Theoretical Position Paper
Tatiana Rodriguez, Melissa Rodriguez, Christy Potter,
Enes Velovic, Celene Richards, and David De Mers
January 30, 2012
Early Psychological Theory
While science worked diligently to quantify and validate early structuralist perspectives in psychology, early functionalists were hard at work developing theories that were more qualitative in nature. Although not directly associated with the functionalism movement, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and William James were clearly most concerned with how psychology could improve the lives of the individual and less inclined to laboratory research. Through each psychologist’s theory, the underlying tone is how one can identify and develop treatment for the vast array of psychological obstacles an individual may encounter. Additionally, each places significant emphasis on the human consciousness as the foundation of all behaviors. Variations in theory focus on the inception of human behaviors and how best to analyze and treat those early behavior motivators.
Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalysis, was a phenomenal man. Freud was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist, and one of the best influential thinkers of the early twentieth century. In this theory of psychoanalysis, Freud believed that the best way to view the human mind was through a sexual perspective. The main tenet of his theory was that the human mind consisted of three basic components: the Id, the ego, and the superego. Individually, Freud believed that when these components conflict, shaping personality, only therapeutic treatment would prevent neurosis (Putnam, 1917).
Carl Jung is a famous Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology. His interests in philosophy led many to see him as a spiritualist; however, Carl Jung preferred to be viewed as a man of science. He is celebrated for his consideration and developments in individuation, which joined the opposites of conscious and unconscious while maintaining normal functioning autonomy. Furthermore, individuation is the main and central development of analytical psychology. Jung is known today as the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as religious by nature, making it the focal point of his exploration. Carl Jung is also one of the best known researchers to practice in the fields of dream analysis and symbolization. He spent a great deal of his life as a practicing clinician, and explored divergent areas like Eastern and Western philosophy, sociology, astrology, alchemy, literature, and arts. Additionally, many popular psychological concepts were anticipated by Carl Jung, these concepts include the collective unconscious, the archetype, the complex, and synchronicity.
Alfred Adler is best known as the founder of Individual Psychology and for his concept of the inferiority complex. As Adler’s interest in examining personality arose, he turned his focus to psychiatry and began working with Sigmund Freud. Adler’s work with Freud led him to contribute greatly to the development of psychoanalysis. Still, rooting his focus on the real life experience of individuals, Adler eventually came to reject Freud’s accentuation on sex, breaking away from Freud to form his own theory. Through this theory, known as Individual Psychology, Adler put forth the idea that personality difficulties are the result of inferiority feelings that derive from restrictions on an individual’s needs for self-assertion (Fisher, 2001). Adler held the belief that each individual acquires an ideal self-image that serves as the motivator behind his or her...
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