Carl Jung was a protege of Sigmund Freud during the 1920s and famously split on differences particularly in the application of the pleasure principle and sexuality as forming the basis for human behaviours. Although one of the more esoteric approaches to psychotherapy, Jungian therapy contains exceptionally useful ideas and applications particularly in context of the subconscious mind and spirituality. Jung’s theories can be confusing and complex to understand from an analytic perspective, but can certainly be utilised and explored to great effect within the therapy room. Jung often divides perspectives, some believing his ideas to be nothing more than deluded religious preaching. What is certainly unique about Jungian therapy, is that it draws from ancient religious and philosophical perspectives, rather than just modern scientific or psychoanalytic theory.
Jung made some very significant contributions to modern psychology as well as psychotherapy, some of which are described as follows:
Psychometrics and Personality Types
It is most likely that you will have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a test designed to indicate to what extent you fall into one of 16 different quadrants. This was derived from Jung’s original proposal of a four type cognitive function (thinking, intuition, sensation and feeling) with each edging towards a polarity of either introversion or extraversion.
The Myers-Briggs test was created to give an indicator of personality type based on this theory. An individual would be categorised as one of 16 combinations as follows:
I or E: Introverted or extraverted, focusing more on the outer or the inner world as a result.
S or N: Sensing or intuiting, defining a preference for gut reactions or interpreting meaning.
T or F: Thinking or feeling, a preference for the rational over the reactive.
J or P: Judging or perceiving, a preference for decision and direction over adaptivity and malleability.
Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Another famous theory of Jung’s was the principle of archetypes whereby he proposed that the psyche contained many different pre-defined and concrete concepts that the human brain was already hard-wired to react to. These included the animus and anima, the male and female parts of the soul, the great flood, the trickster, the mother and child, the emperor or father – archaic elements illustrated throughout mythology and religion. The reason we have such pre-conditioned archetypes is because we are all part of a collective unconscious from which these archetypes arise – we already have an innate shared experience prior to our birth. The Self is the master archetype, and at the centre of the life process of individuation achieved through the unity of conscious and subconscious experience, of light and darkness, light and shadow.