Many people believe that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung defined the world of psychology (Donn, 2011). Although their theories had some differences as well as similarities, they have had a very great impact on our perception of the human mind. Their various contributions to theory and practice have equally led to a successful development of psychological treatments for a wide spectrum of human distress. The first time Freud and Jung met, they had a lot to share that they spent 13 hours talking (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). Their friendship became so close that Carl Jung was designated by Sigmund Freud as his heir and spiritual son (Freud & Jung, 1974, p. 218). Despite his close relationship with Freud, Jung had his own ideas and views of human personality different from those of Freud. In 1912, Jung openly criticized Freud during a lecture tour in the United States although Freud was grooming him to become president of the International Psychoanalytic Association. This led to a breakdown in their friendship and Freud closed his inner circle to his young friend.
We will start by briefly looking at both Freud and Jung’s theories, explaining their areas of agreement and disagreements and then explaining the neo-analytic theorist’s (Carl Jung) motivation for change.
Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856- September 23, 1939)
Sigmund Freud was a neurologist and the brain behind psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a clinical method for treating mental illness (psychopathology) and a theory which explains human behavior. He based some of his major concepts on his childhood experiences, dreams and sexual conflicts. According to Freud our childhood events influences our adult lives a great deal, and this shapes our personality. For example, depression due to traumatic experiences and stress in someone’s past is hidden from consciousness. This could lead to some problems during adulthood. Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis has had a tremendous effect on theory and practice of psychiatry and psychology, on our image of human nature and on how we understand various personalities. Freud based most of his major concepts on dreams, sexual conflicts and his childhood experiences.
Some of Freud’s most discussed theories included the id, the ego, the superego and dream analysis. The id corresponds to Freud’s notion of the unconscious and it operates under a principle Freud referred to as the pleasure principle (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). The id is the biological component of personality, concerned with immediate satisfaction of its needs and does not accept delay of satisfaction for whatever reason. It is considered a selfish structure that only seeks self-satisfaction. The ego evaluates the outside social and physical world and makes plans accordingly. The ego is said to operate under the reality principle. Our ideas of right and wrong, the moral voice and conscience that guides the ego; stepping on its results of feeling and anxiety was referred to as the superego. The first 5 years of someone’s life is the time Freud believed the superego is formed and this is based on parent’s moral standards and influenced into adolescence by role models. The ego acts as a mediator between the demands of the id, the pressures of reality and the dictates of superego.
Sigmund Freud in his book The Interpretation of Dreams believed that people dreamed for a reason. Dreaming was a way to cope with problems the mind struggles with subconsciously and can’t deal with consciously. Dreams initiated a person’s wishes and closely connected to events of the previous day. If our dreams and memories are analyzed, Freud believes we can understand them. This can influence our current behavior and feelings subconsciously.
Carl Jung (July 26, 1875- June 06, 1961)
A psychiatrist born in Switzerland, Carl Gustav Jung was best known for his research in personality, dream analysis and the human psyche. Although we are motivated by repressed experiences Jung believes that some emotionally toned experiences inherited from our ancestors are part of this motivation. Jung was one of those who supported Freud because of their shared interest in the unconscious. His personality theory was partly influenced by his unhappy childhood experiences of dreams and fantasies (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). Freud’s definition of libido was redefined as a more generalized force and he argued that personality was shaped by the future as well as the past (Crellin, 2014). His complex and unusual approach to personality has had a reasonable effect on a broad range of disciplines including, psychiatry, economics, sociology, political science, philosophy and religion. Carl Jung was recognized by the intellectual community at large and received honorary degrees from Oxford and Harvard. Jung went ahead to develop a new and elaborate explanation of human nature quite different from Freud’s
Similarities & Differences between Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung
The Unconscious Mind
Although Freud placed more emphasize on the role of unconscious in personality development, and Jung, the conscious mind, both Freud and Jung gave rise to the idea of an unconscious Differing conceptions of the unconscious was one of the central disagreements between Jung and Freud.
According to Freud, our repressed thoughts were at the center of our unconscious mind, traumatic memories, and fundamental drives of sex and aggression. This according to Freud was a storage facility for all hidden sexual desires, resulting in neuroses (mental illness).
Freud emphasized that the human mind centres upon three structures – the id, the ego and the super ego. Our unconscious drives he declared, is formed by the id (mainly sex), and is not bound by morality but instead only seeks to satisfy pleasure. The ego is the rational aspect of our personality that is responsible for directing and controlling our instincts and enables us deal effectively with reality (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). The superego attempts to mediate the drives of the id through socially acceptable behaviors (mainly sex), and It is considered a selfish structure, not bound by morality, but only seeks self-satisfaction. The ego is our thoughts, conscious perceptions and memories that enable us to deal effectively with reality. The superego strives neither for pleasure nor for attainment of realistic goals, but rather attempts to mediate the drives of the id through socially acceptable behaviors.
Jung equally divided the human psyche into three parts. However, in his view the unconscious was divided into the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. To Jung, the ego is the center of consciousness, that part of the psyche that is concerned with thinking, feeling, perceiving and remembering. The personal unconscious includes preconscious or memories (both recalled and suppressed) that were once conscious but, forgotten or suppressed due to how trivial or disturbing they were. The collective unconscious holds our experiences as knowledge that we are born with. It stores the experiences of our human and pre-human ancestors in the collective unconscious and this heritage is passed down to each new generation (Schultz ; Schultz, 2016).
Jung’s studies into Eastern philosophy and religion such as Buddhism and Hinduism influenced his take on the human psyche. According to Jung, the contents of the unconscious are not restricted to repressed material.
Both Freud and Jung saw dreams as a key diagnostic tool in psychotherapy. They both agreed that the unconscious is revealed in dreams. They equally believed that dreams were meaningful and could be interpreted. However, there was some divergence in interpretative technique
Freud believed that we could learn a lot about a person through the interpretation of dreams. According to him, our deepest desires are not acted upon when we are awake because there are considerations of reality (the ego) and morality (the superego). However, while we sleep these restraining forces are weakened and may make us to experience our desires through our dreams.
Our repressed or anxious provoking thoughts (mainly sexually repressed desires) can be accesses through our dreams, as they could not be entertained directly for fear of embarrassment and sometimes, anxiety. Through defense mechanisms, a thought or desire slips through into our dreams in a disguised, symbolic form. Someone dreaming of entering a tunnel in Freud’s view would be dreaming of lovemaking, for instance. The analyst has a responsibility to interpret these dreams considering their true meanings (McLeod, 2018).
Like Freud, Jung believed that dream analysis allowed for a passage into the unconscious mind. However, unlike Freud, he did not think that that the content of all dreams was sexual in nature or that their true meanings were disguised. Jung’s depiction of dreams focused more on symbolic imagery, in which he believed dreams could have different meanings according to the associations of the dreamer (Stevens, 2001).
Jung believed dreams could anticipate future events and be great sources of creativity. He equally argued that they could be retrospective in nature and reflect events in childhood, however. He criticized Freud for focusing exclusively on the external and objective aspects of someone’s dream rather than looking at both objective and subjective content.
Sex ; Sexuality
Freud differed quite a lot from Jung when it came to their views of human motivation. Repressed and expressed sexuality was everything to Freud which made him feel it was the biggest motivating force behind behavior. His theories on psychosexual development, as well as the Oedipus complex, and to a lesser extent, the Electra complex makes this even more clearer (Snowden, 2010).
Jung had the feeling that Freud focused his attention more on sex and its impact on behavior. Jung on the contrary believed that sex played a minimal role in human motivation and that what influences behavior is a psychic energy or life force. Jung also disagreed with Oedipal impulses saying that the relationship between mother and child was based on love and protection granted by the mother to the child (Bishop, 2014).
Carl Jung’s Motivation for Changing Freud’s Theory
As presented by Jung, analytical psychology addresses the question of the psyche in an open-minded way. Jung disagreed with Freud on several aspects of personality theory to remain within a strictly Freudian perspective and brought an almost mystical approach to psychodynamic theory, even though he was an early associate and follower of Freud. He fashioned a new and elaborate theory of human nature unlike any other called analytical psychology (Shultz ; Schultz, 2016). Jung brought about the concept of personality types and started addressing personality development throughout the lifespan. Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious, which is a mysterious reservoir of psychological constructs common to all people, was one very huge contribution to psychodynamic thought
To better understand other cultures Jung traveled extensively, including trips to Africa, India, and the United States (particularly to visit the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico). Observing many basic similarities between different cultures is what led Jung to propose the collective unconscious. Freud’s theory of the dynamic interaction between the conscious and unconscious mind was not rejected by Jung, but he rather extended it to connect with his own theory of our underlying collective unconscious. His belief in a dynamic interaction between the conscious and unconscious minds, was quite like that proposed by Freud, but the psyche had features of an unconscious mind that transcends the individual, and could be considered a combination of the spirit, one’s sensations and thoughts. Jung believed that the mind could be divided into unconscious and conscious parts, just like Freud did believe, but his opinion was that there was more to the unconscious mind than Freud theorized. The unconscious mind was made up of layers according to Jung and this included a layer which stores our unique personal memories and experiences (the personal unconscious) and another layer containing memories and behavioral patterns inherited from our ancestors (the collective unconscious). Describing this collective unconscious, Jung pointed to the fact that babies have an immediate attachment to their mother. Babies are born predisposed to perceive the mother in a certain way and if mothers typically behave in a nurturing and supportive manner, the baby’s predisposition will therefore correspond with its reality (Schultz ; Schultz, 2016). Generally, children are afraid of darkness and images such as the moon, sun, angels and evil are all believed to be strong themes throughout history. According to Jung, these things are more than mere coincidences, but rather are a collection of shared memories inherited from our ancestors.
Ancient experiences contained in the collective unconscious are manifested by recurring themes which Jung referred to as archetypes (Jung, 1947). Throughout time, people interpret and use experiences and memories in similar ways because of ‘archetypes’. By being repeated in the lives of successful generations, archetypes are therefore imprinted in our psyches which are expressed in our dreams ad fantasies. Jung proposed that the archetype is made up of the hero, mother, child, God, death, power and the wise old man. Some of these develop more fully than the others, thus influencing the psyche more consistently. In troubled times, people dream of one of the archetypes, whose aim it is to right an imbalance in the psyche of that individual.
Jung agreed with Freud that dreams can lead us to the unconscious, however, he did not simply study symbolism, such as that in dreams, to uncover evidence of past repression. He was more concerned with the causes of dreams and he believed that dreams were more than unconscious wishes. According to Jung, dreams could guide our future behavior, because of their profound relationship to the past, and their profound influence on our conscious mental life. Jung believed that dreams have evolved with our species throughout time and can tell us something about the development and structure of our psyche. Since consciousness is limited by our present experience, dreams help to reveal much deeper and broader elements of our psyche than we can be aware of consciously. As such, dreams cannot easily be interpreted. Jung rejected the analysis of any single dream, believing that dreams belong within a series. First, dreams as Jung puts it are prospective. This means that dreams help us prepare for experiences and events we anticipate will occur. Also, dreams are compensatory as they help bring about opposites in the psyche. Jung worked with a series of dreams over a period rather than interpreting each dream distinctively as Freud did. He believed this could help him discover recurring themes, issues and problems that persisted in a patient’s unconscious. He also rejected trying to learn dream analysis from a book. When done properly, dream analysis can provide unparalleled realism (Jacobi & Hull, 1970). There is a challenge in therapy to the understanding what dreams point to. To clearly understand the meaning and direction of the dreams, Jung suggested that both the therapists and client should continue to observe the journey of one’s dreams after therapy was successful.
Jung believe that our personality is determined by what we hope to be, what we have been in the past and what happened to us. He criticized Freud for emphasizing only past events to the exclusion of the future, as shapers of personality. We develop and grow, regardless of our ages and we always move toward a more complete level of self-realization. Unlike Freud, Jung took a longer view on personality.
Moreover, Jung thought of the libido differently from Freud. He considered sexuality to be an important aspect of the libido, but primarily he thought of libido as a more generalized life energy (Jarvis, 2004). Jung believed that as the human species evolved, the nature of sexual impulses transformed
Jung’s universal, yet complex approach to personality has had significant sociology, economics, political science, religion, literature, anthropology, psychiatry and psychology. Cognitive-behavioral theorists more recently are exploring mindfulness as an addition to more traditional aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Jung deserves the credit for bringing such an open-minded approach to the modern world of psychotherapy, as psychologists today study concepts from Yoga and Buddhism that are thousands of years old