In this essay I aim to describe and evaluate Carl Jung’s theory concerning personality types and show how they might usefully help a therapist to determine therapeutic goals. I will also look at the origins and characteristics of attitudes and functions and show how these can be related to psychological disturbance. Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was born in 1875 to a reverend who had lost his faith and was the only surviving son; which lent him to a rather solitary childhood which was emotionally deprived. His mother had bouts of mental anguish and illness and spent long periods of time in hospital. He was a lazy scholar and pretended to faint regularly to avoid school work, but after hearing his father voicing concerns he would amount to nothing in life, he stopped this and engaged with his studies. This is relevant in that he used this experience of his own behaviour as an example of how neurotic behaviour can be overcome when subjected to the realities of life. Jung studied medicine at University, then trained as a psychiatrist specialising in schizophrenia. He spent time studying with Freud, with Freud even seeing Jung as his main partisan, but he struggled with Freud’s theory of everything being influenced by sexuality and they split their alliance in 1913. Jung was deeply affected by this split and experienced his own psychological ‘crisis’ resulting in him withdrawing to Zurich for six years, exploring his own unconscious. Patients still visited him however and he became renowned worldwide for his skills as a psychoanalyst. “During this period, Jung spent considerable time working on his dreams and fantasies and seeking to understand them as far as possible, in terms of his everyday life” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections p.170, New York Vintage Books), this led to Jung developing his own theories and he travelled far and wide becoming fascinated with how culture affects the psyche (the word he uses for personality). This fascination with culture greatly influenced the theory Jung created. According to Hayes (1994, pg.233), Jung “saw libido as being the basic energy of motivation and pleasures but Jung’s concept of libido was a non-sexual life force encompassing religious awe and mystical life affirming experiences as well as sexuality.” Although different to Freud’s interpretation of libido, the influence of Freud when Jung created his theory is evident. This was the beginning of his journey investigating different factors which affect the personality; which he believed were influences of a higher order. Upset by his split with Freud and to help him understand the root cause of their difficulties Jung tried analysing one patient’s case history from the perspectives of Freud and also from Alfred Adler, who saw the origins of neurosis as being due to how one relates to society and in particular, the desire for power. The outcome was that dsepite both methods being incompatible with each other, both were valid and made sense in the understanding of the patient’s pathology. Jung reasoned this was due to the different personalities of Freud and Adler and the way each viewed the world differently, meaning that different personality types make people behave and think in different ways because their individuality influences their attitudes. Jung’s theory is based upon structures within the psyche, the Ego, the Personal Unconscious, the Collective Unconscious and Archetypes. The Ego (different to the one identified by Freud) is the ‘Self’ or the total personality including the conscious and unconscious. This is the part which combines all mental processes, characteristics, contents, positivity and negativity as well as constructive to destructive thinking and behaviour. The ‘Self’ contains conscious thoughts and feelings about our own behaviour and feelings, our memories of past experiences and our inner sense of our identity. Jung claimed that the Self is not always achieved and never occurs until middle age. The...
Bibliography: Begg, Deike Synchronicity – 2001
Hayes, Nicky Foundations of Psychology – 1994
Jung, Carl Collected Works – Volume 8 – The Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche
Jung, Carl Collected Works – Volume 12 – Psychology and Alchemy
N. York Vintage Books Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Mattoon, Mary Ann Jung and The Human Pscyhe
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