When it comes to psychology, most people have heard of two pioneers in the field, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. However, at the same time, the vast majority of people not trained in the field of psychotherapy are not familiar with the basics of either psychologist’s contribution to the understanding of the human mind.
An experienced London psychotherapist will have a very good working knowledge of both of the schools of psychology. It is also very natural for a psychotherapist to favour or to focus more comprehensively on one over the other based on training as well as specific areas of focus within the practice.
To understand the differences between the two, taking a closer look at the main focus areas of each of the contributions is helpful.
Perhaps the most commonly known today, Sigmund Freud has been immortalized in books, movies and even in pop culture. Originally working in a psychiatric clinic in Vienna, his early focus was on the actual working and anatomy of the brain, not on the human mind.
With time spent in Paris, he became interested in hypnosis as a treatment option for what was then known as hysteria. This led Freud, upon his return to private practice, to work with a colleague, Joseph Breuer, to publish “Studies in Hysteria” in 1895 and to also start to focus on the importance of psychoanalysis.
In 1901 Freud published “The Interpretation of Dreams” based on his own reflections or self-analysis of his dreams. He also developed the concept of free association, the unconscious thought process, and the importance of sexual desires that are present even from early childhood.
Interestingly, Freud was not well received by the established medical profession of the time. In 1910, he developed and founded the Psychoanalytical Association, where Carl Jung served as president.
By 1923, Freud had written and then published, “The Ego and the Id”, which was considered a groundbreaking look into the working of the mind on a conscious as well as a subconscious level.
Key Factors for Freud
- The unconscious mind is the focus of stored trauma, repressed thoughts, sexual desire and aggression that creates tension resulting in mental illness when the id and ego are not in balance or controlled by the super ego.
- Freud believed that dreams could be used to learn more about the id as the ego and super ego were not hiding or repressing desires.
- Repressed sexuality is the motivator or trigger for all behaviours.
- Religion was considered by Freud to be a form of escape rather than as a healing or helpful belief.
Any London psychotherapist will be aware of the contributions of both men, and will be able to talk about the importance of Jung in the development of today’s analytical psychology.
Jung, as mentioned above, knew Freud and originally worked together in the development of psychoanalysis. They had a strong professional and personal friendship; however there were some major disagreements by Jung to Freud’s theories, particularly with the importance Freud placed on sexuality as the motivator behind all behaviours.
Jung published his own work in 1912, “Psychology of the Unconscious” which focused on different components of the psyche. These included the conscious mind, (the ego) the personal unconscious, and then a collective unconscious, which included the Archetypes, which are associated with instincts and hidden forms that can move to the consciousness and create specific behaviours.
Within his theories and models of the mind, Jung included symbolism as a key factor in human behaviour that may be expressed in dreams, religious practices, art and personal expression.
Key Factors for Jung
- While in agreement about three parts to the mind, Jung included the collective unconscious as a way to explain universal similarities in the human experience.
- Jung saw dreams as helpful to understanding, but only as they presented symbols that linked the mind to the experiences. The Archetypes, or templates, allowed us to tap into the experiences of our ancestors through symbolism in dreams and fantasies.
- Little emphasis on sexual repression and more of a focus on love and relationships between children and parents as a life force and not a sexual drive motivation.
- Religion as a part of symbolism and interconnectedness between people. It was seen as an important part of the individual.
There are also similarities between the two historical figures in today’s psychotherapeutic approaches. A London psychotherapist will draw on different components of each of these professionals to develop his or her approach to working with clients and choosing treatment modes.