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Different schools of psychology had different approaches to the administration of psychotherapy. Despite the difference in approaches, the principle goal behind them is to foster the wellbeing of the individual. Some of the techniques that therapists can deploy include establishing experiential relationship, deploying dialogue and two way communication and attempts to change the behavior of a person, and strategies aimed at improving the mental health of the patient. The effectiveness of the psychotherapy techniques normally depends on the nature of the psychological problem at hand. The most common theories applied in psychotherapy include the Jungian, psychoanalytic, and Adler’s theories. This paper attempts to compare and contrast the Jungian, Psychoanalytic and Adler’s theories.

The Psychoanalytic theory developed from the works of Sigmund Freud, after which expanded and subsequently criticized into different schools of psychology by Sigmund Freud’s students mainly Alfred Adler and Carl Jung. Freud was the pioneer of psychoanalytic theory, whereby the treatment method based on encouraging the client to converse about memories, relevant associations, and fantasies that were interpreted basing on the Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. The psychoanalytic theory was a psychotherapy technique whose effectiveness depended on free association, interpretations of dream and an analysis of resistance in order to determine cases of repression and unconscious impulses, nervousness and inner conflicts. The theory of personality proposed by Sigmund Freud lays more emphasis on repression and unconscious forces; in addition, the psychoanalytic theory embraces concepts associated with infantile sexuality, and the psyche comprises of ego and superego. The main argument under the psychoanalytic theory proposed by Sigmund Freud bases on the proposition that, human behavior is subjective to irrational drives, and that the larger part of this drives are not conscious. Therefore, any initiative that aims at bringing the irrational drives into awareness faces a significant resistance in various forms depending on the type of technique of psychotherapy applied. Another important contribution of the psychoanalytic theory is that personality is perceived as an inherited constitution; as a result, events that take place during the childhood of a person play an integral role in determining personal development. Psychoanalytic theory also suggests that inner conflicts are always due to differences in the conscious perception of reality and material that has been repressed or unconscious perception, such differences result to mental disturbances characterized by instances of anxiety, neurosis and intense depression. The significant difference between the Psychoanalytic theory and the Adler and Jungian theories was in terms of dreams interpretation. Adler and Jungian theories proposed   that dreams could be used for depicting other themes other than themes associated with aggression and sexuality. Jungian theory proposed that dreams are helpful in depicting archetypical material, originality, and the intrinsic drive towards the realization of individualization. A similarity is that both Freud and Jung were of the belief that dreams portrayed some meanings, while Adler was of the perception that dreams depicted how an individual was living. According to the Psychoanalytic theory, dreams serve to disclose repressed material from both the personal and collective unconscious, which are prime source of archetypes in an individual. With respect to the Jungian theory, the interpretation of dreams entailed amplification, which involves requesting the dreamer to keenly focus on the different symbols that he saw in the dream, after which the dreamer must offer many associations about a specific symbol in the dream. On the contrary, the psychoanalytic theory uses the aspect of free associations in order for the dreamer to establish a link of the associations, which starts with the dream symbol. The dream symbol could be a representation of a real individual in the life of the dreamer or could be part of the person’s psyche. The amplification technique also entails exploring the feelings that are somewhat linked to the images seen in the dream. For instance, the mendala is used to symbolize an archetype of the self. According to the Jungian theories, the dreamer must engage in active imagination, and then relieve the dream and allow the dream in his consciousness.

Underneath the personal unconscious, the psychoanalytic theory argues that there is the collective unconscious, which is used for storing racial memories that are related to universal experiences; for example death, parenthood, the sexuality of a person and birth. The racial memories that are subject to inheritance are known as the archetypes, and they determine the way a person responds to particular situations in a given manner. Therefore, the difference between the Psychoanalytic theory and the Jungian theory of personality is that the psychoanalytic theory suggests that initial mother-child relationships depend on the sexual experiences of the people involved. On the contrary, the Jungian theory perceives initial mother-child associations as archetypical scenario, whereby the experiences of human beings are inherited over the course of their existence. It is arguably evident that the psychoanalytic theories were more clinical compared to Jungian theories, whose explanations were drawn from historical and artistic factors. As such the Jungian approach to therapy focuses on an intense study of patient, after which the patient must accept the archetypes that are within him in order to facilitate self exploration. The similarity of this technique to the psychoanalytic approach is that it involves a one-to-one basis, and that a keen consideration is directed towards the depiction of the unknown motivations behind human behavior.

Adler’s personality theories on the other hand focused on individual psychology, and re-emphasized the aspect of sexual relationships, power relationships and the notion of the unconscious repression. Adler’s approach to personality focused on having an understanding on the whole individual, instead of studying the specific elements that make up the personality of an individual. Adler’s theories refuted the Freudian approach to individual personality, which were more mechanistic and structural. According to Adler, initial inferiority in individuals normally transforms to a will power, which is a key factor in determining human behavior. His theories based on social constructs, which is contrary to Freudian approach to personality that draws upon biological significance. Basically, the position of an individual in any given social set up such as the family, plays an integral role in determining the way a person is likely to respond to a given scenario; and that is what constitutes the aspect of power relationships in attempting to explain the nature of human behavior.

In conclusion, the Jungian theories of personality are less experiential and mechanistic in comparison with the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud. Both the psychoanalytic and the Jungian theories depended on the concept of unconscious to explain the factors that determine the nature of human behavior. The significant difference is that, in the Jungian theory, the aspect of the unconscious was much more extensive, while the Psychoanalytic theory solely depended on the personal unconscious, which was perceived to be a region of personality that stored materials relating the experiences of a the person himself.

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