The Breaks Between Freud And Jung

Carl Gustav Jung had a strictly psychoanalytic phase between 1909 and 1913, and during these years, he corresponded with Sigmund Freud with an alacrity that would have assumed the identical nature of their theories. But the theories of these two most renowned psychoanalysts would later diverge, and Jung himself would define the body of his work under the rubric of analytical psychology.

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The so-called “intellectual break” between the two actually succeeded their common interest in the unconscious psyche. At some point in 1910, Jung was even president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, which he had formed with Freud. A bit after, they were disputing theoretical points such as:

  1. Sexuality as a primary motivator of behavior: Freud’s study and interpretation of the unconscious led to a focus on childhood experience, notably the sexual desires repressed during this phase of life. Jung, meanwhile, in a significant break from this line of thinking, stressed the concept of the “collective unconscious,” a sort of personal imprint of humanity’s memories. Thus, behavior for Jung would tend to have a more social motivation.
  2. Religion as either illusion or nature: Given Jung’s collective take on the unconscious, he understood religion as an inherent feature of humanity’s solidarity with each other. For Freud, meanwhile, religion had a personal flavor, and it took the form of illusion, or a repression of instincts or unsanctioned sexual desires. Religion, in the Freudian sense, is a form of hysteria.
  3. What dreams signify: In line with his reductive reasoning, Freud thought that dreams reflected suppressed desires. Jung, meanwhile, was more expansive in his interpretation of dreams, refusing to limit these to a predefined set of symbols and experiences, such as sexuality.

Whatever the scholarly leanings of psychologists, however, these two had

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contributed greatly to the development of psychology as it is today.

Paul Gabrinetti, Ph.D is a Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist on the faculty of C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles’ analyst training program. For more articles on Jungian psychology, visit this blog.


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Paul Gabrinetti, Ph.D., is a core faculty professor in Clinical Psychology at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. With four decades of professional experience, he has been on various teaching or consultancy roles from a number of prestigious institutions, including the University of Southern California, Antioch University, Pepperdine University, Woodland Hills Psychiatric Medical Group, Wesval Counseling Center, and The Institute for Human Studies.

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