Compare how Freud’s concepts of the id, ego, and superego, and Jung’s concepts of the conscious, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious can be used to help a patient develop an integrated sense of self.
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Freud and Jung: Compare and Contrast
effort to clarify the bewildering number of interrelated observations
uncovered by psychoanalytic exploration led to the development of a
model of the structure of the psychic system. Three functional systems
are distinguished that are conveniently designated as the Id, Ego, and Superego,.
first system refers to the sexual and aggressive tendencies that arise
from the body, as distinguished from the mind. Freud called these
tendencies Triebe, which literally means “drives,” but which
is often inaccurately translated as “instincts” to indicate their innate
character. These inherent drives claim immediate satisfaction, which is
experienced as pleasurable; the id thus is dominated by the pleasure
principle. In his later writings, Freud tended more toward psychological
rather than biological conceptualization of the drives.
the conditions for satisfaction are to be brought about is the task of
the second system, the ego, which is the domain of such functions as
perception, thinking, and motor control that can accurately assess
environmental conditions. In order to fulfill its function of
adaptation, or reality testing, the ego must be capable of enforcing the
postponement of satisfaction of the instinctual impulses originating in
the id. To defend itself against unacceptable impulses, the ego
develops specific psychic means, known as defense mechanisms. These
include repression, the exclusion of impulses from conscious awareness;
projection, the process of ascribing to others one’s own unacknowledged
desires; and reaction formation, the establishment of a pattern of
behavior directly opposed to a strong unconscious need. Such defense
mechanisms are put into operation whenever anxiety signals a danger that
the original unacceptable impulses may reemerge.
id impulse becomes unacceptable, not only as a result of a temporary
need for postponing its satisfaction until suitable reality conditions
can be found, but more often because of a prohibition imposed on the
individual by others, originally the parents. The totality of these
demands and prohibitions constitutes the major content of the third
system, the superego, the function of which is to control the ego in
accordance with the internalized standards of parental figures. If the
demands of the superego are not fulfilled, the person may feel shame or
guilt. Because the superego, in Freudian theory, originates in the
struggle to overcome the Oedipal conflict, it has a power akin to an
instinctual drive, is in part unconscious, and can give rise to feelings
of guilt not justified by any conscious transgression. The ego, having
to mediate among the demands of the id, the superego, and the outside
world, may not be strong enough to reconcile these conflicting forces.
The more the ego is impeded in its development because of being enmeshed
in its earlier conflicts, called fixations or complexes, or the more it
reverts to earlier satisfactions and archaic modes of functioning,
known as regression, the greater is the likelihood of succumbing to
these pressures. Unable to function normally, it can maintain its
limited control and integrity only at the price of symptom formation, in
which the tensions are expressed in neurotic symptoms.
Freud and Jung
The distinctions among conscious, personal unconscious and collective unconscious can be
illustrated with a story of the relationship between Freud and Jung. Carl Gustav Jung
(1875–1961), a Swiss psychiatrist who studied medicine at the University of Basel, earned
his MD degree with a dissertation entitled Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomenon
(Jung, 1970), which motivated him to investigate the world of mysticism from the
perspective of psychology. While working as a staff at Burghölzli Asylum, Jung studied
how different words may elicit emotional responses from his clients, which represented
subconscious “complexes” or associations with immoral or sexual affairs. He published
Studies in Word Association in 1906 and was attracted by works of Freud, who had
surprised the European intellectual community by publishing The Interpretation of
Dreams (Freud, 1899). Using the method of free association, Freudian analysts were
able to encourage their clients to verbally express their thoughts, fantasies and dreams
without any interference. The analyst then inferred the meaning of the unconscious
conflicts causing the symptoms, and interpreted them to the client in order to solve his/
Jung sent a copy of his book to Freud and proposed that he would be able to verify
Freud’s theory with his research method. They met for the first time over a 13-h talk in
1907. They had worked closely since then. Jung was once believed to be the successor
of Freud. However, soon he found that he was unable to accept Freud’s stance of
interpreting a variety of complexes in terms of “psychosexuality.” For Freud, the main
contents of the unconscious were the repressed wishes and fears, which were the
origins of anxiety caused by clash of instincts. But Jung believed that conscious originated
from unconscious, which can be differentiated into two levels: the personal
unconscious at the surface level, characterized by one’s life experience that may contain
repressed desires, disguised attempts or forgotten traumas; while the collective unconscious
in the depth has been transcendentally endowed by heredity. It contains archetypes
or instincts which are human universal, but can be shaped by repeated
experiences of the species. Personal unconscious was once conscious, but collective
unconscious was never fully aware by one’s conscious. It has a cosmic breath and is
open to the world (Hopcke, 1989; Stein, 1998).