MAJOR CONSTRUCTS: PERSONALITY THEORY

The psyche represents the integration of the personal conscious, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The personal conscious includes the individual's spirit as well as his or her spirituality, orientation to the outer world (optimism vs. pessimism, introversion vs. extraversion), beliefs, emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The personal unconscious includes thoughts and memories that can be recalled. The collective unconscious is derived from the universal thoughts, emotions, fears, dreams, and mythical themes symbolically represented by archetypes.

The Personal Conscious

The personal conscious begins at birth and continues to develop across the life span. It is the only part of the person that is fully revealed to that person. These conscious thoughts consist of easily retrieved memories and current and recalled feelings and emotions. As the personality develops, the personal conscious becomes more and more unique. This process allows the person to become more self-aware and is known as individuation (Jung, 1936/1959b). The ego is the center of personal consciousness and has the executive function for organizing thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and emotions. The ego provides the foundation, stability, and organization for the personality by selecting which thoughts, emotions, and memories are recalled or experienced (Jung, 1936/1959b). The personal conscious and personal unconscious balance each other and are in a constant state of flux with content flowing back and forth. There is a self-regulatory function of the psyche that leads to psychic health (Bishop, 1999; Casement, 2001).

The Personal Unconscious

Jung's concept of the personal unconscious is similar to the psychoanalytical concept of the unconscious. The thoughts, feelings, memories, experiences, and emotions that are not permitted by the ego are maintained in the unconscious. These may range from inconsequential experiences to traumatic events or thoughts. The personal unconscious may also be composed of behaviors that are suppressed because of emotions such as fear or shame or because it is inconsistent with the imagined self. The unconscious is not content to stay buried, and aspects of the repressed material emerge in dreams, fantasies, or themes for artistic expressions such as visual art, poetry, or music. When these themes emerge and are paired with charged emotions, they are known as complexes. There are many different types of complexes, for example, the piter artemus (the eternal child), father complex, mother complex, Cassandra complex, God complex, martyr complex, Napoleon complex, and superiority complex.

An example of a common complex is the father complex. In this case the person would typically relate to the world by protecting, managing, and controlling others. In women, the father complex is manifest as hero worship. In contrast, the mother complex is characterized by nurturing. It has as its core the personal experience with one's own mother but also the archetype of the earth mother. In a female, it is demonstrated through apparent self-sacrifice, caregiving, loyalty, and nurturing. In men, Jung hypothesized that the mother complex could lead to a variety of behaviors from homosexuality to Don Juan type of serial romances and flirtations with women. Men and women with the mother complex appear to be devoted to their mother, often sacrificing for her. Jung hypothesized that each personal complex also contains elements of the collective unconscious.

 
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