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Freudian and Neo-Freudian Psychoanalysis Theories

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 2223 words Published: 4th Apr 2018

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Literature Review

  • Ehren Lee Sze Tseng



In this assignment, I will explain the concepts of Psychoanalysis through the thoughts of perspectives of Freud, Jung, Erikson, Adler, and Horney. This review is the study of Freudian’s, includes only Freud, and Neo-Freudian’s, includes Jung, Erikson, Adler, and Horney, Theory of Psychoanalysis. By using the following 7 journals in my research, I will perform critical analysis on these following theoretical concepts. Based on my analysis, I will integrate a simple understanding among all of these researches and conclude my final thoughts.

Freud’s Theory

According to Jones (1910), rather than a philosopher, Freud is predominantly a man of science whereas Burrow (1917) defines the term “Freud” as a genus man of scientific observation. Freud is only observing the fact, from the perspective view of principle of science (Burrow, 1917). As represented by Karl Pearson, in the field of philosophy, Freud is almost classified as accepting scientific idealism (Jones 1910). Freud uses the term conscious to indicate the mental awareness processes of a person in any given moment whether if it is clear or unclear view. Jones (1910) justifies Freud’s view between conscious and unconscious processes are correlating with one another at every aspect but exclude the matter of awareness.

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The part of Freud’s psychology I would like to touch on would be regarding the significance of psychosexual trends (Jones, 1910). Freud had long acknowledged that the repression of the libido is resulted in which ego is overemphasized (Burrow, 1917). Freud reasons behind applying the term “sexual” more broadly even though it is not considered to be of a sexual nature would be because of his experience in psychical manifestations (Jones, 1910). He then justifies that the term sexual isn’t because of the definition rather but the significance of the concept. Freud sums up the unconscious desire of life into conception of sex as the principle of pleasure (Jones, 1910).

Jung’s Theory

Jung’s theory situation was broader compared to Freud, using primarily scientific empirical research and interests he had adopted; He sees nature behind the man struggling to organize itself. “The “mother”, conceived of concretely, disappears, therefore, in the creative instinct, and in the instincts of dependence, from which man must free himself.” (Putnam, 1917). According to Putnam (1917), the view of Jung is acceptable and interesting.

Jung carries out his analysis in an old fashion conduct. Therefore it is difficult to see how he is able to fail distinguishing the value of principles that he had formerly used so extensively lead to a positive result. Jung’s hypothesis of a presexual mode which Burrow (1917) had understand is that the term presexual exist as a mode that is not only lead to the pleasure mode but it is in a general sense of a continuous sexual mode. Burrow (1917) explains that the consciousness and the unconscious significance of sexual phase are beyond the author’s imagination on the absence of this presexual phase concept.

Adler’s Theory

Alfred Adler studies the issues of the mental disorders with the methodology of “individual Psychological”. This method is relevantly ideal because it serves the purpose of psychoanalysis where it is to look for individual’s purpose of life. Adler’s theory on individual psychological is able to trace the past and genetic background of a person’s life where the plans of activities revolve around the individual’s life. Adler intends to avoid his study of individual psychological from over-generalizing the theory.

Adler’s psychology serves a purpose in his research. Every phenomenon that happens is a preparation for an accomplishment at some point of end. Adler’s perception of his theory is where everyone including the healthy or diseased, they live for the purpose to achieve dominance in his own way of thoughts.

According to Vaughan (1927), the neurotic is unable to show a single trait in the healthy individual, albeit there are certain important traits, such as egotism and anxiety, which are able to determine the characteristic of this type of person based on the expression of intense self-assertion.

In Adlerian Theory, the neurotic asserts his independence. Strangely, it is traced back to unsatisfied needs, man’s nature of sexual desire. A woman on the other hand, to prevent the submission of sexual intercourse, she will show ignorance and stubbornness. For example, a female patient will display an aggression towards her male psysician, defying his order. The similarities of the neurotic focused around sex as it relates to the achievement and the control of power. A man whom is sexually impotent, he attempts to control power over other fields. The fundamental concept of power in view, the traits of neurotic fall into the line, defining a new meaning of a whole.

Erikson’s Theory

According to Munley (1975), Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory of human development is derived from his life span developmental theory. According to Erikson’s theory, an individual has to go through eight developmental stages, which he would have to face and cope with an identity and existential crisis.

According to Dunkel (2009), Erikson’s theory is regarded to be one of the most influential theories in the human development field. “Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is based on the epigenetic principle, which states that development unfolds in a series of predetermined stages, that there is an optimal time for the ascendancy of a stage, and that the resolution of early stages greatly influences the outcomes of later stages” (Dunkel, 2009).

In 1950, Erikson has suggested eight psychosocial tasks in his theory. The first stage of his theory is trust versus mistrust. The development of infant leans towards the basic sense of trust when the caretaker is responsive, whereby when they are not responsive, the infant development is affected in a sense of mistrust. The second stage will be autonomy versus shame. At this stage, an increase of child’s mobility enables them to explore their world developing a sense of autonomy; it happens only when caretakers is appropriately guiding and restricting the child. The third stage is initiative versus guilt. This stage starts to take notice easily when the child starts planning goals in life, sense of initiative increases with success and praise along with the purpose of strength psychologically. The fourth stage is industry versus inferiority whereby children tends to train and master a certain sets of skills. According to Dunkel (2009), the author states that the fifth stage is considered to be the most important part in Erikson’s theory which would be identity versus confusion. It happens during the adolescent is facing the developing of self-concept, the identity of oneself. The sixth stage would be intimacy versus isolation. It represents the ability of an adult to share commitment to one another, happens in the form of romantic relationships. Love is gained throughout the sixth stage process of development. The seventh stage is generativity versus stagnation. At this stage, adults are facing the responsibility in being productive and well-shaping the future generation, often their offspring. It gains the developmental strength of care. The eighth and last stage is integrity versus despair. This is when during the later part of life, whereby a person reached old age, the person must look back previously on their lives with sense of satisfaction or regret. The psychosocial strength of this development gains wisdom along integrity. All of these stages build up each another and the process of task involves the developmental stage in a profound way.

Horney’s Theory

Dr. Horney’s theory on the structure of neurotic personality relates to the basic features of cultures. Dr. Horney’s theory on neurotic personality focuses on the term anxiety. According to Pullias (1938), Dr. Horney defines and clarifies the term anxiety as the emotional state of childhood manifestation of individual life based on the cultural trend. Dr. Horney defended anxiety as the core concept of the neurotic personality structure. Dr. Horney is criticized for explaining and defending against neurosis with only a single principle which would be anxiety (Pullias, 1938).

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According to Pullias (1938), the author points out that Dr. Horney not at all be criticized as the contribution of her critical approach to the theories of psychoanalysis, she attempt to relate accurately the neurotic personality to culture; the author also explains that she had clearly presented her own theory of neurotic personality structure which contribute to the study of personality.

Discussion between the Theory of Freudian and Neo-Freudian

Adler’s and Jung’s concept of theory are much similarly contradicts with Freud’s theory. Carl Jung’s rejection of Freud’s theory was deemed to be viewed in 2 ways acceptable and pleasant or inexplicable where it is about pointless empty arguments. Freud’s point of view was focused while Jung’s point of view was broader; Jung saw more than what Freud could see in a man. Jung sees a man, well a man while Freud sees man as something which shaped into a man. Jung’s says that man’s libido is natural whereas Freud says it drives a man.

Adler on the other hand, had different perspective from Freud. Adler has avoided over-generalizing his theory of study of individual psychology compared to the teaching of Freudian. Adler opposes the view of Freud on libido being the force behind the indication of neurosis. Adler view on neurosis is not the force behind it but the achievement of goal and the control of power. Secondly, Adler represents sex as a symbol in the neurosis by all the efforts is centred. Freud on the other hand, failed because he overlooked the fact that sex is merely a principle of pleasure.

Horney’s theory is correlation with the Adlerian theory. The term anxiety was present in both theories but Horney focuses and defence the principle of anxiety as the core of neurotic personality. Adlerian theory on neurotic includes egotism and anxiety where the neurotic independence is displayed.

Freud’s and Erikson’s Theory are quite different from each another. Freud focus mainly on the importance of libido while Erikson place more emphasis on the influence of environment and cultural. Erikson’s eight stages are linked to one another involving the coherent flow of development that builds up an individual.


In a nut shell, regarding each and everyone’s theory. Regardless of Jung, Adler, Horney, and Erikson as a Neo-Freudian, no matter what circumstances; their theories are derived from Freud. Some of them are focused more in depth of their theory. For example, Horney focuses on her theory on neurotic personality more extensively on the term anxiety. Jung has a broader perspective over Freud. Adler did not over-generalize his finding compare to Freud.

I can conclude that Freud being the pioneer of psychoanalysis and they are followed by the successor, Neo-Freudian, of the whole Freudian concept. I classified them as the successor of Freudian Theory as they oppose the idea of Freud whereby they have carried out scientific empirical research to back up their theory and a vast perspective on the terms and theory. Freud on the other hand was merely just observing the facts.

The concepts of these Psychoanalysts have contributed knowledge to the society. Their findings and research is deemed to be useful for mankind in their study of their conscious, unconscious and the subconscious mind. This enables us to study the present as well as the past to understand our behaviour.


Burrow, T. (1917). The theories of Freud, Jung and Adler: II. Notes with reference to Freud,Jung and Adler.The Journal Of Abnormal Psychology,12(3), 161-167. doi:10.1037/h0070901

Dunkel, C. S., & Sefcek, J. A. (2009). Eriksonian lifespan theory and life history theory: An integration using the example of identity formation.Review Of General Psychology,13(1), 13-23. doi:10.1037/a0013687

Jones, E. (1910). Freud’s psychology.Psychological Bulletin,7(4), 109-128. doi:10.1037/h0075780

Munley, P. H. (1975). Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development and vocational behavior.Journal Of Counseling Psychology,22(4), 314-319. doi:10.1037/h0076749

Pullias, E. V. (1938). Review of ‘The Neurotic Personality of Our Time’.Psychological Bulletin,35(6), 399-403. doi:10.1037/h0052682

Putnam, J. J. (1917). The theories of Freud, Jung and Adler: I. The work of Sigmund Freud.The Journal Of Abnormal Psychology,12(3), 145-160. doi:10.1037/h0071967

Vaughan, W. F. (1927). The psychology of Alfred Adler.The Journal Of Abnormal And Social Psychology,21(4), 358-371. doi:10.1037/h0068938


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