Freud vs Jung on Dream Interpretation

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               Sigmund Freud versus Carl Jung on Dream Works

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung were two of the great psychological minds from the early 1900. Both of these men had a great impact on the psychology called psychoanalysis, and, inside of that psychology, they both had their own theories on dreams. The fact that their theories are much alike comes from the fact that Jung studied under Freud for a period of time before breaking away and starting his own brand of psychoanalysis using his own ideas. I am going to discuss their opposing views on dream interpretation, the source of dreams, and the types of dreams.

Freud explains in his writing that there are two major ways of interpreting dreams that were commonly used in the past. The first of these ancient methods is called symbolic interpretation; it uses symbols that work only on structured dreams that are meant for a symbolic interpretation that do not commonly occur naturally. The second of these ancient methods is called the cipher method of dream interpretation; it requires the reader to first remember what would be considered the important parts of a dream and then have the person consult a dream dictionary that would have meanings of things that he would find in his dream. The fact that these methods exist is not argued by Jung.

Both Freud and Jung use a type of analysis to interpret dreams, but they do not use the same method. Freud uses a method that Jung calls "free association"(Jung 94); it requires the dreamer to look at the dream carefully and examine it for the latent content hidden among the near useless manifest content. The dreamer often may have difficulty doing this as Freud gives these instructions "[H]e must be explicitly instructed to renounce all criticism of the thought-formations which he may perceive"(192). This is often impossible for anyone but the dreamer to do as Freud reminds in writing, "[T]he psychological state of a man in an attitude of reflection is entirely different from that of a man who is observing his psychological processes"(192). Jung however believes that this method is inadequate to find anything more than the individual's internal complexes, or basic wishes, which he considers "a highly banal and uninteresting fact"(94). Jung decides to use a method much like the one that philologists use to attempt to decipher difficult writings. Jung believes this helps him find what people do with their inner complexes, and using this knowledge he believes he can help people decide what they need to do with their future.

Dreams obviously have a source other than a person's conscious mind. This is a statement that both Freud and Jung would agree on; they would also agree that dreams are from the unconscious mind. The large difference here is what exactly they say the unconscious mind is. Jung would say that people have both a personal unconscious mind and a collective unconscious mind. While Freud would argue that we have an unconscious mind but it is not a collective thing among people. Freud would push the idea of the dream day, or the day before the dream occurred and the thoughts or actions of that day. Freud might also push the idea of past experiences and things the person remembers from their childhood. All these are theories  that Freud would push. Jung would counter with his own theories, arguing that one must look at what people do with these things in their dreams and take it as either a warning or as advice.

Freud believes that all dreams are "wish fulfillment"(217) and are often distorted so that one may be forced to look for what the dream would be hiding, and any manifest content could be put aside as somewhat worthless. Freud also believes that there are dreams of convenience that are meant to help the dreamer stay asleep, and Freud gives the example of a sleepy student.
[…] [The dream] of the sleepy student, who was awakened by his landlady with the reminder that he had to go to the hospital, and who thereupon dreamt himself into a bed in the hospital, and slept then slept on, the underlying reasoning being as follows: If I am already in the hospital, I needn't get up to go there.(Freud 287)

      Jung, on the contrary, believes that dreams are not distorted but in a sense just a different language. He points this out in his third lecture by giving the example of a young man who wants to advance himself quickly and has little fear. Jung interprets three of this man's dreams and tries to use them to discourage the man from his attempts at
quick fortune, but explains how the man just uses Freud's method of wish fulfillment and moves on with his plans and soon over extends himself and loses everything he has.(Jung 104)
These are just a few of the examples of how Freud and Jung differ on their theories of dreams. Though they have so many differences they are actually extremely similar in the bases of their thinking. Both of these men use psychoanalysis as their central theory of psychology. They both believe that man has an unconscious mind and that it has powers over the conscious mind, and at the time they believed that it was a huge step in psychological science and it is what drove them both to their surprising popularity.

                                 Works Cited
Freud, Sigmund. The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud. Trans. Dr. A. A. Brill. New York. The
       Modern Library, 1965. Print.
Jung, Carl. Analytical Psychology Its Theory and Practice. Rec. Aniela Jaffé. New York.
       Random House. 1968. Print.
This is an essay I did for a Comp class I had last semester I thought I would post it as filler any questions just ask I would like to add to if but I most likely wont and I need to reread both the books used
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CatWithKnees's avatar
I really need to read into Freud and Jung. What I have read was fascinating but i don't feel i've read enough. By the way I love your avatar.
AnalyticalYoung's avatar
Haha thanks and they are very interesting, but I don't think they should be considered separate. I think one needs to combine them to get closer to being right about the human psych. Also you should look into B.F.Skinner. :)
CatWithKnees's avatar
Thanks for the recommendation I will!
OminousandOmnipotent's avatar
Predigious's avatar
Really interesting piece, I like the paragraph where you explained the sleeping student example. You have a talent for writing essays.
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