Many people believe that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung constituted the world of psychology. Although the theories conceptualized by these two psychologists differ, they have had the biggest impact on the understanding of the mind of a human being. Moreover, their contributions to both theory and practice have brought about the development of successful mental interventions for a broad spectrum of psychological distress (Hergenhahn 6). Nonetheless, the paths taken by the two psychologists were not always similar. They started as friends, a camaraderie founded on intellectual ability and a passionate interest to widen the research into the unconscious psyche. At that time, Freud viewed Jung as not only a father figure but also a respected colleague with whom he could confide all his earthly problems. Similarly, Freud perceived Jung as a vibrant as well as an alluring new possibility to the psychoanalytic movement (Thurschwell 8). However, this friendship and the academic partnership did not last for long; the two went separate ways and started antagonizing each others work. Although there are some similarities in the theories of Freud and Jung, there are major differences between their theories, and they range from para-psychology, religion, sex and sexuality, dreams, and the unconscious mind. Nonetheless, there is significant evidence that proves that Jungs theories were somehow an expansion of Freudian theories.
Concerning the issue of the unconscious mind, Freud shared the belief that the unconscious mind acted as the epicenter of human traumatic memories, repressed thoughts, as well as basic drives of aggression and sex. To him, the unconscious mind was the harbor for all concealed sexual fantasies that cause neuroses. He hypothesized that the human mind centers were divided into three structures the id, ego, and super ego. According to him, the id is responsible for the unconscious sex drives and does not adhere to morality but rather by the desire to fulfill pleasure (Thurschwell 16). On the contrary, the ego forms the conscious perceptions, thoughts, and memories, which makes it easier for human beings to deal efficiently with reality. Lastly, the super ego seeks to reconcile the drives of the id via socially acknowledged behaviors. Similarly, Jung also categorized the human unconscious mind into three parts. However, in his viewpoint, human psyche was split into the ego, personal unconscious, as well as the collective unconscious. According to him, the ego forms the conscious part of the human mind while the personal unconscious deals with memories. Moreover, the collective unconscious contains the experiences or knowledge that human beings are born with (Hergenhahn 17).
Concerning the dreams, Freuds position was that one could get much knowledge about another individual via the power to interpret dreams. He posited that when humans are not asleep, their fantasies are not actualized since there are considerations of the ego (reality) and also the superego (morality). However, he is quick to note that when asleep, the refraining forces are rendered weak paving the way for the fantasies to be experienced as dreams. Likewise, Jung was of the viewpoint that dream interpretation paved the way into the unconscious mind. Nonetheless, he differs with Freud in that he did not share the belief that the material of all dreams was made up of sexual content. Jung representation of dreams focused more on symbolic imagery. To him, dreams could have several dissimilar meanings as per the dreamers associations.
The issue of sex and sexuality formed the largest areas of contention between Jung and Freud, particularly the issue of human motivation. According to Freud, expressed and repressed sexuality was the largest drive behind behavior (Thurschwell 121). This is illustrated in his dogmatic theories concerning psychological development, in addition to the prominent hypotheses of the Oedipus complex and the Electra complex. In contrast, Jung was against was he termed as Freuds obsession with sex and its implication on behavior. He posited that life force or psychic energy motivated and influenced behavior, and sexuality only formed a potential representation. He also contested the Oedipal impulses.
Regarding religion, Freud posited that religion provided an escape for a majority of people. He had the feeling that religion served as the opiate of the masses that did not need to be propagated. Conversely, in Jungs opinion, religion was vital congruent of the process of individuation, in addition to providing a mode of communication among human beings. He based his argument on the fact that the symbols and archetypes found in several religions all have similar meanings.
Lastly, on the issue of para-psychology, Freud was a total skeptic concerning all things paranormal. However, Jung had a huge interest in the area of para-psychology, specifically the area touching on telepathy and synchronicity (Hergenhahn, 87).
Summarily, a careful evaluation of the theoretical differences between Jung and Freud it emerged that their differences were largely in the cultural time they lived and worked and the context of the individuality. Moreover, it is evident that there are numerous similarities, particularly because Jung either expanded Freuds theories or antagonized them all together. The two theorists shared numerous ideas on the unconscious as well as modes of treating psychopathology. Their theories established the concept of the unconscious in addition to the essence of dreams in comprehending problems.
Hergenhahn, B. R. An introduction to the history of psychology. Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005. Print.
Thurschwell, Pamela. Sigmund Freud. London: Routledge, 2009. Print.
If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the customtermpaperwriting.org website, please click below to request its removal: