Carl Jung (Analytic Psychology)

Biographical Overview

Carl Jung was born in 1875 and died in 1961.  According to Rosenthal, (2005), he was once considered Freud’s “crown prince” as an early collaborator and apprentice (of sorts).  As an only child he was introverted, lonely and observant of the adults in his life.  His father was a religious clergy man.  His mother suffered from a mental illness spending some time at a psychiatric hospital.  He was trained as a Doctor at the University of Zurich.  “He broke away from Freud because he felt Freud over-emphasized man’s sexual nature (Rosenthal, 2005).  He also disagreed with Freud’s negative interpretation of human nature (Rosenthal, 2005).   Carl Jung coined the term “analytic psychology” after splitting with Freud in order to differentiate his approach from Freud’s psychoanalysis (Rosenthal, 2005).  It can be classified as a form of psychodynamic therapy.

A Definition of Jungian Analytic Psychology

“Analytic psychotherapy offers a map of the human psyche that encompasses conscious and unconscious elements including both a transpersonal (archetypal) and personal layer in the unconscious. The goals of psychotherapy are reintegration, self-knowledge, and individuation (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 113).”

“The cornerstone of Jung’s [analytic psychology] is his concept of the psyche, the inner realm of the personality that balances the outer reality of material objects (Wedding & Corsini, 2010, p. 113).”  An individual’s inner world, exists as a sum of their conscious and unconscious processes.  Most importantly, since all the physical world is only perceivable through “a person’s psychic images…what people perceive is in large part determined by who they are (Corsini, 2010, p. 113).”

Comparing Jung & Freud

So how is Jung’s Analytic Psychology different from Freud?  Firstly, he conceived the libido as more of a general life force (Rosenthal, 2005).  Secondly, as noted earlier his view of human nature is much more positive.  “Rather than seeing the unconscious as something that needs to be cleaned out…Jung felt that individuals grow towards wholeness when both conscious and unconscious parts of the mind work in harmony (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 115).”  Regarding the unconsciousness, Freud believed that people are perpetually driven by inner conflicts…and that compromise is a necessary solution. (Kassim, 2001, p581).  In contrast, Jung felt that the brains conscious and unconscious parts work in harmony and individuals are motivated to grow towards wholeness, (or individuation) (Corsini & Wedding, 2010). Finally, while Freud’s conception of the mind contained the id, ego, and superego, Jung’s unconscious included personal and collective components.

Basic Tenants of Analytic Psychology

View of Human Nature

Jung felt that the purpose of personal development is to grow towards wholeness of all one’s psychic components.  He called this process individuation.  While Freud conceived our developmental process as ending with childhood, Jung described felt it was a lifelong path of personal growth.  “The psyche’s goal throughout life is to create meaning out of our existence through the interpretation of information from our external reality.  “Human nature is rather essentially positive or good but there is always a dark side that needs to become conscious and that necessitates a ‘promethian struggle’, as Jung said to enlighten or make conscious the unconscious operations of one’s psyche (Colombus, n.d., p. 3).”

Definition of Healthy Personality

Jung felt the process of individuation is essential for the development of a healthy personality (Colombus, n.d.).  Individuation is “the process by which an individual becomes an indivisible and integrated whole person responsibly embodying his or her individual strengths and limitations (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 609).”  This process usually occurs at middle age and involves embracing and understanding our true nature.    The process of individuation involves the assimilation of our shadow – aspects of our temperament and personality we deny.

The Unconscious & Its Symbols

“A basic tenet of Jung’s Analytical Theory is that all products of the unconscious are symbolic and can be taken as guiding messages (Daniels, V., 2011, p. 3).”   Jung believed that since the parts of the psyche work together towards wholeness and harmony, byproducts of unconsciousness are messages guiding us along this path.  Jung believed the repressed parts of our psyche, were those things that were most painful.

“By Jung’s definition it also includes everything that: (1) I know but am not now thinking about; (2) I was once conscious of but have forgotten; (3) Is perceived by the sensed but not noticed by my conscious mind; (4) Involuntarily and without noticing it, I feel, think, remember, want and do; (5) Is taking shape in me and will come to consciousness at some point. (Daniels, V., 2010, p. 3)”

Theory of Dysfunction

For Jung, dysfunction was a byproduct of unsuccessful individuation.  “When individuation cannot take place harmoniously and smoothy…there are energy disrepancies…in the dynamics of the persona, the ego, the self, the shadow, and the anima or animus (Colombus, n.d., p. 10).”  Daniels, (2010) notes that Jung’s conception of dysfunction had interpersonal elements.  Since individuals attempt to construct a meaning of their lives in what Jung called a “personal story”, dysfunction can result when it is denied or rejected (by oneself or others) (Daniels, 2010).  For example, Jung believed a neurosis is the byproduct of two conflicting tendencies, one which is expressed and one which is repressed (Daniels, 2010).  Neuroses exist as a result of a one-sided attitude towards life.  In contrast, complexes consists of elements of the mind (thoughts, feelings, etc) that are repressed from the consciousness.  Essentially, complexes contain traumatic and disturbing material.

Key Concepts

Concepts Pertaining to the Self…

Psyche

The Psyche is the inner world of the personality and is a summative of conscious and unconscious processes.  It influences our perception of reality and and “who we are” (Corsini & Wedding, 2010). I contains our consciousness alongside personal and collective aspects of the unconsciousness.

Consciousness

The consciousness comprises the thoughts, memories, and emotions we are aware Our consciousness streams from the senses and our perception and it is our knowing and realization of our positive traits and problems alike (Colombos, n.d., p. 2).”

Personal Unconsciousness

While the collective side of one’s consciousness comprises the senses, intellect, emotion, and desire, the “personal unconsciousness contains elements of our personal experience we have either forgotten or denied (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 120).”  According to Jung, this aspect of the human psyche is accessible only through dreamwork and analysis.

Collective Unconsciousness

“According  to Jungian theory, our conscious understanding of who we are comes from two sources: the first derives from encounters with social reality, such as the things people tell us about ourselves, the second comes from what we deduce from our observation of others (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 120).” The collective unconsciousness is a social and biological construct that comprises shared experiences, instincts and experiences common to mankind (Daniels, 2011).

Archetypes

The collective unconsciousness consists of instincts and archetypes (Colombos, n.d., p. 3).  Instincts are unconscious and involuntary drives towards certain action they are guided by archetypes (Daniels, 2011).  Archetypes are components of the collective consciousness that appear to describe how information is organized there.  “an archetype is analogous to the circuitry pattern in the brain that orders and structures reality; as a system of readiness, it parallels human instincts (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 114).”  It propels human interaction in a manner that patterns after universal aspects of the collective consciousness. “These primordial images reflect basic patterns or universal themes common to us all which are present in the unconscious. (Daniels, 2011, p. 3).”

The self

“Jung defined the self as archetypal energy that orders and integrates the personality, an encompassing wholeness out of which personality evolves. (Corsini & Wedding, 2010, p. 121)”  It unifies the conscious and unconsciousness aspects of our mind and is an end goal guiding the personal development process (Corsini & Wedding, 2010; Daniels, 2011).

The Ego

The most important aspect of the self is the ego, it emerges early in life and provides children a sense of identity.  “This ego becomes the ‘I’ – an entity comprising everything a person believes himself or herself to be, including thoughts, feelings, wants and bodily sensations. (Corsini & Wedding, 2011 p. 121).”  It acts as a “go between” mediating information between the unconsciousness and the outer world.

The Persona

The persona represents the social mask we present to the world or how we desire the world to see us.  It acts as a shield of our ego, or sense of identity, from aspects of ourselves we desire to hide from the world. The persona allows us to conduct ourselves according to societal demands.  It represents the conscious aspects of our ego and our attempts to adapt with the outer world (Daniels, 2011).

The Shadow

While the persona represents the face we presents to the world, the shadow represents the denied aspects of ourselves.  “The shadow contains everything that could or should be part of the ego but that [it] denies (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 121).”  It involves those aspects of who we are that are not acceptable according to the demands of those around us in our daily lives.

The Jungian Androgynous Mind…

Jung felt that the mind contains both female and male archetypes.  Essentially we are all basically androgynous psychologically (Corsini & Wedding, 2011).  The self contains both female and male archetypes.  “Anima and Animus are Personifications of the feminine nature of a man’s unconscious and the masculine nature of a woman’s (Daniel, 2011, p. 6).”  The anima is the feminine side of the personality in men and the animus is the masculine aspect of the personality in women (Rosenthal, 2005). Societal norms are what cause us to repress these aspects of ourselves (Rosenthal, 2005).

Jung’s Psychological Types

Jung states that individuals vary in the ways they habitually respond to the world (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 122).  In his work on Psychological Types, Carl Jung classified personality types based on several dichotomous personality traits: (1) intuition vs. sensation; (2) thinking vs. feeling; and (4) extroversion and introversion.  For example, while intuition and sensation describe our preferred manner of taking in information from the world around us.  In contrast thinking and feeling describe how how we prefer make sense of this information and make decisions. Finally, introversion & extroversion describe what captures our attention and where we go to “recharge”.  This work is based on the Myer’s Brigg’s personality test, which I disuss in my own blog here.

Our personalities are formed based on how we prefer to interact with the world around us.  In this sense, Jung’s work on psychological types reflects our cognitive preferences.  It doesn’t assess or measure our abilities and weaknesses.  As we rely on our preferred cognitive functions, they tend to predominate while others become underdeveloped.

Overview of Counseling Process

“Jung built his system of psychotherapy on four tenents: (1) the psyche is a self-regulating system, (2) the unconscious has a creative and compensatory component, (3) the doctor relationship plays a major role in facilitating self-awareness and healing, and (4) personality growht takes place at many stages over the life span (Corsini & wedding, 2010, p. 126).”

The Goal of Therapy….

Individuation and self-actualization are goals of therapy in analytical psychology.  This requires an integration of oneself and working towards wholeness.  “Jung’s beliefs that the principal aim of psychotherapy is ultimately neither curing nor alleviating patients’ unhappiness but increasing patients’ self-respect and self-knowledge.  A sense of peace and greater capacity for both suffering and joy can accompany this expanded sense of self (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 127).”

The Process of Therapy

The therapeutic process occurs in two aspects analysis & synthesis.  “The analytic stages begins with confession (Daniels, 2011, p. 13)” and ends with education and transformation.  “Jung delineated four stages in this process: confession, elucidation, education and transformation (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 127).”  Confession involves a cathartic recounting of one’s own life history (Corsini & Wedding, 2011).  During this stage the conscious and unconsciousness aspects of the client revealed.   During the elucidation phase, ” therapist draws attention to the transference relationship (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 128).”  Education involves promoting a learning process and “is concerned with persona and ego tasks (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 128).”  Transformation involves as a gradual integration of unconscious and conscious aspects of the self.  As the person becomes whole they are able “to become a uniquely individual self (Corsini & Wedding, 2011, p. 128).”

When Treatment Ends

According to Daniels, (2011), treatment may come to an end when: “Unwanted symptoms have vanished…there is satisfactory development. from a childish state…new and better adaptation to life have been achieved…[they have] moved beyond feeling stuck (p. 11).”

References

Colombos, A. (n.d.) Analytical Psychology: The Theory of Carl G. Jung  Retrieved from:  http://hellenicpsyche.blogspot.com/2012/12/analytical-psychology-theory-of-carl-g.html
Daniels, V. (2011).  The Analytical Psychology of Carl Gustav Jung.  Retrieved from:  http://www.matrixmeditations.info/bonusJung.pdf
Corsini , R.J. & Wedding, D. (2010). Current psychotherapies. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kassin, Paul. (2001). Psychology. (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle Creek River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Rosenthal, H. (2005). Vital Information and Review Questions for the NCE and State Counseling Exams. Routledge.

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