Freud Jung Psychology Psychoanalysis Difference between Psychology and Psychoanalysis

Psychology and psychoanalysis are not the same things as most people believe. There’s a radical fundamental distinction between them rooted in their origins that produces a complete different mindset and methods of research, thus distinct results.

The discourse about the soul (psyche-logos) is an inquiry born in Ancient Greek times (thus its Greek name) among others about the universe, life and politics. The first psychologist in history was Nichomachean Ethics.

Psychology entered the modern age thanks to Wilhelm Wundt who in 1879 founded the first laboratory dedicated exclusively to psychological research in Leipzig. Many other names followed him. Behaviorism, Humanism and Existentialism, Cognitivism are all kinds of psychology.

Psychology developed as a field of experimental study among others in the general science group. Its epistemology is borrowed from the science working at the time of its origin, the Newtonian one. The human being is investigated using the same tools as for the study of a molecule, a plant or a fish. Science studies nature (humans are part of it) trying to identify its laws, which once are discovered help preview and understand how the whole works and therefore its abnormality.

Freud (1856-1939), the founder of psychoanalysis, wasn’t a psychologist. He was a neurologist and the new field of knowledge he discovered assumed an element unknown to psychology and to any kind of traditional science: the unconsciousness. .

More, Freud used his own self analysis to help him understand his patients. This puts him in a completely different position than the one of the psychologist who sees himself as an outsider researcher. The study of a shellfish or of the citizens of Paris is ideally based on the same premises. Otherwise, Freud went through the understanding of his own unconscious mind to reach and better help the others. We face here a revolution in epistemology, the science of knowledge and its methods.

Jung (1875-1961) goes even further on this way. Not only dreams are, as Freud said, the main road to reach the mysterious element in us, the unconsciousness, so present yet invisible and uncontrollable, but the analyst and the analyst are both engaged in a journey of discover and growing that affects both of them. Jung’s long years of experimenting and learning from his inner life gave birth to his analytical psychology, which is a step forward Freud’s psychoanalysis, but is still in the same road Freud first traced, owing him its birth and very little to the current “scientific psychology”.

The first psychoanalyst in Western history was Socrates (469 BC-399 BC), for his methods is the seed from which psychoanalysis is born: dialogue.

Psychoanalysis is a dialogue with the unconsciousness. The psychoanalyst interacts with his unconscious mind and to the patient’s, helping the latter to do the same. That’s the goal of analysis. In Jung this idea is further developed since the analytical setting graphically includes it: two chairs are facing each other. The Freudian’s couch implies the idea that the analyst inquires the patient’s unconsciousness. In the Jungian setting the dialogue happens at multiple levels: two people talk, two unconscious minds interact (through feelings, dreams and non-verbal language), two persons become aware of the unconscious interaction and its meanings, a person help the other to get familiar and start his or her journey to unfold his or her uniqueness.

Thus, in psychoanalysis normality is a questionable term, for it refers to a medium, an average number no one likes to be. The normality one seeks in psychoanalysis is the incomparable singularity of human individuality. Moreover, psychoanalysis resembles the Quantum Physics and its revolutionary approach to matter. The observer and the observed interfere with each other, no real objectivity is possible. It’s not by chance that psychoanalysis was born in the turning of the twenty century along with the modern physics. Both belong to the new paradigm in the human understanding of life and its meaning.