As a budding student of psychology, my early education focused largely on Freudian conceptions. I find Freud's and ideas and focuses to be very accurate and interesting. I do believe that many of his theories require 'updating' to be effective in therapy in today's society. I believe that this theory is of benefit in dealing with responsibility.
His development of the components of personality shows the internal conflict that we face when we make decisions. As we mature we work from work component to another, moving from purely seeking out our desires, to considering the ramifications, to doing what is right.
I find that the defense mechanisms illustrated are evident in everyday life. When I study for finals and become frustrated, I head to the gym to 'take out my frustrations" (displacement). Defense mechanisms, when used in a therapeutic way, help to deal with our stressors and problems.
What I really think is most beneficial to this theory is that it has been expanded from Freud's original standpoint.
The idea that personality is based largely on the first 6 yrs of life is a very bleak and narrow outlook, in my opinion. I agree more with Erickson's view that growth occurs continuously throughout life. I see Erickson's model as being more adaptive and personalized (whereas Mahler's is too generalized). People have the power to be who they want to be, thus using the stages of development to become who they want to be.
Jung's perspective also is very accurate. I agree totally that we let go of many behaviors and values we developed early on to find significance in our lives. I see this occurring within myself. My family has a strong 'party' ethic so to speak. Being raised in a chemically dependent family, a great amount of value...