‘Describe and evaluate Carl Jung’s theory concerning personality types and show how they might usefully help a therapist to determine therapeutic goals’
In this essay I aim to demonstrate an understanding of Jung’s personality types by describing and evaluating his theory and to show how they might useful in helping a therapist to determine therapeutic goals. I will also look at some of the criticisms levelled at Jung’s theory.
Carl Gustav Jung, (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, and the founder of analytical psychology. His father was a Pastor, and he had an isolated childhood, becoming very introverted, it seems he had a schizoid personality. Although Freud was involved with analytical psychology and worked with patients with hysterical neuroses; Jung, however, worked with psychotic patients in hospital. He was struck by the universal symbols (or Archetypes) in their delusions and hallucinations (ref. Dennis Brown and Jonathan Redder (1989) p.107). His work and influence extends way beyond understanding personality, and he is considered to be one of the greatest thinkers to have theorised about life and how people relate to it.
Carl Jung was among many great personality theorists who drew inspiration and guidance from the ancient models like astrology and the Four Temperaments. For hundreds of years there has been some kind of 'typology' to try and categorise individual’s attitudes and behaviour, e.g. Astrology. Oriental astrologers invented the oldest form of typology; believing is that there is a personality trait that is relevant to each sign and that a person’s character/personality can be classified in terms of the elements – fire water air and earth. Those under fire had a fiery nature and corresponding temperament and fate, etc. The ancient Greeks believed in the 'four temperaments' / 'four humours', which can be traced back to Ancient Greek medicine and philosophy (400BC), especially in the work of Hippocrates - the 'Father of Medicine') and in Plato's ideas about character and personality. It was believed that in order to maintain health, people needed an even balance of the four body fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. These four body fluids were linked to certain organs and illnesses and also represented the ‘Four Temperaments’ or ‘Four Humours’ of personality. The Greek physician Galen (AD 130-200) later introduced the aspect of four basic temperaments reflecting the humors: the sanguine, buoyant type; the phlegmatic, sluggish type; the choleric, quick-tempered type; and the melancholic, dejected type. Galen also classified drugs in terms of their supposed effects on the four humors. He thus created a systematic guide or selecting drugs, which although scientifically incorrect were the foundation stone of treating psychological and psychiatric illnesses.
Carl Jung approached personality and 'psychological types' (also referred to as Jung's psychological types) from a perspective of clinical psychoanalysis. He was one of the few psychologists in the twentieth century to maintain that development extends beyond childhood and adolescence through mid-life and into old age. He focused on establishing and developing a relationship between conscious and unconscious processes. Jung believed that Page 2
there was a dialogue between the conscious and unconscious and without it the unconscious processes can weaken and even jeopardise the personality and this is seen in one of his central concepts of individuation. He believed that individuation is a life long process of personal development that involves establishing a connection between the ego and the self, which could be brought to its highest realisation if worked with and the unconscious was confronted. (Stevens 1999) Jung, like Freud, referred to the ego when describing the more conscious aspect of personality. Unlike...