Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory: The Id, Ego and Superego | by mária kara | Medium

The above figure identifies three structures of the Freud Psyche theory: Id , Ego and Superego. The Id is the most unconscious and represents instincts that operate and erupt into our conscious minds; the Ego is the reality tester, mediates the impulses from the Id and refers them to the conscience or moral compass in the personality that evaluates the consequences of acting on Id impulses.

The function of Dreams. In psychoanalysis, Freud used dreams in the analysis of the transference in which he also used the relationship between him and the patient as a symbolic relationship related to parental figures of the patient. Sigmund Freud asserted that defense mechanisms of repression (unconscious forgetting) and displacement (symbolic associations to the dream image meant to disguise it) are there to preserve sleep because conscious knowledge of the real meaning of dreams would awaken the dreamer. An idea merely existing as a possibility is replaced by a vision of its accomplishment in the dream. The manifest content of a dream connects with the life of the day creating a common presentation that is feasible but is a wish fulfillment motivated by unmet psychological needs (usually for sex, power, or some ego need such as self-esteem, self-actualization, belonging or security).

“Condensation is the extra ordinary compression of a dream from a reality point of view. The dream takes the trouble to create a something, in order to make a drama that is believable. Dream displacement during the dreamwork is based on a psychical intensity of those thoughts and conceptions to which it properly pertains flows to others which have no claim to such emphasis. There is a transvaluation of psychical values during dreaming which has a range from reasonable to concealed (based on personal unconscious history of the dreamer) . The more obscure a dream is the greater is the part to be ascribed to the impetus of displacement in it formulation.” ( The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud, p. 52)

The dream disguises sexual desires based on Oedipus and Electra complexes, hysterical symptoms, ideas of morbid dread, obsessive thoughts and illusions. Displacement as the core of the problem in the nature of the motive disguises the infantile wish in our dreams. Repression is defined as thoughts to commit incest that could not become conscious to me due to regression (unconscious forgetting) of libidinal energy. The complexes possess us and thus we could act out impulsively based on past infantile wishes made real in the present. Neurotic behaviors persists in almost all of us. But the dream protects us against wishes that are taboo to the culture and laws of society which when fulfilled would create moral suffering.

Psychological defenses protecting the ego are as follows: Reaction formation (conscious behaviors are adopted to overcompensate for the anxiety a person feels regarding their socially unacceptable unconscious thoughts or emotions.); identification with the aggressor (faced with an external threat typically represented by a criticism emanating from an authority, the subject identifies himself with his aggressor) ; projective identification (the individual projects qualities that are unacceptable to the self onto another individual and that person internalizes the projected qualities and believes himself or herself to be characterized by them appropriately and justifiably) : acting out (to behave badly or in a socially unacceptable often self-defeating manner especially as a means of venting painful emotions such as fear or frustration). These are neurotic defenses that the conscious mind of the individual uses to prevent him/her from having awareness of hurtful emotions over the breaking of a taboo or disloyalty to a clan value system. “For example, when repressed memories were re-awakened, Sandy became conscious that she did not love her husband and used reaction formation as a defense. And not being aware of this fact prevented her from facing a moral decision but it also caused extreme anxiety and distress by Sandy holding the complex of opposing feeling values in check (to love her husband vs. not to love her husband). But when Sandy faced the feeling and decided to tell her husband her true feelings, she then found her symptoms lessened and so did her resistance to her awareness of her inner conflict. Insight into her unconscious wish fulfillments for sex healed her neurotic obsession to act out her desires.” (The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud, p. 55)

Freud identified 3 classes of dreams:

  1. dreams which exhibit a non-repressed, non-concealed desire and infantile wish fulfillment
  2. dreams which express in veiled form some repressed desire which required analysis for their understanding.
  3. dreams which repression exists, but without or with but slight concealment. Having a feeling of dread which brings the dream to an end. (The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud, p. 56)

I have an opinion that Freud’s work was valuable in that it laid the groundwork for Jung and identified primary structures of the psyche that Jung expanded on. I do not refute Freud’s work. Jung intended to open Freud’s conception of the psyche with its emphasis on wish fulfillments to wider motivations of human behavior in society.

CG Jung uses a method of analytical psychology and approached the dream from an associational context related to what the dreamer found relevant to the days events or to his/her life. Carl Gustav Jung takes Freud’s view of dreams and expands psychological needs for instinctive gratification for sex, power, ego-aggrandizement, security and belonging to include a transpersonal motivational dimension. This is illustrated by a longing for accepting the influence of Archetypes.

In his dissertation for his MD degree published in 1902, “On the Psychology of So called Occult Phenomena” we see that Jung focused his interest on those unusual states of mind which are found in the mesmeric trance, in hypnotism, in spiritualism. Jung largely depended on prevalent 19th century psychiatric theories of multiple personality in which subconscious personality complexes (autonomous complexes) existed in which Jung observed, demonstrated an independent effect on the conscious mind. This was taken as evidence for Jung of the teleological nature of psychological processes when for example, the autonomous complex possesses one. In this are the seeds of the Jung’s later thinking on archetypes and their existence independent of the conscious mind. (p. 159.Spiritualism and the Foundations of C G Jung’s psychology. by F.X. Charet) The fact that these autonomous complexes through Archetypes appeared in our dreams were part of his theory of dreaming. A complex is an emotionally charged group of ideas or images. (The Jungian Experience, Robert A. Hall, p. 164.). At the “center’ of the complex is an archetype or archetypal image. ( Jungian Dream Interpretation, p. 120 James A. Hall, M.D.)

“Many complexes are split off from consciousness because the repression defense resulting in forgetting in order to get rid of their feeling values, especially if they threaten the dominant ego identity of the individual. But (in addition) there are complexes that have never been in consciousness before and therefore, could never have been repressed. They grow out of the unconscious and invade the conscious mind with their weird and unassailable convictions and impulses.” (Psychology and Religion, by C G Jung, p. 14) They manifest as unshakable beliefs, ideas and convictions having an almost demonic power over the rational conscious mind and come from the collective unconscious.

Jung’s description of the psyche and use of dream work uses an open system hopefully interpreted for future development of the individual. Dreaming for Jung is not based on past infantile wish fulfillments. Jung added the entities of the Shadow which is the sub-personality within us that wants to express instinctual desires. The Anima for males is our feminine side which comes out in dreams as a woman who represents the biological mother, lover or wise teacher. She motivates us to create art, manipulates our moods and helps us find a suitable companion of the opposite sex. The Animus is the male inside the female showing up in personality development in dreams as a robber, a magician, a wizard or great healer. The animus sub-personality encourages her to be logical, to take on a leadership role, to command the achievement of goals for herself alone. The SELF is a structure in the unconscious that is the archetype of wholeness and the regulating center of the personality. A transcendent function within the Self reconciles and heals our conflicts by forming a symbol or new attitude within ourselves. By differentiation through dream interpretation we reduce tension by holding on between conflicting sets of opposites in the present. Dreams involving the Self are not wish fulfillments of some infantile sexuality for Jung, but instead, drive us to realize the Archetypes from the collective unconscious with its power to heal our conflicts.(Jungian Dream Interpretation, James A. Hall, M.D. p. 121).

In the Jungian model of the psyche, our dreams lead us on to a pre-cognitive, telepathic knowledge which can guide us to greater individual fulfillment when we study them. Universal symbols coming from the collective unconscious in the form of Archetypes develop in dreams and provide a sense of timelessness and archaic numinousity which can revitalize our conscious faith in humanity or curse us with epidemics of psychic ego inflation. Dreams for Jung can bring about a sense of union with deceased loved ones that are internalized in our unconscious and provide us with guidance and comfort or they can collapse our rational hold on logic. Jung’s psyche involves an ever evolving effect on human behavior through time.

The sociological matrix present in the early 20th century when Freud wrote about the unconscious was set in the Victorian “zeitgeist”. Industrialization, due to science and technology was building empires and sovereign societies. Countries were being defined and boundaries made firm. For most individuals at that time, the work-a-day world was a major concern in order to survive and make a living wage. As a result of Victorian values, suppression of instincts occurred on a massive scale. Whenever there was a breakout of instincts causing abnormal behavior, the mental patient/or sick society was treated. Therapists were treating individuals using medicine and interventions to lessen the symptoms.

In the case of Nazi Germany which was possessed by the archetype of Aryan supremacy and world domination, the cure was a life or death struggle with the allies ending in the nation’s total defeat in 1945. Cures were sought to dampen down the instincts and halt massive psychic inflation. Psychological insights were given by psychologists to help the German citizens understand the underlying instinctual wishful expression that was trying to come out. On a social the level Nuremburg trials and meting out of justice was the cure and the Marshall plan helped rebuild a democratic Germany after WWII.

Jung’s understanding of a collective unconscious that could invade masses of contemporary people and create a libidinal regression due to possession of an idea creating a psychic inflation with potential anarchy attracted adherents of ‘true believers’ in social mainstream. The effect of mass hypnosis of whole nations and propaganda as evidenced by Hitler’s effect on the German people was evidence of the collective unconscious demonizing the common man/woman.

C.G. Jung’s work emerged out of the empirical but unscientific realm of spiritualism and paranormal experiences as evidenced by his dissertation. Jung’s work on synchronicity; astrological studies with married pairs using horoscope placements of Sun, Moon and Ascendant in geometric alignment in each married pair brought adherents of acausal theories to his body of work. (Jung/Pauli, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,p.87)

Jung’s work on the shadow in dreams attracted followers who believed that humans had both good and evil in them and we needed to own that fact to be whole personalities. His anima in men and animus in woman: these unconscious structures opened the door to sexual ambiguity of the hermaphrodite that was an archetype as old a antiquity itself. The Philosophical man is the androgynous original man or Anthropos of Gnosticism…the Upanishad says, “He was as large as a man and woman embracing. He divided his self (Atman) in two , and thence arose husband and wife. He united himself with her and men were born. the common origin of these ideas lies in the primitive notion of the bisexual original man.” (Jung, Dreams, Interpretation of Dream 22, “A large transparent sphere containing many little spheres,. A green plant is growing out of the top.” A Trimurti picture symbolizing the tendency of the universe to converge toward the point of unity. pps. 228 and 236. This points to the SELF which is the center of the psyche and unifies all polarities.

“There’s another Jung who is an early “queer” theorist exemplified by his fascination with the archetypal third of the transcendent function, and the psychoid realm of the subtle body. Jung gestures to the subtle body of gender when he speaks of body as a representation of the physical materiality of the psyche (Jung 1959, para. 392). This is the subtle body of gender and sexuality residing in an intermediate realm between mind and matter and moving in an emergent process rather than fixed in biological fundamentalism—a gender that shimmers and hovers around body. The Jung who writes about psyche in motion, about fluid identity fed by archetypal process in the ego-self field, and about the relationship between psyche and world, the unus mundus, is quite relevant to contemporary gender discussions. This is Jungian “queer” theorizing that could be used to describe identity under construction and the individual in the act of perpetual becoming. It is this part of Jung’s theories that enable us to consider gender as a changing machine in the body.

Those who carry the transgendered experience have existed in all cultures and times. Could the image of the transgendered body, as a symbolic and mythic body, be a living artefact that holds open a culture’s potential for the development of hermaphroditic consciousness, a consciousness that reaches far beyond gender and pierces the veil of opposition in all realms? Perhaps we might then experience otherness as a kind of seduction of fluid differences, more subtle differences than mere opposition—a seduction whose power lies in the preservation of the strangeness of the other.” (McKenzie, Susan, Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol 51, ,p.421)

Our explanation of the theoretical dreaming minds of Freud and Jung portray for us the transition of humankind into the future. We will delve into realms in which the relationship among the Archetypes, the human experience and the evolving psychic realm as it interacts with our bodies and is led to a reconciliation that the Self imposes, resolving all oppositions and polarities.


Freud, Sigmund, The Interpretation of Dreams, 1899, Translated by A. Brill, Joyce Crick, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1918

Charet, F. X. Spiritualism and the Foundations of Jung’s Psychology, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY. 1993

Hall, James A. Jungian Dream Interpretation, Inner City Books, Toronto, Canada, 1983

Jung, C. G., Psychology and Religion: West and East, Bollingen Series XX, Princeton University Press, 1958

Jung/Pauli, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche, Bollingen Series L1, Pantheon Books, NY, NY 1955

Jung, C. G. Dreams, Bollingen Series XX, Princeton University Press, Albany, NY. 1974

McKenzie, Susan, Queering Gender Anima/Animus and the Paradigm of Emergence, Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2006, 51