Nobody would argue with the fact that Freud’s contribution to psychology is the most significant. Thus, a further development of his ideas and studies is a natural process, so that the entire group of the so-called Freudians has emerged. Representatives of this group, however, develop Freud’s ideas in different ways, which is why their common theoretical foundation cannot be initially seen. Henceforth, a need for the unification of all neo-Freudian studies is reasonable, because a further development of the discipline requires an integrated approach and systematization of findings according to a specific framework. A selection of articles can be entirely random, since the main purpose is a synthesis of the common Freudian theoretical and therapeutic framework. In such a way, the following paper focuses on synthesizing findings and studies conducted by various representatives of the neo-Freudian school and places the emphasis on the need of integration of the synthesis outcomes.
Statement of Common Themes
In this regard, it is informative to give a brief account of articles to be synthesized.
The first article by Scaturo (2005) gives an account of ethical and psychological dilemmas because of the irrelevant psychological transference. The article argues that an inappropriate (negative) perception of a certain concept reflects adversely on the further behavior of an individual and even may modify his/her sexual attitudes. In such a way, the article places the emphasis on the prominence of a subconscious memory and persistence of developmental issues. The article focuses on clinical and therapeutic cases, but the outlooks of the author comply with the general Freudian doctrine and even expand its theoretical boundaries. Thus, the article belongs to the neo-Freudian school of psychology.
The second article written by Hall and Lindzey (1957) revolves around various psychological theories related to the Freudian doctrine. The article gives a critical account of these theories and suggests that such a complex knowledge should be integrated. It becomes increasingly apparent that even such early work managed to forecast a need for an integrative approach, which is hardly achievable even nowadays. In spite of that fact, the article provides the following insight. One should pay attention that some assumptions have to be perceived from the perspective of the past state of knowledge. At any rate, statements outlined within the article are still applicable and present a fundamental value. Hence, this work does not have to be recognized as supplementary, as long as it enables contextualizing Freudian concepts in terms of a factual synthesis of findings. A relation to the social implication was apparent even in that period, but the researchers still did not have enough knowledge to expand Freudian theories to a much larger context of human psyche and behaviors.
The next article written by Weaver discusses peculiarities of a middle-age crisis from the perspective of Freudian concepts. The paper is peculiar with its positioning of the crisis and relation to Freudian developmental psychology. The article refutes the fact that a middle-aged person does not develop psychologically any more. This possibility, however, is present in cases when social, cultural, or any other limitations do not produce their effect. In general, the article argues that people face a middle-age crisis because of limiting themselves in many aspects of life. In fact, Weaver assumes that a possibility to develop further is present in middle-age, once an individual is able to realize himself/herself as a complete entity with a complex of individual characteristics. The article, however, does not discuss any specific methodologies applicable in regard to the therapeutic environment.
A peculiar subject is touched upon by Axelrod (2012), who covered issues related to self-awareness. The article assumes that self-awareness and self-observation are different concepts, so that self-observation implies critical thinking in regard to a personal self. In such a way, Axelrod claims that a human is capable of measuring boundaries between conscious and subconscious. This possibility, however, can emerge as a specific skill developed in the therapeutic environment. Therefore, the article suggests that Freudian approach of retrieval of all patient’s emotions should be expanded to the extent of involving a personal evaluation of these feelings and their role in the objective reality. That is why the author attaches this concept to principles of leadership.
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The article by Eagle (2007) also presents a critical review on mainly Freudian concepts of psychoanalysis. The article does not suggest any particular ways of a more relevant development of psychoanalysis, but just criticizes Freudian doctrine. In fact, the article does not place the emphasis on a complete irrelevance, yet it suggests that the concept is valid, although has to be reworked in many regards. That is why the significance of this article implies a value for the further synthesis, whereas the critical review will serve a function of the framework and limitation. In spite of the fact that the article is strictly critical, it provides sufficient knowledge needed for the synthesis. Eventually, the article by Overskied (2007) describes a relation between Freudian approach of instinctive basis of human psyche and Skinner’s behaviorism. The article is peculiar with their point of view, as long as Freud and Skinner are the representatives of entirely different psychological schools. Hence, the article provides numerous facts that witness about a considerable similarity between Freud’s and Skinner’s findings. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that such article is also valuable for the synthesis, because it presents a different point of view, so that a more complex vision of neo-Freudian approach is visible.
Statement of Conclusions
In terms of the general conclusions retrieved from the articles, an overall positivist tendency can be indicated. All articles promote a view that the psychoanalytical therapy and issues related to self-conception are a matter of the empirical study and cross-modal integration. To be more specific, the articles argue that psychotherapy and self-awareness are the concepts that are far beyond terms of psychology only. In such a way, philosophic, social, and evolutionary approaches are present in issues related to investigation of self. The articles position their message as strictly neo-Freudian, owing to the fact that their theoretical foundation is still related to Freud’s statements.
However, the articles do not fully support the concepts of Freud. Instead, the articles suggest that Freud’s ideas regarding psychoanalysis, self-conception, and developmental issues are just a foundation for implications in a substantially larger context. It is certainly true, as long as the articles describe issues of self-conception with consideration of philosophic and social issues (Vardanyan, 2011). Thus, the articles argue that an instinct-based development of human’s psyche still has a socio-cultural pattern, especially considering the fact that socializing is also a natural instinct (Vardanyan, 2011). In addition, various cultural constraints that exist as a prism of perceiving of the surrounding reality are also persistent.
For instance, a middle-age crisis is often associated with an individual realizing numerous factors that are dissatisfactory: death of parents, children living their own life, ending of sexual relationships with the partner, absence of ambitions or their fulfilment, etc. These issues are usually explained with a traditional Freud’s concept of the psychological development, which ends at such age. Therefore, an individual does not experience any drastic changes, which may present a life at a new angle (Vardanyan, 2011). Nevertheless, the articles suggest that development of psyche is not limited to age as well as cultural insights, social urges, and even the potential subsequent evolution (Vardanyan, 2011). The articles depict a potential evolution of psyche as overcoming of the middle-age crisis and full comprehension of self as a complete and distinct entity. As a consequence, the articles claim that positioning of self in the contemporary psychoanalysis is incomplete. First of all, a possibility of ethical dilemma for avoidance of recalling a negative experience, lack of critical thinking, or even inappropriate therapeutic conditions thwart an individual from a full comprehension of self. Hence, involving of new evidence and integration of best existing practices are considered by the articles as the most reasonable direction for the future development of psychoanalysis.
Taking this evidence into account, it is fair to admit that representatives of neo-Freudian psychology considerably expand the concepts developed by Freud. First of all, the attachment of an instinctive guidance of psyche to behavioral patterns presents a drastic difference. It was mainly caused with a question of how humans learn to live in a society, provided that their psyche is comprised of various natural animal instincts (Kline, 2014). The initial statement is obviously relevant, but the articles expand this vision to an extent of a considerable presence of social and cultural factors. Likewise, the articles shape a concept of libido in a more social-dependent context. The article substitutes a term of sexual potential with the influence of social urges, which motivate an individual to achieve certain life goals or strive for a success, which is commonly recognized as a determinant of normality within a community (Kline, 2014). At the same time, the articles do not refute entirely a principle of self-awareness and self-observation. These terms are clarified and differentiated by the authors of the articles, whereas self-observation is a substantially more objective process. Thus, an individual is still able to determine a border between conscious and subconscious in order to retrieve his/her concerns and feelings about a particular life issue.
Again, the articles do not deny completely the concept of sexual instinct as a determinant of many aspects of an individual life. The articles promote a view of a psychological transference, as humans tend to transfer certain sexual experiences in their ordinary life and vice versa. It is certainly true, which is why the articles argue that some transfers occur inappropriately, owing to the poor social setting or trauma (Kline, 2014). That is why children, who faced a divorce of the parents and lived in incomplete or remarried families, have an anxiety towards stepping in romantic or even sexual relationships. The argument in this regard is an inappropriate transference of the socio-cultural standard in adult life. Marriage was displayed from a wrong point of view, so that such children perceive this concept differently in adult age (Richards, 2009). Overall, the articles present a drastically different vision on self-conception and other Freud’s ideas. In fact, the articles place these ideas in new and larger contexts, which are determined with findings in related disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, and cross-cultural studies (Richards, 2009). Nevertheless, each article also focuses on its specific interpretation and modification of Freud’s concepts. However, a persistent influence of Freud’s findings is present, and it is differently presented with each article.
As for the article by Scaturo (2005), it argues about a considerable presence of issues related to transferring social patterns, which later cause an ethical dilemma. This article, in fact, does not refute a concept of sexual relations to behavior and choices of an individual (Burger, 2008). At the same time, the paper presents a view that the sexual potential of an individual not only determines his or her behavioral patterns and choices of a life partner, but also modifies a social positioning. Hall and Lindzey (1957) criticize the entire doctrine of Freud because of its incompleteness. Unlike the rest of the articles, this work does not suggest any supplementary approaches in order to expand Freudian concepts. On the contrary, the article gives an account of a critical review. Thus, the main difference of the article is based on a general critical orientation. This study, however, provides a deeper insight on a potential development of Freudian doctrine.
A quite different point of view is also presented by Axelrod (2012), whose article suggests that a complete detachment of an individual consciousness from subconscious basis is possible under circumstances of self-observation, which includes not only retrieval of all spectrum of feelings, but also the application of critical thinking directed to a personal self (Burger, 2008). The article provides an example of the evidence of strong leadership, where a leader realizes his/her personality as a complete entity, which is stronger than others. The other articles attach a social perspective as an outcome of particular psychological processes; meanwhile, Axelrod claims that self-observation is possible even beyond therapeutic conditions. Eventually, Overskied (2007) compares Freud to Skinner. As a matter of fact, these two psychologists represent entirely different approaches to learning of human behavior (Richards, 2009). However, the article finds a wide range of similarities, which are evident, owing to the fact that they origin from Darwin’s evolution theory. Besides that, Weaver (2009) deploys Freudian concepts in terms of the cultural environment. A crisis of middle age emerges not only because of the psychological development being completed, but also because of cultural constraints, which are especially widespread within the Western world. At the same time, Weaver (2009) shows a positive perspective of this evidence. Eventually, Eagle (2007) also criticizes the basic concepts developed by Freud. This article, however, suggests an integrated approach towards a further development of discipline, so that the positivist basis is the most evident in this article. This opinion seems to be the most reasonable, once the presence of a wide array of approaches implies a complexity of the discipline.
It is appropriate to make a general comment on the fact that the neo-Freudian school of psychology generally expands assumptions and findings of Freud. This evidence has been traceable throughout the entire synthesis of articles, as long as all common conclusions and statements are related to Freud’s findings. Therefore, a strong presence of Freud’s theoretical foundation can be observed. The articles predominantly do not criticize Freudian doctrine as an invalid one, but suggest possible directions of its empirical and therapeutic development. In the light of cross-disciplinary trends, such progress of the neo-Freudian school of psychology is explicit. Thus, relations to social, cultural, and even philosophic perspectives are the common evidence in contemporary neo-Freudian studies. Beyond a doubt, this tendency is positive, but the objective criticism presented by several articles does not have to be ignored. That is why a potential progress of the neo-Freudian school of psychology is possible in terms of the integrated and cross-disciplinary framework.