Theoretical Positions of Freud, Adler, Jung, and James Essay

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Theoretical Positions of Freud, Adler, Jung, and James

Historically, some of the greatest insights of psychological analysis stemmed from the minds of ordinary men and women. In many respects, most psychodynamic theories come from psychoanalysis studies that have been conducted over the generations. Science has worked meticulously to establish quality and validation to structuralist perspectives; however it was functionalism movement that were more qualitative in nature. Although not directly associated with the movement, psychologists such as Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, and William James made is possible to explain the purpose of the human consciousness. They all wanted to discover a way to improve the quality of the lives of individuals rather than focus on laboratory research; a more direct approach to mapping the mind. Their variations in theory were designed to focus on the foundation of human behaviors and the best way to provide accurate analysis and treatment to those behavior motivators. Sigmund Freud: Perspectives and Major Disagreements

Conscious and Unconscious: Freud’s Theories – Disagreement
In regards to Freudian psychology, Vaughan wrote, “the imposing, assertive methods of the arrangement…made ideal the rise of forceful obstruction in its train (1927). James and Freud have the most significant differences in perspectives. James felt introspection and self-reflection is the way to understanding life within the mental states (Goodwin, 2008). However, Freud believes that behavior is regulated by the unconscious mind. This was made understandable through free association and dreams. Ultimately, Freud thought professionals could figure out the state and individual based the state on the analysis of his or her dreams (Freud, 1911). But, self-reflection was what James believed (Hart, 2008).

Freud’s Sexual Motivations – Disagreement
Adler and Jung, who formerly related with Freud, found disagreements with Freud’s theory of sexual motivations and psychosexual developments (Vaughan, 1927). These men argued that placing extreme prominence on the motivation through sex would reduce individual behaviors to only one motivation that is fundamental (Vaughan, 1927). Adler wanted the theory he created to become the main stimulus and foundation through his psychological theories replacing Freud’s emphasis on sexual motivation. He would replace this with self-reflection (Vaughan, 1927). Freud would focus on forces held internally to include; sexual motivation, biological dispositions, and conflicts. Adler’s theories concentrated on social factors (Goodwin, 2008). The most similar views out of the four men where Jung and Freud (Goodwin, 2008). Again Freud would be questioned by Jung and his thoughts within sexual motivations, concluding the theories of analytical psychology (Goodwin, 2008). Although Jung’s views can be comparable to Freud’s, Jung would extend the theory to embrace a perspective that was more advanced (Goodwin, 2008). Alfred Adler and the Individual Psychology

Alfred Adler was an Austrian doctor, psychotherapist, and the main founder of the school of individual psychology. He strongly believed in the importance of the feeling of inferiority or the inferiority complex. The inferiority complex is well known as a major key of developing personalities. An inferiority complex is a lack of self-worth, doubting oneself, uncertain of ability, or feeling as if you are not up to standards. He believed this occurred in the subconscious and caused people to overcompensate. This resulted in people either doing exceeding well, or failing miserably resulting in behavior considered abnormal by society. He believed that people were whole individuals, and from that came his “Individual Psychology”. Freud disbelieved Adler’s ideas and believed they were too contrary so he had all members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society expel Adler. Despite the fact Freud believed Adler to be incorrect, he still took his ideas seriously and called them, “honorable errors”. Carl Jung

Than we had Carl Jung who was an analytical psychiatrist who is considered as the prototype of the dissident through the impact of his scission and the movement that he created when he became analytical. He was the son of a swiss reverend of a community, he went to school and studied the medical field but he specialized in psychiatry he also worked for a renowed psychiatric hospital in Zurich. Carl Jung had a strong personality and was also thought of as quite facinating he was introduced to Freud in 1907. They hit it off and he would soon be facinated by the prestige and personality that Carl Jung had he soon seen in him the son that could keep the survival of psychoanalysis. He really believed in hm and was so into his personality that it didn’t even face him that Jung was not a jewish like he was.

Soon after Jung was traveling to the US and became the first president of the “International Association of Psychoanalysis”. He traveled the world for a while and did several analysis throughout the US he also became more and more away from his studies as he was aging. But he still got to accomplish a lot and also got to fund his own schools which really attracted a lot of people he was a master in what he did and really got to accomplish a lot in the field of Psychology. Compare and Contrasts

As you can see all of the psychologists mentioned above had the same goal: explain the purpose of the human consciousness. Freud as the first to develop the basis of all psychodynamic theories: psychoanalysis. Understanding certain behaviors requires insight into the emotional responses that motivate specific reactions; sexual development was paramount to human behavior. He believed that the human psyche consisted of three parts: the Ego, Super-Ego, and the Id; all parts of the sexual developmental process. On the other hand, Adler’s theory was more straight-forward: he believed that these three parts operated as a single unit; the central theme of functionalism. Alder was the first to establish the idea that an individual’s personality was a direct reflection of their conscious. The psychologist that met these two in the middle was Carl Jung. Like Freud, Jung believed all behaviors were triggered by motivators, only he thought that the motivator was based on an inferiority complex; and like Adler, he believed that the human psyche acted as a single unit.

Jung was most significant for his use of word association to understand unconscious responses to external stimuli. His efforts proved that the unconscious mind is able to provided responses independent from the conscious mind. And finally, James William emphasized the notion of a “stream of consciousness”—an active agent of mental action that is constantly changing (Goodwin, 2008). Although each psychologist had a unique perspective of how the human psyche operated, they made it possible to explain the consciousness. Conclusion

Some of the greatest insights into psychological analysis included Freud’s psychoanalysis; Adler’s individualism; Jung’s analytical perspective, and James’s “stream of thought” analogies. Because of their extensive efforts to explore the human consciousness, they are often referred to as the “founding fathers of modern psychology. Together they validated the significance of functionalism over structuralism; the truth lies in the purpose not the design. Each psychologist provided a unique approach to establish what the purpose of the consciousness; the basis of all human behavior. Variations in their theories provided many different approaches to target those behavior motivators. These great psychologist collectively improved the quality of life for many individuals over the generations.


1. Freud, S. (1911) Interpretation of Dreams (3rd edition) Retrieved May 12, 2014 from EbscoHost 2. Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 3. Vaughan, W. (1927). The psychology of Alfred Adler. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 21(4), 358-371 EbsocHost 4. Durbin, P. (2004). Alfred Adler. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from 5. Fisher, M. (2010, May). Psychology History. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from 6. Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2005). Psychology (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 7. Jung, Carl.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 347-348. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 May 2014

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