Carl Jung – Unsung Hero of Psychology

Introduction

Carl Jung, born as Carl Gustav Jung in Kesswil, Sweden July 26, 1875 was the first son of Paul Jung and Emilie Preiswerk. His father was a pastor and his mother was of distinguished lineage for the country they grew up in. Carl Jung at a young age moved with his family to the city of Laufen which served as the catalyst for a disruptive marriage that would affect Jung in a variety of aspects throughout his childhood and onto his career as a psychologist. Emilie had bouts of psychosis and depression which removed her from Jung’s life and his father Paul was never fully supportive of his son through schooling which caused Carl Jung to become solitary and reserved in nature. Jung’s response to his rather harsh upbringing resulted in him practicing various methods to ease his fears, but throughout school would suffer from bullying which would cause problems in his life that would only be overcome after a realization that he would need to care for his family in the near future.

Jung eventually discovered the study of psychology and would go on to study medicine at the University of Basel. Following, Jung began working in a psychiatric hospital in Zurich where he would publish several works and begin talking to his soon to be mentor Sigmund Freud. The relationships between Jung and Freud would be pivotal in his eventual works and studies, as the two were heavily passionate about the field of psychology and compassionate towards one another akin to that of a father and son. However; due to fundamental differences in each’s reasoning a feud would form between the two that would end the relationship, and serve as a motivator for several more books throughout his lifetime. Carl Jung would die in June 1961 in Kusnacht, leaving behind five children and his legacy as a psychoanalyst.

Collective Consciousness & Archetypes

While studying psychology, Jung developed a theory that most societies had an underlying string of values and ideals called the collective unconsciousness. This concept revolved around the idea that many figures and practices had a common place in representing certain emotions any average person would face such as strength, fear, and love. These emotions would go on to be depicted as gods, spirits, and other tribal practices, as many cultures had their own depictions of a paternal figure like Zeus who was the ruler of Olympus, and a maternal figure like Mary who was the mother of Jesus. Jung himself experienced similar events as a child who would practice a particular set of rituals akin to totem worship which could be found in various cultures from North America to Australia. These practices would provide a sense of security for those who practiced the rituals, and Jung would find himself in a similar position as well further backing his rational that underlying feels and emotions would present themselves in similar manners across the world.

Jung worked extensively on what common aspects of society would be depicted through figures of mythology and created a set of archetypes that he believed represented these aspects of the collective unconscious. Each entity would be a duality of positive and negative traits, so basic concepts like chaos and order or light and darkness could be found in every culture. More complicated archetypes like that of the Caring Mother could be followed up with the interpretation of the Evil Mother which would be akin to figures commonly found in most fairy tales. Jung also created the anima and animus, which represents traits typical of femininity and masculinity, would also be present with the concepts of the inner and outer self, wherein one’s true nature is contrasted with how they choose to represent themselves in society, and to balance all aspects of these archetypes would be necessary to fulfillment and personal stability.

Personality Analysis

Jung began his ventures into psychology by attempting to unravel the root cause of mental illness, and created various theories in order to explain illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, and phobias, but also tried to describe what steps a person should take in order to self-actualize. These ideas and concepts would culminate into what would be called Jungian analysis or analytical psychology, and would revolve around the idea of libido or Jung’s version of life energy. In analytical psychology a human’s development would be separated into two phases of growth with one being puberty in adolescent years and the other being in middle adulthood approximately late 30s to early 40s, so in the first phase one is discovering themselves and in the second they are finalizing these discoveries and centering themselves from the individual to the communal.

Throughout these phases, the individual is attempting to balance out the archetypal roles in one’s unconscious in order to reach Jung’s idea of self-actualization. Balancing archetypes like the anima and animus, or unraveling the positive aspects of one’s shadow self are all steps that would be considered important in the subfield of analytical psychology. This method psychology would be involved in helping those who are stuck in these processes of self-fulfillment, as Jung believed those who could not progress would begin to develop neurotic symptoms that could result in a variety of mental illnesses like depression. While Freud believed that all development centered on sex and relationships with others, Jung based his theories of development off ideas central to his own upbringing which were more internally driven. The archetypes described would be the key figures in development, and could include sexual aspects as seen in Freudian psychology, but were more generalized to include other beliefs which in themselves would be multifaceted. 

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