Frequently Asked Questions About Psychological Theories

For as long as I could remember, it had always been my mother and me against the world. My father, a soldier, died in combat when I was only three months old, so I never met him. Despite having many suitors over the years, my mother vowed never to marry again and merely devoted her entire life to raising me.

 As I was growing up, I observed the things that Mom had done for me. The first full realization of that happened when I was seven years old. I saw her washing three sets of uniforms – one was for a waitress, the other was for a tour guide, and another was for a taxi driver. I asked Mom whose clothes were those, and she said, “They are for my jobs, son.” I was initially shocked because I did not know that Mom had many jobs. I knew that she was a working mother (that’s why Gran Peggy often babysat me), but I was not aware that she juggled three jobs every day.

 Then, Mom would bring home a nice meal from a restaurant for my dinner. I would ask her to dig in with me, but she would watch me sometimes eat before opening a canned sardine or tuna for herself. It weirded me out whenever she said that those were her favorites, but I understood when I was older that it was because she could not buy another delicious meal for herself.

Mom was always there during school performances, clapping the loudest for me, even if I would only play the role of a newspaper boy or a tumbleweed. I used to be embarrassed about it because no other parents were as enthusiastic as her. However, when I understood my mother’s sacrifices for me, I reveled in her applauses and made sure to do my best all the time.

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Being Called A Mama’s Boy

My love for my mother became the center of unwanted attention in middle school. That was when kids were all acting tough and sneaking out of their houses to hang out at the park or go on dates secretly. My friends would often coax me to sneak out, too, of course, but my usual response was, “No, I don’t want Mom to get mad at me.” Because of that, I had been called a mama’s boy.

Did it upset me? Yes, initially. No one would enjoy being made fun of often just because you did not want to lie to a parent. It was as if I was the one committing a mistake when, in truth, they were awful to their mothers and fathers.

As time passed, though, I got over it. Being a mama’s boy was an excellent thing in the sense that I never did anything to make my mother cry. I could not say the same to those who bullied me in the past.

Finding Out Which Psychoanalytical Theorist I Liked

When I went to college to study medicine, I had to choose social science as a minor subject. Between literature and psychology, though, I would pick the latter any day, so I found myself in a psychology lecture room on a Monday.

(Note: Before anything else, allow me to clarify that I have never been to a psychology class in the past, so my reaction could be seen as too much by some. Still, it was my opinion, my experience, so here we go).

Going back, the cool professor told us to choose the psychoanalytical theorist whose early works we could relate to the most. Those theorists were Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler. Then, we were supposed to discuss them in class on Friday.

Interested, I decided to do my homework that night. I had no idea who those guys were or whatever they did to be singled out in history psychology, so I did my research.

The first profile I saw was that of Alfred Adler’s. I thought he was an independent guy with an interesting perspective regarding what could drive people to make things better for themselves. I liked the idea, but I could not relate to it because I never had a distinct inferiority complex.

The second profile I saw was that of Sigmund Freud. Many of his theories had been studied and explained already, and I admired him a lot. Unfortunately, I was so appalled by his theory regarding a mother-and-son relationship, also known as the Oedipus complex.

 As a little background, Oedipus was a character in Greek mythology who got lost from the castle when he was an infant. When he became an adult, he barged into their castle and killed his biological father without knowing it. As for his biological mother, well… he married her.

Yikes! I know! I cringed some more when I understood that the Oedipus complex meant that men had an unconscious desire to sleep with their mothers. I never had that inclination; I was appalled to see how people could even think of doing the nasty with their mothers.

Hence, in the end, I decided to go with Jungian psychology, which stated that sons were close to their mothers due to love, not for carnal reasons.

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How do the theories of Jung and Freud differ? 

There are five main areas that set the difference between Carl Jung’s and Sigmund Freud’s theories.

  • Unconscious Mind: Based on Freud’s tripartite theory of personality, a person seeks pleasure first before becoming conscious of their behaviors and then finding a balance between the two. Meanwhile, Jung stated that the theory of personality states that the human psyche is divided into the unconscious (personal and collective) and conscious parts.
  • Sex: Sigmund Freud has always thought that everything we do is driven by sexual desire. In that sense, he created the psychosexual development and Oedipus complex, among others. The latter is perhaps one of the most controversial theories, considering it suggests that sons are sexually attracted to their mothers. Naturally, Carl Jung tried to oppose the idea by saying that the life force is the primary driving factor for people to move forward. Instead of sexual desire, he also believed that sons are close to their mothers because of the love and protection they provide.
  • Religion: Both individuals are not religious. However, though Jung claims that religion allows people to express their individuality, Freud believes that it is like opium that should no longer be allowed to spread.
  • Para-Psychology: Freud is skeptical about anything paranormal, while Jung is more open to it. The latter even attended seances regularly and had a cousin who worked as a medium.
  • Dreams: Both individuals believe that dreams are meant to be interpreted. However, Freud states that most – if not all – dreams depict our repressed sexual desires, while Jung argues that they can have different meanings.

Is Jungian theory evidence-based? 

Yes, it has been proven that the Jungian theory is based on evidence. Despite that, this has not been the case in the beginning, considering people in the olden days knew very little about psychology. As the years passed by, though, the experts who applied Carl Jung’s theories – particularly Jungian therapy – revealed that their respondents’ mental health improved significantly. 

What is Jung’s theory of psychological types? 

Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types refers to the idea that people can be categorized based on their attitudes (introversion and extroversion) and psychological functions (sensation, feeling, intuition, and thinking). He further proposed that every perspective has a matching function. According to him, the latter is the recessive trait while the former is the dominant trait. 

What is the Jungian approach? 

The Jungian approach involves exploring conscious and unconscious minds to help people figure out what’s going on in their heads. It is said to be a courageous endeavor, given that the person needs to be open to the possibility that their dreams may connote different meanings or that the paranormal realm may be affecting them. 

One of Carl Jung’s most celebrated theories is the theory of individuation. If you follow this idea, it states that a person should seek a sense of wholeness instead of perfection. 

What are the 12 Jungian archetypes? 

  • Caregiver: Caregivers are natural nurturers. You may often find them looking after and protecting others.
  • Creator: A creator is an innovative individual who uses their imagination to come up with meaningful things.
  • Everyman: An everyman is what we commonly know as the jack of all trades. They possess almost every trait, although the driving force behind their actions is their need for a sense of belonging.
  • Explorer: Explorers thrive in the unknown. Meaning, they feel fulfilled whenever they gain new experiences and discover new places, foods, etc.
  • Hero: As the term suggests, heroes are known for their bravery, chivalry, and other heroic traits. Because of that, many people turn to them for inspiration.
  • Innocent: An innocent individual promotes wholesomeness. They are often optimistic, youthful, and happy.
  • Jester: A jester is known as a fun-loving person who is not below creating mischief to make others happy. Despite that, they often mean well.
  • Lover: Intimacy is the primary focus of this archetype. Everything that a lover does aims to promote romance, commitment, and passion.
  • Magician: Magicians turn out to be visionary leaders who try to turn dreams into reality. They are quite spiritual, too.
  • Rebel: Rebels love to go against the rules. If someone tells them what to do, they may ask, “Why?”
  • Ruler: Every ruler always tries to put everything in order. Although some people may deem one as the controlling type, no one can argue about their sense of responsibility.
  • Sage: Someone with this personality tends to view the world thoughtfully. Their goal is to spread their wisdom to everyone.
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What are the basic concepts of analytical psychology? 

  • Anima and Animus: Based on Carl Jung’s theories, men have an unconscious female component (anima), while women have an unconscious male component (animus).
  • Archetypes: Archetypes appear to be psychological organs in Carl Jung’s mind in the sense that every archetype has a unique and vital function.
  • Collective Unconscious: This is the psychic stratum that discourages people from believing that people are born a blank slate. Instead, Jung believes that everyone already has innate knowledge, thoughts, and feelings, though they may remain repressed until someone or something pushes them to the surface.
  • Complexes: According to Carl Jung, a complex refers to two or more traits mixing with memories or experiences. One common example of this is the “hero” archetype.
  • Individuation: It refers to a person’s journey to find their individuality.
  • Persona: The persona is supposed to be an illusion that individuals create based on their social status. For instance, someone may be naturally loud, raucous, and fun-loving. However, if they turn out to be a doctor or lawyer, they need to act serious in front of others to be taken seriously.
  • Psychological Types: Analytical psychology states that a person’s actions or thoughts can be driven by their temperaments and rational or irrational functions.
  • Shadow: The shadow concept proposes that people tend to see themselves in the opposite way that others do. Say, they may claim to be unkind, but others insist that they’re kind.
  • Synchronicity: It entails that two people can deal with the same experience, but its meaning is different for every person. For instance, two people may be exchanging letters for years. After a while, one of them may burn all the letters, while the other decides to keep them.

What is Horney’s theory? 

Karen Horney’s theory focused on neurosis. Based on her theory, neurotic people practically started as anxious people. However, the more their interpersonal relationships became bothersome, the more the anxiety turned to neurosis.

The thing was, neurosis could most likely be caused by how other people treated a person. One perfect example of that was an individual who got deprived of love and affection since childhood. They were not emotionless; they wanted to feel like their loved ones cared for them. When they failed to earn such emotions from others, they ended up doing everything to feel loved. Unfortunately, that does not always work, though.

What are archetypes in psychology? 

Carl Jung developed four different archetypes in psychology. Those are: 

  • The Anima (or Animus): The animus is a representation of the masculine aspect of women, while the anima is a representation of the feminine aspect of men. The clear distinction between the two signifies that people have other sides that may not always align with their specific roles in society.
  • The Persona: It refers to how you present yourself to other people. In short, this is not your “true self” – it is merely a mask that you allow others to see. It is most apparent in situations wherein a person needs to act a sure way to be liked by the people around them or avoid conflicts.
  • The Self: The basic way of understanding the self – yourself – is by drawing a circle. That shape represents you as an individual. Then, when you draw a dot in the center, it signifies your ego. 
  • The Shadow: It practically refers to the repressed ideas that you cannot freely talk about in front of others in fear of getting shunned because of them. Because of that, they may appear in your dreams as creatures that scare you the most.
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What is individual psychology theory? 

Individual psychology consisted of theories created by Alfred Adler. He was an Austrian psychotherapist who believed that people could have different, distinct personalities. Such personalities resulted from diverse driving factors that were unique for every individual. However, Adler did not go as far as saying that a problem of one was not a problem of all, considering it could affect everyone.

What are the main components of Jung’s theory? 

The three components of Carl Jung’s theory are:

  • Ego: The ego refers to the information in your brain that you are aware of. You may have gotten it through observation, reading, etc. This is your conscious mind. 
  • Personal Unconscious: When you talk about the personal unconscious mind, it focuses on the scenarios you cannot forget. They may be pushed at the back of your mind for some time, but it does not mean that you have lost them forever. Some trigger factors may be able to bring them forward again.
  • Collective Unconscious: The collective unconscious technically refers to ideas that you have never known you have until they come to the surface. However, they may confuse you because you do not know how you have gotten them. But according to Carl Jung, these are possible ideas that your ancestors have passed down to you genetically.

Who was the first psychologist? 

Wilhelm Wundt had always been considered as the father of psychology, given that he was the first individual on the planet to give meaning to this term. He was also the first academic to build a laboratory that was specifically meant for psychology. Many scientists believed that the opening of the Institute for Experimental Psychology paved the way for every psychologist out there who wanted to make innovations in this field. 

Who proposed the theory of individual psychology? 

Alfred Adler was the name the Austrian psychotherapist and medical doctor who proposed the individual psychology theory. He went on to build the Society of Individual Psychology in 1912.

The reality was that the foundation of the said society would not have been possible in the beginning. The reason was that Adler and Freud were colleagues, and the latter published more popular psychoanalytic theories than the former. However, disagreements soon formed and caused a rift in their professional relationship, thus pushing Adler to step away from the organization that they both belonged to and make one of his own.

When was individual psychology founded? 

As stated above, the Society of Individual Psychology had been founded and established in 1912, with Alfred Adler on the helm. The ideation behind its foundation was quite interesting, considering Adler believed that every action that a person would make was fueled by the inferiority they felt somehow. He practically believed that people could use their inferiority complex to fuel their desire to be better and have better lives.

How did psychoanalysis influence psychology? 

Psychoanalysis has given people an idea that whatever they are thinking and feeling can improve in various ways, even though it may not seem possible in the beginning. This reality is highly useful for people dealing with high levels of stress daily. It entails that you can experience catharsis and find a way out of your problems in an unexpected manner.

For instance, when you feel overly stressed because of your new job, you may think of going to the park to get away from everything. Then, once you are sitting on the grass, you see a beautiful yellow flower blooming among the grasses. It was so out of place, but it seemed like it was meant to be there. You may then be able to relate to that wildflower and realize that you could be a part of the new company if you wanted to be.

Who is the father of experimental psychology?

The most popular father of experimental psychology was Wilhelm Wundt. People recognized that the construction of his Institute for Experimental Psychology made it possible for future psychologists to explore and innovate in the psychological world. However, what many may not know of was that Wundt had a counterpart in the United States. His name was William James.

William James published a book in 1890 called The Principles of Psychology, and he acknowledged that visuals could significantly affect how a person would perceive a situation. For instance, if you hear about a red sedan from a friend, you may not think much of it. However, when they mention a brand, and you recall what it looks like, you may start showing interest in the subject.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed learning about three famous psychoanalysts (especially Carl Jung) so much that I took up an advanced level of psychology the following semester. There were still many theories that I did not – and might never – agree about, but it still felt incredible to assess how those people got to come up with their respective theories.

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