Theoretical Position

Category: Theories
Last Updated: 27 Jul 2020
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Theoretical Position Learning Team B PSY/310 Sharon Cohen February 18, 2013 To learn more about the field of psychology it is first important for us to know more about psychology’s past, the psychologist who advanced this field of study and the theories that we are still building on or learning from to this day. Four men who made a great impact on the field of psychology, who may have worked together, and who may have even had drastically different theoretical positions are Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and William James. In the following paper we will discuss these men and their passions as well as their differences.

Psychoanalysis was the theoretical position that Sigmund Freud built and spent most of his life adding to. Psychoanalysis is a way to investigate the mind, especially of the unconscious mind; a therapy of neurosis inspired from the above method; a new stand-alone discipline who is based on the knowledge acquired from applying the investigation method and clinical experiences (freudfile, 2002-2013). Freud is the psychologist who we have to thank for most people believing therapy involves laying on a couch because during free association that is what Freud asked his patients to do, relax, and start talking (Goodwin, 2008).

Freud was not the first to speak of the unconscious mind, but he is believed to be the one who made it famous. Freud, who is known for dream analysis and metapsychology, is also responsible for the ego, the id, and the superego. The ego, Freud believed, was conscious and unconscious lying in the center of our personality trying to maintain balance between the id and the superego (Goodwin, 2008). The id is our basic instincts, sex and aggression, whereas the superego would be considered our moral compass, both fight for what they need and contend with reality (Goodwin, 2008).

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The id is made up of sex and aggression because these two instincts do make up much of our lives and Freud devoted most of his life to exploring this. Sigmund Freud’s perspective concerning the causes and nature of human psychological functioning can be summed up in those two words: sex and aggression. Though most of Freud’s work has been disproven or scarred by the Freudian myths that surround him and his work, it is hard to not admire the advancements that have been made because of him.

Even when his work was proven false, it meant that psychologists were examining his theories and possibly forming new theories of their own that will advance us even further into the future of psychology. Freud's years of work put a new way of thinking into the head of society, and challenged the assumptions and suppositions of a changing world (Stevenson, 1998). Carl Gustav Jung made major contributions toward psychoanalysis, but it was not until after he abandoned Freud and psychosexuality that Jung would do his most revolutionary, controversial, and extraordinary work (www. nfoplease. com ). Jung was a creator of modern psychology, which explains how the human mind facilitates conversations between unconscious types of energies that move within the inside of all of us. The Jungian theory is based on two separate dimensions of human unconsciousness with just one persona, and one archetype of collective human unconsciousness (www. cgjungpage. org, 02/16/13). Personal unconsciousness is any forgotten or repressed type of content that has actually been in a person’s material or mental life.

Archetypes of material in the unconsciousness humans have are described as being patterns, symbols, and specific images in which a person can see in their fantasies and dreams that also can appear to them as a theme of a certain religion or mythology in our unconscious (www. psychological-musings. blogspot. com, 02/28/11). The archetypes of images in the unconscious, Jung theorized, mold the human unconscious personality, and this bond together with certain instincts to drive the human psyche.

Jung described the human consciousness molds the ego according to Jung, the ego was developed in a person because of certain human responses to their environment but also because of a need to adapt to all demands that are formed in the world that surrounds them (www. cgjungpage. org , 02/16/13). Jung described archetypal images as being the transcendent, and described this as being the transcendent function, but he also viewed one’s own wholeness of their self as a type of union together with all immanent plus transcendent types of objects (www. infoplease. com).

Jung also included that there is a need for humans to have internal feelings of harmony or a need to adapt internally by homeostasis within the human consciousness and unconsciousness. The unconscious human mind is what contains the specific materials which are needed or are necessary but could prerequisite the persons psychological health, and the conscious human mind will be what assesses both a primitive/spiritual but also a demonic/divine type of nature. There are tensions towards a person’s needs to obtain fulfillment but also the need to have social types of conformity plus cultural types of realities (www. gjungpage. org, 02/16/13). In this theory Jung acknowledged that one must, or has to adapt to their own persona so that they can be able to relate to others socially, but he wrote that there is a danger in which a person could become too identified with their own persona but not with their own individual self. Only a complete individual can truly find the meaning in their life, since consciousness will lead to the dissociation from human unconsciousness and this will absorb into the human mass mind (www. psychological-musings. blogspot. com 2011/02).

To actually achieve the individuation type processes it will require the use of certain symbols as the vehicle in which there is an irrational type of union between opposite regions of human’s consciousness and unconsciousness (www. infoplease. com). In analytical psychology, Jung attempted to combine parts of modern psychology with ancient types of religious imagery by using a symbolic form of reinterpreting the Christian but also other types of religious traditions people may have. This eliminates the dogma but maintains archetypal formed materials that are derived from the human collective unconsciousness.

These specific symbols of transcendence are what will facilitate the individuals synthesis of human consciousness and unconsciousness but will also provide a base for the persons’ spiritual meaning to life (www. psychological-musings. blogspot. com, 02/28/11). Alfred Adler examined personality around the same time as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Adler had many different theories of the personality but what he truly stuck with was that a single drive or motivating force behind our behavior, claiming that the desire we have to fulfill our potentials becomes closer and closer to our ideals.

Adler called this theory the Individual Psychology because he thought that each person was unique and that no one person were the same in that sense. Adler’s theory included these four aspects: the development of personality, striving towards superiority, psychological health, and the unity of personality. While Alfred was studying personality he came up with the term inferiority complex, this is described as feelings of lack of worth. Alfred wrote, “We all wish to overcome difficulties. We all strive to reach a goal by the attainment of which we shall feel strong, superior, and complete” (www. ndb. com). Along with inferiority complex, there was also the superiority complex where a person tried to conquer their inferiority complex by suppressing their existing feelings. Alfred believed that each person was trying to get over their feelings of inferiority in order to obtain the superiority. Alfred also came up with that each person claimed that they had an idea of what their perfect self would be like. He names this image the fictional finalism. Fictional finalism applies clearer direction to decisions that are to be made concerning oneself.

Adler also believed that the unconscious and conscious worked in union with on another towards fictional finalism (www. muskingum. edu). Adler who was not very big in grouping people into categories came up with four main types of people; three out of four are negative. There is the ruling type, who likes to control people, the getting type who is passive and goes along with everyone else’s’ ideas, and not very inventive for themselves, the avoiding type who will isolate themselves in order to avoid defeat, and last but not least, the socially useful type, values having control over their lives and strive to go things for the sake of society.

From reading those four types I have a pretty good guess that the first three were negative, and the last one was a positive type. William James is known as the founder of American Psychology, but if you ever brought this up to him he would pass on it and say that Dewey was the actual founder of American Psychology. None the less he was one of the most prominent American Psychologist in American history. He was a functionalist. His technique was to ask the very important question of “why” things are the way they are. His course of study was also to find out why a person was the way they were based on their environment.

James (reprint edition 1950) stated “The phenomena are such things as we call Feelings, desire, cognitions, reasoning, decisions, and the like; and, such superficially considered, their variety and complexity is such as to leave a chaotic impression on the observer” (p 2). These are the very words from William James book The Principals of Psychology. Today’s psychologists would probably not refer to these emotions as a phenomenon. Nor would today’s psychologists refer to one’s feelings as superficial. William James is described as what is known as a functionalist. Functionalists want to know “Why” why people are the way they are.

While most psychologists were interested in what was going on inside a person’s mind, Mr. James was looking outside a person’s mind, taking a look at a person’s environment. This was a unique strategy for its time. What I found interesting, while reading his studies, was that he referred to our memories as being “god given” for a psychologist to think in these terms there had to be a sort of open mindedness. At the same time though, there seemed to be a sense of individualism. He was the only one thinking this way. This, to me, was actually common within all psychologists.

It seems that they all thought they were the only ones thinking in these terms at that time. Mr. James also believes that just because we are aware of a situation, doesn’t necessarily mean we will remember everything that is tied to it. He believes that we must live through and actually witness or take part in an event to actually have a memory of it. Once again, this goes back to one’s environment. What is the person surrounded by. References: (2002-2013) http://www. freudfile. org/psychoanalysis/definition. html Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. (David B. Stevenson, 1998) http://www. ictorianweb. org/science/freud/biography. html http://www. infoplease. com/encyclopedia/people/jung-carl-gustav. html (02/16/13),http://www. cgjungpage. org/index. php? option=com_content;task=view;id=743;Itemid=54 (02/28/11), http://psychological-musings. blogspot. com/2011/02/theoretical-positions-of-freud-jung. html Fisher, M. (2011, May). Alfred Adler. Retrieved from: www. muskingum. edu Alfred Adler. (2012). retrieved from: www. nndb. com Who Was Alfred Adler? (2008). retrieved from: www. alfredadler. org James, William Principles of Psychology The scope of psychology Reprint Edition (June 1st, 1950) Dover Publications

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