Hinduism v Freud

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Western psychology focuses on seeing, categorizing, and influencing an individual's identifiable behavior and includes methods and remedies that result in behavioral change and induce changes in mental states and processes. It also mentions that Eastern psychology focuses on investigating how the human mind works, including ways for alleviating suffering. It demonstrates the distinction between Western and Eastern approaches to treating psychological issues. This is accomplished by describing how Freudian psychoanalytic theory of personality assists psychoanalytic therapists in treating psychological problems like as stress, depression, or OCD, as well as the procedures employed by Hindus to identify and treat similar issues. It also describes the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches.


Western psychology focuses on observing, categorizing, and altering the observable behavior of a human being and includes techniques and therapies, which result in behavioral change and initiate alteration of mental states and processes. This psychology has led to a therapeutic approach limited to diagnosing and treating psychopathology. An example of a Western theory is the Freudian psychoanalytic theory of personality, which puts forward that the behavior of an individual arises from the interactions among the major components of the mind: ego, id, and superego. Conversely, Eastern theories focus on exploring the operation and function of the human mind including the methods that are useful to free someone from suffering. These theories are inwardly focused. Thus they seem to be nihilistic or narcissistic though they are therapeutic since they are helpful to achieve psychological well-being and optimal functioning. An example of Eastern psychology is Hinduism, the third largest religion in the world with about one billion persons following a broad range of related traditions sharing common elements though lack a unified set of practices or beliefs. It incorporates the use of yoga and Ayurveda.

How the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems differ between the two approaches. Western psychology and Eastern psychology have different ways of diagnosing and treating mental problems. A critical analysis of how Hinduism, the primary example of Eastern psychology, is helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems shows that it includes the use of yoga and Ayurveda. Yoga is a mind-body fitness, which involves a muscular activity as well as an internally directed mindful concentration on cognizance of energy, breath, and self. It helps and individual to have peace of the mind, an optimistic viewpoint on life, lowered irritability, increased attentiveness, improved efficiency, improved self-confidence, feelings of relaxation, and a sense of comfort (Compton, 2012). Those who subscribe to Hinduism have firm conviction that it helps to end sorrow and pain via an abandonment of yearning. They argue that practicing yoga is helpful in managing and relieving psychological problems such as chronic and acute stress acute and results in improved quality of life. Furthermore, addicts who practice yoga can shift from disrespect and self-inflicted harm toward their bodies to being more loving, caring, and respectful (Woodyard, 2011).

Ayurveda, on the other hand, involves knowing life and the best ways of sustaining health. Those who believe in Hinduism believe that spiritual and physical well-being are interconnected. They also argue that Ayurveda involves exorcisms and propitiations as well as allopathy and homeopathy. It produces substantial outcomes as a method of treating disorders such as OCD, anxiety, and depression. Its primary guiding principles are that the body and the mind are intricately connected, and nothing has more capacity to transform and heal the body than the human mind. Treating an illness involves expanding one's awareness, balancing it, and spreading the balance to the body. One can naturally balance the body through meditation since the body and the mind are inseparable (Ahuja, 2015).

Those who subscribe to Western psychology, for instance, the Freudian psychoanalytic theory of personality believe that it is possible to cure psychological problems by making unconscious motivations and thoughts conscious since mental problems lie in the unconscious mind. That involves psychoanalysis therapy, which focuses on releasing repressed experiences and emotions. Indeed, bringing the suppressed conflicts to consciousness enables an individual to deal with them. According to this theory, hidden disturbances or unresolved issues cause the symptoms for psychological problems (Ellman, 2010). Freud's followers argue that human behavior results from the interactions among the primary components of the mind: superego, ego, and the id. This approach emphasizes more on the role of unconscious psychosomatic struggles in the shaping of personality and behavior. Most Psychoanalytic psychologists consider this approach as the talking cure and encourage their patients to talk freely about their symptoms and describe what is on their mind. They believe that having a cathartic experience is the key to treating psychological problems (Modell, 2012).

Advantages & Disadvantages of Western Methods

One of the strengths of Western approaches towards curing mental problems is that they expand one's psychosomatic understanding of personality, for instance, Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality enlightens health specialists about several aspects of a human being's mind as well as its inner workings. Without the existence of these approaches, the aspects of the human mind would be incomprehensible. As a result approaches to the treatment of psychological problems are now considered routine worldwide (Beystehner, 2012).

Despite having some advantages, Western theories have some disadvantages, for example, Freud's psychoanalytic theory focuses more on the components of the human mind, and pays little attention to the effect of culture, sociology, or environment. It also concentrates on pathology and overlooks normal healthy functioning. Some critics assert that most of Freud's approaches have a myopic view of the human mind and ignore other key factors. They point out that most of these theories are not backed by empirical data. Moreover, as researchers endeavored to take a more methodical look at these approaches, they realized that it is hard to support most of them. According to them, it is imperative to disprove a theory with experimental evidence for it to be valid scientifically, and most of Freud's theories are not falsifiable (Beystehner, 2012).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Eastern methods

The main advantage of Eastern methods is that they focus on mindfulness as a mental aid. Research on these approaches shows that cognitive therapy, which is based on mindfulness is effective in the prevention of the relapse to persistent depression (Sundararajan, 2014). This approach reduces relapse into depression by about 44 percent since it creates a state of awareness. There is experimental evidence supporting this approach. Indeed, what was an instrument for spiritual exploration some time back has now become a cure-all for the contemporary age - a panacea for psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, meditation is helpful to lessen distractedness, reduce self-criticism, calm the inner pandemonium, and nurture the ability to put up with a broad range of feelings (Wikholm & Farias, 2015).

The main disadvantage of Western methods is that they do not clearly explain how meditation works and do not clarify who benefits the least or the most from it. Some researchers have also expressed concerns that meditation might make some people experience negative effects like dissociation or anxiety (Wikholm & Farias, 2015).


Indeed, the ways in which Western psychology and Eastern theories diagnose and treat mental problems differ. Western approach, for instance, the use of Freudian psychoanalytic theory of personality shows that psychoanalytic therapists can cure psychological problems such as stress, depression, or OCD through making unconscious motivations as well as thoughts conscious. Besides, mental problems are rooted in the unconscious mind. It also expands one's mental understanding of personality. Nonetheless, it leads to a myopic view of the human mind and makes one ignore other key factors. It also lacks the backing of empirical data. Conversely, Eastern approach includes Ayurveda and yoga, which involve knowing life and taking cognizance of the most effective ways of sustaining health. This approach helps individuals to have peace of the mind, an optimistic viewpoint on life, lowered irritability, increased attentiveness, improved efficiency, improved self-assurance, relaxation, and a sense of well-being. It involves a cognitive therapy that is based on mindfulness and is effective in the prevention of the relapse to persistent depression. However, it does not clearly describe how meditation works.


Ahuja, S. (2015). Ayurveda and Modern Psychology . American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, 213-216 .

Beystehner, K. M. (2012). Psychoanalysis: Freud's Revolutionary Approach to Human Personality. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University.

Compton, W. (2012). Eastern Psychology: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism Paperback. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Ellman, S. (2010). When Theories Touch: A Historical and Theoretical Integration of Psychoanalytic Thought. London: Karnac Books.

Modell, A. H. (2012). Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience and the Unconscious Self. Psychoanalytic Review, 475-483.

Sundararajan, L. (2014). Eastern Psychologies. New York: Springer .

Wikholm, C., & Farias, M. (2015, June 5). Meditation and mindfulness aren’t as good for you as you think. Retrieved from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/06/05/meditation-and-mindfulness-arent-as-good-for-you-as-you-think/?utm_term=.acd3a5c91a0a

Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life . International Journal of Yoga, 4(2), 49–54.

April 19, 2023

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