Freud, Jung and Moreno

More and more of the current research in psychology is making good use of the advances in technology that encourage us to understand ourselves in terms of  chemistry,biology and genetics. That direction combined with my own experience in the field leads me to the following paradox: while we cannot change who we are, we can learn new ways of managing who we are, and thus, in that way, change who we are.

Each of these founding fathers of psycho-therapy, without the insights now available, developed verbal constructs designed to explain us to ourselves, and to provide systematic interventional strategies to help us become more effective managers of our behavior. In a remarkable way, these constructs can be seen as almost parallel formulations for much of the current research.

For Freud the focus was on the construct of the individual, the psychodynamics of psychological processes, the development of ego out of the struggle between the id and the super ego. The way we develop defensive mechanisms to protect us from threatening thoughts and how we learn to face them was essential to our growth and development.

Attention to our origins as members of a species and tribe was the fundamental understanding that Jung provided. His theories of archetypes and the collective unconscious can be best understood as reflections of how our genetic makeup is made manifest in our behavior. Situational threats, demands, and/or opportunities summon forth forms of behavior which we fill with our own particular style.

And Moreno saw our interrelatedness, the unavoidable reality that we are social creatures born into and trained to live in social groups. How do we navigate in that environment? How do we manifest our Freudian individual selves while carrying our Jungian collective heritage?  We do that via reciprocal roles in relationship to others while living center stage as protagonists in our own individual life drama.

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