1. Education

Freud and Jung

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"One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil." – Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, quoted by Jung to Freud (McGuire, 1974).
Freud and Jung

Carl Jung, 1910

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Freud and Jung's Early Relationship

In April of 1906, Freud began a correspondence with a young psychiatrist named Carl Gustav Jung. They first met in person when Jung traveled to Vienna on February 27, 1907, and the two were fast friends. Jung later described his initial impressions of Freud as "…extremely intelligent, shrewd, and altogether remarkable." They corresponded extensively over the next seven years, with Freud viewing Jung as protégé and heir to psychoanalysis.

Breaking From Freud

This relationship and collaboration began to deteriorate as the years went on. While Freud had viewed Jung as the most innovative and original of his followers, he was unhappy with Jung's disagreement with some of the basic tenets of Freudian theory. For example, Jung believed that Freud was too focused on sexuality as a motivating force. He also felt that Freud's concept of the unconscious was limited and overly negative. Instead of simply being a reservoir of repressed thoughts and motivations, as Freud believed, Jung argued that the unconscious could also be a source of creativity.

While the official break from Freud came when Jung resigned from the International Psychoanalytic Congress, the hostility growing between the two was readily apparent in the letters they exchanged. At one point, Jung scathingly wrote, "...your technique of treating your pupils like patients is a blunder. In that way you produce either slavish sons or impudent puppies... I am objective enough to see through your little trick" (McGuire, 1974).

While the theoretical differences between the two men marked the end of their friendship, their collaboration had a lasting influence on the further development of their respective theories. Jung went on to form his own influential school of thought known as analytical psychology. Freud's reaction to the defection of Jung, and later that of Alfred Adler, was to close ranks and further guard his theories. Eventually, an inner-circle of only the most devoted followers was formed. Often referred to as "the Committee," the group included Freud, Sandor Ferenczi, Otto Rank, Karl Abraham and Ernest Jones.

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