Freud and Jung had a lot in common. As a matter of fact the two had a strong relationship for many years. This is even evident from Jung’s work which tends to borrow heavily from Freud’s theory of unconscious. However, Jung became independent at later stage and is seen to write against Freud’s theories.
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He took his own direction in the field of psychology. He refers this method as analytical psychology. This paper is therefore going to look deep into the concept of unconscious in relation to fraud’s and Jung’s views. It is important to note that although both of them employed the concept to explain dreams, Jung tend to take a multi layered direction of the subconscious.
Freud and Jung differed on what makes the unconscious. According to Freud, the unconscious is made up of the unwanted images, experiences and thoughts. The collection of all these result in a condition known as the neuroses (Storr, 1989).
In addition to that, Jung says that all human beings have a collective unconscious. This is basically images and archetypes commonly shared by individuals. Once in a while they try to come out of the personal unconscious. The commonly shared images and archetype are symbols that can help one to understand and interpret a dream.
The repressed or expressed sexuality are driving force according to Freud. Failure to fulfill it leads to pathological conditions. Jung did not agree with this; he argued that humans are driven by many factors, repressed being one of them. He emphasized that individuation is the reason behind all the other drives. Individuation is the full knowledge of the self. When humans are driven by emotions, they become psychologically unhealthy. Freud viewed unconscious as the place where the repressed are stored.
This results to mental illness. Jung on the other hand argued that the unconscious is independent and it seeks to achieve wholeness hence mental illness is not as result of pathology. It is caused by the action of the unconscious trying to regulate emotions (Stevens, 1994). The discussion will therefore show how Freud takes a masterful method of studying the unconscious. It will as well show how Jung leant towards the earlier humanist psychology. It motivates both holistic gestalt and therapeutic schools.
The Concept of the Unconscious
The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Jung describes the unconscious as having a superficial layer which he calls personal unconscious. In addition, he wrote that the unconscious can only be described in relation to its contents. The contents in this case are capable of consciousness hence psychic existence. Personal unconscious according to Jung have contents which are feeling-tone complexes.
They entail both personal and private sides of psychic life. In the collective unconscious there are the archetypes. These are basically the contents. They are concerned with primordial types. In other words, they deal with universal images that have existed in the history. For this reason therefore, Jung concluded that the processes of the unconscious exist but to the totality of an individual.
He further added that it has little to do with the conscious ego thus influencing many people to ignore their presence. However, they usually manifest themselves in an individual’s behavior. Even when they are seen from outside by other people, an individual is not always aware of them. He clarifies that the contents of the unconscious are different and strange from the conscious ones and thus cannot be understood (Carl, 1980).
Jung adds that the theory of unconsciousness is unique unlike all the other theories. He says that this is because there in the idea of collective unconscious. In other words, it is a person’s psychic inheritance. According to Jung, this is biological inborn reservoir of our experience. Even though it is a knowledge that everybody is born with no one is directly conscious of it. The unconscious according to both is important part in human beings. This is because all their products are symbolic and are perceived to convey crucial information.
According to Jung, the purpose of life is individuation. By this he means that a human being is inwardly whole and is capable of moving toward self realization. Individuation is thus a process of harmoniously combining the conscious and the unconscious parts.
The process is inborn and it is for this reason that human beings are able to understand and harmonize the various part of the psyche. He however blames the human being for letting lose the parts of them. He goes on to say that the human beings listen to the messages such as those of dreams and imaginations and allow them to influence them negatively.
According to Freud, the aim of the therapy was to transform the unconscious to the conscious. Freud puts it that the personal unconscious is simply unconscious as many people know it. It includes all those things that are conscious but have the ability to be unconscious.
In addition, it comprises of thoughts that come into mind as well as those that are concealed due to various reasons known to an individual. Moreover, Freud says that the unconscious is alive and has a big influence on a person. This is despite their willingness. The unconscious takes the person wherever it wishes by force. The unconscious in this case is just a term that was used by Freud to describe those things that causes disturbance to the normal functioning of the body.
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That is, the unconscious sways away the normal conscious intentions. For example according to Freud, the conscious intention is to keep the repressed away. However, the unconscious does the opposite and thus Freud comes up with the statement that the repressed will always come back. Freud just like the other psychoanalysts agrees that the unconscious has a big influence over the conscious. For this reason therefore, most of the unconscious have been turned into unconscious due to repression.
Repression as described by Freud is involuntary process that involves taking away painful events and experiences from the consciousness. The threatening thoughts and feelings end up in the unconsciousness. Since the hidden try to escape, the ego develops defense mechanisms.
Repression in this case is a tactic of making something not to be seen even though it is alive in the mind. In addition, the repressed cannot be recovered into the unconsciousness but to the consciousness which is not easy. It is thus seen indirectly in a person’s behavior.
Repression in other words is the cause of the things that we do that are against the conscious. The psychoanalyst argue that it is difficult to change that which is unconscious, in other words, it is not easy to change that aspect of us that we are not aware of. Unconsciousness is also always shifting. At some point they are evident in our thoughts, memories, and behaviors. Sometimes they can remain repressed (Corey, 2008).
The unconscious encompasses the thoughts and feelings. It is worth noting the contents of the unconscious have influence on human actions. Freud wrote that Id, Ego and Superego are the components of the psyche. Moreover, the three are always in conflict trying to outdo the other. This takes place without us being aware of it. In some rare cases, we may notice their effects in form of anxiety, depression or even dreams.
Id can be described as animal part of the psyche. It is influenced by instincts such as sex, food and drink. It always seeks to satisfy its drive and when not able to do so it becomes wild hence bringing about conflict. The superego is the opposite of the Id. It is the moral and good part of the psyche. Its drive is to do well and to behave like the society expects us to, failure to which it rebukes us by causing us to feel guilt.
The conflict between the two sides is balanced by the ego. It does so in consideration to the reality. The psyche in adulthood according to Freud is determined by our childhood. That is, the treatment we received from parents, friends and society at large and the experiences we went through can either have negative or positive impacts to our adulthood.
Jung talks about the psyche. He says that he prefers to use the term psyche instead of mind because the mind is commonly used to mean the mental functioning. It is basically the conscious part of the psyche. He adds that through psyche, he can understand all the psychic processes including both the unconscious and the conscious. Jung compares the psyche to a body. He says that it has the ability to regulate its parts. It strikes a balance between the conflicting parts.
Moreover, it continues to develop hence individuation. The psyche is innate and exists in different components. Among the components are complexes and archetypal (Jung, 1980). These are independent contents working autonomously. Jung explores on the ego. He concludes that the ego takes the lead in the conscious part. It helps one to be conscious aware as well as creating a sense of personal identity.
In addition, the ego influences our thoughts, feelings and intuitions. It can also go through the memories that have not been moved to the unconscious part. It therefore creates a balance between the inner and the outer environments. During development, the ego plays an important role. It can deduce meaning and evaluate the value in relation to life. It thus tells a lot about the self even though there are not equal or similar.
The psyche according to Jung captures unlimited number of things hence concluding that the conscious is selective. Those that are not selected are thus moved to the unconscious. At this point, they become opposition to the conscious. As the tension increases, the unconscious comes out in form of dreams and weird visions. This brings in the idea of unconscious complex. It comes in to stand in for the conscious or as well as to supplement it.
The Development of Personality
Unlike Freud, Jung explains that life is more than sexuality. However, he clarifies that sexuality is present and takes big part in personality. He says that this is the reason behind individuation. He further adds that the unconscious has another function which is to regulate and to compensate.
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).
The Unconscious Particularly in Relation to Dream Interpretation
The two psychoanalysts used dreams when researching on the concept of the unconsciousness. According to Freud, dreams could be explained as hallucinations that are as a result of repressed things. They appear as the repressed to accomplish their wishes. According to him the repressed express their wishes in dreams in two ways; childhood and past happenings.
On the other hand, Jung believes that dreams’ contents are gotten from a deeper source. He explains that he associates it with the evolutionary history of human being which he refers to as the collective unconscious. In addition, he sees them as important because according to him they enhance individuation hence bringing about balance in human beings.
Sigmund Freud interpreted dreams as having an obvious manifest. In other words, they are symbolic and they have meaning. The manifest in this case is the theme of the dream. Everything that appears in a dream does so for a reason and has some history of the person having it. Freud also interprets that a dream being the unconscious in form of manifest content is transformed by condensation and displacement processes.
Condensation in this case entails several unconscious issues being manifested as one dream, a situation he refers to as dream thoughts. This differs from what is seen as dream contents or elements. This means that there can be more than one interpretation of a dream and hence a dream can have several meanings. Displacement on the other hand is a process in which the fearful unconscious changes into reasonable issues.
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.
He clarifies that people have a common collective unconscious. However, he says that dreams are personal. Jung emphasizes the importance of dreams. He says that it is a channel in which one can understand the inner soul where the most confidential and secretive things are stored.
Jung wrote that symbols are also personal in that they cannot be separated from the dreamer. In addition, every individual has his/her way of interpreting a dream. This is because even the unconscious differs in the way they complement the conscious in different individuals. According to him symbols carries more meaning than that which is known. In fact, he puts it that the deeper meaning could never be fully known and thus interpreted.
Moreover, all the people in the world produce symbols in their dreams unconsciously and spontaneously. Jung added that dreams are usually in to compensate for those things that the dreamer have negative attitude about. The most important things that an individual ought to put in mind concerning dreams are that dreams are facts. This means that one should not make assumptions unless in the situation that it make sense. He also needs to understand that dreams give expression or messages from the unconscious.
Dreams according to Jung’s interpretation do not have a specific structure that shows its idea. He therefore concludes that a dream’s intention have different dimensions in terms of time and space. Critical examination of its every aspect is thus taken for one to understand it. Jung came up with a theory he called misoneism which is the fear of new things. He used it to describe the tendency of the unconscious to fear the unknown.
He related this to the fact that people did not want to accept the meanings conveyed by the dreams. The problem comes in when the dreams want to compensate or create a balance which is very important. He clarified that dreams do not always mean good things but their intention is to create a balance between the conscious and the unconscious minds. He therefore concludes that the unconscious posses qualities of the nature.
That is, it is in between and has aspects of human nature. It can have both sides; good and evil. He further explains that for one to be mentally stable both the conscious and the unconscious should work together and move in parallel lines failure to which it result to psychological problems. In conclusion, Jung felt that dreams were just a reflection of self. He refers to them as self portraits of the psychic life process. He compares it with the theatre in which the one dreaming is the scene, actor, the public and all the other parties involved.
Freud and Jung have widely written about the analytical psychology. However it is evident that Jung’s analysis is heavily borrowed from the Freud’s analysis. This is said to be the cause of their disagreement and disappointments.
It resulted to breaking up of their friendship. It is at this point that the difference between the two is seen. Freud’s idea of the unconscious is that it is receptacle in which the conscious mind is found. In addition, it is a dwelling place of all those things that bother and are disliked by the conscious mind. These include bad thoughts and feelings as well as bad experiences.
Jung states that the unconscious is made up of the personal and the collective unconscious. The two exist as layers. The personal unconscious is the layer under the conscious followed by the collective unconscious. The personal is responsible for taking psychic contents while the collective stores all human experiences. The psychoanalysis of the two thinkers can finally be said to be materialistic and reductive but Jung is quite holistic and spiritual.
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.