Difference Between Freud and Jung

Freud vs Jung

Knowing the difference between Freud and Jung and the difference between their theories are essential for any psychology student as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are both considered as psychologists who made a tremendous contribution to the fields of psychology. Between Freud and Jung bloomed a very strong friendship, which ultimately faded away due to the clashes between their theoretical differences. The main differences can be seen in the idea of the unconscious, dream analysis and sexuality. This article attempts to highlight these differences through an elaborated understanding of the two theorists.

Who is Sigmund Freud?

Sigmund Freud is considered the father of modern psychology. His contribution to the psychoanalytical school of thought is enormous. According to Freudian theories, the emphasis is on the human mind and the power of the unconscious. He presented a number of theories. In this article, attention will be paid to the iceberg theory emphasizing the role of the unconscious, dream analysis and concept of sexuality through Oedipus and Electra complex, which clearly highlight a distinction between Freud and Jung. First let us pay attention to the iceberg theory.

According to ice berg theory, the human mind is composed of three parts, namely the conscious, preconscious, and the unconscious. Of these three, Freud emphasized the significance of the unconscious as it was not accessible and harboured the fears, selfish needs, violent motives, and immoral urges of the human being. He believed that unconscious expressions come out as dreams, slips of speech, and mannerisms.

Freud also spoke of dream analysis. He believed that dreams were a representation of the repressed feelings of the unconscious, which were mostly sexual in nature. He stated that during sleep, these repressed emotions come out in the form of dreams. Hence, he saw a necessity to analyze these dreams to comprehend the mind of the individual. Freud had a variety of imagery, which he accompanied with certain definitions to understand the state of the individual, he considered this the dream dictionary.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Another area of difference between the two psychologists stemmed from the concept of sexuality. Freud’s theories are coloured with the idea of sexuality and sexual desires. This can clearly be seen in his concept of Oedipus complex during the psychosexual stages. This refers to the sexual desire with which the male child visions the mother and harbours a resentment and jealousy towards the father whom the child visualizes as a competition. This can even lead to castration anxiety. The Electra complex is the opposite of this very concept where it addresses the female child harbouring resentment and jealousy of the mother and sexual desire for the father, which results in penis envy.

Who is Carl Jung?

Carl Jung is considered the founder of analytical psychology. The theoretical differences and deviations from Freudian framework can clearly be seen in the assumptions of analytical psychology of Jung. First, when paying attention to the concept of the unconscious , which intrigued both the psychologists, a clear distinction can be seen between the interpretation of the human mind or psyche. Jung believed that the human psyche is made up of three components, namely, the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.

The ego is the conscious mind, which includes the feelings and memories that an individual is aware of. The personal unconscious is identical to the Freudian unconscious where the hidden fears, memories, and desires are stored. The difference can be highlighted through the idea of the collective unconscious. This collective unconscious is shared by individuals through genetic makeup and history. It involves the entity of human experience that one is born with.

Just as Freud, Jung believed that dream analysis was important as it created a gateway to the unconscious. Unlike Freud, Jung believed that these were not always sexual desires that have been repressed, but symbolic imagery , which carried a variety of meanings, not only in the past, but even in the future. He was against the idea of having a strict interpretation for each dream as Freud did.

Difference Between Freud and Jung

Carl Jung

When speaking of the idea of sexuality, Jung rejected Oedipus and Electra complex as he considered the bond between a parent and child as based on love, caring, and security. He also believed that the concentration on sexuality was too much and that the libidinal energy can have different outputs of which sexuality is only one.

What is the difference between Freud and Jung?

• Both Freud and Jung believed that the human psyche is made up of three components.

• While Freud divided the psyche the unconscious, preconscious, and the conscious, Jung divided as the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.

• The main difference, when it comes to the psyche, is the inclusion of the collective unconscious by Jung.

• Both considered dream analysis as important but Jung believed that all dreams do not derive its meaning from sexual associations and can have creative implications that go beyond the past to the future.

• Jung rejected the concepts of Oedipus and Electra complex in psychosexual stages.

• Freud’s association of Libidinal energy with the sexual instinct was rejected and given a broader meaning by Jung.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Sigmund Freud 1926“ von Ferdinand Schmutzer – historic print. (Public Domain)
  2.  “Jung 1911” di Anonimo – Prints & Photographs Division. Library of Congress (Public Domain)