Individual and Analytical Psychological Theory the Field Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
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  • Subject: Psychology
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #50545929

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Individual and Analytical Psychological Theory

The field of Psychology offers a vast network of concepts, principles, and theories to explain and describe the mental and behavioral characteristics of an individual or group. It is a science that explores biological, cognitive, social, and various other aspects of the human mind and human interaction to explain mental processes. Two theories that aim to describe the relationship between individuals and behavioral motivation are the Individual Psychology theory and the Analytical Psychology theory. The theory of individual psychology was presented by Alfred Adler, and describes an individual's need to experience oneness with all of human kind by the notion of social interest (Feist, 2005). The theory of analytical psychology is a product of Carl Jung, and outlines a method of psychology for an individual to attain a concept of Self by connecting a client with their unconscious (NYAAP, 2011). During their time, each theory took a departure from conventional Freudian theories to explain the connection of oneself and a sense of identity to explain behavior. Both theories are responsible for making basic assumptions about the majority of individuals and explore the presence of free will in the individual's life. While the individual and analytical theories are also numerous in differences, they both understand a type of awareness of self to promote psychological health. Adler's and Jung's theories express strengths and limitations while ultimately striving to explain how human beings psychologically relate with their world and concept of self.

Individual psychology was coined by Alder in the early part of the 20th century, and was a significant divergence from the psychoanalytical understandings being developed by Freud during the same time. While Freud was attributing all of motivation to sex and aggression, Adler focused on the concept of motivation as a result of social influences and individuals aspiring for superiority or success (Feist, 2005, p. 65). The concept of social interest arose from Alder's belief that humans are born with weak and inferior bodies, which ultimately causes innate feelings of inferiority and an inherent dependence on other people (Feist, 2005, p. 69). Therefore, social interest is considered the feeling of unity that is experienced by being around others and is at the core of maintaining psychological health. Alder identified six main principles to be the driving force of individual psychology (Feist, 2005, p. 70):

"1. The one dynamic force behind people's behavior is the striving for success or superiority.

2. People's subjective perceptions shape their behavior and personality.

3. Personality is unified and self-consistent.

4. The value of all human activity must be seen from the viewpoint of social interest.

5. The self-consistent personality structure develops into a person's style of life.

6. Style of life is molded by people's creative power."

From the six tenets of the individual psychology theory, Alder placed the greatest emphasis on the individual's drive for superiority or success to be the most powerful force influencing people's behavior. Alder explained that every individual is born with an inherent physical deficiency which causes feelings of inferiority. One overcomes this feeling of inferiority by striving for either superiority or success. According to Alder, the distinguishing factor between superiority and success is that psychologically unhealthy people seek personal superiority, whereas psychologically healthy people aim for success for all humanity (Feist, 2005, p. 70). The crux of Alder's theory is host to both strengths and limitations. One strength of this theory is exemplified by describing a broad sense of success as behavioral motivation for all individuals. The theory is strong in its ability to justify a range of actions as psychologically healthy because they are understood as a "need for success." This strength, however, contributes to its limitations. Although the theory is capable of explaining the driving force behind the majority of human behaviors, it is also limited by its oversimplified nature. This generalized theory inhibits its ability to explicitly define all behavioral motivation experienced by humans.

Analytical psychology is a product of Carl Jung, and is often referred to as Jungian analysis. Similar to the individual model, Jung's theory also shares its distinction from Freudian psychoanalysis. The analytical psychology theory is rooted in linking human behavior to forces of the unconscious (NYAAP, 2011). Jung's analytical psychology is not only a theory, but a model for his practice of Jungian analysis. In this practice, the analyst and the client work together in order to increase the client's consciousness to promote psychological balance, and provide relief and understanding to psychological suffering (NYAAP, 2011). Jung's theory is centered in building a relationship between an individual's conscious and unconscious mind to induce psychological health.

Jung explains every individual has both conscious and unconscious motivations for behavior, and gaining awareness of their interconnectedness allows for optimal psychological performance. The analytical theory labels the varying aspects of the mind as the psyche, ego, and Self. The psyche is the sum of all psychological processes, both conscious and unconscious. The ego is considered the center of consciousness and is only capable of understanding the conscious aspects of the mind. The concept of Self is at the center of the entire psyche, and encompasses both consciousness and the unconscious (NYAAP, 2011). Linking the ego and Self, and nurturing a healthy relationship between the two, allows the psyche to feel balanced. Jung challenged that the unconscious was not a wasteland for repressed memories, but is the center for harvesting psychic energy, healing, and understanding. The strength of the analytical theory is its ability to capture an individual's personal experience as motivation for their behaviors. Unlike Alder, Jung does not make a generalized assumption about the motivational drive behind all humans. Jung's theory allows for individuals to acknowledge how deficits and trauma of personal history influence behavior and psychological unrest (NYAAP, 2011). The analytical theory recognizes importance of sex, aggression, and human relationships in daily life, while simultaneously respecting unconscious needs for creative expression, meaning, and spirituality as imperative constructs of the human psyche (NYAAP, 2011). The limitation of Jung's theory is its lack of an empirical nature to explain the depths of the unconscious. Especially Jung's concept of the collective unconscious, which explains how the unconscious mind of all individuals organizes personal experiences in a similar way, is not quantifiable and cannot be invalidated.

When comparing Adler's individual theory to Jung's analytical theory, it is evident that both models encourage the power of the individual. The models deter from a predetermined explanation for human behavior, and express concepts of choice and free will as contributors to behavior. Alder believed each person has the power to create their personal goals that are molded by and individual's heredity and environment, but one's goals are not determined by genetics or otherwise (Feist, 2005, p. 70). Instead, people have the ability to freely shape their behavior and develop their own personality, a term which Alder explained as the individual's creative power (Feist, 2005, p. 70). Alder explicitly credits the individual as being in control of their behaviors and having the power to define themselves. Jung shared similar views in that the individual harbors personal experiences that are unique to them, and are responsible for reconnecting with their unconscious. Jung, however, also believes that the role of the analyst is critical, and must display a trusting and confidential relationship in order to successfully navigate between the conscious and unconscious mind (NYAAP, 2011). Neither theory describes behavior as solely a product of predetermined factors and credits the individual for having a sense of control in their own world.

Alder's and Jung's theories aim to explain human behavior as accurately as possible, but also exude underlying assumptions. Alder's individual theory explains the difference between personal superiority and success for humankind to be the distinguishing factors between poor and balanced psychological health. The theory assumes that all cultures have the same…

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