together we can change ourself

together we can change ourself

unconscious -Freud

leave a comment »

unconscious

One last concept that is often criticized is the unconscious. It is not argued that something like the unconscious accounts for some of our behavior, but rather how much and the exact nature of the beast.

Behaviorists, humanists, and existentialists all believe that (a) the motivations and problems that can be attributed to the unconscious are much fewer than Freud thought, and (b) the unconscious is not the great churning cauldron of activity he made it out to be. Most psychologists today see the unconscious as whatever we don’t need or don’t want to see. Some theorists don’t use the concept at all.

On the other hand, at least one theorist, Carl Jung, proposed an unconscious that makes Freud’s look puny! But we will leave all these views for the appropriate chapters.

Positive aspects

People have the unfortunate tendency to “throw the baby out with the bath water.” If they don’t agree with ideas a, b, and c, they figure x, y, and z must be wrong as well. But Freud had quite a few good ideas, so good that they have been incorporated into many other theories, to the point where we forget to give him credit.

First, Freud made us aware of two powerful forces and their demands on us. Back when everyone believed people were basically rational, he showed how much of our behavior was based on biology. When everyone conceived of people as individually responsible for their actions, he showed the impact of society. When everyone thought of male and female as roles determined by nature or God, he showed how much they depended on family dynamics. The id and the superego — the psychic manifestations of biology and society — will always be with us in some form or another.

Second is the basic theory, going back to Breuer, of certain neurotic symptoms as caused by psychological traumas. Although most theorists no longer believe that all neurosis can be so explained, or that it is necessary to relive the trauma to get better, it has become a common understanding that a childhood full of neglect, abuse, and tragedy tends to lead to an unhappy adult.

Third is the idea of ego defenses. Even if you are uncomfortable with Freud’s idea of the unconscious, it is clear that we engage in little manipulations of reality and our memories of that reality to suit our own needs, especially when those needs are strong. I would recommend that you learn to recognize these defenses: You will find that having names for them will help you to notice them in yourself and others!

Finally, the basic form of therapy has been largely set by Freud. Except for some behaviorist therapies, most therapy is still “the talking cure,” and still involves a physically and socially relaxed atmosphere. And, even if other theorists do not care for the idea of transference, the highly personal nature of the therapeutic relationship is generally accepted as important to success.

Some of Freud’s ideas are clearly tied to his culture and era. Other ideas are not easily testable. Some may even be a matter of Freud’s own personality and experiences. But Freud was an excellent observer of the human condition, and enough of what he said has relevance today that he will be a part of personality textbooks for years to come. Even when theorists come up with dramatically different ideas about how we work, they compare their ideas with Freud’s.

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

May 25, 2007 at 8:34 am

Posted in Freud

Tagged with , ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: