Carl Gustav Jung – Analytical Psychology

Early in 1909 Carl Jung, then a colleague and close friend of Freud’s, expressed a keen interest in pre- cognition and parapsychology. To Jung’s dismay and irritation, Freud strongly denounced such beliefs as nonsensical. The rejection made Jung feel as though his diaphragm were made of red-hot iron, whereupon a strange loud noise issued from a nearby bookcase.

“There,” Jung argued, “that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorization phenomenon.”

“Bosh,” retorted Freud.

“It is not,” Jung replied. “And to prove my point I now predict that in a moment there will be another such loud report!”

No sooner had these words been spoken than a second inexplicable detonation went off in the bookcase. “To this day I do not know what gave me this certainty,” Jung was to reflect years later, “but I knew beyond all doubt that the report would come again. Freud only stared aghast at me” (Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 155–156.)1

Jung’s quest for information about the human psyche led him to sources that many would regard as farfetched— the occult, studies of extrasensory perception, alchemy, the myth of flying saucers. Yet Jung regarded himself as an empirical researcher, possessed a fine mind, read voraciously and acquired an immense store of knowledge, trav- eled widely in order to study various races and classes, and was an esteemed psychotherapist; and some of his ideas have become part of the everyday language of psychology and life.


  • To devise a theory of personality that greatly improves on Freud’s ideas while continuing to emphasize the importance of the unconscious.

  • To correct Freud’s extreme pessimism about human nature by showing that we have both healthy and malignant instincts, and that one of our healthy instincts is individuation (the forerunner of the humanistic concept of self-actualization).

  • To show that every personality includes a collective unconscious that contains archetypes, or inherited predispositions to perceive the world in certain ways, as well as a personal unconscious that contains repressed or forgotten material.

  • To show that introversion–extraversion and the four ways in which we perceive the world (sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition) are important aspects of every personality.

  • To correct Freud’s belief that mental illness usually has sexual causes by showing that every personality consists of various opposites, and that becoming too one-sided and ignoring the corresponding opposite aspect of personality is the major cause of psychopathology.

  • To devise improved methods of dream interpretation and psychotherapy.

  • To relate areas that most would regard as beyond the realm of personality theory, including the occult, extrasensory perception, and alchemy, to the study of personality.


Carl Gustav Jung was born on July 26, 1875, in Kesswil, a small village in Switzerland. His father was a Protestant country minister who was tormented by a lack of faith, and was unable to answer Jung’s pene- trating questions about religion and life. Jung’s skepticism about the Oedipus complex may have been due in part to a mother who was a “kindly, fat old woman” troubled by marital difficulties (Jung, 1961/1965,

p. 48), an influence quite different from that of Freud’s beautiful, young doting mother. Like Freud, Jung rose from austere middle-class origins to the heights of world fame.

Jung was an introverted and lonely child, deeply preoccupied with his inner psychic world. From an early age he experienced visions of the supernatural, such as a faintly luminous figure with a detached head that appeared to emanate from his mother’s bedroom. He soon came to regard himself as “a solitary, because I know things and must hint at things which other people do not know, and usually do not even want to know.… Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible” (Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 42, 356; see also pp. 18–19).

Jung became attracted to the fledgling field of psychiatry during his medical studies at the University of Basel, where he received his degree in 1900. Some of his professors were amazed and disappointed by his choice, but Jung was convinced that he had found his true calling. He became absorbed with the occult, participated in experiments with mediums, and devoured books on parapsychology. In addition to his visions, various experiences appeared to confirm the existence of the supernatural: A solid table and a steel knife in his parents’ home inexplicably shattered into pieces by themselves; he made up a supposedly imaginary story to entertain a group, only to find that he was clairvoyantly revealing true and intimate secrets about a man he did not know; and the morning after being awakened by a sharp headache, he discovered that one of his patients had that night shot himself in the back of the skull (Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 51, 105–106, 109, 137, 206).

Jung first worked at the famed Burghölzli Psychiatric Hospital in Zurich under the direction of Eugen Bleuler, who coined the term schizophrenia and was well known for his work on this disorder. There he developed the word association test and remained until 1909, when he departed to concentrate on his growing private practice. In 1903 he married Emma Rauschenbach, who also became his collaborator and learned to apply his psychotherapeutic methods. The marriage was basically successful, with the Jungs having four daughters and a son. But no one woman could make up for the emotional deprivations of Carl’s childhood. During middle age he entered into a lengthy affair with a young, attractive, and well- educated former patient, Toni Wolff. He even drew Toni into his family life, making her a regular guest for Sunday dinner. Emma ultimately decided to accept this situation, and Carl kept both his mistress and his family. (See Stern, 1976/1977.)

Jung read The Interpretation of Dreams upon its publication in 1900, and he began what proved to be a lengthy correspondence with Freud in 1906. The two men met a year later, and were so captivated with each other that they talked continuously for 13 hours. Unfortunately, the union of the two giants was based on a fundamental misconception that eventually destroyed the relationship. Freud was seeking disciples

who would carry forth the psychoanalytic banner, and he saw Jung as his crown prince and successor. Jung, on the other hand, regarded his association with Freud as a collaboration that left both sides free to pursue their own ideas. It was inevitable that Jung would view Freud’s insistence on the universality of the Oedipus complex and the sexual nature of libido as dogmatism, whereas Freud would see Jung’s attempts to develop his own theory as a betrayal.

For some years, Jung did follow in Freud’s footsteps. Jung defended Freud’s ideas, accompanied him to the United States as an invited lecturer at Clark University in 1909, became a psychoanalyst and taught this subject at the University of Zurich, and served as the first president of the International Psychoanalytic Association. But Jung had to be his own man. His analysis of the delusions and hallucinations of psychotic patients at the Burghölzli had persuaded him of the frequent occurrence of universal archetypes, and he came to view the human personality quite differently from Freud. When Jung continued to argue for his own constructs, the breach with Freud became irreparable—a trying experience that occasioned two fainting spells on Freud’s part, and more than a little anguish on Jung’s. The formal parting came in 1913, with Jung also resigning from the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1914.

Jung now turned to the solitude of his home, a large and beautiful edifice of his own design in Küsnacht (a suburb of Zurich), where he was to live for the rest of his life. Here he spent the years from 1913 to 1919 in relative isolation, probing the depths of his own unconscious. He conversed with voices from within his psyche, including a female that he interpreted as his anima and a group of ghosts that he believed to be souls returning from the dead (Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 170–199). He observed many arche- types emerging into his consciousness, and felt that he was going through the process of individuation and discovering his self. He also suffered symptoms of emotional disturbance, suggesting that this experience was similar to the “creative illness” undergone by Freud (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 672). To avoid succumbing to psychosis, Jung forced himself to retain close ties with his family and patients and scrupulously ful- filled his commitments to the external world. He emerged from this period of introspection in 1919 with a firm belief in the universal validity of the constructs that he developed.

Jung was now widely admired as an unusually skilled psychotherapist, attracting patients from England and the United States. He was an active and vigorous man, over six feet tall and broad-shouldered, interested in sailing and mountain climbing as well as scholarly pursuits, a good listener and fine conversationalist, and a democratic man at ease with all types of people. Like Freud, however, Jung’s personality was complex and multifaceted. Some saw him as wise, sensitive, and caring, whereas others viewed him as cantankerous, womanizing, sarcastic (even brutal), and highly critical and condescending toward others—especially those who failed to meet his high standards of scholarship. (See Brome, 1978; Stern, 1976/1977, pp. 181–182.)

In 1923, Jung built a primitive, towerlike house in nearby Bollingen, which served as a place for reflection and meditation. He also traveled extensively and observed a variety of peoples and cultures, including the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and tribes in Tunis, Kenya, Uganda, and India. World War II sharpened his interest in world politics and mass psychoses and also brought charges that he was pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic, which ultimately proved to be unjustified. In 1944, Jung nearly died from a heart attack, had a vision of his soul leaving his body, and at first felt bitter disappointment upon returning to life. He also predicted that his doctor would die in his place, which actually happened shortly thereafter. Jung now became the “wise old man of Küsnacht,” with people coming from all over the world to visit him. His many honors include the City of Zurich Award for literature and honorary doctorates from Harvard and Oxford, and his prolific writings fill some 20 volumes. Jung died in his Küsnacht home on June 6, 1961.


Jung called his theory analytical psychology. Despite the similarity of names (and of some of the con- structs), analytical psychology is substantially different from Freudian psychoanalysis.

Instincts and Psychic Energy

Libido and Value. Jung agrees with Freud that humans are motivated by innate physiological urges (instincts), which he defines as inborn and regularly recurring modes of action and reaction (Jung, 1919/1971c, p. 54; 1921/1976, p. 376). He also concurs that mental activity is powered by psychic energy (libido). But Jung rejects Freud’s emphasis on sexuality:

I am no opponent of Freud’s; I am merely presented in that light by his own short-sightedness and that of his pupils. No experienced psychiatrist can deny having met with dozens of cases whose psychology answers in all essentials to that of Freud.… I do not mean to deny the importance of sexuality in psychic life, though Freud stubbornly maintains that I do deny it. What I seek is to set bounds to the rampant terminology of sex which vitiates all discussion of the human psyche, and to put sexuality itself in its proper place.… Eros is certainly always and everywhere present.… but the psyche is not just [that].… [Therefore] I do not connect any specifically sexual definition with the word “libido.” … [This term] is used by me in much wider sense. (Jung, 1928/1969a, p. 30; 1917/1972d, pp. 46, 52n.6; 1929/1975c, pp. 226, 230. See also Jung, 1911–1912; 1961/1965, pp. 168, 209.)

Jungian libido refers to the psychic energy that is invested in a mental event, regardless of the instinct(s) involved. The greater the amount of libido (value), the more the event is desired. Even a child readily begins to form different values, as by weighing whether the mother or the father is more preferred, what objects in the environment are liked or disliked more than others, and so forth. Jung’s construct of “value” is therefore similar to Freud’s concept of “cathexis,” except that cathexes are invariably sexual (in one sense or another), although values need not be.

In an extremely competitive society like our own, some people may value power so highly that they direct most of their psychic energy toward professional success and become sexually impotent. Freud would take a dim view of such behavior, since (sexual) libido is denied its most satisfactory outlet. But Jungian libido includes energy from many sources, so discharging it in a quest for power is neither more nor less pathological than discharging it in sexual activity. “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no universal recipe for living” (Jung, 1931/1933b, p. 41; see also Jung, cited by Evans, 1976, p. 46).

It is difficult to identify all of the human instincts, and to ascertain the exact nature of libido, because instinctual behavior is easily confused with our conscious motives. A partial list of instincts includes nutrition (hunger and thirst), sexuality, power, activity (including the love of change, the urge to travel, and play), becoming whole or one’s true self (individuation), and creativity (Jung, 1917/1972d; 1919/1971c,

p. 53; 1937). Jung also differs sharply with Freud by concluding that human beings have an inborn reli- gious need, and the idea of God is absolutely necessary:

Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give a meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in a “tale told by an idiot.” (Jung, 1964/1968, p. 76. See also Jung, 1957/1958b, p. 36; 1917/1972d, pp. 27, 71; 1929/1975c, p. 227.)

Complexes. Psychic energy attracts constellations of related and emotionally charged ideas, or complexes. (See Jung, 1934a; 1938/1970a, pp. 19ff.) For example, the group of thoughts and feelings that concern “mother” cluster together to form the mother-complex, whereas the complex relating to “I” or “myself” constitutes the component of personality known as the ego.

The power of a complex to attract psychic material depends on the amount of libido at its disposal (its value). A weak mother-complex possesses little psychic energy (low value), includes only a small quantity of associated ideas, and has relatively little influence on behavior. Alternatively, a mother-complex may be so powerful that it dominates the psyche like a large electromagnet, attracting ideas that belong elsewhere. Such highly valued complexes can exert considerable control over one’s personality. For example, a man

ruled by his mother-complex may be unable to form satisfying heterosexual relationships because he is far more concerned about her wishes and opinions. He may also talk about his mother at length, make her the subject of various slips of the tongue, and constantly dream of mother-symbols. Complexes may be wholly or partly conscious, or they may be entirely within either of the two realms of the unconscious (personal and collective, to be discussed below). (See Jung, 1928/1969a, p. 11; Fordham, 1966, pp. 23–23.)

The Word Association Test. Jung cautions that the construct of libido is useful only if quantitative differences in values can be estimated. Otherwise this approach can never become scientific and must be abandoned.

For a time Jung measured the power of a complex by using the word association test, wherein a list of single words is read one at a time, and the subject must reply with the first word that comes to mind. (See Jung, 1910; 1928/1969a, p. 9; 1905/1974e). For example, the stimulus word “mother” might well evoke the response of “father.” After the list has been completed, the participant goes through it once again and tries to recall the previous responses. If a series of related words in the list should cause such signs of disturbance as significant hesitations, unusual responses (e.g., “mother”—“anger”), becoming pale or having a markedly increased pulse rate, or failing to recall the original responses during the retest, this would indicate the existence of an important (and probably troublesome) complex. Jung eventually abandoned this technique, however, concluding that anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world. There, in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs … he would reap richer stores of knowledge than textbooks a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with real knowledge of the human soul. (Jung, 1912/1972f, pp. 246–247. See also Ellenberger, 1970, pp. 691–694; Jung, 1957/1958b, pp. 61–62.)

The Principle of Opposites

To Jung, life consists of “a complex of inexorable opposites”: day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil, introversion (inner-directedness) and extraversion (outer-directedness), con- sciousness and unconsciousness, thinking and feeling, love and hate, and so forth. Such contradictory ideas, emotions, and instincts exist simultaneously within the psyche, producing a tension that creates psychic energy and enables life to exist. “There is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites.… Life is born only of the spark of opposites” (Jung, 1917/1972d, pp. 53–54; see also Jung, 1964/1968, p. 75; 1928/1972e, p. 142).

When any extreme is primarily conscious, the unconscious compensates by emphasizing the other extreme. The psyche is for the most part a closed system, so libido withdrawn from one aspect of personality normally reappears somewhere else (the principle of equivalence). The psyche is also a self-regulating sys- tem wherein libido flows from a more intense to a less intense component, just as heat flows from a warmer to a colder body (the principle of entropy). Sooner or later, therefore, any overvalued component will yield psychic energy to its undervalued counterpart. Thus the (unconscious) opposite is likely to emerge in the course of time, a tendency Jung refers to as enantiodromia. For example, intense love may eventually give way to profound hate, or a rational and skeptical scientist may turn to mysticism and the occult. Values are particularly likely to undergo radical changes as we grow from the morning of youth to the afternoon of middle age, with religious needs gaining ascendance while material and sexual urges become less impor- tant (Jung, 1917/1972d, pp. 74–75; see also Jung, 1928/1969a, pp. 18, 25; 1934/1974c, p. 101).

The principle of opposites and enantiodromia imply that no personality is ever truly one-sided. An individual who appears to be cold and lacking in sentiment will have warm and emotional characteristics, though these compensating tendencies may be unconscious and unobservable. “Extremes always arouse

suspicion of their opposite” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 21). Furthermore, any extreme (introversion, extraver- sion, emotionality, rationality, or whatever) is harmful because it prevents the contradictory tendency from gaining satisfactory expression. The opposites must then waste libido in conflict with each other, as when the apparently unfeeling individual uses up psychic energy in a misguided attempt to suppress innate emotional instincts and repeal the principle of entropy.

In a mature and well-adjusted personality, the various opposites are united through some middle path. This concept is common in Eastern philosophies, as with the Taoist symbols of Yin and Yang; but it is a difficult one for our Western culture, which has never even devised a name for it. Jung proposes the term transcendent function for the process that unites the various opposing aspects of personality, particularly consciousness and unconsciousness, into a coherent middle ground. The transcendent func- tion also provides us with guidelines for personal development that enable us to become our true selves— guidelines that cannot be found in the external world or opinions of other people. (See Jung, 1916/1971e, pp. 298, 300; 1921/1976, p. 449; 1928/1972e, p. 205.)


Whereas Freud stressed the childhood determinants of personality (causality), Jung argues that behavior must also be understood in terms of its purpose or goal (teleology). Personality is shaped by our past and by our intentions and plans for the future:

A man is only half understood when we know how everything in him came into being.… Life does not have only a yesterday, nor is it explained by reducing today to yesterday. Life has also a tomorrow, and today is understood only when we can add to our knowledge of what was yesterday the beginnings of tomorrow. (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 46. See also Jung, 1921/1976, p. 431.)

Jung also rejects Freud’s contention that psychic events can be reduced to physiological causes. Instincts have an organic aspect, but mental life follows “a specific law of its own which cannot be deduced from the known physical laws of nature” (Jung, 1947/1969b, p. 91; see also p. 90).

The Unconscious

Jung readily accepts the existence of parapraxes, even contributing some specimens to Freud’s collection. (See Freud, 1901/1965c, p. 84; Jung, 1927/1971b, p. 28; 1916/1971e, p. 276; 1917/1972d, p. 115; 1928/1972e,

pp. 177, 180.) In marked contrast to Freud, however, Jung concludes that the unconscious is relatively autonomous and speaks to us of its own accord. The messages and wishes that emanate from the uncon- scious are events that happen to us, and are not caused by any actions of our own.

Some people hear their unconscious as a voice within themselves and actually carry on a conversa- tion with it, “as if a dialogue were taking place between two human beings with equal rights, each of whom gives the other credit for a valid argument.” But most of us do not allow this invisible partner of ours to make itself heard, for “we are so in the habit of identifying ourselves with the thoughts that come to us that we invariably assume we have made them” (Jung, 1916/1971e, p. 297; 1928/1972e, p. 201).

Jung does agree with Freud about the importance of bringing unconscious material to conscious- ness, and about our reluctance to experience the dark side of our personality. So long as the unconscious strongly influences our behavior, we are not the masters of our own personality. Yet we turn away in fear from investigating our shadow-side, for it consists not just of minor weaknesses but of a “positively demonic dynamism” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 30; see also Jung, 1964/1968, p. 72; 1917/1972d, p. 26).

Unlike Freud, however, Jung does not regard the unconscious as a purely demoniacal monster. The unconscious includes wellsprings of creativity and sources of guidance that can suggest solutions when the conscious mind becomes hopelessly bogged down. “[The unconscious] has at its disposal … all those

things which have been forgotten or over-looked, as well as the wisdom and experience of uncounted cen- turies” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 116; see also Jung, 1931/1933b, pp. 61–62; Jung, 1934/1974c, p. 100).

A substantial part of the unconscious is collective, and contains predispositions and guidelines inher- ited from past generations. Only a smaller part results from repressions and other personal experiences unique to the individual.


Jung’s model of the psyche is considerably more chaotic than Freud’s. Complexes originating in the uncon- scious can gravitate to consciousness and exert control over the personality for purposes of their own, and unconscious components may fuse together rather than remaining separate and distinct.


Consciousness in psychoanalytic theory is often depicted as the tip of a huge iceberg, with the uncon- scious represented by the vast portion below the water. Similarly, consciousness in analytical psychology resembles a small island rising from the midst of a vast sea (Jung, 1928/1969d, p. 41).

The Ego. The ego is a complex of conscious ideas that constitutes the center of awareness. It includes feelings of continuity and identity, and begins to develop at about the fourth year of life. Jung conceives of the ego as a relatively weak entity that is often at the mercy of more powerful forces, tossed like a shuttlecock between the demands of reality and those of the unconscious. However, it can consign threatening material to the (personal) unconscious by means of repression. (See Jung, 1951; 1928/1972e, p. 196; 1921/1976, p. 425; Jung, cited by Evans, 1976, pp. 60–61.)

The Persona. We usually cannot afford to confront the world with our true feelings. Instead, we must fashion an outward appearance that will satisfy the demands of society. This protective façade is a complex of conscious material called the persona, after the masks worn by ancient actors to signify the roles that they played.

The persona helps us to deal with other people by indicating what may be expected from them. The doctor’s professional role is validated in the patient’s eyes by an appropriately reassuring manner, whereas the college professor is supposed to display a persona of expertise. If the doctor or professor violates these expectations by acting anxious and uncertain, this will provoke suspicion and resistance. In general, people with underdeveloped personas appear to be incompetent, boring, tactless, eternally misunderstood, and blind to the realities of the world. (See Jung, 1928/1972e, pp. 198–199; Jung, cited by Evans, 1976, p. 79.)

The persona may instead become overdeveloped and intrude on the ego. For example, a mediocre doctor with false visions of greatness may present a pompous persona of excellence. In such instances, the ego misguidedly identifies with the persona and becomes inflated with a sense of excess importance:

L’état c’est moi is the motto for such people.… In vain would one look for a personality behind the husk. Underneath all the padding one would find a very pitiable little creature. That is why the office—or what- ever this outer husk may be—is so attractive: it offers easy compensation for personal deficiencies. (Jung, 1928/1972e, pp. 143, 145; see also p. 156 n. 1.)

As would be expected from the principle of opposites, this conscious arrogance is compensated for by unconscious feelings of inferiority that cannot find satisfactory expression. The conflict between

these extreme aspects of personality wastes libido that could better be used in the pursuit of healthy activities.

The Personal Unconscious

The personal unconscious begins to form at birth, and contains material that is no longer (or is not yet) at the level of awareness. Some memories are simply forgotten because they are no longer important, many of which can easily be recalled to consciousness (such as the contents of last night’s dinner). Other mate- rial in the personal unconscious is repressed because of its painful nature. For example, a secretary who is jealous of one of her employer’s associates may habitually “forget” to invite this individual to meetings and never admit—not even to herself—the true reason for her omission. (See Jung, 1964/1968, p. 22; 1927/1971b, p. 38; 1917/1972d, pp. 64ff, 77; 1928/1972e, pp. 135ff.)

Other aspects of mental life remain in the personal unconscious because they lack sufficient psychic energy to enter awareness. We often see, hear, taste, and smell things without noticing them because the sensory impressions are not strong enough (“subliminal perceptions”). A professor who was walking in the country with a student noticed that his thoughts were invaded by memories of his early childhood. He could not account for this distraction until he retraced his steps and realized that they had recently passed some geese, whose odor provided a subliminal reminder of a farm where he had lived as a youth. Similarly, a young woman once developed a blinding headache. Without consciously noticing it, she had heard the foghorn of a distant ship, which reminded her of an unhappy parting with a loved one (Jung, 1964/1968, pp. 21–22).

The Shadow. The shadow is the primitive and unwelcome side of personality that derives from our animal forebears. (See Jung, 1951.) It consists of material that is repressed into the personal unconscious because it is shameful and unpleasant, and it plays a compensatory role to the more positive persona and ego. The shadow’s power is evident when a person is overcome by violent and uncontrollable rage, a theme exemplified in literature by the dangerous Mr. Hyde underlying the implacable Dr. Jekyll.

As with any construct in analytical psychology, the shadow must be at least somewhat beneficial in order to have survived generations of evolution. Like the Freudian id, it provides us with vitality and strength. “Too much of the animal distorts the civilized man, [but] too much civilization makes sick animals” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 28). Just as it is impossible to have sunshine without shadow, the light of consciousness must always be accompanied by the dark side of our personality. Rather than turn away in disgust from our shadow, we must open this Pandora’s box and accept its contents. Jung does not regard repression as actively maintained, so a person who honestly wishes to examine the shadow can do so, but this is a highly threatening task that most prefer to avoid.

The shadow, like all that is unconscious, is projected onto other people. We normally experience it in this indirect fashion, with the characteristics that we find most objectionable in others very likely to be those aspects of ourselves that we most dislike. Thus another unfortunate effect of denying our shadow is that the resulting deeper repressions will trigger more powerful projections of our undesirable charac- teristics, producing greater dislike of other people—and possibly culminating in the sick system of social relationships that constitutes neurosis. (See Jung, 1931/1933c, p. 142; 1935b, p. 24; 1951; 1957/1958b, pp. 109–114; 1964/1968, p. 73; 1917/1972d, p. 26.)

The Collective Unconscious

Although the personal unconscious and the ego originate after birth, the newborn infant is far from a tabula rasa. Its psyche is a complicated, clearly defined entity consisting of the collective (or transper- sonalunconscious, a storehouse of archaic remnants (“primordial images” or archetypes) inherited

from our ancestral past. (See Jung, 1938/1970a, p. 11; 1919/1971c, p. 52; 1917/1972d, pp. 65–66; 1921/1976, p. 376.)

Characteristics of Archetypes. Archetypes result from the “deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 69). They differ from instincts in that they are modes of perception, rather than of action and reaction. That is, archetypes predispose us to perceive the world in certain ways.

Archetypes resemble poorly formed channels in the psyche that may predispose libido to follow a certain course, but are too roughly hewn to ensure that it will actually do so. They are only potentialities, not specific memories or facts, and will remain dormant unless strengthened by appropriate experiences. “I do not by any means assert the inheritance of ideas, but only of the possibility of such ideas, which is something very different” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 65; see also Jung, 1938/1970a, pp. 13–17). Everyone inherits a tendency to fear objects that our ancestors found to be potentially dangerous, such as snakes, so it will be easier to learn to fear snakes than to fear flowers. But an individual who grows up enjoying only pleasant encounters with snakes will not be greatly affected by this archetype.

The Persona and Shadow Archetypes. The persona and shadow have existed in the human psyche throughout countless generations. This is reflected by corresponding archetypes in the collective unconscious, so that we all inherit tendencies to form these components of personality.

The Anima and Animus. All males and females possess some characteristics of the opposite sex. Man’s unconscious feminine disposition is due to the archetype known as the anima, whereas the male archetype in women is called the animus. The anima and animus develop from generations of exposure to the opposite sex, and imbue each sex with an innate understanding of the other. “The whole nature of man presupposes woman, both physically and spiritually. His system is tuned in to woman from the start” (Jung, 1928/1972e, p. 190; see also Jung, 1925/1971d; 1951).

Typically, the feminine anima compensates for the outward masculine persona of power. Trying to deny this aspect of personality will result in a one-sided and conflicted individual, as when a man who prides himself on an overly virile persona is beset by feelings of weakness and moodiness. The masculine animus, on the other hand, produces unshakable and arbitrary convictions. The woman who suppresses her animus in a misguided attempt to appear extremely feminine will be troubled by spells of intense stubbornness (Jung, 1928/1972e, p. 206). The well-adjusted personality integrates the male and female attributes by means of the transcendent function, allowing both to find satisfactory expression.

Other Archetypes. Other archetypes include the wise old man, the mother, the father, the child, the parents, the wife, the husband, God, the hero, various animals, energy, the self (the ultimate goal of personality development), the trickster, rebirth or reincarnation, the spirit, the prophet, the disciple, and numerous archetypes representative of situations. (See Jung, 1934b; 1940; 1938/1970a; 1940/1970b; 1945/1970c; 1954/1970d; 1917/1972d, pp. 68, 95, 110; 1928/1972e, pp. 171, 178, 190.) However, Jung

advises against trying to understand the nature of archetypes by memorizing such a list. Archetypes are autonomous events that come upon us like fate, and they must be experienced firsthand in order to be understood.

Unfortunately, Jung has no simple remedy for those who remain skeptical about analytical psychol- ogy because they have never enjoyed such enriching encounters with the collective unconscious. “You can only say that you have never had such an experience, and your opponent will say: ‘Sorry, I have.’ And there your discussion will come to an end” (Jung, 1938, p. 113). He does recommend learning more about one’s personal unconscious, which will weaken the layer above the collective unconscious and make archetypal images more accessible to consciousness.

Archetypal Symbols. We never become aware of archetypes themselves, which always remain within the inaccessible collective unconscious. But the collective unconscious is like the base of a volcano that extends to the core of personality and occasionally erupts, shooting archetypal images or symbols up to the surface.

Unlike such common signs as words and pictures, which merely denote the objects to which they are attached, archetypal symbols imply something that is hidden from us. Since they are produced entirely by the unconscious, they have a numinous or fascinating quality that clearly identifies them as something out of the ordinary. (See Jaffé, 1971/1975, p. 16; Jung, 1964/1968, pp. 3,41; 1917/1972d, p. 70; Progoff, 1953/1973, p. 56.)

Symbols derived from the same archetype may differ in form and content, especially to the extent that they are influenced by racial, cultural, and even family differences. “There is also a collective psyche limited to race, tribe, and family over and above the ‘universal’ collective psyche” (Jung, 1928/1972e, pp. 147–148).2 But such symbols all point back to one basic form, the underlying universal archetype. For this reason, the unconscious processes of widely separated races show a remarkable correspondence. The archetype of the universal creative mother is expressed in such varied cultural myths as Mother Nature, Greek and Roman goddesses, and the “Grandmother” of Native Americans. Jung was once advised by a psychotic patient that the sun possesses a phallus, whose movement creates the wind; and when he later encountered the same unusual symbology in an ancient Greek papyrus, which the patient could never have seen, he attributed the similar imagery to an unconscious universal archetype. He also cites the produc- tion of archetypal symbols by children as further support for his theory, since it often seems clear that they could not have had access to the relevant facts and must therefore have produced the images from their own psyche. (See Jung, 1964/1968, p. 61; 1938/1970a; 1927/1971b, pp. 36–37; 1917/1972d, p. 96; Progoff, 1953/1973, pp. 59–60.)


Middle age is highlighted by a shift from materialism, sexuality, and propagation to more spiritual and cultural values; by radical reversals in one’s strongest convictions and emotions, often leading to changes of profession, divorces, and religious upheavals; and by the reconciliation of the various opposing forces of personality through the transcendent function. This gradual, lifelong unfolding of one’s inherent and unique personality is known as individuation.

Individuation is a difficult and complicated journey of self-discovery, and many hazards along the way are likely to prevent a successful outcome. First of all, the formidable and often terrifying contents of the shadow must be brought to consciousness and experienced both intellectually and emotionally. The persona must also be torn down, for this collectively oriented façade impedes true individuality. The libido freed by the destruction of these superstructures gravitates downward to the collective unconscious, and this additional energy enables archetypal symbols to rise to consciousness. Among these are the anima (animus), wise old man, and great mother. This creates yet another pitfall: These alluring archetypes may prove to be overwhelming, causing the individual to succumb to megalomanic beliefs of omniscience and omnipotence. (See Jung, 1928/1972e, pp. 227–241.)

If the process of individuation is able to avoid these pitfalls, the individual’s increased knowledge of the collective unconscious liberates substantial amounts of libido that had been associated with the aforementioned archetypes. This libido comes to rest in a twilight zone between consciousness and unconsciousness and forms an entity known as the self, which represents the ultimate goal of personality development and serves as the new center of personality.

The … purpose of [individuation] is the realization, in all its aspects, of the personality originally hid- den away in the embryonic germplasm.… Individuation means becoming an “individual,” and, insofar as “individuality” embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as “coming to selfhood” or “self-realization.” (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 110; 1928/1972e, p. 173. See also Jung, 1929; Fordham, 1966, pp. 49–62, 77; Progoff, 1953/1973, pp. 124–132.)

Progression and Regression

Libido normally proceeds in a forward direction, furthering the development of personality. But if this progression is blocked by frustrations in the external world, or by the internal barrier of repression, libido turns back to early memories and archetypal images that reside within the depths of the psyche (regression).

In contrast to Freud, who conceptualized regression as a return to childhood fixations, Jung regards the backward flow of libido as a potentially creative process that can awaken neglected aspects of one’s personality. “The patient’s regressive tendency … is not just a relapse into infantilism, but a genuine attempt to get at something necessary.… His development was one-sided; it left important items of char- acter and personality behind, and thus it ended in failure. That is why he has to go back” (Jung, 1930, pp. 32–33; see also Jung, 1935a, pp. 8–9). However, regression does involve one danger: The unconscious may use the additional psychic energy to overwhelm consciousness, producing neurotic or even psychotic behavior.

Character Typology: Functions and Attitudes

Jung attributes individual differences in personality to two processes: the typical way in which we per- ceive internal and external stimuli, and the characteristic direction (inward or outward) of libido move- ment. (See Jung, 1937; 1921/1976.)

There are four ways of perceiving stimuli, or functions: merely establishing what is there (sensation), interpreting and understanding the meaning of what we perceive (thinking), evaluating how desirable or pleasant it is (feeling), and forming apparently inexplicable hunches or conclusions without using any of the other functions (intuition). “Sensation tells you that something exists; thinking tells you what it is; feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not; and intuition tells you whence it comes and where it is going” (Jung, 1964/1968, p. 49). Thinking and feeling are opposites, and are called “rational” functions because they involve acts of cognition and judgment. Sensation and intuition also oppose each other, and these more reflexive functions are referred to as “irrational” (meaning nonrational, not pathological). Although everyone has the ability to use all four functions, there is an inborn tendency for one of them to become dominant over the others.

There are also two directions of libido movement, or attitudes. The outward turning of libido toward the external world is known as extraversion, whereas the inward flow of libido toward the depths of the psyche is referred to as introversion. Extraverts are outgoing, venture forth with careless confidence into the unknown, and are particularly interested in people and events in the external world. Introversion is reflected by a keen interest in one’s own psyche, and often preferring to be alone. (See Jung, 1917/1972d,

p. 44; 1921/1976, p. 330.) As with the functions, there is an innate tendency for one attitude to become dominant over the other, and the dominant attitude combines with the dominant function to form the con- scious personality. This yields a total of eight possible character types, which are shown in the Capsule Summary on page 70.

Jung’s typology is often misunderstood and oversimplified. There are no pure introverts or extra- verts, nor can people be classified into a mere eight categories. As with intelligence or mental health, the extent to which a person is introverted or extraverted, thinking or feeling, and sensing or intuitive is a matter of degree. Also, the unconscious compensates for the dominant attitude and function by emphasiz- ing the opposite tendencies, whereas the remaining two functions waver between consciousness and the unconscious.

For example, a person with a dominant thinking function will often try to analyze information in a logical and objective way. If introversion is the dominant attitude, most of these thoughts will focus on ideas within the psyche (as with Freud, or an absent-minded professor). If extraversion is dominant, thinking will be directed toward the external world (as with a scientist like Darwin or Einstein). In either case, the opposite function (feeling) and the opposite attitude are repressed into the personal unconscious. The remaining two functions (here, sensation and intuition) may serve as conscious or unconscious auxiliaries, as when the scientist’s attempts to think out new research hypotheses are aided by intuitive hunches.

The function and attitude to which one is innately predisposed must become dominant in order for personality development to be successful. Since the United States strongly favors extraversion, parents and teachers in our society are likely to treat an introverted child with excessive concern and criticism. But extra- version and introversion are equally normal and healthy, and misguided attempts to alter a person’s inherent nature will lead to later neurosis. (See Jung, 1921/1976, pp. 332, 375; Jung, cited by Evans, 1976, p. 94.)

Maladjustment will also occur if the inferior attitude and functions are repressed too strongly. A natural extravert may ignore inner warnings, become a “workaholic,” and develop an ulcer or heart attack. A natural introvert may be blind to the demands of the external world, behave ineptly in social situations, and suffer painful rejections. Or a person who is inherently sensing or intuitive may be unable to deal with a problem that requires thinking, and make serious errors. Such behaviors are ineffective and self- defeating because they are governed by functions and attitudes that have not been sufficiently developed.

The remedy for an overly one-sided personality is a regression to the unconscious, possibly with the aid of Jungian psychotherapy. Ideally, this will enable any undervalued function or attitude to emerge in its own right. Some people do develop a second or even a third function, or strike a balance between introversion and extraversion. But individuation is a difficult process that is never completely achieved, and very few people are able to integrate all of the attitudes and functions into a coherent whole and allow each one its due expression.


Dream Interpretation

In analytical psychology, as in psychoanalysis, dreams provide important clues about the hidden realm of the unconscious. However, Jung’s approach to dream interpretation differs significantly from that of Freud.

Personal and Collective Dreams. Dreams about one’s family, friends, and everyday life arise from the personal unconscious. In contrast, the collective unconscious triggers archetypal dreams that are numinous and fascinating. Jung relates that this distinction is prominent among the Elgonyi natives of central Africa: A “little” (i.e., personal) dream is regarded as unimportant, but anyone who has a “big” (i.e., collective) dream summons the whole tribe and tells it to everybody (Jung, 1928/1972e,

p. 178; see also Fordham, 1966, pp. 97ff).

The Purpose of Dreams. To Jung, a dream can serve many purposes other than wish- fulfillment. It may express a person’s fears, mirror actual situations in the dreamer’s life, anticipate the future (as by providing a warning of impending trouble), propose solutions to the dreamer’s problems, or even result from telepathy. (See Ellenberger, 1970, p. 716; Jung, 1964/1968, p. 34; 1916/1974a.)

The majority of dreams are compensatory, and aim at restoring a state of psychological balance. Jung once dreamed of bending his head far back in order to see a patient in a high tower. He concluded that he must be looking down on her in reality, and this insight enabled a previously unsuccessful treatment to progress at a rapid pace. Similarly, a man with an inflated ego may dream of himself as a drunken tramp rolling in a ditch, or a person suffering from feelings of inferiority may dream of encountering such famous personages as Napoleon or Alexander the Great (Jung, 1961/1965, p. 133; 1964/1968, pp. 51–52; 1917/1972d, p. 112; 1928/1972e, p. 179; 1934/1974c, pp. 102–103). Although it is possible to detect wish- fulfillments in some of these dreams, the primary goal is to compensate for a one-sided aspect of person- ality by emphasizing the opposite view.

Dream Symbols. Whereas Freud believed that dream symbols disguise unpleasant truths in order to preserve sleep, Jung regards the manifest content as the true dream. The language of dreams is confusing only because it reflects the natural illogic of the unconscious:

To me dreams are a part of nature, which harbors no intention to deceive, but expresses something as best it can.… What [Freud] called “disguise” is actually the shape all impulses naturally take in the unconscious. (Jung, 1961/1965, p. 161; 1964/1968, p. 53. See also Jung, 1930, p. 32; 1917/1972d, p. 100.)

Jung agrees that some dream symbols have sexual connotations, but emphasizes that there are many other possibilities. Inserting a key in a lock might symbolize sexual intercourse, or it could describe the hopeful opening of new possibilities in one’s life. A passive female patient’s dream of her energetic father’s sword could be caused by childhood sexual fantasies and unconscious wishes for his “weapon” (phallus), or it might signify the need for some new source of strength that will enable her future dealings with the world to be more aggressive and effective.

According to Jung, every dream symbol has at least two meanings. Also, the identical symbol can mean different things to different people. Two of Jung’s patients dreamed of leading a group of horsemen across a wide field and barely managing to jump a ditch, into which the other riders fell. To the first patient, a cautious introvert, the dream indicated that he ought to take more chances. The second patient was a pronounced extravert, and his dream warned that he was far too daring. Thus accurate interpretation requires the active

cooperation of the dreamer, and “it is plain foolishness to believe in ready-made systematic guides to dream interpretation, as if one could simply buy a reference book and look up a particular symbol” (Jung, 1964/1968,

p. 38). Instead Jung favors Freud’s technique of free association, though he prefers to restrict the dreamer’s train of thought to the context of the dream. (See Fordham, 1966, pp. 97–98; Jung, 1964/1968, pp. 12–15, 18, 42, 56; 1916/1971e, pp. 281–282; 1917/1972d, p. 25; 1945/1974b, pp. 69, 71–72; 1913/1975b, pp. 155–156).

Dream Series. When possible, Jung bases his interpretations on a series of dreams from the same individual. Important themes and issues tend to recur in various dreams, so this approach facilitates accurate interpretations by providing more substantial data. The use of dream series, and the nondeceptive nature of dream symbols, have been accepted by some modern theorists in preference to Freudian theory (e.g., C. S. Hall, 1966).


Jung shares Freud’s view of psychopathology as a difference in degree, rather than in kind. The ideal of normality is rarely reached, and virtually every personality is at least somewhat one-sided:

Neurotic phenomena are by no means the products exclusively of disease. They are in fact no more than pathological exaggerations of normal occurrences; it is only because they are exaggerations that they are more obvious than their normal counterparts.… At bottom we discover nothing new and unknown in the mentally ill; rather, we encounter the substratum of our own natures. (Jung, 1961/1965, p. 127; 1964/1968, p. 20. See also Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 55; 1928/1972e, pp. 143–144.)

Causes of Neurosis. The collective unconscious includes an innate tendency to be more introverted or extraverted, and to emphasize one of the four functions. For personality development to be successful, the favored attitude and function must become dominant, and they must be brought into harmony with the inferior opposites.

If this goal is frustrated by the external world, or if one misguidedly tries to make some other function or attitude dominant, the unconscious will come into conflict with consciousness. This inner cleavage may eventually become so severe as to constitute a neurosis, with the attempt to deny one’s true nature causing the normal intrapsychic polarities to erupt into open warfare. Neurotic conflicts may occur between various components of personality, such as the ego versus the shadow, the dominant versus the inferior function or attitude, the persona versus the anima or animus, or the persona versus the shadow. (See Jung, 1932/1933d, p. 236; 1935a, p. 20; 1917/1972d, p. 19.)

Suppose that an inherently introverted child is pressured into becoming a pronounced extravert by the parents (or by society). This unwelcome external influence disrupts the individuation process, and causes the child’s psyche to become a house divided against itself. The conscious mind now seeks conformity with the parental dictates by emphasizing extraverted behavior, and by banishing introverted wishes from awareness. But the introverted tendencies, which must remain within the closed system of the psyche, flourish within the unconscious and strongly oppose the conscious processes. Or neurosis might be caused by overemphasizing the inherent introversion and trying to exclude all traces of extraversion, for not even the inferior aspects of personality can or should be totally eliminated.

In contrast to psychoanalysis, analytical psychology prefers to concentrate on the neurotic’s present attempts to maintain a pathological state of one-sidedness. To Jung, dwelling upon childhood memories is an evasion that may well do more harm than good:

The cause of the pathogenic conflict lies mainly in the present moment.… We ask: … What is the task which the patient does not want to fulfill? What difficulty is he trying to avoid? … The task of psycho- therapy is to correct the conscious attitude and not go chasing after infantile memories. Naturally you cannot do the one without paying attention to the other, but the main emphasis should be upon the attitude

of the patient. There are extremely practical reasons for this, because there is scarcely a neurotic who does not love to dwell upon the evils of the past and to wallow in self-commiserating memories. Very often his neurosis consists precisely in his hanging back and constantly excusing himself on account of the past. (Jung, 1930, pp. 31–32; 1913/1975a, pp. 84, 100.)

Neurotic SymptomsThe libido involved in neurotic conflicts cannot move in a forward direction, since the normal course of progression is disrupted by the inner war. Instead, the libido regresses toward the unconscious. This regression is not necessarily harmful (as we have seen), since it may help to awaken the neglected and undervalued aspects of personality. But it is all too easy to maintain the one-sided behaviors that caused the neurotic conflict, and to ignore the warnings sent by the collective unconscious in the form of dream symbols. (For example, a person who overuses the thinking function may keep trying to reason out solutions to his or her problems, instead of allowing the undervalued feeling function to emerge.) The regressing libido, deprived of a satisfactory outlet, will then constellate powerful unconscious complexes that express themselves in the form of neurotic symptoms. Thus a man who has stifled his anima in order to emphasize a persona of power and authority may develop a complex that indicates a damaged anima, project this complex onto women in general, and be attracted only to women who are physically or mentally disabled. (See Jung, 1934c.)

The neuroses of young adults usually concern power and sexuality. In marked contrast to Freud, however, Jung concludes that the neurotic symptoms of older adults often result from the denial of their inherent religious needs. Some two thirds of the patients seeking his services were past middle age, and the primary problem facing each one was that of finding a religious outlook on life. Only those who

succeeded in this quest were truly healed (Jung, 1931/1933b, p. 61; 1932/1933d, p. 229). Jung also takes exception to Freud’s literal interpretation of incestuous wishes, arguing instead that these are symbolic desires to achieve psychological rebirth and bring forth the undervalued aspects of personality from one’s unconscious. Finally, Jung is not enthusiastic about using such terms as phobia and hysteria. He prefers to stress the need for understanding patients, rather than merely assigning them to preconceived categories. (See Jung, 1961/1965, p. 124; 1964/1968, p. 82; 1913/1975a, p. 86; Progoff, 1953/1973, pp. 110–114.)

PsychosisUnlike the neurotic, the psychotic is totally inundated by archetypal images. (See Jung, 1907/1974f; 1939/1974g, p. 160.) This gives psychosis a numinous and spellbinding quality, similar to a “big” dream. For this reason, exploring the depths of one’s psyche requires a firm attachment to reality (as through work or marriage) and the guidance of a competent psychotherapist. If disinterring a neurosis will allow a latent psychosis to emerge, it may well be best to leave the neurosis alone.

We are greatly mistaken if we think that [analyzing] the unconscious is something harmless that could be made into an object of entertainment, a parlor game.… Something deeply buried and invisible may thereby be set in motion … as if one were digging an artesian well and ran the risk of stumbling on a volcano. (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 114; see also Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 135–136.)

Jung’s early psychological training included considerable experience with schizophrenia (then called “dementia praecox”). He soon recognized that psychotic symptoms, like those of neurosis, have important meanings. One of his schizophrenic patients who made the apparently senseless statement, “I am the Lorelei,” was referring to the poor prognosis of her case. Her doctors often discussed her symptoms with the words “I know not what it means,” which is the first line of Heine’s famous poem “Die Lorelei” (Jung, 1961/1965,

p. 126; 1907/1974f, p. 116). Jung was the first to apply psychoanalytic concepts to schizophrenia, and to recognize the possibility of psychosomatic mechanisms in this disorder (Arieti, 1974, pp. 22–25).


Jung’s early attempts to explore the unconscious involved the use of hypnosis, but this technique soon proved to be unsatisfactory. At a demonstration before a group of 20 students, he informed a middle-aged woman patient suffering from paralysis of her left leg that he was going to hypnotize her. She obligingly fell into a deep trance without any hypnosis whatsoever and talked at length for half an hour, resisting Jung’s attempts to awaken her. Upon finally being brought out of the trance she cried out that she was cured, threw away her crutches, and was able to walk! To cover his embarrassment, Jung announced: “Now you’ve seen what can be done with hypnosis!” Actually he had not the slightest idea what had hap- pened (Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 118–120).

Such experiences led Jung to seek out more comprehensible and dependable methods, as by obtaining the patient’s unconscious projections from dreams and drawings. The latter is generally credited as the forerunner of modern art therapy, whereas another suggestion of Jung’s led indirectly to the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous (Ellenberger, 1970, pp. 732–733; Roazen, 1975/1976b, p. 284).

Theoretical Foundation. Jungian psychotherapy strives to eliminate the sufferer’s inner conflicts and bring the conscious and unconscious opposites into harmonious unity, thereby restoring the normal course of individuation. Through a confrontation or conversation with the unconscious, the patient learns that life is not a matter of being either introverted or extraverted, thinking or feeling, sensing or intuiting, good or evil. Rather, the undervalued components of personality must be accepted by the ego. Harmful projections also wane as greater knowledge of the unconscious is achieved, enabling the patient to perceive others more accurately and respond more appropriately. The therapist must be careful to avoid proceeding too quickly, however, lest an onslaught of archetypal material result in a psychosis. (See Ellenberger, 1970, pp. 713–719; Jung, 1961/1965, p. 135; 1917/1972d, pp. 111, 114.)

Therapeutic ProceduresJung advocates a wide variety of therapeutic procedures. “There is no therapeutic technique or doctrine that is of general application, since every case that one receives for treatment is an individual in a specific condition” (Jung, 1964/1968, p. 54). Painting, modeling with clay, singing, and acting are not uncommon in Jungian therapy. When faced with a patient who had not slept for some time, Jung sang her a lullabye. In the case of a woman who was unable to tap her inner religiosity, he taught her the Scriptures and assigned regular homework (Whitmont & Kaufmann, 1973, p. 99). Upon being threatened with a slap by an imposing and arrogant female patient, Jung promptly rose to his full six-foot stature. “Very well, you are the lady,” he said. “You hit first—ladies first! But then I hit back!” The deflated patient fell back into her chair, and from that moment the treatment began to succeed (Jung, 1961/1965, p. 142). Nor was Jung averse to using psychoanalytic methods, even giving some of his more educated patients books by Freud and Adler and discovering from their reaction the approach that would be more suitable. (See Jung, 1935a, p. 20; 1961/1965, p. 131.)

In the early phase of treatment, the Jungian therapist sees the patient four times a week. The initial stage is one of catharsis and emotional cleansing, a period that often requires the utmost in confidentiality and compassion from the therapist. Jung once inferred from the word association test of an apparently psychotic woman patient that she had deliberately allowed one of her children to drink tainted water, which proved fatal. Her pathology dated from the moment she discovered that her true love, whose seem- ing disinterest had been the occasion of her marrying someone else, had actually cared for her all along. Jung confronted her with his conclusions, which he carefully concealed even from his colleagues, and 2 weeks later the patient was well enough to be discharged and never again required hospitalization (Jung, 1929/1933a, pp. 55, 57; 1961/1965, pp. 115–116).

The heartfelt outpourings of the cathartic stage bind the patient emotionally to the therapist, leading to the next stage of treatment. The patient examines the threatening contents of the shadow and learns to abandon immature and unrealistic fantasies, such as the transferential wish for an all-powerful provider, and “the road to a normally disillusioned life is now open” (Jung, 1929/1933a, p. 68). After this comes a stage of education about various aspects of life, designed to overcome the inevitable gaps in knowledge caused by the patient’s pathology.

Some patients require a fourth stage of treatment. This uniquely Jungian approach is referred to as transformation, or as the synthetic-hermeneutic method (after Hermes, the god of revelation). It occurs after the persona, personal unconscious, and shadow have been explored, making the deeper layer of the collective unconscious more accessible and allowing archetypal symbols to emerge more readily. These symbols offer clues and guidelines for further individuation, and promote the formation of the self. (See Ellenberger, 1970, pp. 717–718; Fordham, 1966, pp. 59–60, 84–96.)

During the latter stages of therapy (or earlier in less severe cases), the patient is seen only once or twice a week. The patient and therapist sit face to face, and specific tasks and reading matter are often assigned. “In my experience the absolute period of cure is not shortened by too many sittings. It lasts a fair time in all cases requiring thorough treatment.… The patient must learn to go his own way” (Jung, 1935a,

p. 20; 1935b, p. 27). This approach helps the patient develop independence, is less financially demanding, and allows the therapist more time for other cases.

Resistance, Transference, and Countertransference. Jung does not regard transference as a necessary part of psychotherapy, though its emergence is almost inevitable. He criticizes the transference neurosis of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic blunder that encourages the patient to wallow in infantile fantasies, creating an extreme dependence that can be difficult to terminate:

Apparently we are to fall back on some nebulous trust in fate: somehow or other the matter will settle itself. “The transference stops automatically when the patient runs out of money,” as a slightly cynical colleague once remarked to me. (Jung, 1928/1972e, p. 131. See also Jung, 1946/1969f, pp. 8–9; 1917/1972d, pp. 62, n. 13, 66–67; 1913/1975a, pp. 112–118.)

Jung also argues that the patient’s rejection of an interpretation is not necessarily a resistance. “Either the patient has not yet reached the point where he understands, or the interpretation does not fit” (Jung, 1964/1968, p. 50). And Jung stresses that the personality and psychological health of the therapist are more important than technique. Jung was the first to advocate that all analysts be analyzed themselves so as to reduce the likelihood of harmful countertransferences, a suggestion Freud readily accepted. (See Jung, 1934c, pp. 158–159; 1935a, pp. 5, 8; 1961/1965, p. 132; 1964/1968, p. 48.)

Jung does not regard the effects of psychotherapy as permanent. The difficulties and contradictions of life cannot be eliminated—nor should they be, since they provide an essential challenge—and periodic returns to therapy may well prove helpful (Jung, 1916/1971e, p. 278).


Jung’s prolific writings include relatively little about the psychology of work. As we have seen, an extra- verted-thinking type would appear well suited for a career in the physical sciences, an extraverted-intuitive type would undoubtedly prefer an entrepreneurial profession, an introvert should probably be dissuaded from becoming a salesperson, and so forth. Such categorizations tend to be oversimplifications, since the inferior and auxiliary processes also affect personality to a significant degree. But in work, as elsewhere, successful adjustment requires that one follow the innate predispositions of the collective unconscious.


Although Jung takes a positive approach to religion, he does not advocate any particular denomination. Having extensively studied Eastern and Western religions, he concludes that people should follow their own path to individuation.

Jung is highly critical of religions that emphasize blind faith and minimize the importance of reason, for this devaluing of the thinking function is another form of pathological one-sidedness. He does concede that people need to form some conception of life after death, even though it is far from certain that aspects of the psyche continue beyond our physical demise. Nevertheless, the literal teaching of religious mythol- ogy is likely to present people with a most unpleasant choice: either to believe in impossibilities, or to reject religion entirely. (See Jung, 1957/1958b, pp. 49, 76; 1961/1965, pp. 94, 302, 322; 1964/1968, p. 84.) Jung therefore recommends an analytical approach to religion. He postulates the existence of a God archetype, which can trigger intense religious feelings. He attributes contradictory aspects even to God, including kindness and cruelty. And he treats religious myths as symbolic representations of the human unconscious. For example, Christ dying for others epitomizes the internal crucifixion of an ego suspended between hostile forces (Jung, 1938; 1952/1973a; Progoff, 1953/1973, p. 115). Jung’s ideas have generated more than a little controversy, yet many theologians regard them as major contributions to the development of religious thought (Ellenberger, 1970, pp. 688–689, 734–735).

Literature and Mythology

According to Jung, literature that has a clear and asymbolic meaning is determined primarily by the author’s conscious intentions. Other creative impulses are triggered by autonomous unconscious complexes and archetypal images, which use the author to fulfill their own particular purpose. A work of this sort, typified by Wagner’s Ring and the second part of Faust, has an enthralling quality that compels us to seek out its hid- den significance. “Sublime, pregnant with meaning, yet chilling the blood with its strangeness, it arises from timeless depths: glamorous, daemonic, and grotesque, it bursts asunder our human standards of value and aesthetic form” (Jung, 1930/1971g, p. 90; see also Jung, 1922/1971f, pp. 72, 83; 1930/1971g, p. 104). Literature and art exert a broadening effect that helps society to compensate for its faulty, one-sided development.

Analytical psychology offers an interesting interpretation of the common fascination with flying sau- cers. We are threatened with disaster from such sources as nuclear weapons and increases in population, and the earth may well be becoming an overcrowded prison from which humanity would like to escape. Such unpleasant issues tend to be repressed, and create an unconscious desire for heavenly beings who will solve our problems. We project the aliens’ mode of transportation in the form of a circle or mandala, which symbolizes the order and stability that we so urgently seek (Jung, 1958a).


Jung ascribes a symbolic meaning to the work of ancient alchemists, whose manifest concern was to trans- mute less valuable elements into gold. (See Fordham, 1966, p. 80–82; Jaffé, 1971/1975, pp. 50–52; Jung, 1944; 1955–1956; Rieff, 1959/1961, p. 16.) He argues that alchemical writings represent unconscious projections of inner experience, particularly the need to “transmute” the various components of person- ality into a new spiritual wholeness: “The secret of alchemy was in fact the transcendent function, the transformation of personality through the blending and fusion of the noble with the base components, of the differentiated with the inferior functions, of the conscious with the unconscious” (Jung, 1928/1972e, p. 220).


Toward the end of his life, Jung developed the principle of synchronicity, which refers to events that are related to each other by meaningful coincidence rather than by cause and effect. When a clock stops at the moment of its owner’s death, one event does not cause the other; the malfunction serves no known purpose, yet neither can Jung attribute this coincidence to pure chance. Similarly, one may dream of an unlikely event that shortly thereafter comes true, such as a chance meeting with a friend one has not seen for years. (See Jung, 1964/1968, p. 41; 1952/1973b; 1951/1973c.)


Criticisms and Controversies

The Autonomy of the Psyche. If sexuality was the “numen” that drove Freud to dogmatism, psychic autonomy may well have done the same to Jung. He regards our thoughts and fantasies as autonomous events that happen to us, triggered by complexes that have a purpose of their own. (See for example Jung, 1928/1972e, p. 201). Not only is it normal to hear voices originating from within your head, but this is necessary in order to learn from the collective unconscious and further the process of individuation! This unusual position differs radically from modern psychological standards, for a statement about hearing inner voices is in and of itself sufficient for an (actually healthy) individual to be admitted to a mental institution (Rosenhan, 1973).

This aspect of Jung’s theory may well have been influenced by a personal bias. At an early age, he was besieged with thoughts so terrible that he developed intense anxiety. “Don’t think of it, just don’t think of it!” he would tell himself. He resolved his anguish by deciding that “God Himself had placed me in this situation.… God had also created Adam and Eve in such a way that they had to think what they did not at all want to think” (Jung, 1961/1965, pp. 36–40). Thus he attributed his distressing thoughts to an external, supernatural source, which would seem to be an unconscious projection designed to alleviate the accompanying guilt. Jung did regard it as ironical “that I, a psychiatrist, should at almost every step of

my [self-analysis] have run into the same psychic material which is the stuff of psychosis and is found in the insane” (1961/1965, p. 188). Yet he apparently underestimated his need to disavow his own unpleasant thoughts, and the extent to which this personal consideration influenced his bizarre belief that auditory hallucinations are normal and healthy.

Literary and Conceptual Confusion. Although Jung’s writing is at times strikingly clear and insightful, his usual literary style has been described as dreadful, confused, and lacking any semblance of logical order. His readers must frequently struggle through pages of abstruse ideas, often including lengthy citations from obscure and tedious sources. Some of Jung’s terminology is also confusing: his definition of instinct includes habitual or learned responses as well as innate determinants of behavior, and feeling actually signifies something closer to evaluating.

Lack of Scientific Rigor. Jung’s construct of the collective unconscious, and his belief in parapsychology, have been criticized as mystical and unscientific. Despite the differences in definition, Jung’s model of libido is as vulnerable to attack as is Freud’s. The quantity of psychic energy that is invested in any mental activity cannot be measured, so the concept of libido currently enjoys little use outside of strict Jungian and psychoanalytic circles.

The transcendent function does not explain the process to which it applies, whereas synchronicity is little more than a name for coincidences to which Jung arbitrarily assigns some grand design. The so- called law of averages does not necessarily apply in the short run, and even a fair coin or pair of dice is likely to yield some exceptional and apparently noteworthy series. A coincidence that seems meaningful or “synchronistic” may only reflect the fact that the laws of statistics do not always operate in accordance with common sense.

Psychology and Religion. Jung’s emphasis of our spiritual and religious longings has provoked considerable controversy. Proponents claim that Jung has extended the scope of psychology by calling attention to a vital area of human functioning. Critics argue that a scientific psychology cannot deal with such arcane issues as the nature of God and the existence of the supernatural, or that Jung’s approach is shallow and unsuccessful (e.g., Stern, 1976/1977).

Empirical Research

Research on analytical psychology has focused on the psychological types. The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (I. B. Myers, 1962) is a pencil-and-paper inventory that measures four bipolar dimensions: intro- version versus extraversion, thinking versus feeling, sensation versus intuition, and perception (simply experiencing events) versus judgment (evaluating these events in terms of a set of standards). Studies using this instrument have found that extraverts were more likely (and introverts less likely) to accept a group learning situation, as would be expected, and that social service volunteers tended to be extraverted– intuitive (Carlson & Levy, 1973; Kilmann & Taylor, 1974). The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator has also been widely used in vocational and educational counseling, as by advising extraverts who emphasize the thinking function to study such externally oriented sciences as astronomy or physics and students who are introverted-thinking to consider such inner-directed subjects as personality theory. (See for example

B. Myers, 1993; K. D. Myers & Kirby, 1994; I. B. Myers & McCaulley, 1985.)

Factor-analytic research has consistently found introversion–extraversion to be one of the four or five most important human traits, as we will see in Chapter 13. And introversion–extraversion is determined to a considerable extent by heredity, which supports Jung’s belief that each of us has an innate tendency to be more introverted or extraverted, and that it is an error to force a child in the opposite direction. This issue will be discussed in the section in Chapter 17 that deals with the biological perspective.

Research findings also provide some support for Jung’s construct of archetypes. We do appear to have an inborn predisposition to perceive the world in certain ways, as by being more afraid of objects that our ancestors found dangerous (such as snakes, spiders, heights, and tainted food). It is easy to condition and difficult to extinguish fears of such objects, and it is easier to learn to fear snakes and spiders than to fear flowers. (See, for example, Cook et al., 1986; Davey, 1995; Garcia & Koelling, 1966; Ohman, 1986.) These are only predispositions, as Jung emphasized, and a person who has only pleasant experiences with snakes or heights may well adopt a snake as a pet or become a tightrope walker. But we more easily fear those things that our ancestors had to avoid in order to survive, because those ancestors who did so lived long enough to transmit their genes to subsequent generations.


Jung’s concept of an inherent positive tendency for self-realization helps to correct Freud’s extreme pes- simism about human nature, and it anticipates the general outlook of such theorists as Horney, Allport, Rogers, and Maslow. Jung also departed from Freud by taking an active interest in psychosis, and made significant contributions to our understanding of schizophrenia. He emphasized that dream symbols may be neither sexual nor deceptive, and developed the dream series method. Introversion–extraversion is regarded as extremely important by modern psychologists and has become part of our everyday language, albeit in a more simplified way than Jung intended.

Jung’s implicit or explicit suggestions led to such modern forms of treatment as art therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of his approaches to psychotherapy have gained widespread acceptance, such as the use of fewer than four sessions per week, face-to-face interviews, and required training analy- ses for psychoanalysts. Like Freud, Jung emphasized the importance of unconscious projections and the problems that they cause.

The concept of a collective unconscious suggests that something of us continues after death. Jung was acutely aware that we need our lives to have meaning, and his positive approach to religion has support- ers as well as critics. Finally, many of Jung’s practical guidelines make excellent sense: to follow our true inner nature yet not use this as an excuse to trample on the rights of others, to bring the shadow to light and accept the unpleasant aspects of our personality, to avoid the dangers of an excessive and stifling persona or one that is underdeveloped, and—above all—to beware of the extreme one-sidedness that constitutes pathology. To Jung as to Freud, extremism is surely a vice, and true self-knowledge is indeed a virtue.

Freud once tartly characterized Jung as crazy (Roazen, 1975/1976b, p. 261), and there are modern psychologists who would agree. Yet at the very least, Jung was an insightful psychotherapist and highly imaginative thinker who possessed unusually extensive knowledge about a wide variety of subjects. Many of the criticisms of Jungian theory are cogent and serious, but his writings offer considerable riches as well.


  1. The basic nature of human beingsThe Instincts: We are motivated by such innate instincts as hunger, thirst, sexuality, individuation, power, activity, and creativity. Moral ten- dencies and a need for religion are also inborn. Psychic Energy: All mental activity is powered by psychic energy, which is called libido regardless of the instinct(s) involved. The greater the amount of libido (value) that is invested in a mental event, the more the event is desired. Psychic energy attracts complexes of related and emotionally charged ideas. Powerful conscious or unconscious complexes can exert considerable control over one’s thoughts and behaviors. The Principle of Opposites: Psychic energy is created by the tension between such opposites as introversion–extraversion, thinking–feeling, sensation–intuition, good–evil, consciousness– unconsciousness, love–hate, and many others. When one extreme is primarily conscious, the unconscious compensates by emphasizing the opposite tendency. Successful adjustment requires uniting the various opposing forces through some middle ground. Teleology: Behavior is not only motivated by prior causes, but is also oriented toward a future purpose or goal. The Unconscious: The vast majority of the psyche is unconscious, and includes both destructive forces and positive wellsprings of creativity and guidance. The unconscious is divided into two parts, personal and collective.
  2. The structure of personalityThe Ego: The ego is an entirely conscious complex that constitutes the center of awareness and begins to develop at about the fourth year of life. The Jungian ego is a relatively weak component of personality. The Persona: The (conscious) persona is a protective façade, or social mask, that facilitates contacts with other people. An overdeveloped persona results in a state of pomposity or inflation, whereas an underdeveloped persona gives one the appearance of being incompetent, tactless, boring, and eternally mis- understood. The Personal Unconscious: The personal unconscious begins to form at birth. It includes material that is no longer (or is not yet) conscious, such as forgotten and unimport- ant memories, significant repressions, and stimuli that have been perceived subliminally. The Shadow: The shadow, located in the personal unconscious, is the primitive and unwelcome side of personality. However, it also provides a necessary ingredient of vitality. Like all that is unconscious, the shadow is often projected onto other people and experienced in this indirect fashion. The Collective Unconscious: The collective unconscious is a storehouse of archetypes inherited from our ancestral past. Archetypes result from the repeated experiences of past gen- erations and predispose us to perceive the world in particular ways. Included among the many archetypes are the shadow, persona, anima, animus, self, wise old man, and great mother. We never become aware of the archetypes themselves, but experience them through the images or symbols that they produce and transmit to consciousness.
  3. The development of personalityIndividuation and the Self: There are no formal stages of development in analytical psychology. During childhood the various components of per- sonality develop, with sexuality not appearing until puberty. A “second puberty” occurs at about age thirty-five to forty, at which time interests in sexuality and power yield to more spiri- tual and cultural values. The lifelong unfolding of one’s inherent potential, or individuation, results in the formation of a new center of personality (the self) that unifies the many opposites. Individuation can never be fully achieved, however, and may well be beyond the reach of manypeople. Progression and Regression: Libido normally proceeds in a forward direction, further- ing the development of personality. If this progression is blocked by frustrations in the external world, or by internal repressions, libido turns back to earlier memories and archetypal images. Such regressions may result in infantile or pathological behavior, but they may also awaken undervalued and neglected aspects of one’s personality. Character Typology: Individual differ- ences in personality result from the characteristic direction of libido movement (introversion or extraversion), and from the typical way in which a person perceives the world (thinking, feeling, sensation, or intuition). The dominant or superior attitude and function are conscious, whereas the opposite (inferior) processes are primarily unconscious. A predisposition toward one attitude and function is inborn, and these are the ones that should become dominant for the personality to be well adjusted. However, the inferior processes must also be afforded satisfac- tory expression.
  4. Further applicationsDream Interpretation: Dreams provide important information about the personal and collective unconscious. They may serve as wish-fulfillments, anticipate the future, provide a warning, offer solutions to waking problems, or even result from telepa- thy. A dream symbol has at least two meanings, is not an attempt at deception, and often does not concern sexuality. Psychopathology: Psychopathology consists of an excessively one-sided personality, which brings the unconscious into conflict with consciousness. It may be caused by trying to go against one’s true inner nature or by rejecting essential aspects of one’s person- ality. The neuroses of the young usually concern sexuality and power, whereas those of older people are more likely to involve the denial of their inherent religious needs. Psychosis is also understandable and amenable to treatment, although the prognosis is poorer than for neuro- sis. Psychotherapy: Jungian psychotherapy uses a wide variety of procedures, often including face-to-face interviews and only one or two weekly sessions. The goal is to eliminate painful inner conflicts and pathological one-sidedness through a regression to the unconscious, thereby bringing the conscious and unconscious opposites into harmonious unity and allowing individ- uation to continue. The stages of treatment include catharsis, elucidation, education, and per- haps transformation, with transference kept to a much lower level than in psychoanalysis. Other Applications: Other applications of analytical psychology include work, religion (to which Jung is highly favorable, though critical of many religious practices), literature, mythology, and the analysis of alchemical writings.
  5. Evaluation. Analytical psychology has been criticized for literary and conceptual confu- sions, a lack of scientific rigor, and overemphasizing the autonomy of the psyche. It is all too easy to misconstrue Jung’s words as permission to be neurotic or psychotic, or to disavow the responsibility for one’s thoughts and actions. Jung has made substantial contributions to the understanding and treatment of psychosis, to dream interpretation, to the development of psychotherapy, to more positive views of human nature, to religious thought, and to our under- standing of such characteristics as introversion and extraversion.