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Describe Freud's and Jung's Varying Structures of the Psyche, Including Explicit Discussion of Their Similarities and Differences

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To many, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud defined the world of psychology. Their theories, although differing, have had the greatest impact on our perception of the human mind, and their contributions to theory and practice have led to the development of successful psychological treatments for the wide spectrum of human distress. Yet their paths were not always so different

At the beginning of this colourful history was a friendship, a camaraderie based on intellectual prowess and impassioned desire to further the study into the unconscious psyche.

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Adler doesn’t believe that innate instincts motivate behavior like Freud and Jung; instead it is his opinion that goals and the preferred way of achieving them are selected by the human. Jung’s view of human nature is deterministic, spiritual and comprises of free will. He is of the opinion that humans are conflicted with opposing forces for example for every positive thought unconsciously there must be a negative one behind it. Freud’s view is similar in that it is also deterministic. He is of the opinion that no behavior by a human is a mistake; there is a specific reason for all actions. Freud, like Jung also believes that the unconscious mind influences behavior, however his stance differs somewhat because his theory suggests that behavior is motivated through the unconscious mind. Adler’s view of human nature differs from that of Freud’s and Jung’s, his view is that feelings of inferiority and inadequacy motivate a person to strive for success. This drives continues throughout life and becomes the motivator of behavior and continues to influence goals. Freud defines the structure of personality using a topographic model that consists of the unconscious, the preconscious and the conscious. Jung’s idea on the structure of personality is similar to that of Freud’s, he too believes in the conscious and unconscious. However Jung’s differ in that he is of the opinion that difficulties and trying situations that develop in the unconscious mind exhibits itself in the conscious mind and alters the personality of an individual, at times the conscious and unconscious components may fuse together rather than remaining seperate and distinct

On the other hand, Adler is of the assumption that personality does not have a specific structure but instead an “indivisible unity”. Adler does not agree with Freud and Jung that the majority of our personality is embedded within the unconscious, he believes that whatever thoughts and behaviors are stored in the unconscious are things that we wish to avoid, evade or don’t quite understand. Thus in the opinion of Adler, the conscious and the unconscious work hand in hand to comprehend and achieves one’s goals established by the being. Freud’s view of problem formation is that repressed complexes are influenced by the id, ego and super ego. When a person’s ego is threatened by a severe occurrence that is associated with anxiety and unpleasantness the person represses this into the unconscious mind as a way of protection and removing the negativity from their life. According to Freud, because of the conflicts that arises due to threatening material in the awareness defense mechanisms, represses the thoughts for a period of time. Jung’s view of problem formation is similar to that of Freud in that he is also of the opinion that “repression is an internal barrier to block the frustrations of the external world”. In addition, his view differs from Freud in that Jung suggests that problems form because of a one sided development and he believes that repression is the cause of Neurosis. Adler’s view of problem formation is somewhat similar to that of Freud and Jung in that he believed that it is beneficial to bring forth early recollections of one’s life that may have been repressed unconsciously in efforts to identify one’s personality and style of life. On the other hand, differing from the other two theorists, Adler views psychopathology and problem formation as “serious errors in living, designed to achieve an easy and distorted form of superiority”.

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Freud concludes that when the sexual desires are not fulfilled, it causes instability in the psychic balance; pathology. This is unlike Jung who concludes that it does not always result to pathology. He says that the disturbance leads to compensatory and regulatory processes of the unconscious in order to create stability in the psyche. Jung further advises that at midlife, people should try to let go of their values and behaviors that guided them during their young age. They should confront the unconscious simply by listening to messages of the dreams and at the same time engage their energy in constructive activities. He wrote that the unconscious forces should be integrated in the conscious life. This he says will develop the theory of personality. He further disagrees with the Freud’s idea that we are completely shaped by past events. He wrote that we are influenced by our future as well

According to Jung human beings are composed of constructive and destructive forces. It is important to recognize our dark side or shadow together with its characteristics such as greed and selfishness as being part of our nature (Casement, 2005).He continues to state that there is a physical force that usually operates in the dream. This force is responsible for creating a balance between the high physical value and those of low physical value. The new ones created are later found on the dream content. Freud states that dream as a wish fulfillment is determined by active material at that particular time. In the real sense therefore, it means that there are no dreams but wishful ones. He added that even the latent meanings can be described as the wish fulfilling dream. However, in 1920, Freud reviewed his interpretation of the dream. He changed his principle that all dreams are wish fulfilling. He accepted the fact that nightmares and horrifying dreams were as a result of traumatic experiences. Moreover, he believed that things happening around us could appear in dreams (Coolidge, 2006). Jung’s interpretation of dreams was much more than that of Freud. He strongly believed that dreams were real. In addition, he believed that dreams can be interpreted at an individual level because they are personal and cannot be interpreted by any glossary. He states that they are messages that are sent from an individual’s unconscious part.

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All things considered, the intention of these dreams is to make an individual to stay asleep

An example is that of a sleepy student. On the contrary, Jung believed that dreams are not distortions, but in a different aspect, they present a different language. In explaining this point, Jung gives an example gives an example of a man who has the intention of advancing himself in a fast and quicker manner. Jung gives an interpretation of the man’s dreams, and he tries to use these interpretations for purposes of discouraging this man from involving himself into seeking a quick fortune. However, Jung explains how the man uses Freud’s concept of wishful fulfillment, and goes on with his plans, resulting to a loss of everything that he or she possesses. These are the summaries of the differences and similarities of Jung and Freud’s ideas on dreams.

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Coolidge, F. (2006) Dream Interpretation as a Psychotherapeutic Technique. Abingdon, U.K, Radliffe Publishing Ltd.

Corey, G. (2008) Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Thompson brooks/Cole C.A.

Casement, P. (2005) On Learning from the Patient. London, Tavistock publications.

Jung, C. (1980) The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. NY, Princeton University Press.

Storr, A. (1989) Freud: A Very Short Introduction. New York, Oxford University Press.

Stevens, A. (1994) Jung: A Very Short Introduction. New York, Oxford University Press.

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