instead of indications that change is needed.
The other type of presentation is the person who is Id denying, meaning that they are not “feeding” their Id and giving it a chance to fulfill its needs. In these individuals, the unconscious aspects of the Id begin to manifest despite clients best attempts to suppress it. This can be the individual who makes a provocative comment to a co-worker s/he is sexually interested in or who becomes aggressive towards a friend who is in a successful relationship (i.e., the friend has something the person wants). These acts, while not criminal, can be alienating to others, and can also further cause needs not getting met amplifying these negative behaviors. In addressing this presentation of Id issues, the goal of therapy becomes trying to find appropriate/socially appropriate ways to sublimate the needs/wants of the Id.