Freud, Jung and Adler are influential theorists that have specific positions across human nature, problem formation, change and techniques as it relates to personality theories. Freud’s theory is referred to as psycho-analysis, Jung’s is analytical psychology and Adler’s is individual psychology. All theories have similarities and differences as they seek to describe what factors contribute to the development, nurture and shapes of one’s personality. The theories of Freud, Jung and Alder “attempt to answer basic questions about the nature of personality” and examine whether we were born with a specific personality, whether the personality is a learnt behavior or whether it is influenced by unconscious or conscious forces (Schultz & Schultz, 2001).
Freud’s view of human nature is that human behavior is motivated by instincts which are powerful forces that drive actions and conduct. According to Freud the goal of human behavior is to achieve pleasure or avoid pain at all cost. Jung concurs with Freud that human behavior is motivated by “innate physiological urges” (Erwin, 2010). Jung agrees with Freud that these instincts come from a psychic source; these are recurring modes of action that set in motion and produces a psychological state, the end result is a behavior that ultimately obtains pleasure. Adler’s view on human nature states that every individual is unique and there is eccentricity and distinctiveness in human personality. His view on human nature differs from that of Freud’s and Jung’s concerning the idea of inherited personality components as a “superstition” (Erwin, 2010). Adler doesn’t believe that innate instincts motivate behavior like Freud and Jung; instead it is his opinion that goals and the preferred way of achieving them are selected by the human.
Jung’s view of human nature is deterministic, spiritual and comprises of free will. He is of the opinion that humans are conflicted with opposing forces for example for every positive thought unconsciously there must be a negative one behind it. Freud’s view is similar in that it is also deterministic. He is of the opinion that no behavior by a human is a mistake; there is a specific reason for all actions. Freud, like Jung also believes that the unconscious mind influences behavior, however his stance differs somewhat because his theory suggests that behavior is motivated through the unconscious mind. Adler’s view of human nature differs from that of Freud’s and Jung’s, his view is that feelings of inferiority and inadequacy motivate a person to strive for success. This drives continues throughout life and becomes the motivator of behavior and continues to influence goals.
Freud defines the structure of personality using a topographic model that consists of the unconscious, the preconscious and the conscious. Jung’s idea on the structure of personality is similar to that of Freud’s, he too believes in the conscious and unconscious. However Jung’s differ in that he is of the opinion that difficulties and trying situations that develop in the unconscious mind exhibits itself in the conscious mind and alters the personality of an individual, at times the conscious and unconscious components may fuse together rather than remaining seperate and distinct (Erwin, 2010). On the other hand, Adler is of the assumption that personality does not have a specific structure but instead an “indivisible unity”. Adler does not agree with Freud and Jung that the majority of our personality is embedded within the unconscious, he believes that whatever thoughts and behaviors are stored in the unconscious are things that we wish to avoid, evade or don’t quite understand. Thus in the opinion of Adler, the conscious and the unconscious work hand in hand to comprehend and achieves one’s goals established by the being.
Freud’s view of problem formation is that repressed complexes are influenced by the id, ego and super ego. When a person’s ego is threatened by a severe occurrence that is associated with anxiety and unpleasantness the person represses this into the unconscious mind as a way of protection and removing the negativity from their life. According to Freud, because of the conflicts that arises due to threatening material in the awareness defense mechanisms, represses the thoughts for a period of time. Jung’s view of problem formation is similar to that of Freud in that he is also of the opinion that “repression is an internal barrier to block the frustrations of the external world” (Erwin, 2010). In addition, his view differs from Freud in that Jung suggests that problems form because of a one sided development and he believes that repression is the cause of Neurosis. Adler’s view of problem formation is somewhat similar to that of Freud and Jung in that he believed that it is beneficial to bring forth early recollections of one’s life that may have been repressed unconsciously in efforts to identify one’s personality and style of life. On the other hand, differing from the other two theorists, Adler views psychopathology and problem formation as “serious errors in living, designed to achieve an easy and distorted form of superiority” (Erwin, 2010).
According to Freud change would come about once the individual is willing and able to avoid repression and bring the unconscious to the forefront to the conscious. Jung’s theory is similar to Freud’s because his view is that a person must be able to see both sides of who they really are, this is an evaluation of both the conscious and unconscious. Jung’s view of change is that self realization through transcendent function is a must; this can be likened to Freud’s view because both positions acknowledge that there must be a process of coming to terms with the unconscious. Adler’s view of change differs from that of Freud’s and Jung’s he believes that in order for change to occur the individual must in fact understand the mistakes made in the past, reestablish goals, identify and replace destructive lifestyle that has been developed for an alternative one. The first two theorists mentioned believed that change would occur once an acknowledgement of the unconscious occurs and these thoughts are brought to the forefront while the last theorist mentioned view of change has to do with personal development.
Freud’s technique consisted of free association, resistance and transference. The goal of these techniques is to evade the patient’s defense and bring about important unconscious material to consciousness (Erwin, 2010). This technique was Freud’s way of interpreting the client’s dream, in this way he would bring to the surface all that was embedded in their unconscious mind. According to Jung “there is no therapeutic technique or doctrine that is of general application (Erwin, 2010). Thus, Jung is known as a multi-model therapist, this is one way that his techniques differs from Freud because he believed that every case is different and should receive therapeutic procedures based on the specific condition. For example, Jung was once faced with a woman who was having issues with her sleeping patterns; he sang her a lullaby as a means of inducing sleep.
As a means of therapy Jung used word association test, he would say a word and have the client respond by saying a word that immediately comes to mind. This can be likened to Freud’s free association test as the main goal for each technique is to bring repressed thoughts stored in the unconscious to the conscious. Both Jung and Adler believed that the role of the therapist was not that of an authoritative figure but instead an encourager and facilitator that is equal. Thus, both theorists suggest that an appropriate therapeutic technique is informal conversation where the client and therapist sit face to face in chairs of the same size and make. Freud, Alder and Jung rejected the thought of hypnosis as a therapeutic procedure. “Adler’s techniques for unveiling a disordered lifestyle include an analysis of