Freud and Adler - Philosophical Assumptions

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Psychology, Psychotherapy Pages: 5 (1230 words) Published: September 19, 2014
(5) Minor Essay: Assumptions EssayFreud and Adler

Both Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler grew up in Vienna in the late 1800’s. Both were physicians and both contributed greatly to the world of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Whilst Adler studied under Freud for many years, they parted company on the basis that Adler believed Freud’s basic theories were excessively narrow. Their individual childhood experiences, personal struggles and the people they worked with were defining factors in the developing of their particular views of human nature. (Schulz & Schulz 2009).

Psychoanalytic Therapy, developed by Sigmund Freud, is a model of personality development and an approach to psychotherapy bringing attention to psychodynamic factors that determine behavior, focusing on the role of the unconscious and developing procedures to modify the structure of basic character. The key philosophical ideas were deterministic, unconscious motivation, psychodynamic, developmental, intrapsychic conflict, id-ego-superego.

Freud’s view of human nature was deterministic and influenced by irrational forces, unconscious motivation and biological/instinctual drives as these develop during key psychosexual stages in the early stages of life.

Freud emphasized the importance of early development and identified three stages: the oral stage dealing with the inability to trust oneself and others affecting close relationship and self esteem; the anal stage, being the inability to recognize and express anger leading to the denial of one’s own power as a person and the phallic stage, the inability to accept one’s sexuality and sexual feelings and the acceptance of ones gender, which are established in the first six years of life. This period is the foundation on which latter personality development is built. At any point in a person’s life, if these developmental stages are not adequately met, they may become fixated at that stage and behave in immature ways later in life. “The indifferent memories of childhood owe their existence to a process of displacement; they are substitutes, in reproduction, for other impressions which are really significant. The memory of these significant impressions can be developed out of the indifferent ones by means of psychical analysis, but a resistance prevents them for being directly reproduced. (The Psychology of Everyday Life; page 43).

Humans are viewed as energy systems and the dynamics of personality consist of the ways in which psychic energy is distributed to the id, ego and superego. These three systems function as a whole rather than three separate segments. Because the amount of energy is limited, one-system gains control over the available energy at the expense of the other two systems and behavior is determined by this psychic energy.

The Id is the original system of personality, primary source of energy and the seat of instincts. It is ruled by pleasure and avoids pain, satisfying instinctual needs. It is unconscious and not aware. The Ego has contact with the external world of reality and regulates personality. It mediates between instinct and the surrounding environment of the external world. The Super Ego is the judicial branch and includes a person’s moral code, represents the ideals and strives for perfection and represents traditional values of society as handed down from parents.

Consciousness and the Unconscious were key concepts in understanding behavior and the problems of personality. Freud believed that all experiences, memories and repressed material were stored in the unconscious, so by making the unconscious conscious through therapeutic methods, the individual was able to exercise choice. This strengthened Ego so that behavior is based more on reality and less on instinctual cravings and irrational guilt.

Adlerian Therapy, developed by Alfred Adler, was focused was on social-psychological, teleological, phenomenological and holistic views of human...

Bibliography: Corey, Gerald. 9th Edition (2013). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning
Orgler, Hertha (1963). Alfred Adler: The Man and His Work. Capricorn Books Edition
Freud, Sigmund (1901). The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Ernest Benn Limited
Prochaska, J.O.& Norcross, J.C. 6th Edition (1969) Systems of Psychotherapy. Thomson/Brooks/Cole
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