Jungian theory

Few people have had as much influence on modern psychology as Carl Jung; we have Jung to thank for concepts like extroversion and introversionarchetypes, modern dream analysis, and the collective unconscious. Psychological terms coined by Jung include the archetype, the complex, synchronicity, and it is from his work that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was developed, a popular staple of personality tests today.

Among Jung’s most important work was his in-depth analysis of the psyche, which he explained as follows: “By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious,” separating the concept from conventional concept of the mind, which is generally limited to the processes of the conscious brain alone.

Jung believed that the psyche is a self-regulating system, rather like the body, one that seeks to maintain a balance between opposing qualities while constantly striving for growth, a process Jung called “individuation.

Jung saw the psyche as something that could be divided into component parts with complexes and archetypal contents personified, in a metaphorical sense, and functioning rather like secondary selves that contribute to the whole. His concept of the psyche is broken down as follows:

The Ego – To Jung, the ego was the center of the field of consciousness, the part of the psyche where our conscious awareness resides, our sense of identity and existence. This part can be seen as a kind of “command HQ”, organizing our thoughts, feelings, senses, and intuition, and regulating access to memory. It is the part that links the inner and outer worlds together, forming how we relate to that which is external to us.

The Personal Unconcious –

The personal unconscious arises from the interaction between the collective unconscious and one’s personal growth, and was defined by Jung as follows:

“Everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things which are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness; all this is the content of the unconscious… Besides these we must include all more or less intentional repressions of painful thought and feelings. I call the sum of these contents the ‘personal unconscious’.”

Complexes – Complexes, in the Jungian sense, are themed organizations in the unconscious mind centering around patterns of memories, emotions, perceptions, and wishes, patterns that are formed by experience and by an individual’s reactions to that experience. Unlike Freud, Jung believed complexes could be very diverse, rather than individuals simply having a core sexual complex.

The Collective Unconcious -The theory of the collective unconscious is one of Jung’s more unique theories; Jung believed, unlike many of his contemporaries, that all the elements of an individual’s nature are present from birth, and that the environment of the person brings them out (rather than the environment creating them). Jung felt that people are born with a “blueprint” already in them that will determine the course of their lives, something which, while controversial at the time, is fairly widely supported to today owing to the amount of evidence there is in the animal kingdom for various species being born with a repertoire of behaviours uniquely adapted to their environments. 

The Self – The Self, according to Jung, was the sum total of the psyche, with all its potential included. This is the part of the psyche that looks forward, that contains the drive toward fulfillment and wholeness. In this, the Self was said to drive the process of individuation, the quest of the individual to reach his or her fullest potential.

Persona – Jung said that the Persona is an element of the personality which arises “for reasons of adaptation or personal convenience.” If you have certain “masks” you put on in various situations (such as the side of yourself you present at work, or to family), that is a persona. The Persona can be seen as the “public relations” part of the ego, the part that allows us to interact socially in a variety of situations with relative ease.

The Shadow – Those traits that we dislike, or would rather ignore, come together to form what Jung called the Shadow. This part of the psyche, which is also influenced heavily by the collective unconscious, is a form of complex, and is generally the complex most accessible by the conscious mind.

Anima and Animus – According to Jung, the anima and animus are the contra-sexual archetypes of the psyche, with the anima being in a man and animus in a woman. These are built from feminine and masculine archetypes the individual experiences, as well as experience with members of the opposite sex (beginning with a parent), and seek to balance out one’s otherwise possible one-sided experience of gender. Like the Shadow, these archetypes tend to wind up being projected, only in a more idealized form; one looks for the reflection of one’s anima or animus in a potential mate, accounting for the phenomenon of love at first sight.

Individualisation – Individuation, to Jung, was the quest for wholeness that the human psyche invariably undertakes, the journey to become conscious of his or herself as a unique human being, but unique only in the same sense that we all are, not more or less so than others.

In his Lifetime Jung wrote many books and was seen as a fugure head of psycology and a keen admirer of Freud himself, you could read all day and for many days in fact thousands of writings of Jung’s.

Alot of his stuff I have personally sued to add into my practice and to help me see things from a clients perspective.

Jordan peterson- “the philosophy of motherhood” (Youtube) – good about being overprotective as a parent – slao useful for working with clients (who we may treat as children and therefore disempower) is also a very good watch relating to the above issues.

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