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Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Term Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1531

Term Paper

One of the more interesting associations in psychoanalytic history is the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Initially, Freud had considered Jung to be his “spiritual heir,” but ultimately, Jung developed a new theory of personality that was quite different from traditional psychoanalysis, explaining human nature by a framework that he called “analytic psychology” (Schultz, 2008.) There was overlap between the ideas of Freud and Jung, but significant differences as well. This paper will compare and contrast the theoretical bodies of work between these two giants in the field of psychology.

A similarity between Jung and Freud is that their theory was focused on intuition that was based on their autobiographical experiences. The two men initially resided in largely the same analytical community, but ultimately, Jung differed from Freud in three distinct ways: the role of sexuality, the direction of the forces that influence personality and the unconscious (Schultz, 2008.) In addition, a major division between the two psychiatrists involved their views about religion: Freud believed that religion was a diversion as well as a fallacy which should not be promoted. He felt that his own religion was completely internalized through the mind’s ability to uncover its unconscious thoughts, thereby curing any neuroses. Conversely, Jung believed in the importance of religion, feeling that it played a role in providing safety for a person while he or she undergoes the process of individuation, or understanding and accepting all components of the self. In his view, religion also played an important role in communication between a wide range of people, since religions are different but their symbols are the same.

Jung experienced a lonely and isolated childhood, and in particular had negative recollections of his mother, who was a powerful influence in the family but who was emotionally unstable. This resulted in Jung’s suspicion of women, and eventually his rejection of Freud’s concept of the Oedipus complex in which boys have sexual desires for their mothers (Schultz, 2008.) Freud, as well, based many of his theories on his own experiences as a child and young man, both within and outside of the family. The ego was considered to be the major component driving the psyche for both Freud and Jung, but they differed in their views about the other components: for Freud, the ego is one of three elements of the mind, along with the id and superego; for Jung, along with the ego comes the personal unconscious as well is the collective unconscious, the latter concept unique to his theoretical orientation.

Another point of similarity as well as difference between Freud and Jung related to the unconscious. Freud perceived the unconscious as a group of images, thoughts, and experiences that the individual was unwilling to process, causing neurotic conditions. Jung accepted this definition, but supplemented it by adding the concept of a collective unconscious, a mixture of shared images and symbols that were experienced by all people. These images frequently rose to the surface of the unconscious, and Jung believed that dreams could be best interpreted by comprehending the symbolic references of these commonly shared representations.

According to Freud, the major driving force that propels men and women to act is repressed or expressed sexuality, and when this is not fulfilled, the result is pathological syndromes. Jung believed that sex made up only one of the many things that motivate human beings; more significantly, people are guided by their need to accomplish individuation, completeness, and complete self-awareness. Jung believed that many emotions caused human beings to behave in psychologically dysfunctional manners, but all of these behaviors derive from a yearning to achieve wholeness.

To Freud, all repressed sexual desires are stored in the unconscious, creating pathological illness, and only by exposing the unconscious can people learn to live a happy life and be cured of mental illnesses. Conversely, Jung believed that the unconscious was frequently driven itself for wholeness so that psychiatric conditions were not pathological, but were rather unconscious regulation of emotions as well as a trove of stored experiences leading towards individuation. Jung’s belief was that the goal of the therapist is to help people recognize the activities of the unconscious, thereby helping the patient to understand how best to accomplish individuation that would result in a complete person.

Although the concept of an unconscious is universally accepted by the mental health field, both Freud and Jung believed that after the unconscious was brought to the surface, ongoing therapy was still vital. Later on, psychoanalytic practitioners came to believe that understanding the unconscious feelings is an important beginning to therapy but what should follow–the bulk of the work–is helping to counteract those feelings and substitute them with more affirming beliefs and feelings. In addition, eventually the focus included behavioral therapy either instead of or in addition to psychoanalytic theory; nevertheless, the work of Freud and Jung have always served as the foundation for almost all the different schools of psychiatry.

Another point of differentiation between Freud and Jung involves introversion and extraversion. To Jung, extraversion is the turning of attention outward and focusing on the object, such as other people or the environment (Dolliver, 1994.) Introversion, by contrast, is the turning of attention inward and focusing on the subject, and on his or her thoughts and feelings. These behaviors are present in every person. Jung diverged from Freud on the matters of introversion and extraversion theory because, according to Jung, Freud based his theory on purely empirical evidence and followed their origins back to two antecedents as well as more simple facts, so that in his view, psychological life consists largely of reactions and sensations (Dolliver, 1994.)

Jung believed that Freud’s theory was extroverted, or centered on a subjective wish for domination and was focused around a sexual search for the object. For Jung, extraversion and introversion exist in everyone in different forms. Normally, both are accessible to consciousness and surface in the fluctuation to accomplish the necessities of internal adaptation as well as the outer reality. Whichever type exists in a person is determined by the predominance of one or the other of both attitudes in the area of consciousness, and the other is channeled to the unconscious where it functions in a compensatory, unconscious form (Dolliver, 1994.) In dysfunctional personalities, however, only one of those attitudesispredominant in a systematic and chronic fashion; the opposite attitude, in such a personality, is inaccessible to consciousness, and in those situations the role of the unconscious is demonstrated purely by symptomatology.

Another area of differentiation between Jung and Freud involves the concept of reductionism, which involves the relationship between mind and body as well as the nature of the subjectivity of human consciousness (Wollman, 1982.) Freud would be placed in one of two types of reductionism, the substrate reductionistic mold, or reducing the mind to biological processes; his emphasis on biology puts him in this category. Because Freud had early medical expertise and professional associations with other physicians as well as physiologists, his emphasis on biology made his orientation compatible with substrate reductionism. He believed that “no other forces than the common physical-chemical ones are active within the organism” (Wollman, 1982.)

For Jung, like Freud, for certain psychological events he did turn to biological explanations; for example, to explain extraversion/introversion, and schizophrenia as well. However, even while supporting the notion he always expressed hesitation about these conditions being based purely on organic causes. Eventually, he went on to regard illnesses such as schizophrenia as psychologically based diseases which gave rise to metabolic changes (Wollman, 1982.) He came to believe that psychological illnesses were either accompanied by or eventually precipitated physical changes to the body. Although he never embraced reductionist themes in a classical way, he approached the idea differently when he explored the concept of psychic energy. Freud originated the idea as organically based, but Jung uses the notion as more of an analogy than a biological explanation, employing it to explain the forces of psychodynamic energy. Jung saw the mind as active and programs to understand the world in predisposed ways, rather than as purely organic (Wollman, 1982.) He applied the principle of psychic energy to propose that there is a balance or equilibrium in the human personality (Schultz, 2009.). If there are two beliefs or desires that differ greatly within a person, the stronger of the two will flow energy into the weaker, accomplishing equilibrium within the personality.

Freud and Jung had many beliefs in common when they started out in the practice of psychoanalytic theory. Without Freud’s foundational framework, Jung would never have been able to develop his own differences in versions of basic Freudian principles. During his long practice, he evolved in many directions, some of which overlapped to a great extent with Freud and others which went in completely different directions. Nevertheless, both men deserve equally iconic roles in the field of psychology and understanding human nature.

References

Dolliver, R. H. (1994). Classifying the personality theories and personalities of Adler, Freud, and Jung with intro version/extraversion. Individual Psychology: Journal Of Adlerian Theory, Research & Practice, 50(2), 192-202.

Schultz, D. and Schultz, S.  (2008). Theories of Personality, Ninth Edition. Beverly: Wadsworth Publishing.

Wollman, N. (1982). Jung and Freud compared on two types of reductionism. The Journal Of Analytical Psychology, 27(2), 149-161. doi:10.1111/j.1465-5922.1982.00149.x

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