Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (IPA: [ˈkarl ˈgʊstaf ˈjʊŋ]) (July 26, 1875, Kesswil, – June 6, 1961, Küsnacht) was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology.




Jung's unique and broadly influential approach to psychology emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician for most of his life, much of his life's work was spent exploring other realms: Eastern vs. Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. Jung also emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious realm. Jungian ideas are not typically included in curriculum of most major universities' psychology departments, but are occasionally explored in humanities departments.[citation needed]

Many pioneering psychological concepts were originally proposed by Jung, including:

In addition, the popular career test currently offered by high school and college career centers and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is strongly influenced by Jung's theories. [1]


Jungian psychology

Carl Jung - drawing
Carl Jung - drawing

Jung developed his own distinctive approach to the study of the human mind. In his early years when working in a Swiss hospital with schizophrenic patients and working with Sigmund Freud and the burgeoning psychoanalytic community, he took a closer look at the mysterious depths of the human unconscious. Fascinated by what he saw (and spurred on with even more passion by the experiences and questions of his personal life) he devoted his life to the exploration of the unconscious. Unlike many before him, Jung did not feel that experimenting using natural science was the best means to understand the soul. For him, an empirical investigation of the world of dream, myth, and soul represented the most promising road to deeper understanding. Self Realization is the final stage of Jung's stages of development and that within this stage there is still some room for growth and development. This process is also called individuation, which is the process of becoming an individual.

The overarching goal of Jung's work was the reconciliation of the life of the individual with the world of the supra-personal archetypes. He came to see the individual's encounter with the unconscious as central to this process. The human experiences the unconscious through symbols encountered in all aspects of life: in dreams, art, religion, and the symbolic dramas we enact in our relationships and life pursuits. Essential to the encounter with the unconscious, and the reconciliation of the individual's consciousness with this broader world, is learning this symbolic language. Only through attention and openness to this world (which is quite foreign to the modern Western mind) are individuals able to harmonize their lives with these suprapersonal archetypal forces.

"Neurosis" results from a disharmony between the individual's consciousness and the greater archetypal world. The aim of psychotherapy is to assist the individual in reestablishing a healthy relationship to the unconscious (neither being swamped by it — a state characteristic of psychosis — nor completely shut off from it — a state that results in malaise, empty consumerism, narcissism, and a life cut off from deeper meaning). The encounter between consciousness and the symbols arising from the unconscious enriches life and promotes psychological development. Jung asserted that neuroses and other psychological problems were not merely difficulties to be overcome or repressed, but that they represented opportunities for growth and maturation, whereby parts of the unconscious could be integrated into our psyche. He considered this process of psychological growth and maturation (which is known as individuation) to be of critical importance to the human being, and ultimately to modern society.

To undergo the individuation process, the individual must be open to the parts of oneself beyond one's own ego. The modern individual must pay attention to dreams, explore the world of religion and spirituality, and question the assumptions of the operant societal worldview (rather than just blindly living life in accordance with dominant norms and assumptions).


The collective unconscious

Jung's concept of the collective unconscious has often been misunderstood. In order to understand this concept, it is essential to understand his idea of the archetype, something typically foreign to the highly rational, scientifically-oriented Western mind.

The collective unconscious could be thought of as the DNA of the human psyche[citation needed]. Just as all humans share a common physical heritage and predisposition towards specific physical forms (like having two legs, a heart, etc.) so do all humans have a common psychological predisposition. However, unlike the quantifiable information that composes DNA (in the form of coded sequences of nucleotides), the collective unconscious is composed of archetypes.

In contrast to the objective material world, the subjective realm of archetypes cannot be fully plumbed through quantitative modes of research. Instead it can be revealed more fully through an examination of the symbolic communications of the human psyche — in art, dreams, religion, myth, and the themes of human relational/behavioral patterns. Devoting his life to the task of exploring and understanding the collective unconscious, Jung theorized that certain symbolic themes exist across all cultures, all epochs, and in every individual.


The Shadow

The shadow is an unconscious complex that is defined as the repressed and suppressed aspects of the conscious self.

There are constructive and destructive types of shadow.

On the destructive side, it often represents everything that the conscious person does not wish to acknowledge within themselves. For instance, someone who identifies as being kind has a shadow that is harsh or unkind. Conversely, an individual who is brutal has a kind shadow. The shadow of persons who are convinced that they are ugly appears to be beautiful.

On the constructive side, the shadow may represent hidden positive influences. This has been referred to as "the gold in the shadow". Jung points to the story of Moses and Al-Khidr in the 18th Book of the Koran as an example.

Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness, lest one project these attributes on others.

The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.

According to Jung the human being deals with the reality of the Shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation.


Anima and Animus

Jung identified the anima as being the unconscious feminine component of men and the animus as the unconscious masculine component in women. However, this is rarely taken as a literal definition: many modern day Jungian practitioners believe that every person has both an anima and an animus. Jung stated that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth. Jung reported that he identified his anima as she spoke to him, as an inner voice, unexpectedly one day.

Often, when people ignore the anima or animus complexes, the anima or animus vies for attention by projecting itself on others. This explains, according to Jung, why we are sometimes immediately attracted to certain strangers: we see our anima or animus in them. Love at first sight is an example of anima and animus projection. Moreover, people who strongly identify with their gender role (e.g. a man who acts aggressively and never cries) have not actively recognized or engaged their anima or animus.

Jung attributes human rational thought to be the male nature, while the irrational aspect is considered to be natural female. Consequently, irrationality is the male anima shadow and rationality is the female animus shadow.


Hero Archetype

The Hero Archetype was described by Jung as a common myth of all cultures. Heroes do various extraordinary tasks from slaying dragons, to pulling children out of burning buildings. For example, look to the classic children's story Robin Hood, where Robin Hood "steals from the rich and gives to the poor". From fact to fiction one's imagination is captivated by the hero archetype.



Jung introduced the concept of individuation. This brief summary is based on a chapter by Henri Ellenberger in the book "The Discovery of the Unconscious." [1]

While important to many people, the concept of individuation takes on a deep meaning for adults at midlife—a time at which life’s meaning and purpose come to the fore. In writing about Jung, Ellenberger described midlife or Lebenswende as representing a profound change, gradual or sudden—that can manifest from "long-repressed intellectual or spiritual needs" (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 711). This change may be seen as a gift from the unconscious—a warning to take full advantage and not waste this precious second half of life (p 711).

The process of individuating can take a lifetime. It consists of a series of metamorphoses (the death/rebirth cycle), such as birth/infancy, puberty, adulthood, and midlife. If one can individuate at midlife, the ego is no longer at the center (p. 712), and the individual makes some sort of peace with her/his mortality.

For the proverbial midlife crisis, Jung suggests that this turning of life may be cured by seriously resuming the practice of religion. However, many are disinclined to take up the practice of traditional religion. For these, Jung suggests his own approach to therapy—a synthetic-hermeneutic method (p. 715).


Jungian therapy

Steps for the Jungian approach to therapy involve the following [citation needed]:


Psychological Types

The often misunderstood terms extravert and introvert derive from this work. In Jung's original usage, the extraversion - "is an outward-turning of libido",[2], whereas introvesion - is an inward-turning of libido. Everyone has both the intraversion and the extraversion mechanisms, and just conditional ones or other's superiority defines whether individual is introvert or extravert[2].

According to Jung, the conscious psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distuinguishes four basic functions[2]:

Thinking and feeling functions is rational, intuition with sensation is irrational. According to Jung, rationality, it is a figurative thoughts, feelings or actions with reason - a point of view based on objective value, which is set by practical experience. Whereas irationality - not based with reason. Jung notes, that elementary existing facts also belongs to this group, but not because they are not logical, but because they, as a thought, have no reason.

In any person, the degree of introversion/extraversion of one function can be quite different to that of another function.

Broadly speaking, we tend to work from our most developed - superior - function, while we need to widen our personality by developing the others. Related to this, Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person's least developed - inferior - function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped function(s) thus tend to progress together.


Jung's life

Jung in 1910.
Jung in 1910.

Jung was born in Kesswil, in the Swiss canton of Thurgau on July 26, 1875. A very solitary introverted child, Jung was convinced from childhood that he had two personalities—a modern Swiss citizen, and a personality more at home in the eighteenth century. His father was a parson, but, although Jung was close to both parents, he was rather disappointed in his father's academic approach to faith. Jung wanted to study archaeology at university, but his family was not wealthy enough to send him further afield than Basel, where they did not teach this subject, so instead Jung studied medicine at the University of Basel from 1894–1900. The formerly introverted student became much more lively here. In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, from one of the richest families in Switzerland.

Towards the end of studies, his reading of Krafft-Ebbing persuaded him to specialise in psychiatric medicine. He later worked in the Burghölzli, a psychiatric hospital in Zürich. In 1906, he published Studies in Word Association, and later sent a copy of this book to Freud, after which a close friendship between these two men followed for some 6 years (see section on Jung and Freud). Dementia praecox was the name of a chronic psychotic disorder which was renamed schizophrenia by Jung's colleague at the Burgholzli, Eugen Bleuler, in an article published in 1908.

By 1913, however, especially after Jung had published Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (known in English as The Psychology of the Unconscious) Jung's and Freud's theoretical ideas had diverged so sharply that the two men fell out, each suggesting that the other was unable to admit he could possibly be wrong. After this falling-out, Jung had some form of psychological transformative experience, exacerbated by news of the First World War, which had a dire effect on Jung even in his own neutral Switzerland. Henri Ellenberger called Jung's experience a "creative illness" and compared it to Freud's period of what he called neurasthenia and hysteria.

Following World War I, Jung became a worldwide traveller, facilitated by his wife's inherited fortune as well as the funds he realized through psychiatric fees, book sales, and honoraria. He visited Northern Africa shortly after, and New Mexico and Kenya in the mid-1920s. In 1938, he delivered the Terry Lectures, Psychology and Religion, at Yale University. It was at about this stage in his life that Jung visited India, and while there, had dreams related to King Arthur. His experience in India led him to become fascinated and deeply involved with Eastern philosophies and religions, helping him come up with key concepts of his ideology, including integrating spirituality into everyday life and appreciation of the unconscious.

Jung's marriage with Emma produced five children and lasted until Emma's death in 1955, but she certainly experienced emotional torments, brought about by Jung's relationships with women other than herself. The most well-known women with whom Jung is believed to have had extramarital affairs are Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff. Jung continued to publish books until the end of his life, including a work showing his late interest in flying saucers. He also enjoyed a friendship with an English Catholic priest, Father Victor White, who corresponded with Jung after he had published his controversial study of the Book of Job.[3]

Jung died in 1961 in Zürich, Switzerland.


Jung and Freud

Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. Front row: Sigmund Freud, Granville Stanley Hall, C.G.Jung. Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sandor Ferenczi.
Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. Front row: Sigmund Freud, Granville Stanley Hall, C.G.Jung. Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sandor Ferenczi.

Jung was thirty when he sent his work Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in Vienna. Half a year later, the then 50 year old Freud reciprocated by sending a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Zürich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted more than six years and ended shortly before World War I in May 1914, when Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Today Jung and Freud rule two very different empires of the mind, so to speak, which the respective proponents of these empires like to stress, downplaying the influence these men had on each other in the formative years of their lives. But in 1906 psychoanalysis as an institution was still in its early developmental stages. Jung, who had become interested in psychiatry as a student by reading Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard Krafft-Ebing, professor in Vienna, now worked as a doctor under the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in the Burghölzli and became familiar with Freud's idea of the unconscious through Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and was a proponent of the new "psycho-analysis". At the time, Freud needed collaborators and pupils to validate and spread his ideas. The Burghölzli was a renowned psychiatric clinic in Zürich at which Jung was an up-and-coming young doctor. Another difficulty Freud faced was that his slowly growing followership in Vienna was almost exclusively comprised of Jews, which Eugen Bleuler and Carl Jung were not.

In 1908, Jung became editor of the newly founded Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research. The following year, Jung traveled with Freud and Sandor Ferenczi to the U.S. to spread the news of psychoanalysis and in 1910, Jung became chairman for life of the International Psychoanalytical Association. While Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Symbols of Transformation), tensions grew between Freud and himself, due in a large part to their disagreements over the nature of libido and religion . In 1912 these tensions came to a peak because Jung felt severely slighted after Freud visited his colleague Ludwig Binswanger in Kreuzlingen without paying him a visit in nearby Zürich, an incident Jung referred to as the Kreuzlingen gesture. Shortly thereafter, Jung again traveled to the U.S.A. and gave the Fordham lectures, which were published as The Theory of Psychoanalysis, and while they contain some remarks on the Jung's dissenting view on the nature of libido, they represent largely a "psychoanalytical Jung" and not the theory Jung became famous for in the following decades.

In November 1912, Jung and Freud met in Munich for a meeting among prominent colleagues to discuss psychoanalytical journals[4].. At a talk about a new psychoanalytic essay on Amenhotep IV, Jung expressed his views on how it related to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytic movement. While Jung spoke, Freud suddenly fainted and Jung carried him to a couch.

Jung and Freud personally met for the last time in September 1913 for the Fourth International Psychoanalytical Congress, also in Munich. Jung gave a talk on psychological types, the introverted and the extroverted type, in analytical psychology. This constituted the introduction of some of the key concepts which came to distinguish Jung's work from Freud's in the next half century.

In the following years Jung experienced considerable isolation in his professional life, exacerbated through World War I. His Seven Sermons to the Dead (1917) reprinted in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections (see bibliography) can also be read as expression of the psychological conflicts which beset Jung around the age of forty after the break with Freud.

Jung's primary disagreement with Freud stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung (though not according to Freud), Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung believed that the unconscious also had a creative capacity, that the collective unconscious of archetypes and images which made up the human psyche was processed and renewed within the unconscious.


Jung, Nazism and anti-Semitism

Though the field of psychoanalysis was dominated at the time by Jewish practitioners, and Jung had many friends and respected colleagues who were Jewish, a shadow hung over Jung's career due to allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer. Jung was editor of the Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie, a publication that eventually endorsed Mein Kampf as required reading for all psychoanalysts. Jung claimed this was done to save psychoanalysis and preserve it during the war, believing that psychoanalysis would not otherwise survive because the Nazis considered it to be a "Jewish science". He also claimed he did it with the help and support of his Jewish friends and colleagues.[5]

Jung also served as president of the Nazi-dominated International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. Later in the war though, Jung resigned. In addition, in 1943 he aided the Office of Strategic Services by analyzing Nazi leaders for the United States.[6] However, it is still a topic of interest whether Jung's later explanations of his actions to save psychoanalysis from the Nazi Regime meant that he did not actually believe in Nazism himself.


The Philemon Foundation

The Philemon Foundation is a non-profit organisation that has set itself the task of preparing a new edition of Jung's Collected Works, including many new manuscripts that were previously thought to be lost or had not yet been translated. It is estimated that an additional 30 volumes of work will be published containing previously unreleased manuscripts, seminars and correspondences. The foundation's website is at



Jung has had an enduring influence on psychology as well as wider society. He has influenced psychotherapy (see Jungian psychology and Analytical psychology).


Spirituality as a cure for alcoholism

Jung's influence can sometimes be found in more unexpected quarters. For example, Jung once treated an American patient - one Rowland H. - suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time, and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.

Rowland took Jung's advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a Christian evangelical church. He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience. One of the alcoholics he told was Ebby Thatcher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, later co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) Thatcher told Wilson about Jung's ideas. Wilson, who was finding it impossible to maintain sobriety, was impressed and sought out his own spiritual experience. The influence of Jung ultimately found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12-step program, and from there into the whole 12-step recovery movement.

The above claims are documented in the letters of Carl Jung and Bill W., excerpts of which can be found in Pass It On published by Alcoholics Anonymous. The detail of this story is disputed by some historians. The main points of contention are that if Roland Hazard was under the care of Jung at all, it was only briefly, and that a quotation about spirituality attributed to Jung ("The only radical cure for dipsomania is religiomania") appears recognisably in another book that inspired the early AAers, Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, which was published before Roland Hazard's reported meeting with Jung, casting doubt on the reliability of Hazard's recollection[2]


Influences on culture






Video Games






See also



  1. Ellenberger, Henri F (1970). "Carl Gustav Jung and Analytical Psychology”, a chapter in The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. BasicBooks, Perseus Books Group.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jung, C.G., Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol.6), 1976 (1921), ISBN 0-691-01813-8
  3. "Answer to Job", in Psychology and Religion, v.11, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Princeton. It was first published as "Antwort auf Hiob", Zürich, 1952 and translated into English in 1954, in London.
  4. Jonest, Ernest, ed. Lionel Trilling and Steven Marcus. The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud New York: Anchor Books, 1963.
  5. Mark Medweth, « Jung and the Nazis », in Psybernetika, Winter 1996.
  6. Article « Jung, Carl Gustav », in Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
  7. Bair, Deirdre, Jung A Biography, Back Bay Books, 2003
  8. "Rhythm Of The Heat by Peter Gabriel", Song Facts (HTML). Retrieved on 2006-12-16.

Recommended Reading

There is much literature on Jungian thought. For a good, short and easily accessible introduction to Jung's thought read:

Other good introductory texts include:

Good texts in various areas of Jungian thought:

And a more academic text:

For the Jung-Freud relationship:

For critical scholarship on Jung from the perspective of historians of psychiatry:


Jung bibliography

Works arranged by original publication date if known:

An early writing by Jung, dating from around 1917, was his poetic work, The Seven Sermons to the Dead. Written in the persona of the 2nd century religious teacher Basilides of Alexandria, it explores ancient religious and spiritual themes, including those of gnosticism. This work is published in some editions of Memories, Dreams, Reflections.


External links

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