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Carl Jung Theories

Carl Jung Theories

A man with a searching intellect, psychiatrist Carl Jung opened himself to diverse influences. Among them were the thinking of Sigmund Freud especially on the existence of the unconscious and dream interpretation; observations of psychotics at the Burgholzli hospital; astrology; alchemy; and Eastern philosophy. Those, in turn, shaped his theories about how the human psyche operates, which became the foundation for modern analytical psychology. Jung's main areas of study were:

  • Collective Unconscious
  • Archetypes
  • Dream Interpretation
  • Alchemy
  • Synchronicity
  • I Ching

Jung's Concept of Individuation

Probably those theories could be summed up by Jung's concept of individuation or how the human being manages to integrate the conflicting three parts of the psyche: ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious. That "balancing act" was the major task of human development or maturation. When it could not be accomplished or sustained, then analysis with a therapist was necessary.

The ego, which is usually thought of as the "self," was the persona or face people construct to present in society. It's a necessary social fiction.

The personal unconscious, which remained hidden, contained the residue of one's experiences, fears, aspirations, hostile impulses, and nightly dreams. Often that content impinged on the ego, triggering behavior the person could not stop, until the dynamics were brought to the surface in therapy, understood, and then the behavior modified.

The collective unconscious represented the composite of universal meanings and symbols embedded in all human beings. Those were called "archetypes." Religious, Jung identified some archetypes as spiritual, such as a reach toward a higher power. Those too interacted with the other parts of the psyche. When there was conflict, then personal functioning could become impaired.

The widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was developed from these theories developed by Jung on how the psyche operates.

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