Carl Jung (1875-1961) founded analytical psychology. He proposed and developed a range of concepts including introversion and extroversion, archetypes and the collective unconscious. During a period of his life he worked closely with Freud on concepts of the unconscious but their differing opinions caused a break in their working relationship, despite Freud’s significant influence on Jung’s later work.
The central concept of analytical psychology is individuation—the process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious and unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy. Jung considered individuation to be the central process of human development. Jung is also one of the best known contemporary contributors to dream analysis and symbolisation.
Though he was a practicing clinician he considered himself a scientist, and much of his life’s work was spent exploring a wide range of other areas such as Eastern and Western Philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, literature and the arts.
Jung founded a new school of psychotherapy, called analytical psychology or Jungian psychology.
In Jung’s Psychological Types, he states that each person falls into one of two categories, the introvert or the extrovert. Jung compares these two psychological types to the ancient archetypes of Apollo and Dionysus.
- The introvert is paralleled with Apollo, who shines light on understanding. The introvert is thus focused on the internal world of reflection, vision and dreaming. Other traits include a thoughtful and insightful nature, and the introvert personality can sometime be disinterested in joining social activities.
- The extrovert is likened with Dionysus, stimulated by joining the activities of the world. The extrovert focuses on the external world of objects, action and sensory perception. They are energetic and lively, and may lose their sense of self in intoxication of Dionysian pursuits.
Individuation is a process of transformation in which the personal, collective unconscious is surfaced into consciousness (through processes such as dreaming or free association to take some examples) to be assimilated into the whole personality. Individuation is a completely natural process that is necessary for integration of the psyche to take place.
People who have elevated towards individuation tend to be harmonious, mature and responsible. They generally possess humane values like justice and freedom, having a good understanding about the construction of human nature and the universe.
Individuation was fueled by Jung’s belief in spiritual experience as an essential aspect of human well-being, as he specifically identifies individual human life with the universe as a whole. Work on both himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond striving towards material goals. Our main task, he stated, is to fulfill our deeper innate potential.
Jung’s idea of religion as a practical road to individuation has proven quite popular, and is still treated in modern textbooks on the psychology of religion, though his ideas have also been criticized.
The work of Jung from the 1940s onwards focused on alchemy.
In 1944 Jung published Psychology and Alchemy, in which he he analysed alchemical symbols to show a direct relationship to psychoanalytical processes. He believed that the alchemical process was the transformation of an impure soul (lead) to a perfected soul (gold), and a metaphor for the individuation process.
The persona is as a consciously created identity fashioned out of part of the collective psyche through processes of socialisation and experience.
Jung regarded the “persona-mask” as a complicated system which mediates between individual consciousness and the social community; it is “a compromise between the individual and society as to what one should appear to be”.
The persona acts as double function, intending to both make a certain impression to others, and to hide a part of the true nature of the individual.
Synchronicity is the process by which a person experiences two or more events as meaningfully related, where they are unlikely to be causally linked. The subject sees it as a meaningful coincidence.