At the beginning of the twentieth century, a new revolutionary way of understanding the mind had a great impact, not only in the science of psychology, but in all Western culture and in most of the aspects of society. Psychoanalysis adopted an important role, which still remains in our modern life, and Sigmund Freud was the responsible for it. Nevertheless, during this time, Carl Gustav Jung developed an important theory, making an immense contribution to psychology. Jung didn’t just criticize psychoanalysis in order to improve it but he also provided different perspectives and new ideas with the aim of trying to understand in a more complete sense the human being, its abysmal inside world and its relations with the outside world. Jung established the pillars of the school of “Analytical Psychology”. In the following paragraphs different aspects of the theories of these two important figures in the history of psychology will be revised and contrasted. Finally, the main weakness of Freud’s and Jung’s ideas will be presented in order to explain why it is complicated to consider their work and theories as science in its proper sense.
Theories and contrasts
Freud developed a dynamic psychology in which the individual is seen as an energy system. He named the energy dedicated for mental processes and psychological work: ‘psychic energy’ and completed his theory by establishing a structure of the personality, composed by three systems (Id, Ego and Superego) through which the psychic energy is transformed and exchanged. Therefore, to Freud, a mentally healthy person was an individual with a “unified and harmonious organization” (Hall, 1964, p. 43) of these three structures. The Id, Ego and Superego co-operate allowing the individual to transit satisfactorily through its environment in order to achieve his/her desires and needs.
Jung focused his work in the understanding and development of what he called the arquetypes, as he considered them really important to a proper human growth. These are inherited predispositions of immense emotional significance, which shape the way in which the human consciousness can experience the world and its self-perception. Jung developed this concept after an intensive study. He looked for patterns in dreams and myths of many cultures and societies through history, relating them and finding a meaning in common. Finally, he began to “personify” the main archetypes of individual personality, giving significance and specific characteristics to each one of them. Jung has been hardly criticized for personifying concepts of the unconscious: "Very few people find it necessary to personify... unconscious mental activities in the way that Jung did any more than they find it necessary to personify physical parts of themselves like the liver or kidneys, which function independently of the will." (Storr, 1995 , p. 13)
Even though Freud and Jung ended developing very different theories to understand the human mind, both authors were interested in exploring the concept of the unconscious. They focused their investigation on understanding what the unconscious is and how it influences the individual. Both wanted to give a scientific explanation to this concept, so they based their models of unconsciousness on empirical research of their patients. Freud was interested in the repressed memories of the unconscious. He believed that individuals encounter thoughts and feelings with such a painful content that they have to be maintained in the unconscious in order to make it possible to cope with daily situations. To him, wishes and fears are the most important content of the unconscious. They are often repressed due to the anxiety caused by a conflict generated by the individual’s instincts. Hence, to Freud, the aim for psychology is to look for factors in personality of which we are ignorant. Therefore, when calling them into consciousness the individual experiences a...
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