Example Of Research Paper On Freud And Jung’s View On Unconscious: The Case Of Anna O.
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Freud (2010) wrote that the “interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind” (p. 570). Freud argued that dreams were manifestations of wish fulfillments. For Freud, if patients could figure out their unconscious motivations they could solve the riddle of their neurotic impulsives and find relief through psychoanalysis. Jung, too, was interested in dreams and the unconscious mind, but he took on a much broader theory of mind to account for the way the unconscious works. Jung (1976) wrote that the unconscious was “the totality of all archetypes” (p.43). He thought that the greatest “problems facing humanity” were figuring out what could be found in the collective deposit of human consciousness (pp. 43-44).
In this essay, both Freud and Jung’s theory of the unconscious will be compared and contrasted as a way to understand the case study of one of Freud’s earliest patients, Anna O. First, it is important to think about what Freud and Jung would agree on about the unconscious mind and the development of personality. Both Freud and Jung agreed upon the importance of dreams in understanding the hidden life of an individual. Both understood that a person’s life was not just the conscious (“awake”) life they undertook in their everyday life. Underneath the conscious life lay hidden a deepness. They both agreed that there was a distinction to be made between consciousness and unconsciousness. Consciousness and unconsciousness involved separate processes, but they worked together. Both agreed that an individual’s personality was not just the “I” of conscious awareness. Each is shaped by unconscious processes that they are not aware of either because they are too painful or simply have not had the time to reflect upon them in psychoanalysis. We often do not realize that our actions are caused by forces outside of our conscious control.
Second, it is important to think about what they would disagree. While both Freud and Jung agree that the reason people behave in a certain way is very much determined by unconscious thought processes, they disagreed on what exactly constitutes the unconscious mind. For Jung, the unconscious mind is a hodgepodge of deep universal human emotions that we all share as humans. So, for example, even though our relationship to our father, as in the case of Anna O., is particular, the father can stand in for the primal “Father” found in ancient myths. However, this is where they depart. Freud argued that at the heart of all desires was a basic triangle he called the Oedipal conflict wherein the child wants the parent all to his own, the father for the girl, and the mother, for the boy. Ultimately, Freud’s theory rests on primal sexual urges. Jung disagreed and did not think that all problems stemmed from this triangle — called the Oedipal Complex. For Freud, the unconscious is made up of wishes, many of which are not consciously known, but these unconscious wishes creep into everyday life by our actions. For example, Freud (1915) explains that unintentional actions, such as showing up late for work, or behaving in such a way, can actually “conceal” that which “belongs to the mental life” of a person (p. 306). In other, while things may occur accidentally outside of the mind, the internal, mental life of a person never commits accidents.
Third, it is important to think about how both Freud and Jung would go about treating Anna. For example, Freud will look at Anna’s statements, what she says and try to think of connections to what she is saying and her behavior, based on her historical relationship with her father. Freud hears Anna talk about not being able to determine the color of a dress she is wearing, even though she is not physically color-blind. By interpreting her dreams, and when she was in a state of hypnosis, Freud (1989) learned that Anna had made a dressing-gown for her father that was similar to the dress (p. 71). Freud is helping Anna remember repressed traumatic memories that only make sense over time and with hypnosis. Jung would most likely try to have Anna try to identify her behaviors as connected to larger archetypal understanding of human nature. Was she in mourning, or was she resisting a stern archetypal father figure? Or was she trying to find her sense of identity and reclaim her femininity?
In conclusion, it would seem that while Freud and Jung are very closely aligned with thought, the former tries to give voice to behavior by uncovering deep-seated primal wishes, while the latter sees human behavior as connected to broader, cosmic forces at play.
Freud, S., & Gay, P. (1989). The Freud reader. New York: W.W. Norton.
Freud, S., & Strachey, J. (2010). The interpretation of dreams. New York: Basic Books A
Member of the Perseus Books Group.
Freud, S. (1957). The origins of psychoanalysis. Doubleday.
Freud, S., & Brill, A. A. (1915). Psychopathology of everyday life. New York: Macmillan Co.
Jung, C. G., & Campbell, J. (1976). The portable Jung. New York: Penguin Books.
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