Alfred Adler and Sigmund Freud are two great figures in psychology that have left a profound impression on theorists today. Both of them are from Austria and lived through the same time period, Adler was born in 1870 and died in 1937, and Freud was born in 1856, died in 1939. Each one has researched and developed their own concepts on mental behavior, and both have achieved great recognition from this. Adler and Freud are two psychologists that share the passion of the mental well being, but they have quite different theories that make their stand significantly stronger than one another: they each had their views on the development of personality, the level of emphasis on human sexuality, the motivation factor between past experiences and future expectations, and the overall basis of mental development. .
Adlerâ€™s chief concept was the creative self. He said heredity and environment furnished the building material of personality, but each of us is our own architect, freely deciding how we wish to use the building materials. â€œThe creative self gives the qualities of unity, consistency, and individuality to the personalityâ€ (Nordby/Hall 8). He saw this as the active principle of human life. On the other hand, Freud developed an elaborate theory of personality called psychoanalysis. This theory rested on the key element that personality was shaped mostly by early childhood experiences and that parental punishment of a childâ€™s sexual and aggressive behaviors resulted in repression of at least part of these experiences. .
With Freudâ€˜s view on childhood experiences, there was also the significant amount of emphasis he put on sexuality in human affairs. His idea was that all children are born with a sexual drive. He said people are energized to act the way they do because of the drive towards life which feeds off sexual energy and the drive towards death which comes from aggression.