MFT Free Practice Question: Psychosexual Stages

By Robin Gluck on March 26, 2021


This month’s blog will focus on Freud’s theory of psychosexual development. Whether you are taking the MFT California Clinical Written Exam or the AMFTRB exam, you could see questions that test your knowledge on this topic. With that in mind, let’s do a quick review of Freud’s theory of psychosexual development and see how you do on our FREE practice question. 

 As you may recall from grad school, Freud believed that personality development occurred in childhood. In brief, Freud’s theory of psychosexual development proposed that children moved through a series of five stages, each focused on a different erogenous (sexually pleasurable) part of the body.  If a child’s needs were satisfied at each stage, it would result in a healthy personality. If, however, the child experienced frustration or dissatisfaction at any stage, it would lead to unhealthy personality traits.

What are the five psychosexual stages?

  1. Oral (birth-1 year) 
  2. Anal (1-3 years) 
  3. Phallic (3-6 years)
  4. Latency (6-puberty)
  5. Genital (puberty-adult)

Let’s test your knowledge of the psychosexual stages with a FREE practice question...

A 3-year-old is brought to therapy by their parents who are concerned because the child is refusing to potty train. The parents share that all of their friends have successfully trained their children and they don’t know what is wrong with their child. They inform the therapist that they have tried everything, indicating it is an all consuming process in their home. How should a therapist intervene when considering the psychosexual stages of development? 

A. Inform the parents that they must stop placing intense pressure on their child as too much pressure in the anal stage is likely to lead to compulsive behavioral traits.

B. Encourage the parents to continue exerting pressure as failure to successfully potty train in the anal stage leads to a chaotic personality.

C. Interpret the child’s resistance to potty training as a form of rebellion against overly controlling parents.

D. Assist the parents in developing a more balanced approach to potty training that encourages their child, but avoids exerting excessive pressure.

(scroll down for answer and rationale…)


















The correct answer is D. 

Answer A uses language that is too direct. In addition, it does not provide an alternative way for the parents to engage with their child around this task. Freud did believe that too much pressure on a child in the anal stage could lead to compulsive behavior traits. However, the intervention is incorrect. 

B is incorrect because as noted above, too much pressure in the anal stage can lead to problematic personality traits. 

C makes an assumption that is not supported in the vignette. Plus, it does not touch on the psychosexual stages of development.

D is the strongest answer, as it is important to help the child find resolution in this psychosexual stage. Finding resolution requires the parents find a balance in how they support their child, without imposing too much or too little pressure. 

How did you do?

How did you do on the psychosexual stages question? Are you ready to tackle these types of questions on your exam? Regardless of your answer to this question, TDC’s MFT California Clinical Exam prep and AMFTRB program covers all you need to know and provides you with practice questions to help you prepare. TDC’s MFT California Clinical and AMFTRB exam prep programs give you everything you need to be successful on the exam, without overwhelming you with content you don’t need. We’ve helped THOUSANDS of MFTs PASS their exams with confidence over the past decade. Our team looks forward to helping you PASS with confidence!




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