Carl Jung – the Grand Old Man of Psychology.
Born near Lake Constance in 1875, Carl Jung became, along with Freud and Adler, one of the three founding fathers of modern psychological thought. As a child, Jung had strange and disturbing dreams, full of religious symbolism. He felt that he had two personalities, and this greatly affected his later work.
While he was working at the Burgholzli Clinic in Zurich, he became seriously concerned that mentally ill patients were simply treated as being mad, with no attempt made to understand the inner workings of their minds. Nothing was done to help them they were simply locked up!
Even in the seriously mentally ill, Jung saw a glimmer of sanity, and a hope of effective treatment. Working with such patients, he began to develop his ideas about the existence of the unconscious through the exploration of dreams, word association, and response times. He developed his ideas about complexes, believing that we all have ‘complexes’ (a collection of images and ideas clustered around an archetypal core).
He believed that the dreams and fantasy lives of his patients were meaningful, and he took them seriously, hoping to find the key to understanding the ‘secret background of life’.
For some time, Jung worked with Freud, and indeed regarded him as something of a father figure. Until their collaboration, which later included that of Adler, there had been no reasonable model of the human psyche developed. At this distance in time, it’s easy to dismiss some of their more outlandish theories, but their work remains the foundation of our understanding of ourselves.
However, they went their separate ways after a major disagreement over some basic theoretical principals. Freud held firmly to his belief that the unconscious was created from repressed childhood memories and experiences revolving around the id, ego and super ego. Jung believed however that the Freudian ‘personal unconscious’ concentrated too much on infantile sexuality.
They disagreed too about what dreams really mean. He said “I was never able to agree with Freud that the dream was a ‘facade’ behind which it’s meaning lies hidden – a meaning already known but maliciously, so to speak, withheld from consciousness. To me dreams are part of nature, which harbours no intention to deceive but expresses something as best it can.”.
Jung expanded his studies to history and the development of race and society, believing that dreams and fantasies were part of an interpersonal consciousness spanning time as well as race, creed and culture. His first major work was “Psychological Types” (published in 1921), concentrating on psychological types such as Extraverts and Introverts, terms which have now become part of our everyday language. Now whether you are an extravert or an introvert, you will also fit one of four sub types a thinking type, a feeling type, intuitive type or a sensing type. Which one are you?
See what best describes you in the following table, and put a tick mark against that quality. Add up your ticks, and then you’ll know in which direction your personality leans. Write down an E or an I to record your basic type.
Speak before they think
Think before they speak
Share personal information easily
Reluctant to share personal information
Prefer to be in the company of others
Prefer to be left alone
Have a lot of friends
Small, close group of friends
Party animal, social butterfly
Record your E or I here:
Are you a sensing person or mostly intuitive? Do the same with this table as you did before, and write down an S or an I as appropriate
Live by their five senses
Use a “sixth sense”, “hunch”, and “gut feeling”
Realistic and Practical
Idealistic and Imaginative
Down to earth
Head in clouds, deep
Live in the present
Live in the future
Needs evidence and facts
Speculative and theoretical
Sees the trees instead of forest
Sees the forest instead of trees
Record your S or I here:
Are you a Thinker or a Feeler? Find out here, and record a T or an F!
Use logic in making decisions
Use personal feelings in making decisions
Driven by their rational mind
Live by their passionate heart
Honest in speaking their mind
Will hide the truth so the other person won’t be hurt
Record your T or F here:
Are you a Judger or a Perceiver? Are you an organized, work-comes-first, decisive person (Judger)? Or are you an adaptable, spontaneous person who prefers to explore the possibilities (Perceiver) Record a J or a P.
Decisive, and makes decisions quickly
Adapts to situations, and gathers more information before deciding
Finds it easier to finish projects
Prefers to start projects
Dislikes surprises and needs advanced warnings
Enjoys surprises and spontaneous happenings
Gets things done as soon as possible
Record your J or P here:
You should have 4 letters that look like ESTJ, INFP, ENTP, ISFJ, etc. You can read the description for your type below. If it doesn’t sound much like you, go back and see which letter might be wrong. Some people are in between, partly Extravert and Introvert. That is perfectly fine, and you have probably confirmed what you thought about yourself already
ENFJ – Sage
ENTJ – Leader
ESTJ – Enforcer
ESTP – Adventurer
ENFP – Visionary
ENTP – Innovator
ESFJ – Helper
ESFP – Joker
INFJ – Mystic
INTJ – Free-Thinker
ISTJ – Reliant
ISTP – Realist
INFP – Dreamer
INTP – Wizard
ISFJ – Nurturer
ISFP – Aesthete
Apart from his work on dreams and psychological types, Jung introduced several new psychological concepts as he developed his model of the mind. As a result of extensive study of primitive peoples throughout the world, he suggested that not only do we have an individual unconscious mind, we also have a collective unconscious, a sort of racial and trans-personal awareness resulting from the gradual evolution of the human brain over millions of years. Within this collective unconscious there exist many different archetypes, sort of idealized conceptions such as The Wise Old Man or Always Loving Father.
Jungs major archetypes included the Animus and Anima, the male and female components which are genetically mixed in all of us, and which, he suggested, are reflected in our behaviour and inter-relations. One of his most important archetypes is the Persona, the mask which we all put on from time to time in order help us fit in to wherever we happen to be at any given time. The big tough guy in the biking leathers with the loudest Harley may, in fact, be the gentlest chap you ever met in another persona. Problems do arise, however, when people relate too much to their main chosen persona and neglect to accept the other parts of their personality.
You might remember that Freud say neurosis as a result of frustrated infantile sexual impulses. Jung, on the other hand, believed it to be caused by internal unconscious conflict. He noted that at least a third of his patients had reached mid-life, and were beginning to find it meaningless and empty.
Jung thought that the ultimate human goal was individuation, a complex process in which maturity, an awareness of ones strengths and weaknesses, dark side and light side resolved inner conflict and promoted inner peace.
He was much more concerned with the here and now, and how that might affect the future. Jungian analysis is a hope filled positive approach to therapy, with a core belief that positive learnings can result from almost any experience, and that mental equilibrium comes most easily to those of us who are most open to the learning process. Indeed, his views in this area predate by a hundred years the NLP mantra which says If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got!
In other words, learn from your experiences and make changes accordingly. So for those of us who have reached a stage where ennui and disillusionment are beginning to set in, Jung has a message take stock, accept yourself, and begin to learn again!