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Scribe and Evaluate Carl Jung’s Theory

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“Describe and evaluate Carl Jung’s theory concerning personality types and show how they might usefully help a therapist to determine therapeutic goals”

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) a Swiss born psychologist and psychiatrist was the founding father of the theory and methodology known as ‘Analytical Psychology’. In his early years Jung studied with and was heavily influenced by Freud. But would later have fundamental concerns with regard to Freud’s theories going on to develop his theories and practice of ‘Analytical Psychology’. Jung’s legacy and its impact on modern day psychology and the ‘psychologisation of religion’ in particular spirituality and the New Age movement are immense. Many of Jung’s original theories and methodology still influences the way psychologists and psychoanalysts practice today. Psychological concepts such as ‘archetype’, ‘collective unconscious’, ‘the complex’ and ‘synchronicity’ are Jungian precepts. The ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is used today to measure an individuals perception of their surroundings and how their decisions are formed, is based on Jung’s ‘Typological theory’.

Jung’s father being a pastor and his mother an atheist (in modern day terms) from an early age gave Jung the opportunity to consider and reflect on both “sides” of the religious vs non-believer question, along with the subsequent impact and conflicts within his own psyche. Throughout Jung’s life he expressed a keen interest in nature and spiritual matters, both of which would go onto profoundly influence his work. Originally trained as a clinician Jung was drawn into (at the time, unfashionable) psychiatry whilst working with psychotic patients. It was whilst reading a psychiatric textbook that referred to psychosis as a ‘personality disease’ that Jung became really focused on psychiatry. He was aware that patient’s presenting symptoms often had a connection or relationship to some time or event in their past. This way of thinking, combining the spiritual with the biological reflected Jung’s frame of reference. Jung's theories where primarily based on his own experience and observations of human beings, normal, neurotic, and psychotic. And not a kind of psychopathology, though it did take a degree of empirical material of pathology into account. Jung’s theories are in his own words 'suggestions and attempts at the formulation of a new scientific psychology based in the first place upon immediate experience with human beings. Jung did not refer to the mind per say but rather the ‘psyche’. Which he felt was ‘by nature religious’, as was spirituality an important part of his life.

Jung saw himself (therefore all people) as having two sides to his personality, one analytical and one intuitive. Believing that the integration (or blending) of these two sides is the only way to truly understand ones self and feelings associated with both internal and external worlds. And the integration of the analytical and intuitive something the psyche is continually striving to achieve. Having suffered long periods of depression in his life. Withdrawing from professional, social and family life Jung spent a large amount of time considering meaning in his troubled dreams and feeling. His personal inner world became something for him to study, develop and apply his theories. It was during this time Jung first postulated his theories of the ‘collective unconscious’ and ‘archetypes’. Discovering that by engaging in a creative processes such as woodcarving or stone masonry helped Jung to analysis his feelings and to see and understand patterns in his thinking. During this introspection Jung used symbolic drawing (mandalas) to map his progress and analyse his own dreams, visions and fantasies. Interpreting them to help understand him self. Jung discovered that creative play was a powerful conduit to revealing unconscious thoughts and feelings, becoming a critical component in Jungian theory. (Principles still being applied today).

Jung’s theory stresses the importance of understanding the ‘personal unconscious’ (past events, feeling, behavior, patters etc. that are stored in subconscious). Juxtaposed to the ‘collective unconscious’ (patterns, trends, traits and behaviours all human beings have, independent of culture or background). The ‘collective unconscious’ is one of the most distinctive features of Jungian psychology. Jung took the view that the whole personality is present from birth and not solely a function of environment (as was thought at the time). Which is also where Jung departs from the Freudian doctrine that the unconscious is repressed by the human mind. Jung felt the unconscious mind is where the conscious mind has its roots, where the psyche begins or originates from.

In Jungian theory balance is everything. Jung believed the balancing of these two sides is what drives an individual toward or away from a specific goal. Jung believed the psyche is constantly striving to maintain the balance between opposing qualities whilst actively seeking to develop its own ‘individualism’ (a phrase coined by Jung). Jung developed a structure of the psyche that is separable into component parts with complexes and archetypal content. Examples of theses are: the ‘Ego’, the ‘Shadow and the ‘Persona’. Jung saw the ‘EGO’ at the center of consciousness. The organiser of our thoughts and intuitions, feelings, and sensations, and has access to memories which are not repressed. The ‘Ego’ is the bearer of personality and stands at the junction between the inner and outer worlds. Closely related to the personal unconscious, including anything that is not presently conscious. In essences personal identity, who we think we are. Where as ‘The SHADOW’ are primal human instincts driven from the pre-human or animal past. Where there was no self-consciousness the main concern being with survival and reproduction. ‘The Shadow’ is the dark side of the ‘Ego’ neither good nor bad, just like an animal. The part of us we do not like to admit to. And lastly ‘the Persona’, which represents our public image. The mask presented to the outside world. At its best, a ‘good impression’ we all wish to present as we fulfill our roles in society.

Jung’s believe that the psyche was constantly evolving or moving towards its true self (Individuation) yet controlled by natural laws. And that the psyche's journey followed a repeating pattern (an archetypal pattern) and can be seen repeating in such as the “rites of passage” for birth, marriage and death, reflected throughout all cultures and peoples. Jung believed that this drive to move towards a state if harmony or “individuation,” is fundamental to all cultures and societies.

Different cultures and societies place more or less emphasis on dreams. Jung saw dreams as the psyche’s attempt to communicate to the individual’s consciousness and placed high value on them. Perhaps a way of knowing what’s really going on and an important process in individuation. Jung spent much time and placed much importance in dreams and understanding what they meant, unlike Freud who was fixated on his ideas about the symbolism of images in dreams. Jung believed that by understanding the images within our dreams we would gain a better understanding of ourselves. He stated that dreams should not be interpreted too literally, but considered to find personal meanings in the imaginary or symbolism. A symbol does not tell you what the dream maybe about but may have meaning above and beyond a specific situation. An example of this could be ‘Compensation’. The dream is illustrating an instance where the individual’s subconscious perception is different from that of the conscious perception. In essence, compensating.

One of Jung’s more influential theories ‘personality types’ came from his interest in ‘typology’. Jung was addressing a problem of ‘psychological typing’; which he felt determined the limits of an individual’s judgment. This instance came about by Jung’s attempt to reconcile the two opposing theories of Freud and Adler in defining his own perspective that differed form theirs. Jung believed Freud’s theory ‘extroverted’ and Adlers ‘introverted’. Jungian attitude may also be said to be introverted, since the factors in which Jung is most interested belong to the inner world, and especially to the 'collective unconscious'.

INTROVERSION Jung defined as psychic energy turned inwards towards the individual’s inner world. These individual’s tended to be reflective with retiring natures, preferring their own company and avoiding large groups, possibly cautious and hesitant, disliking change or new things. Seemingly defensive and preferring privacy and personal space spend a lot of time in contemplation. Extreme forms of introversion have similar attributes to autism and some types of schizophrenia.

Where as: EXTROVERSION is when the flow of energy is turned outwards towards the external world. An extroverted person would display interest in the outside world. Being more objective and frank with accommodating and adaptable personalities. Preferring action and people around them. Extreme instances of extroverts would be uncomfortable and unhappy alone and not able to bear silence or solitude – needing constant excitement and external stimulation to prevent boredom or depression.

Within this Jung identified four different functions (or attitudes) of the psyche;
THINKING - when an individual relates to the world via logic and intellect. These types will have logical probing minds, always questioning and looking for answers. Good at judging situations able to see cause and effect, reacting in a logical manner. They may seem to be blunt or frank and appear cool and distant emotionally and will be good at adapting to new circumstances.
FEELING – is when an individual makes value judgments based on how they feel about a specific situation. Placing emphasis and order based on value them not emotion. Feeling individuals have a strong sense of traditional values where human relationships are of prime importance, tending to be warm and creative.
SENSATION – are individuals who rely on sensory impressions and perceptions. Relying on sensory impressions, how things look, feel and sound. Usually well grounded individuals, accepting things at face value and can be seen as “boring or plodders” but are often easygoing and fun, with a calm nature.
INTUITION – where the world is perceived mainly through the unconscious. Individual’s will speak of having a “hunch” about something. This type of individual being conscious of chances or possibilities and can appear dreamy or ungrounded. Bored by monotonous detail and not practical, often creative and inspirational.

Jung believed individuals basically fell in one of two camps (attributes). Introvert or extrovert and this remained pretty fixed. And that an individual would rely mainly on the functional use of one the four “modalities” and that opposing functions impacted on relationships and behaviour. As apposed to attributes, functions can change through time. Jung combined the two attributes and the four functions into eight different psychological types. Jung believed that the majority of people are a mix of two or more types, and that understanding ones own personality type and how it relates to that of individuals around you could offer a deeper understanding of ones self. Resulting in individuation. Jung felt that is we understood and recognised the strengths and weaknesses of our psyche, we would be better able to achieve balance. Individual functions or attitudes are not fixed, with one pair being dominant. The other simply becomes unconscious. Jung believing unconscious part will then find a way of expressing its hidden self.

Jung observed that one’s preference for Extraversion or Introversion could not alone account for the many behavioural differences he observed. For this reason Jung identified two opposite mental functions an individual uses to assimilate information, sensing and intuitive perceptions. Sensing Perception: Collecting data through using the five sensory senses. Intuitive Perception: Making connections and inferring meanings beyond sensory data. Jung also coined two opposite mental functions used to evaluate information, thinking and feeling judgments. Thinking Judgment: Evaluating information using objective and logical criteria. Feeling Judgment: Evaluating information based on the importance to the individual.

With this combination of psychological types, Jung formulated eight types, combining the two attitudes with the four functions.

Extroverted thinking type
Introverted thinking type
Extroverted feeling type
Introverted feeling type
Extroverted sensation type
Introverted sensation type
Extroverted intuitive type
Introverted intuitive type

These generalisation were Jung’s way of providing a structure with which to begin to understand human behaviour and feelings. Jung believed issues such as ‘mental health illness’ occurred when external influences forced an individual into a pattern that goes against the natural energy flow of the individuals psyche or psychological type.

As with Freud, there are critics of Jungian theory. At the time these early pioneers had little empirical data to validate their theories. By today’s standards their theories were developed from very small samples of patients or practical work. But as with Freud, Jung’s work has given modern psychology many foundations and theories to learn from and develop. The continued influence of Jung’s work is evident in today’s psychological vocabulary, psyche, extrovert, introvert and archetype. Modern psychometric testing is almost wholly based on Jung’s personality profiling.

As with Freud, Jung’s theories do have a degree of personal subjectivity and in modern day terms not necessarily stand up to scrutiny. But they do clearly identify different ‘personality types’, where there does appear to be some degree of general consensus. Enabling psychologist, analysis and therapists to better understand individuals by having data on similar categories or repeating personality traits. However, it is important to remember as Jung points out. Personality types are not fixed and that an individual’s personality or psyche can change throughout the passage of time. Energy flows and fluctuates between the opposing sides of the psyche. Therefore, there is no one fixed label or category that can be applied to any individual indefinitely. What Jung did was create a structure or framework to help understand the psyche and how it interacts and relates to other individual’s and their society in general. If a client presents with a symptom or issue, understanding how they feel, relate and react is only the starting point of any healing process. Any therapeutic plan can only be truly effective if the therapist and client share a clear understanding of why the client thinks or feels the way they do. It was Jung’s belief that in order for any individual to heal they needed to learn to listen to messages from their unconscious, to follow their own path and think independently. And to become a competent analyst (therapist), one must first understand oneself. This is possibly the crux of being a psychoanalysis or psychotherapy. Striving to achieve ones own balance or individuation will make the therapist better able to guide others on their healing journey.


Boeree G. (2006) Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 Accessed 15/02/14
INTRODUCTION TO JUNG'S PSYCHOLOGY Written by Frieda Fordham Friday, 18 May 2007 Accessed 20/02/14

Cloniger S. C. ( 2000) Theories of personality: understanding Persons (3rd Ed)
Engler, B. (1999) Personality theories, an introduction.
Eysenck , H.J. (1982) Personality, genetics and behaviour: Selected papers.
Eysenck, H. J. (1990). Biological dimensions of personality. In L. A. Pervin (Ed.),
Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 244-276).
Frager, R., & Fadiman, J. (2005). Excerpt from Personality and Personal Growth
Fordam, F (1953) An introduction to Jung’s psychology. Baltimore. Penguin. In
Engler, B. (1999)Personality theories, an introduction
Furnam, A (1990) Can people accurately estimate their own personality test scores?
European Journal of Personality, 4(4), 319-327 in Engler, B. (1999)
Personality theories, an introduction.p87 (5th Ed)
Jung C, (1933) Jung 'Psychological Theory of Types'.
Modern Man in Search of a Soul , p. 98 (cf. C.W., 6).
O’Roark, A.M. (1990). Comment on Cowan’s interpretation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Jung’s psychological functions.Journal of Personality Assessment , 58, 277-299 in Cloniger S. C.
( 2000) Theories of personality: understanding Persons
Stevens, A. (1994a) Jung A Very Short Introduction. p38.
Stevens, A. (1994b) Jung A Very Short Introduction.
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Ruth Snowden – Teach yourself Jung…...

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...Describe and evaluate Bowlby’s monotropic theory [12 marks] Bowlby’s monotropic theory of attachment after extensive research suggests that emotional bonds had evolutionary functions as he thought it helped a child’s survival. Attachment behaviours in both babies and their caregivers have evolved through natural selection, so the way they behave causes the infants to be biologically programmed with innate behaviours that ensures that attachment does occur. These innate species-specific attachment behaviours are social releasers i.e crying, vocalising and smiling. Bowlby brought in the concept of monotropy through this that there is one relationship which is more important than all the rest. He, however did not rule out the possibility of other attachment figure for a child but did believe there should a primary bond (usually the mother) that was most important than any other in the child’s life. His theory also suggested that there is a critical period for the formation of attachments, whereby attachment behaviours between infant and carer must occur within a certain time period if children are to form attachments. If, however, it does not occur, then it may not happen at all later on. Due to the child’s relationship with the primary caregiver, an internal working model develops which influences relationships in the future. The model is a cognitive framework used to understand the world, self and others, that acts as a template. A person’s interaction with......

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