Freud or Jung

Freud or Jung :

The rupture between Freud and Jung began in 1913. At first, Jung felt disoriented by the loss of his guide. On April 20, 1914, Jung sent his letter of rupture and left the presidency of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He would say of Freud, in “My Life”: “Freud’s greatest achievement is undoubtedly to have taken his neurotic patients seriously and to have devoted himself to what is individual and singular about their psychology.

The Freudian and Jungian psychoanalytic approaches differ in several following points:

After the tragic split between Freud and Jung each focused on two different aspects of the psyche:

Freud was interested in the patient’s personal past in order to study and elaborate the contents of the unconscious, structured by psychosexual events, as they reveal themselves in the present of the treatment – a conception reinforced by the concepts of the return of the repressed and the repetition compulsion

Jung’s interest in the images and symbols of the collective unconscious was focused on the most primitive level of the human being, which however constitutes his future, his becoming, as impregnated with the teleological principle. This study of Jung will be deepened with his work with psychotics and schizophrenics. For Jung, symptoms often also have a symbolic function, that is, they carry psychic meaning and value that can be used for the future transformation of the patient’s psychic life.

The unconscious :

For Freud, the psychic structure was composed of three levels: conscious, preconscious and unconscious.

Jung introduces three notions:

The personal unconscious: it is composed of all the psychic contents that have been repressed.

The collective unconscious: he relies on an immense heritage of representations prior to humanity, saying: “My thesis is therefore as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, there is a second psychic system of a collective, universal and impersonal nature that is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually, but is inherited. It is composed of pre-existing forms, the archetypes, which give meaning to the psychic contents.

The archetype: “It is often believed that the term “archetype” designates definite images or mythological motifs. But these are nothing other than conscious representations: it would be absurd to suppose that such variable representations could be inherited.

The archetype lies in the tendency to represent such motifs to ourselves, a representation which can vary considerably in detail without losing its fundamental pattern.” C.G. Jung (1964), Man is his Symbols (pp. 67).


According to Freud, psychic life develops on a repression of sexual and violent impulses during early childhood. Thereafter, dreams realize these unconscious desires in a roundabout way, veiled. The Freudian analysis reinforces the conscious self, facing an exclusively negative unconscious

For Jung, dreams are not only the realization of desire; he refers to symbolism, myths, and the history of humanity. Alongside the personal unconscious (all the contents of acquired, forgotten or repressed experience), he defines the collective unconscious which contains the memory of humanity (instincts and archetypes). The archetype is a kind of original image that exists in our unconscious without being the fruit of our personal history. The same themes can be found in the world and in different times, as shown by the myths, symbols and universal tales. They appear in our dreams, beliefs, visions, thoughts.

© 2023 Copyright Poyraz Sahin – Docteur en Psychologie & Psychanalyste.