What significant commonalities and significant differences do the Neo-Freudian theorist have (Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney and Erik Erickson) with the theory of Sigmund Freud?
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The Neo-Freudians take Freud's ideas of psychoanalysis as a starting point but diverge from his theories in significant ways. They shift away from his focus on the biological instincts of the individual to give greater emphasis to social and cultural factors in the shaping of the individual's personality.Thus they give greater weight to the role of external forces in the life of the individual than Freud was generally prepared to do.
Carl Jung, the direct contemporary of Freud and often in discussion and debate with him, agreed with Freud about the important effects of the individual libido, but downplayed Freud's sexual theory of human development in favour of cultural factors, which he saw as being deeply ingrained in every individual. He agrees with Freud's theories about the individual unconscious but sees it in a different light, or rather he adds an extra layer to it.Whereas Freud views the unconscious rather negatively as comprising sharply repressed sexual desires and instincts, Jung also postulates the existence of a collective unconscious - a giant repository of ancestral memory which is expressed through universal symbols, or archetypes. Therefore, Jung sees cultural forces as exerting a very deep and powerful pull on the individual. He also lays greater stress than Freud on spiritual and religious factors in shaping the individual personality.
Alfred Adler, like Jung, was a contemporary of Freud and at first worked with him but then broke away to formulate his own theories on individual psychology. He also downplayed Freud's sexual theories about individual development, looking more to social influences. He favoured a more holistic approach to individual psychology than Freud. Karen Horney and Erik Eriksson also stressed the importance of social and environmental factors, highlighting the individual's need for warmth and affection and not just the fulfillment of physical desires.
Freud, who is viewed as the father of psychology, developed the concept of psychoanalysis. Within this type of therapy a strong emphasis is placed on the subconscious mind and how the drives of the subconscious mind affect human behavior. Dream analysis and the key concepts to this type of therapy included the id, ego, and super ego. This theory focused on personality development that occurred within the child years of an individual's life.
The concepts that followed differed from Freud in that they often viewed outside stimulus as having an affect on behavior and not just subconscious drives that we do not have control over. For example Jung focused on the development of personality and how it affects behavior. Jung developed the concepts of introverted and extroverted personality types which affected how one interacted with the world around them. Horney, one of the first female psychologists, developed the idea that neurosis was something that one developed as a coping mechanism for their environment (as opposed to Freud who would have attributed the neurotic behavior to subconscious drives). Adler, who worked directly with Freud during his schooling however they did not agree on how they viewed child development. Adler believed that motivation was a driving force in a child's development, specifically a child's want to overcome feelings of inferiority and developing feelings of self-worth. This was in direct conflict to Freud's theory which believed that theory development was due to parental relationships and subconscious drives that the individual had no control over. Finally Erickson developed a theory that focused almost entirely on external forces within the environment having an effect on child and personality development. Erickson developed the theory of psychosocial development. Where Freud believed a personality was developed only in childhood Erickson believed that humans developed across their lifespan.
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