Jung, Carl

views updated May 29 2018

Jung, Carl 1875-1961







Carl Gustav Jung was born in Kesswyl, Switzerland, on July 26, 1875. Jung was a self-described lonely and isolated son of an emotionally troubled mother and a poor but extremely well-read country pastor. A gifted student, Jung originally wanted to be an archaeologist. Due to limited financial resources, Jung was forced to attend the University of Basel, which did not offer courses in archaeology, and he studied medicine with the intention of becoming a surgeon. Jung switched to psychiatry to pursue his interests in dreams, fantasies, the occult, theology, and archaeology. Upon graduation Jung received an appointment to the Burgholzli Mental Hospital in Zurich where, from 1900 to 1909, he studied the nature of schizophrenia and developed into a world authority on abnormal behavior.

Jung was an early supporter of the psychotherapist Sigmund Freud (18561939) because of their shared interest in the unconscious. When the International Psychoanalytic Association was formed in 1910, Jung became its first president at the request of Freud. However, growing theoretical differences between them, especially over the importance of libido (i.e., sexual energy) and the nature of the unconscious resulted in Jungs resignation from the group only four years later. The two men never met or spoke to each other again.

From 1913 to 1917, while Jung was experiencing serious emotional difficulties in his life and even contemplating suicide, he engaged in an extensive self-analysis. The outcome of his self-analysis produced some of Jungs most original theoretical concepts, which he continued to develop over the next sixty years as Jung established himself as one of the most noted psychological and eclectic thinkers of the twentieth century. For example, Jung was extremely well read in theology, anthropology, archaeology, psychology, ancient texts, the occult, mythology, and psychiatry. He studied psychological adjustment in selected groups of individuals around the world (e.g., Navajo Indians, native tribes in Africa); and participated in archaeological and anthropological expeditions in a variety of cultures (e.g., Egypt, Sudan, India), while incorporating his diverse knowledge and experience into his theory of personality and psychotherapeutic applications in an attempt to verify his ideas. Jung died on June 6, 1961, in Zurich at the age of 85. He was an active and productive researcher and writer his entire life, with a collection of works totaling twenty volumes.


Although initially a strong supporter of Freud and his ideas, Jungs eventual disagreement with some of the cornerstones of Freuds theory resulted in the termination of their professional relationship and personal friendship. A principal source of disagreement was with Freuds concept of libido. Freuds conceptualized libido as primarily the source of sexual energy that served to created a state of emotional tension that the individual was driven to decrease, forming the basis of the two primary motivating sources of behaviorlife instinct (i.e., creation of tension) and death instinct (i.e., the reduction of tension). In direct contrast, and much to Freuds disagreement, Jung deemphasized the importance of the libido as a source of sexual energy. Jung described libido as a more generalized life energy source that served to motivate the individual to seek a sense of personal balance within the psyche in a number of different ways, including socially, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and creatively.

This point of disagreement regarding the nature and role of libido helped to create the distinction between the Freudian and Jungian traditions in psychology. The Freudian tradition is characterized by the presence of intrapsychic conflict and the creation and reduction of psychic tension. The Jungian tradition, referred to as analytical psychology, is characterized by the seeking of intrapsychic harmony and the balanced expression of the separate aspects of the self.


Another significant source of disagreement between Freud and Jung was their contrasting views of the structure of the mind and the nature of unconsciousness. In comparison to Freud, Jungs view of the structural nature of personality reflected a redefined and expanded view of the mind, especially the unconscious mind, which Jung believed to be much deeper and wider in the scope of its content than Freud. The conscious ego is the center of conscious awareness of the self. The major functions of the conscious ego are to make individuals aware of their internal processes (e.g., thoughts or feelings of pain) and the external world (e.g., surrounding noises) at a level of awareness necessary for daily functioning.

Directly next to the conscious ego and below conscious awareness, Jung proposed the personal unconscious region of the mind. The contents of the personal unconscious include all thoughts, memories, and experiences that are momentarily not being thought about and/or repressed because they are too emotionally threatening. The most important elements in the personal unconscious are what Jung described as complexes. A complex is a collection of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories that center around a particular concept. The more elements attached to the complex, the greater its influence on the individual. If the complex becomes too strong it can become pathological, serving to create a sense of imbalance in the individuals personality, such as a power complex associated with a dictatorial leader.

While the personal unconscious is unique to each individual, the collective unconscious was the region of the unconscious mind believed by Jung to be shared by all people. Jung conceptualized the collective unconscious as being transpersonal in nature. The transpersonal nature of the collective unconscious reflected Jungs view that there is a region of the unconscious mind containing a collection of general wisdom that is shared by all people, has developed over time, and is passed from generation to generation across the ages. The principal function of this wisdom is to predispose individuals to respond to certain external situations in a given manner. For example, anytime a group of individuals gets together, there is a natural tendency or predisposition for them to establish a social order.

The most significant of these predispositions or images in the collective unconscious are referred to as archetypes. Archetypes are universal thoughts, symbols, or images having a large amount of emotion attached to them. Their special status comes from the importance they have gained across the many generations and the significant role they play in day-to-day living. Another concept Jung used to illustrate the universal connectedness of the collective unconscious was the principle of synchronicity. Jung used synchronicity to explain the occurrence of two meaningful events that do not appear to have any physical cause-and-effect sequence, such as dreaming of a distant relatives death and then receiving news a week later that the relative had died on the same day you had the dream.

While there are a variety of archetypes, there are four archetypes that play a significant role in the establishment of a balanced personality: the persona; animus/anima; shadow; and self. The persona is an archetype that develops over time as a result of the tendency of people to adopt the social roles and norms that go along with living with other people. From the Latin word meaning mask, the persona reflects what might be defined as a persons public personality (e.g., being courteous in public). However, attaching too much emotion and importance to the persona can result in the individual losing contact with his or her true feelings and identity, which can then become dictated by others (e.g., an individual with a shallow and conforming personality). Jung believed that individuals were psychologically bisexual in nature in that each individual possesses characteristic features and tendencies of the opposite sex that are represented by the archetypes of the animus and anima. The animus is the masculine aspect of females, such as being aggressive. The anima is the feminine aspect of males, such as being nurturing. The well-developed personality contains both masculine and feminine characteristics. The shadow represents the dark and primitive side of personality. Like the id developed by Freud, the shadow represents all of the instinctive and impulsive aspects of personality typically repressed in the unconscious regions of the mind and kept out of the public personality.

The self, the most significant archetype, is that element of the personality predisposing the individual to unite all other aspects of the personality. The development of the self as an archetype reflects the desire by people across generations to seek unity and harmony. Within the individual, the self is the motivating force seeking to achieve unity and harmony between all the private and public, masculine and feminine, and conscious and unconscious aspects of the individual. Failure on the part of the self to achieve this sense of unity and balance can result in the overdevelopment of one aspect of the personality at the expense of all others.


According to Jung there are two general types of personality attitudes by which individuals orient themselves toward their environment: extraversion and introversion. The extraversion attitude is an outward orientation in which psychic energy is invested in events and objects in the external environment (e.g., preference for group activities). The introverted attitude reflects an inward orientation in which psychic energy is invested in internal and personal experiences (e.g., preference for spending time alone). While Jung believed that both types of attitudes are present within each personality, he thought that in each person one attitude is expressed more at the conscious level than the other.

Besides the two basic attitudes of personality, Jung also proposed the existence of four functions of personality. Each function is characterized by a specific orientation for understanding the events and experiences in the environment.

  • The sensation function involves relating to the world through the senses.
  • The thinking function refers to the tendency to relate to the world through ideas and intellect.
  • The feeling function concerns reacting to the world on the basis of the emotional quality of ones experiences with it.
  • The intuition function goes beyond all other conscious functions and relies on a deeper, more internal sense of understanding.

As with the two attitude types, Jung assumed that each personality possesses all four functions, but one is often expressed at a predominant, conscious level at the expense of the others.

The technique of personality assessment most closely identified with Jungian principles is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a self-report instrument using objective criteria (i.e., standardized response and scoring procedures) based on Jungs type theory and designed to assess how variations in the expression of the two attitudes and four functions result in differences in the way individuals use perception and judgment as general orientations to their experiences when taking in information and making decisions. The utility of the MBTI can be seen in its use in a variety of areas, including literary criticism, career-counseling, organizational consulting, design of information technology, academic advising, and the health care industry.


Mental health was represented by Jung as a balanced expression of the various archetypes. Jung proposed that well-adjusted individuals learn to incorporate private aspects of their personality into the persona and express them consciously in socially acceptable forms. The developmental concept of individuation is used to describe the process by which individuals become aware of the different aspects of their personality at both the conscious and unconscious level, and expend mental energy to develop and express them in a meaningful way. The development of neuroses is a result of the individual failing to achieve a sense of integration, resulting in the projection of the underrepresented aspects of the self (e.g., connectedness with others) on to others (e.g., blaming a spouse for not being affectionate), which serves to foster mal-adaptive interpersonal social relationships. The development of psychosis is a result of extreme and prolonged repression of underrepresented aspects of the self, resulting in the aspects exploding into the individuals psyche in the form of drastic shifts away from the conscious, public persona (e.g., massive retreat into the unconscious mind and away from reality, as is with schizophrenia).

Based on Freuds technique of psychoanalysis, Jungs form of therapy is referred to as analytical psychotherapy and is characterized by a greater emphasis in the unconscious and the reestablishing of psychological balance within the individual. One method used to investigate the unconscious was the word association test. The test, which Jung invented, was used principally to help identify the clients problematic complexes. A problematic complex is characterized by the overinvestment of mental and emotional energy into one aspect of an individuals personality (e.g., obsession with work) at the expense of other aspects of the individuals personality (e.g., neglecting ones family).

Going beyond the identification of problematic complexes, Jung analyzed dreams to explore the archetypes of clients using a technique referred to as the method of amplification, which he also developed. In this method the client not only reports what is going on in the dream but also expands on the details as if actually a part of the dream (e.g., describing how it feels to be free and very powerful, as represented by a sports car as a symbol of the self in the dream). To facilitate this process, Jung used the dream series method, which involved amplifying and analyzing a series of dreams for the repeated occurrence of particular archetype symbols (e.g., the self appearing as the sun or a tall building). He also used the method of active imagination in which the client is asked to imagine having an interaction with the significant archetypes identified during treatment (e.g., talking to a mechanic/therapist about making the car/self perform more effectively).


In 1933 as Adolf Hitler came to power, the German Medical Society of Psychotherapy was reorganized based on National Socialistic principles in an attempt to remove its Jewish members. An International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy was organized in Germany and permitted individual membership, including Jewish members, and national societies, including the German Society. Jung was elected the International Societys first president in 1933 and served until 1939. Jung also served as the chief editor of Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie und ihre Grenzgebiete, a journal that eventually published an article promoting Hitlers Mein Kampf as required reading for all psychoanalysts. Jungs affiliation with this Nazidominated International Society led to accusations that Jung was a Nazi sympathizer. Jung maintained that his involvement with the International Society was an indirect attempt to make it possible for Jewish practitioners to maintain their professional involvement and help preserve psychoanalysis, which the Nazis viewed as a Jewish science. It should be noted that Jung resigned from the International Society for Psychotherapy toward the end of World War II (19391945), had public supporters who were Jewish, was blacklisted by the Nazis, and had his works suppressed in Germany and other occupied countries by the Nazis.

Despite Jungs novel contributions to the study of personality and psychotherapy, the acceptance of Jungs ideas has been limited by the vague definitions of his principal concepts (e.g., the collective unconscious, archetypes, synchronicity), which made his concepts difficult to test empirically by the traditional scientific methods. Given the difficulty in quantitative testing, Jungs ideas have been more popular and influential in the more qualitative areas of scholarship, such as the humanities (e.g., literary criticism, mythology, and symbolism) and humanistic social sciences (e.g., anthropology and qualitative sociology) than the quantitative areas associated with postmodern experimental psychology and psychiatric medical research.

SEE ALSO Freud, Sigmund; Hitler, Adolf; Nazism; Personality; Psychology; Psychotherapy


Douglas, C. 2000. Analytical psychotherapy. In Current Psychotherapies, 6th ed., eds. Raymond J. Corsini and Danny Wedding, 99132. Itasca, IL: Peacock Publishers.

Ellenberger, Henri F. 1970. The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Hall, Calvin S., and Vernon J. Nordby. 1973. A Primer of Jungian Psychology. New York: New American Library.

Jung, Carl G. 1961. Memories, Dreams, and Reflections. New York: Random House.

Myers, Isabel B., Mary H. McCaulley, Naomi L. Quenk, and Allen L. Hammer. 1998. MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto: Consulting Psychological Press.

Storr, Anthony 1991. Jung. New York: Routledge.

Bernardo J. Carducci

Jung, Carl

views updated May 18 2018

Carl Jung

Born: July 26, 1875
Kesswil, Switzerland
Died: June 26, 1961
Küsnacht, Switzerland

Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist

The Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung was one of the major forces responsible for bringing psychological (having to do with the mind and its processes) thought and its theories into the twentieth century.

Jung's youth and personal life

Carl Gustav Jung was born on July 26, 1875, in Kesswil, Switzerland, the son of a Protestant minister. At the age of four, the family moved to Basel. When he was six years old, Carl went to the village school in Klein-Huningen. His father also started teaching him Latin at this time. During his childhood, Jung preferred to be left alone to play by himself. He was happiest when he was in isolation with his thoughts.

As Jung grew older, his keen interest in a large variety of sciences, and the history of religion made the choice of a career quite difficult. However, he finally decided on medicine, which he studied at the University of Basel (18951900). He received his medical degree from the University of Zurich in 1902. Later he studied psychology (the scientific study of the mind and its processes) in Paris, France.

In 1903 Jung married Emma Rauschenbach. She was his loyal companion and scientific coworker until her death in 1955. The couple had five children, and lived in Küsnacht on the Lake of Zurich.

Career begins

Jung began his professional career in 1900 as an assistant to Eugen Bleuler (18571939) at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Zurich. During these years of his internship, Jung, with a few associates, worked out the so-called association experiment. This is a method of testing used to reveal affectively significant groups of ideas in the unconscious area of the psyche (the mind). These groups or "complexes" as Jung called them, would have a control over the affected person, and would encourage anxieties and inappropriate emotions.

When Jung read Sigmund Freud's (18561939) Interpretation of Dreams, he found his own ideas and observations to be basically confirmed and furthered. He sent his publication Studies in Word Association (1904) to Freud, and this was the beginning of their work together, as well as their friendship, which lasted from 1907 to 1913. Jung was eager to explore the secrets of the unconscious psyche expressed by dreaming, fantasies, myths, fairy tales, superstition, and occultism (belief in supernatural powers or forces). But Freud had already worked out his theories about the basic cause of every psycho-neurosis (an emotional problem that becomes known through physical symptoms or through feelings of anxiety, depression, or fear) and also his belief that all the expressions of the unconscious (the part of the mind that is not a usual part of a person's awareness) are hidden wish fulfillments. Jung felt more and more that these theories were scientific presumptions (beliefs that are based on expected outcomes), which did not do full justice to the expressions of unconscious psychic life. For him the unconscious not only is a disturbing factor causing psychic illnesses but also is basically the source of man's creativeness and the roots of a person's consciousness. With such ideas Jung came increasingly into conflict with Freud, who regarded Jung's ideas as unscientific. Jung accused Freud of narrow-mindedness; Freud and his followers disapproved of Jung for his emphasis of the spiritual aspects of the psyche.

Jung's work after Freud

Jung was bothered by his break with Freud. He began a deepened self-analysis (an examination of oneself) in order to gain all the honesty and firmness for his own journey into discovering the mysteries of the unconscious psyche. During the years from 1913 to 1921 Jung published only three important papers: "Two Essays on Analytical Psychology" (1916, 1917) and "Psychological Types" (1921). The "Two Essays" provided the basic ideas from which his later work was developed. He described his research on psychological typology (the classification of personalities by studying their similarities and differences)that there are two basic classifications, or "two types of personalities," in the way they relate to the world: introversion and extroversion. Introversion, in which one has the characteristic of being self-involved, withdrawn, occupied with one's "inner world." Extroversion, in which one relates to the world through social involvement and has interests outside of oneself and is "outgoing." He expressed the idea that it is the "personal equation" which, often unconsciously but in agreement with one's own typology, influences how an individual observes and interacts with their world.

Next to Jung's typology, his main contribution was his discovery that man's fantasy life has a certain structure. There must be subtle active centers in the unconscious which control natural behavior and free imagination. These combine to form Jung's concept of archetypes. An individual will dream on impulse, and these dreams will have a theme or story similar to a fairy tale, or a myth, from a time long past, that are unknown to the person dreaming. To Jung this meant that archetypal symptoms (memories of experiences of people from the past that are present in every person's unconscious mind) belong to human beings of all ages and from all times; they are the expression of a collective body of man's basic psychic nature. Many neurotic sufferings have happened due to a feeling of self-estrangement (the alienation of oneself from oneself) because of man's creation of a logical framework and control of his dependence on these "memories" of experiences that exist in the unconscious.

In order to study archetypal patterns and processes, Jung visited so-called primitive tribes. He lived among the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona in 1924 and 1925 and among the inhabitants of Mt. Elgon in Kenya during 1925 and 1926. He later visited Egypt and India. To Jung, the religious symbols and phenomenology (a system of beliefs developed by studying peoples understanding and awareness of themselves) of Buddhism and Hinduism and the teachings of Zen Buddhism and Confucianism all expressed differentiated experiences on the way to man's inner world, a world which was badly neglected by Western civilization. Jung also searched for traditions in Western culture, which made up for its one-sided outgoing development toward reason and technology. He found these traditions in Gnosticism (belief that personal freedom comes through spiritual knowledge and understanding), Christian mysticism (the belief that instinct and spiritual feeling are the ways to find God), and, above all, occultism (knowledge or use of supernatural powers). Some of his major works are deep and clear psychological interpretations of alchemical (the ability and power to make common things special) writings, showing their living significance for understanding dreams and the hidden theme of neurotic and mental disorders.

Inner development and growth of personality

Of prime importance to Jung was the detailing of the stages of inner development and of the growth of the personality, which he termed the "process of individuation." He described a strong impulse from the unconscious to guide the individual toward its most complete uniqueness. This achievement is a lifelong task of trial and error and identifying and uniting contents of the unconscious. It consists in an ever-increasing self-knowledge and in "becoming what you are."

Jung lived for his explorations, his writings, and his psychological practice, which he had to give up in 1944 due to a severe heart attack. His career included the professorship of medical psychology at the University of Basel and the titular (title without the actual position) professorship of philosophy from 1933 until 1942 on the faculty of philosophical and political sciences of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. In 1948 he founded the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Honorary doctorates were given to him by many important universities all over the world. Carl Gustav Jung died in Küsnacht on June 6, 1961.

For More Information

Brockway, Robert W. Young Carl Jung. Wilmette, IL: Chiron Publications, 1996.

Casement, Ann. Carl Gustav Jung. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2001.

Dunne, Clare. Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul. New York: Parabola Books, 2000.

Hayman, Ronald. A Life of Jung. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.

Jung, C. G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Rev. ed. Edited by Aniela Jaffé. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.

McLynn, Frank. Carl Gustav Jung: A Biography. London: Bantam Press, 1996.

Jung, Carl

views updated Jun 08 2018

Carl Jung

Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytic psychology.

Carl Jung was born in Switzerland, the son of a Swiss Reform pastor. Having decided to become a psychiatrist, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Basel, from which he received his degree in 1900. Serving as an assistant at the University of Zurich Psychiatric Clinic, Jung worked under psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939), a psychiatrist renowned for his work on schizophrenia . Jung also traveled to France to study with the well-known psychiatrist Pierre Janet (1859-1947) as well. In 1905, he was appointed to a faculty

position in psychiatry at the University of Zurich and became a senior physician at its clinic. Eventually, a growing private practice forced him to resign his university position. Jung's early published studies on schizophrenia established his reputation, and he also won recognition for developing a word association test .

Jung had read Sigmund Freud 's The Interpretation of Dreams shortly after its publication in 1900 and entered into a correspondence with its author. The two men met in 1907 and began a close association that was to last for over six years. In 1909, they both traveled to the United States to participate in the 20th-anniversary commemoration at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the invitation of American psychologist, G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924). Jung became part of a weekly discussion group that met at Freud's house and included, among others, Alfred Adler and Otto Rank (1884-1939). This group evolved into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, and Jung became its first president in 1911. Jung had begun to develop concepts about psychoanalysis and the nature of the unconscious that differed from those of Freud, however, especially Freud's insistence on the sexual basis of neurosis . After the publication of Jung's Psychology of the Unconscious in 1912, the disagreement between the two men grew, and their relationship ended in 1914. At this period, Jung underwent a period of personal turmoil and, like Freud at a similar juncture in his own life, undertook a thorough self-analysis based on his dreams . Jung also explored myths and symbols, an interest he was to investigate further in the 1920s with trips to Africa and the southwestern United States to study the myths and religions of non-Western cultures.

Jung developed his own system of psychoanalysis, which he called analytical psychology, that reflected his interest in symbolism, mythology, and spirituality. A major premise of analytical psychology is that the individual personality , or psyche , functions on three levels. The ego operates at the conscious level, while the personal unconscious includes experiences that have been repressed, forgotten, or kept from consciousness in some other way. It is also the site of complexesgroups of feelings, thoughts, and memories, usually organized around a significant person (such as a parent) or object (such as money). At the deepest and most powerful level, Jung posited the existence of a racial or collective unconscious, which gathers together the experiences of previous generations and even animal ancestors, preserving traces of humanity's evolutionary development over time. The collective unconscious is a repository of shared images and symbols, called archetypes , that emerge in dreams, myths, and other forms. These include such common themes as birth , rebirth, death, the hero, the earth mother, and the demon. Certain archetypes form separate systems within the personality, including the persona, or public image; the anima and animus, or gender characteristics; the shadow, or animal instincts; and the self, which strives for unity and wholeness. In Jung's view, a thorough analysis of both the personal and collective unconscious is necessary to fully understand the individual personality.

Perhaps Jung's best-known contribution is his theory that individuals can be categorized according to general attitudinal type as either introverted (inward-looking) or extroverted (outward-looking). The psychic wholeness, or individuation, for which human beings strive depends on reconciling these tendencies as well as the four functional aspects of the mind that are split into opposing pairs: sensing versus intuiting as ways of knowing, and thinking versus feeling as ways of evaluating. If any of these personality characteristics is overly dominant in the conscious mind, its opposite will be exaggerated in the unconscious. These pairs of functions have been widely adapted in vocational and other types of testing.

From 1932 to 1942, Jung was a professor at the Federal Polytechnical University of Zurich. Although his health forced him to resign, he continued writing about analytical psychology for the rest of his life and promoting the attainment of psychic wholeness through personal transformation and self-discovery. Jung's work has been influential in disciplines other than psychology, and his own writing includes works on religion, the arts, literature, and occult topics including alchemy, astrology, yoga, fortune telling, and flying saucers. Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, was published in 1961, the year of his death. Institutes of analytical psychology have been established throughout the world, although its international center remains the C.J. Jung Institute in Zurich, founded in 1948. Jung was a prolific writer; his collected works fill 19 volumes, but many of his writings were not published in English until after 1965. Shortly before his death, Jung completed work on Man and His Symbols, which has served as a popular introduction to his ideas on symbols and dreams.

See also Archetype; Character; Extroversion; Introversion

Further Reading

Fordham, Frieda. An Introduction to Jung's Psychology. New York: Penguin Books, 1966.

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