Jungian Analytical Theory

Abbe Finn

Jungian analytical psychology is an approach that looks at the total person – mind, body, and soul. The approach links the conscious and unconscious aspects of the individual in a search for life's meaning in a personal way, which also takes into account collective influences. Many methods are used to uncover the unfolding of the psyche, for example, dreams, complexes, and life situations. These contain the symbols that reveal the process of becoming oneself.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was the founder of the analytical psychology known as Jungian psychotherapy (Jung, 1926/1954a). Jung lived to be 86 years old and was active in his profession until his death. Over the years he continued to refine his theories and formulate new ideas. Therefore, it is difficult to discretely summarize the body of his work because it is vast and varied (Young-Eisendrath, 1985). He continues to be controversial for his theories, personal life, and politics. Jung's reputation has been damaged because he expressed sympathies for the politics of the Nazi regime (Grossman, 1979; McLynn, 1997).

Jung was a disciple of Sigmund Freud but parted ways with him in 1913 over Freud's emphasis on biological drives and sexual urges as the prime human motivating factors (Jung, 1911/1956). This was a very difficult separation, and as a result of this schism, he resigned as the first president of the International Psychoanalytic Association. In the years from 1913 to 1919, he withdrew and became introspective and isolated. These years coincided with World War I. He was appointed commandant of a camp for interned British soldiers. He reemerged in 1921 publishing Psychologische Typen. It was translated into English and published in 1923 as Psychological Types (Jung, 1923/1971).

Jung came to believe that the role of the psychotherapist is to analyze dreams and fantasies (sometimes expressed through the arts) and bring thoughts from the unconscious to conscious awareness (Jung, 1945 / 1954c). He believed that each person has one's own unconscious self as well as that of the collective unconscious from one's ancestors, religious background, cultural mythology, and the evolution of ancestors. The collective unconscious is manifest as archetypal personality characteristics that are universal (Jung, 1936/1959b). He believed personalities can be described by three polar characteristics: introversion versus extraversion, perceiving versus thinking, and sensing versus intuiting (Jung, 1902/1959a). This theory is the foundation for assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), word association tests, and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).

Jung read widely and studied diverse topics, including religion, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, anthropology, philosophy, classic languages, mythology, alchemy, and the occult. He also traveled widely and studied cultural anthropology. He drew information from these various fields in the development of his theories.

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