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There have been decades of debate about Freud's ideas since his time, from positive credit to scathing criticism. Some have said that his concepts and theories cannot be scientifically proven and so, discredit them. To those not particularly wedded to empiricism, though, this hasn't been a critical issue. His developmental theory has been criticized for it's emphases on bodily functions and instinctual drives. Freud was clearly a product of his time, though, and since then, it has been recognized by most critics that he overemphasized the importance of certain sexual and other instinctual drives as a result of the Puritanism of the time in which he lived. The degree to which he overemphasized these factors is still debated. Along with this, he has been criticized as too mechanistic in his insistence on the power of instinctual drives, thus not allowing for the individual's capacity for free choice.
Freud clearly has many admirers for his identification of specific defense mechanisms; so much so that these are considered in most, if not all, beginning psychology texts. He is also respected in the field for providing the roots of later theories and therapies, whether reactive -- as in the cases of Carl Jung's and Erik Erikson's works - - or more closely allied to Freud's own theories. There isn't any denying that he provided the most influential set of theories, concepts and therapies of modern psychoanalytic psychology.
Broadly stated, Psychoanalytic Psychology is concerned with the individual's past as explanation for the individual's current state of mind and personality. It was developed, formalized and popularized, although not wholly originated, by Sigmund Freud in the latter 1800s and early 1900s. Since then, it has spawned both multiple variations of it and reactive theories against it. Freud's version is the one most often depicted in the popular media of the person lying on a couch and a listening, wise old man seated next to the couch, taking notes. It involves focus on the unconscious mind which can be revealed, according to Freud, through dream analysis, free association, recognition of certain intrapsychic defense mechanisms and other means.
Although Freud was a psychiatrist himself, and therefore of a medical background, it is currently a more common practice orientation to psychologists than to psychiatrists. Some of the reasons for this may be that psychiatry has necessarily focused more on medication and adopted other forms of psychotherapy too.
Psychotherapy psychology is a tool that psychotherapists use to improve the daily lives of their patients through behavioral conditioning aimed at eliminating undesirable habits and irrational fears. Psychotherapy may be brief counseling sessions or may last over a span of years. There are many techniques that psychotherapy psychologists can use to help patients with behavioral problems. One type treatment is called systematic desensitization. Systematic desensitization is a most effective treatment for irrational fears and aversions because of its use of negative stimuli to end bad habits or fears. Another type of treatment in psychotherapy psychology is called humanistic therapy. Humanistic therapy is designed be an optimistic treatment in that the patient will be more willing to change if it brings about self-fulfillment.
Eric Erikson, child psychoanalyst, focused his psychotherapy research on the effects of society and culture on the psychological development of children into early adulthood. Erikson surpassed Freudians’ focus on dysfunctional behavior by searching for the many ways that the normal self is able to successfully function. Psychotherapists use Erikson’s Eight Stage Model of the Human Life Cycle to determine the developmental state of their patients. Most psychotherapy psychologists focus on Erikson’s Ego Identity versus Despair theory because this is when individuals discover self acceptance and develop wisdom. By using Eric Erikson’s research and discovery on effects of society and culture on the identity and behavior, many psychotherapists correctly diagnose their patients and treat them according to their mental development state.
Adlerian Psychology, also known as Individual Psychology, is concerned with the past and the unconscious, too. It also evolved from Freud's work. This Psychology, developed by Alfred Adler, views the individual as a unique being with a particular goal orientation expressed by his or her lifestyle. Creative ability is seen as a possible differentiating factor that interferes with relationships and relationships are viewed as a positive force. Lack of relationships, or poor ones, are viewed as responsible for social isolation and this, according to the theory, leads to neuroses. Although the person has many external pressures, a past influencing her or him, internal drives and an unconscious that all have their effects, she or he still has individual choice. Helping the person to see this and recognize choices, within a supportive relationship with the therapist, is the core of Adlerian (or Individual) Psychology practice.
Jungian Psychology resulted as a reaction against what Carl Jung believed were the limitations of Freud's work. Jung, a disciple of Freud's, ultimately disagreed with Freud's theories of the relationships of sexuality to neuroses and human development. Jungian Psychology is considered a Psychoanalytic Psychology, but there are many differences between it and Freud's Psychoanalytic Psychology. The most well-known of these may be: the idea of archetypes to understanding the unconscious; his postulation of both an anima (female inclination) and an animus (male inclination) within the unconscious of humans; and the idea of shadow personality characteristics that we repress and therefore cause us problems when they unexpectedly resurface in our behaviors. It is included as a Psychoanalytic Psychology primarily because of its focus on the unconscious as the pathway to understanding and treating problems that were borne of the individual's past.