While science worked diligently to quantify and validate early structuralist perspectives in psychology, early functionalists were hard at work developing theories that were more qualitative in nature. Although not directly associated with the functionalism movement, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and William James were clearly most concerned with how psychology could improve the lives of the individual and less inclined to laboratory research. Through each psychologist’s theory, the underlying tone is how one can identify and develop treatment for the vast array of psychological obstacles an individual may encounter.
Additionally, each places significant emphasis on the human consciousness as the foundation of all behaviors. Variations in theory focus on the inception of human behaviors and how best to analyze and treat those early behavior motivators. Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalysis, was a phenomenal man. Freud was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist, and one of the best influential thinkers of the early twentieth century. In this theory of psychoanalysis, Freud believed that the best way to view the human mind was through a sexual perspective.
The main tenet of his theory was that the human mind consisted of three basic components: the Id, the ego, and the superego. Individually, Freud believed that when these components conflict, shaping personality, only therapeutic treatment would prevent neurosis (Putnam, 1917). Carl Jung Carl Jung is a famous Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology. His interests in philosophy led many to see him as a spiritualist; however, Carl Jung preferred to be viewed as a man of science.
He is celebrated for his consideration and developments in individuation, which joined the opposites of conscious and unconscious while maintaining normal functioning autonomy. Furthermore, individuation is the main and central development of analytical psychology. Jung is known today as the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as religious by nature, making it the focal point of his exploration. Carl Jung is also one of the best known researchers to practice in the fields of dream analysis and symbolization.
He spent a great deal of his life as a practicing clinician, and explored divergent areas like Eastern and Western philosophy, sociology, astrology, alchemy, literature, and arts. Additionally, many popular psychological concepts were anticipated by Carl Jung, these concepts include the collective unconscious, the archetype, the complex, and synchronicity. Alfred Adler Alfred Adler is best known as the founder of Individual Psychology and for his concept of the inferiority complex. As Adler’s interest in examining personality arose, he turned his focus to psychiatry and began working with Sigmund Freud.
Adler’s work with Freud led him to contribute greatly to the development of psychoanalysis. Still, rooting his focus on the real life experience of individuals, Adler eventually came to reject Freud’s accentuation on sex, breaking away from Freud to form his own theory. Through this theory, known as Individual Psychology, Adler put forth the idea that personality difficulties are the result of inferiority feelings that derive from restrictions on an individual’s needs for self-assertion (Fisher, 2001). Adler held the belief that each individual acquires an ideal self-image that serves as the motivator behind his or her behavior.
His studies led Adler to discover what he came to call the inferiority complex, which is the notion that a person’s feelings of inadequacy are what drive a person to try to overcome what he or she believes is a lack of worth by striving for superiority (Fisher, 2001). According to Adler, this initial state of inadequacy people obtain is the result of factors, such as neglect in their childhood, that significantly influence and shape how a child perceives him or herself as well as the choices he or she makes.
Therefore, only through assisting people in identifying the factors that led them to the distorted view of themselves can change, healing, growth, and the development of a new, healthy self-image occur. Playing a major role in child development, among numerous other areas, Adler’s beliefs and theories became widely accepted within the world of psychology therefore significantly influencing modern day psychology. William James
William James was an American philosopher whose work in psychology in the nineteenth century recognized science as a crucial element in the improvement of social and philosophical doctrines (Allen, 1967). His blend of psychology and philosophy refined his concept of pragmatism. This pragmatic approach grasped the meaning of the ideas and truth of his beliefs in an approach that influenced the lives of individuals as opposed to the abstract sense of ideas (Hothersall, 1995).
His research also outlined “the understanding of consciousness and the self, a proactive position and perception of truth, and a number of other beneficial studies of social concerns helped create an outstanding philosophical system” (Hothersall, 1995). He referred to consciousness as a stream of thoughts instead of a static or reducible mechanism and felt prickled with the notion of any approach to consciousness in which the mind was reduced into its smaller elements. James believed consciousness to be continuingly changing and a selective and active agent in and of its self.
He could not consider conscious to be outside the realm of self consciousness. Nonetheless, he also believed the functionalist understanding of consciousness as an active agent of mental action was more consistent with reality than what he called the meaningless, artificial exercise of identifying the elements of consciousness, which conforms more to the structuralize perspective (Goodwin, 2008). Comparison and Contrast of Theories Freud sought to explain human personality and the underlying issues in a person’s life.
He theorized that the human mind consisted of three major components (Goodwin, 2008). Despite Alders’ theory that all of one’s activities center on a basic life plan, Freud and Alfred Adler both agreed that personal characteristic begin in childhood. Jung based his theory on individuality, He theorized that individuation was a necessary process leading to individuality by integration of the conscious with the unconscious (Putnam, 1917). William James had a distinctive religious perspective.
James viewed religion entirely different from Freud, Adler, and Jung. James believed that everyone should have a religious experience. Freud believed that each person interprets religion differently; Adler believed that people used their religious views to understand the world, and Jung believed that not all people understood religion. Differences among their Perspectives There were disagreements with Freud’s theory of the conscious and unconscious as well his theory of sexual motivation. The main disagreement in perspectives was between Freud and James.
Freud believed that behaviors are controlled by the unconscious mind described as dreams and free association. While James believed that self-reflection and introspection was the only way to understand mental life (Goodwin, 2008). Jung and Adler disagreed with Freud’s theory of sexual motivation and psychosexual development. They thought he placed too much emphasis on sexual motivation which made it seem like the fundaments of human behavior relied solely on one motivation. Adler believed that his own notion of the inferiority complex should replace Freud’s beliefs of sexual motivation.
Freud focused on internal forces including conflicts, biological disposition, and sexual motivation (Goodwin, 2008). The focus in Adler’s theory was on social factors. Conclusion Freud, Jung, Adler, and James all shared a deep desire to help improve people’s lives through a psychological medium. Each explained psychology using their own theories, and they often differed on the basis of human functioning and its causes. Freud analyzed the world through his idea of psychosexual development, and thought that sexual motivations are the origin of all human behaviors.
William James believed that consciousness was a more fluid and distinct entity, which could not be broken up into parts. Adler and Jung thought Freud put too much emphasis on sex as motivation; Adler believed inferiority complexes govern human behavior, while Jung put much more emphasis on religion and its influences. These philosophers and psychologists of the 19th century influenced people’s outlook on the world, even to this day. Each of their theories have influenced and furthered our current understanding of the human psyche and how to treat various psychological disorders.
References Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A history of modern psychology (3rd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Fisher, M (2001, May). Alfred Adler. Retrieved January 26, 2012 from http:// www. muskingum. edu/~psych/psycweb/history/adler. htm Allen, Gay Wilson. (1967). William James: A Biography. New York: Viking Press. Hothersall, D. (1995). History of Psychology (3rd ed. ). NY: Mcgraw-Hill Putnam,J. (1917). The theories of Freud, Jung and Adler: I. The work of Sigmund Freud. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 12(3), 146-160
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