Personality Overview Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:26:25
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Category: Carl Jung

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This paper will analyze the strengths and limitations of two theories. Those theories are the interpersonal theory of Henry S. Sullivan and the analytical psychological theory of Carl G. Jung. This paper will compare and contrast interpersonal theory and analytical theory in relationship to basic or underlying assumptions, deterministic versus free will, and awareness of self (conscious versus unconscious motives for behavior). Some of the assumptions made by Sullivan regarding interpersonal theory are that he believed that individual personality is developed through interpersonal relationships. In developing this theory Sullivan shows how the different stages people go through during development like infancy, childhood, juvenile, preadolescence, early and late adolescence, and adulthood are significant. The focus of this theory is based substantially on how individual relationships with others affect people (Feist & Feist, 2009).

Sullivan believed that relationships do in fact change and affect the developmental stages of a persons life during the course of their life. He thought that as people change it can affect or change the relationship they have with others. Sullivan believed that a person only has in their mind what has been embedded there through interpersonal relationships and those experiences had with other people. He did not believe that the mind could contain anything more than that. He believed that a person is only motivated by the environmental influences that stem from interpersonal relationships, and that an individual is not motivated or driven by their instincts at all. Based on Sullivans beliefs there would not be the presence of free will because he was of the mindset that people have only what is put there as determined through these interactions with others. Sullivan hypothesized that, as one passes over one of these more-or-less determinable thresholds of a developmental era, everything that has gone before becomes reasonably open to influence (Feist & Feist, 2009 pg. 226).

According to what Sullivan believed every person has behavior patterns, or traits which he refers to as Dynamisms. There are two classes of these dynamisms, one class is related to body zones and the other class is related to the self and self awareness. The self system as he called it is a specific behavior pattern that people use as a tool to give protection from anything that causes anxiety. This system is the result of development very early on at a year to a year and a half old. This system has good and bad sides to it. One side is that the body is aware of feeling anxiety and can take steps to combat the anxiety, the other side is that an individuals ability to recognize and combat the anxiety also causes the self system to be resistant to any change (Feist & Feist, 2009).

Some of the assumptions made by Jung regarding analytical psychological theory are that Jung believed that an individuals entire life force stems from their libido not just the sexual life force. He also believed that individuals lives are influenced by supernatural phenomenon. That what drives people can be from repressed experiences that we have inherited from past family members. He believed these experiences gave individuals what he calls the collective unconscious, and that this collective unconscious can contain experiences that have never directly happened to that individual. Jungs theory is a compendium of opposites. People are both introverted and extraverted; rational and irrational; male and female; conscious and unconscious; and pushed by past events while being pulled by future expectations (Feist & Feist, 2009 pg. 98).

Jung was of the belief that people are who they are, either an introvert or an extrovert and nothing else. He believed that people relate to others in a particular manner and do not deviate from that. Basically he was of the mindset that a person is destined to follow a set path without any deviation, and that path cannot be altered or changed. People relate to and interact with other people in a certain pre ordained manner and there is no way to change that according to what Jung believed. Jungs theory was based mainly on the unconscious mind and a persons unconscious actions. He believed that unconscious actions of people can and do mold that person into being either an introvert or an extrovert without the person having any idea that it is even happening. This molding was the result of what people had experienced as children that had been imbedded in the unconscious mind (Feist & Feist, 2009). Based on what Jung theorized there would not be the presence of free will because there are predetermined experiences embedded in the collective unconscious.

Jung states that Distant ancestors experiences with universal concepts such as God, mother, water, earth, and so forth have been transmitted through the generations so that people in every clime and time have been influenced by their primitive ancestors primordial experiences (Jung, 1937/1959). Therefore, the contents of the collective unconscious are more or less the same for people in all cultures (Jung, 1934/1959) (Feist & Feist, 2009 pg 104). Jung believed that the self of an individuals mind is conscious and unconscious and that it brings together its opposing elements like good and evil, or male and female. He referred to this as the yin and yang. He also believed that total realization of self is a rare occurrence but the thought of this does remain in the collective unconscious of every person throughout life (Feist & Feist, 2009).

Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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