Carl Jung the Theory of Psychoanalysis Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1681 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Psychology

Carl Jung

The Theory of Psychoanalysis: A Critical Review

Carl Jung's the Theory of Psychoanalysis appears to be misplaced, in terms of his career timeline. Traditionally, theorists develop their theory and then spend their careers proving it. However, Jung developed his theory, spent his lifetime proving it, and then formally wrote it down after many years of practice. Jung's the Theory of Psychoanalysis is a critique of the theories of Sigmund Freud. Let us examine the merits of Jung's critique of Freud's work.

In the introduction of his work Jung states that his theories are the result of his many years of experience in the field, rather than based on the academic evidence by others. One of the key criticisms of Jung is that Freud stated his theories and then attempted to prove them through his practice. Whereas Jung stated his perspectives on Psychoanalytical theory based on the evidence that he had observed through years of practice. This what Jung meant by the statement, "Theories become instruments, not answers to enigmas, in which we can rest" (Jung, par 3). This statement became the central theme of the remainder of the work.

Jung supports his theories through "evidence. " However, much of this evidence is subjective and based on observations of patients. There is a chance that the evidence presented by Jung is biased, or that if reflected the biased opinions of his teacher, Sigmund Freud. Jung's definition of evidence would hardly stand as credible by today's standards. In many cases, Jung simply states a generalization without drawing attention to a particular case that supports it. Jung's work is filled with generalizations and things that Jung could not possibly know such as the following passage illustrates.

It never crosses his [the neurotic's] mind that he has still not given up infantile demands...he engages in all sorts of pet fantasies in which he is seldom, if ever conscious so conscious that he known that he has them. Very often they exist only as emotional expectations, hopes, prejudices, and so forth. In this case we call them unconscious fantasies." (Jung, par 313).

Jung supports the basic premise of Freud's psychoanalytical theory, but demonstrates that he is an independent thinker of his own right. Jung demonstrates a thorough understanding of Freud's ideas and provides a balanced account of them. The Theory of Psychoanalysis is an attempt to build on Freud's ideas and to develop them into Jung's own brand to psychoanalytical technique and theory.

On of the key criticisms of Jung's work by modern standards is that it builds on a theory that is in itself, only a theory. Both Freud and Jung built their theories on what was term "experience" from their own practice. Although both cite examples of actual client analyses, they do not present them as a formal case study. Psychoanalytical theory is difficult to "prove" by modern standards. From this perspective, one could say that Jung's theories could be considered to be flawed as they built on a concept that was in itself unworthy, at least by modern standards. Freud's theories were controversial and considered to be unprovable, even by critics of Freud in his own time.

As Jung's theories are built on Freud's, they carry the same flaws as the original work without correcting them. Jung accepted the main precepts of Freud, but pointed out where they were incomplete and unable to explain the full range of human psychological phenomenon. It was Jung's goal to expand on them and fill in the holes. Jung failed to completely fill in Freud's holes because he drawss on "evidence" that was difficult to document in a concrete fashion. Jung's theories were based on concepts and evidence that was difficult to observe, such as dreams and "archetypes." An example is, "the libido is there, but is not accessible and visible to the patient, " (Jung, par 255).

Jung's theories were based on subjective evidence, therefore, they cannot be considered to be absolutely factual by modern standards. Jung claims to support his ideas by observations in his clinical experience, but he failed to write them down in a manner that would stand up as a case study. An important aspect that became clear from reading Jung's theories is that he was out to make a name for himself that was separate from his predecessor and teacher. His desire to develop and separate his own theories from those of Freud become most apparent from a reading of this book. Jung's work is driven for his own desire to become a respected professional in the field and to convince peers that his theories were valid. Jung's own goals and ambitions biased his work. This becomes most apparent in a reading of this book.

Jung was a harsh critic of Freud, particularly Freud's obsession with tying every action of the human being to sexual behavior. Jung felt that Freud's ideas about the sexual nature of a baby's suckling ignored the basic need for nutrition (Jung, par 262). He felt that the explanations for common behaviors were less complex than Freud had surmised. This is one of Jung's key criticisms of Freud's work. He did not feel that Freud's theories were incorrect, and fervently defended them as valid. Jung realized that others felt Freud's ideas were flawed in their narrow-minded address of human sexuality as an explanation for a wide range of human behaviors.

By criticizing and offering explanations for the holes in Freud's theory, Jung attempted to make his version of psychoanalytical technique more palatable to critics of the psychoanalytical community. Jung's purpose drove his writing and theoretical development. He realized that those who criticized Freud would also criticize his own works on the same grounds. He knew that he had to address their key points of criticism if his theories were to stand the test of peer review. This attempt to validate his own theories by filling in the gaps, and offering explanations for the shortcoming of Freud's theories is an obvious attempt to gain notoriety on his own accord, rather than by depending on the success of his teacher.

One o the key criticisms of the Theory of Psychoanalysis is that Jung's passion to make his own name for himself may have clouded his empirical objectivity. Even where his own theories fell short, he failed to address them in such a fashion as to render them acceptable by modern standards. He did not present his cases as observations that represented the average, but rather carefully selected examples that supported his theories, and like Freud, ignoring cases that did not support them. Jung did not use examples that did not support his own viewpoint. This is a major criticism of his work in general. If it did not support his own viewpoint, he simply ignored it. This biased presentation of "empirical" evidence was one of the key criticisms of opponents of psychoanalytical theory and one of the key criticisms of modern readers as well.

The Theory of Psychoanalysis was driven by the purpose of the writer, rather than by the scientific method applied. Jung drew his theories based on casual observation throughout his practice. His method of gathering evidence was informal and did not follow a prescribed method. It is difficult to claim that this "evidence" was not biased by his own selective memory, as he attempted to advance his own psychoanalytical technique and theories.

If one were to express he results of Jung's empirical evidence by modern standards, the dependent variables would be interpretive aspects of dreams. However, these elements are difficult to measure in a concrete manner. All the reader gets are Jung's interpretation of them, there are no opposing viewpoints presented. Jung directly addresses his critics and their arguments, and this work appears as a desperate attempt to validate his theories so that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Carl Jung the Theory of Psychoanalysis.  (2007, November 19).  Retrieved January 20, 2019, from

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"Carl Jung the Theory of Psychoanalysis."  November 19, 2007.  Accessed January 20, 2019.