Freud and Jung: Differences on their Theories of Personality
For many years, serious psychology students looking into explanations of personality, and scholars researching pivotal theories of personality, tended to associate Freud and Jung as quasi-brothers in theory; and Freud and Jung were close at one time. But as years passed, according to an article in the Journal of Analytical Psychology (Charet, 2000) -- and based on a critical examination of their divergent theories -- the research shows that Jung and Freud were for most of their careers coming from very different places, going very different places, and this paper points out those differences in theory and direction. The fact that they did part company and go dramatically different paths makes the study of their work all the more intriguing and informative regarding the whole of psychiatry, psychology, and where personality fits in.
Understanding Jung: recent biographies and scholarship: The piece by Charet explains that the point at which Freud and Jung went their separate ways on the issue of personality was "because of Jung's perceived spiritual inclinations." And the perception that Jung was far more into the spiritual world (in approaching an understanding of personality) than Freud was, is backed up in Charet's piece through a number of examples.
It's clear from a number of documents presented by Charet that after leaving the Freud camp, Jung wished to -- if not disassociate himself entirely -- distance himself from Freud. Jung was visiting the British Museum in 1935, according to Charet's excerpt from author E.A. Bennet's book, C.G. Jung; and Jung was asked if he had a ticket to get into the museum's Reading Room.
"No," Jung answered, "I'm afraid I haven't ... " "Who are you?" he was asked. "What is your name?" "I am a Swiss doctor on a visit to London. My name is Jung -- Dr. Jung." And the museum employee excitedly followed up with, "Not Freud, Jung, and Adler?" And the reply from Jung: "Oh no. Only Jung!"
But on a more serious note, it is no secret that Freud and his achievements have taken "some debilitating blows" from critics in recent years, and these attacks on Freud have had the effect of vindicating Jung, who is, Charet writes, "finally being appreciated instead of overshadowed by Freud." And now that there is an open "uncoupling of Jung from Freud" there are some valid questions coming to light. The Freud and Jung association was nearly always opposed by Freud's disciples, because of Jung's "spiritualizing inclinations which they detected in his theological preoccupations, his forays into occultism"; and also Freud's entourage found distasteful the fact that Freud saw Jung as his "potential successor."
Charet writes that Freud knew about Jung's interest in the spiritual side of psychology, but chose "to exercise tolerance." Still, as time went on, Freud became less and less tolerant of Jung's ties to Christianity and spiritualism; and when Freud -- seated next to Jung -- witnessed a cracking in a bookcase (which Freud later alluded to as a "poltergeist business"), the schism between the two reached a near breaking point.
The situation became more pronounced when a respected associate of Freud, Karl Abraham, warned Freud about Jung's apparent obsession with spiritualism; following that, Herman Nunberg, a student colleague of Jung's at the Burgholzli, reported to Freud "an almost identical poltergeist experience" with Jung to the one that Jung and Freud had observed together. Adding fire to the already existing doubts Freud had regarding Jung, Freud's apparent appointed heir began to "insinuate [spiritual dynamics] into the theory and practice of psychoanalysis," Charet reports.
And from Freud's point-of-view, he was unwilling to accept "seriously and publicly" what he termed "occultism" -- which led to Jung's rejection not only of Freud's psychosexual theory of understanding personality, but also, significantly, Freud's authority over him. Jung rejected Freud in favor of a "more profound understanding of human experience." That profound understanding led Jung to develop a "transpersonal dimension of the psyche he termed the 'collective conscious' with its contents the 'archetypes'." While Jung was investigating spiritual concepts in rebellion against Freud, by 1914, Freud lashed out belligerently against Jung, and in effect cut a swath between the two men that was never to be repaired.
But aside from the philosophical divide related to Jung's rejection of Freud and Freud's rejection of Jung, what was the precise and significant difference between the two in terms of defining psychoanalytic theory? The biggest schism was in understanding the concept of libido, according to Charet: "It became evident to Freud that Jung could not accept the assumptions about the psychosexual nature of the libido" that Freud considered absolutely essential to psychoanalytic theory and practice. Meanwhile, on his own, Jung carved out a place in the spiritual world as "one of the darlings" of what is generally referred to as "The New Age" thinking.
Christianity and the Shadow Side of Human Experience (Jung): Jung went on to develop theories very far apart from the psychosexual litany that Freud stuck hard and fast to; and indeed, Jung's "shadow side" theory of human experience -- a necessary but not morally twisted ingredient in the human recipe -- is the topic of a scholarly piece in the journal, Pastoral Psychology (Bingaman, 2001). According to Jungian theory, "every human being, including the Christian believer, has a shadow side to his or her personality," Bingaman writes.
Like it or not, that shadow within all personalities "is part of our common human lot, a part of the human being's fabric." The very best approach to it is to "mitigate the effects of the shadow," Bingaman explains, "by taking back into the self," because Jung asserts that it is "sheer fantasy to think we can eradicate the shadow ... Or through religious devotion, suppress it into submission."
Some Christians may indeed wish to eradicate the shadow of all personalities that Jung writes about, because "the shadow is made up of all the reprehensible qualities that the individual wishes to deny, including animal tendencies that we have inherited from ... ancestors," the author quotes author D. Wulff as writing.
And Christians may work hard at "polishing their personas," while in the meantime leaving it up to God to eradicate their own shadows. That said, Bingaman asks a pertinent question: "Assuming God has the capacity to remove the shadow from the human psyche, we must ask ourselves this question: Do we want God to remove it?" The answer for Carl Jung was an emphatic "No!"
Why not ask God to remove the shadow from our lesser selves? Bingaman reminds readers that the shadow that is part of every human " ... does not consist only of morally reprehensible tendencies, but also displays a number of good qualities, such as normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc."
The author adds that if the shadow is indeed an "important and ineradicable component of psychical life, then the Christian believer, just like any human being," must somehow find a way for the shadow within him or her and the conscious ego to "peacefully coexist."
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that accepting the shadow side of us, of our nature, according to Jung, "is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one's whole outlook on life." It sounds fairly simple at the outset, to accept within one's self that there is a dark side, or a "shadow" side; but Jung reminds his readers and followers that "... simple things are always the most difficult."
And though Jung clearly believed -- illustrated through his writings -- that the past 2,000 years "tell the story of the progressive development of Western consciousness," there is no guarantee "that it will be our primary guide throughout the coming millennia," Bingaman writes, paraphrasing Jung. Christianity will likely have to undergo a big change, "from a religion with a dualistic orientation to a religion of integration and unification," Bingaman asserts, invoking Jung's shadow theory.
Anxious Patients/Anxious Doctor: Telling Stories in Freud's Studies on Hysteria:
There are numerous examples of how vastly different Freud and Jung were; and in fact, one would not be unreasonable to wonder how the two brilliant minds ever got along in the first place (except for the fact that the older Freud was Jung's mentor). And while Jung's theory of the shadow side of humans did not describe a draconian darkness within humans, for his part, Freud seemed to have had a very dark side to his personality, fairly described as draconian.
According to an article in Literature Interpretation Theory (Furst, 1998), at an early stage in his career as a psychotherapist, Freud "was in fact not always as much in control of the situation as he had to make his patients believe." The very act of dealing with anxieties forced Freud to confront his own insecurities, "particularly in regard to the innovative therapies he was trying." In his efforts to discover the "inner logic of his patients' unconscious…