April 16, 2012
A Comparison and Contrast of Freud, Jung, and Adler As the three original developers of the concepts of the id, ego, and superego as they relate to the theory of personality, Freud, Jung, and Adler shared several concepts but disagreed on others. Their individual work on their varied theories of personality led to the beginnings of psychotherapy. Their ideas have evolved over time, leading to many current theories of human behavior, thought, and personality. While competitors over their theories of personality, Freud, Jung and Adler were in fact friends and met over their mutual interests as doctors and psychologists. Freud first met Adler at a medical conference in Vienna, and had a thirteen-hour conversation with Jung upon their introduction. Adler and Jung both accepted Freud’s theories pertaining to the id, ego, and superego, but disagreed with his interpretation of sexual ideation. Conversely, Freud believed that Jung’s ideas on the religious aspects of personality were inaccurate, and had no place in psychology. While Jung and Freud both thought that the unconscious was responsible for much of conscious thought and behavior, Jung continued his research to include religion, mysticism, mythology, and to a lesser extent demonology and the occult. To incorporate his ideas, Jung created the term “archetype” and based his theories on concepts and symbols, which had already been used to define the unconscious or in interpreting dreams. Freud’s work was more revolutionary, using ideas that were not generally accepted practices among his peers. Jung also believed in both a collective and an individual unconscious, which were in part defined by his theory of archetypes, and to him, neurosis and mental illness became apparent when an individual has a disconnect the conscious mind and the unconscious symbols. He also postulated that the innate need for self-actualization was driven by the need to assimilate the individual and collective archetypes, thus becoming a unified individual. And, on this point Adler was very similar. In 1912, Jung wrote “Symbols of Transformation,” and in 1914 broke away from Freud as their theories diverged, including the value Freud was placing on free association and dream analysis and interpretation. Adler’s theory of personality was unique from Freud’s in that he believed the personality was a single entity and not a mix of different mechanisms. His idea that people’s emotions determine how people place meaning on his or her experiences differed markedly from popular thought among his peers, and led to him stating that human behavior is self-determined. Another important distinction between Adler and Freud was in their approach to therapy; Adler placed a great deal of importance on empathy while Freud’s approach as a Tabula Rasa allowed the patient to project their feelings and find their own answer in a practice he called Transference. Along with the importance Adler placed on empathy, he believed in the positive aspects of humanity, while Freud believed humans to be mean-spirited and selfish in their needs. This belief in a basic altruism of humans led Adler to theorize that people cannot achieve true mental health until they accept the concepts of improving human society as a whole. Freud, conversely, thought that humans would take whatever they can get up to the point caught. He believed the superego could only develop morality to the extent to which it is exposed and can incorporate. To Freud, this would explain how children of someone with a criminal background would frequently turn out to be criminals themselves, even if they were taught otherwise by religious leaders or by some other means.
Davis (1997), One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil. And why, then, should you not pluck at my laurels? You respect me; but how if one day your