Carl Gustav Jung 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961

Carl Gustav Jung (German pronunciation: [ˈkaːɐ̯l ˈgʊstaf ˈjʊŋ];  was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology (also known as Jungian psychology). Jung's approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in countercultural movements across the globe. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is "by nature religious" and to explore it in depth.

He emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, religion and philosophy. Though not the first to analyze dreams, he has become perhaps the most well known pioneer in the field of dream analysis. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician, much of his life's work was spent exploring other areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts.

Jung emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern people rely too heavily on natural science and logical positivism and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of unconscious realms. He considered the process of individuation necessary for a person to become whole. This is a psychological process of integrating the conscious with the unconscious while still maintaining conscious autonomy. Individuation was the central concept of analytical psychology.

Jungian ideas are not typically included in curriculum of most major universities' psychology departments, but are occasionally explored in humanities departments. Many pioneering psychological concepts were originally proposed by Jung, including the Archetype, the Collective Unconscious, the Complex, and synchronicity. A popular psychometric instrument, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), has been principally developed from Jung's theories.

Jung was thirty when he sent his Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in Vienna. The first conversation between Jung and Freud is reported to have lasted over 13 hours. Six months later, the then 50 year-old Freud sent a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Zürich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted six years and ended in May 1910. At this time Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association, where he had been elected with Freud's support.

Today Jung's and Freud's theories have diverged. Nevertheless, they influenced each other during intellectually formative years of Jung's life. As Freud was already 50 years old at their meeting, he was well beyond the formative years. In 1906 psychology as a science was still in its early stages. Jung, who had become interested in psychiatry as a student by reading Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing, professor in Vienna, now worked as a doctor under the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in Burghölzli and became familiar with Freud's idea of the unconscious through Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and was a proponent of the new "psycho-analysis". At the time, Freud needed collaborators and pupils to validate and spread his ideas. Burghölzli was a renowned psychiatric clinic in Zürich at which Jung was a young doctor whose research had already given him international recognition.

In 1908, Jung became editor of the newly founded Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research. The following year, Jung traveled with Freud and Sandor Ferenczi to the U.S. to spread the news of psychoanalysis and in 1910, Jung became Chairman for Life of the International Psychoanalytical Association. While Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Psychology of the Unconscious), tensions grew between Freud and Jung, due in a large part to their disagreements over the nature of libido and religion[clarification needed]. In 1912 these tensions came to a peak because Jung felt severely slighted after Freud visited his colleague Ludwig Binswanger in Kreuzlingen without paying him a visit in nearby Zürich, an incident Jung referred to as the Kreuzlingen gesture. Shortly thereafter, Jung again traveled to the U.S.A. and gave the Fordham lectures, which were published as The Theory of Psychoanalysis. While they contain some remarks on Jung's dissenting view on the nature of libido, they represent largely a "psychoanalytical Jung" and not the theory Jung became famous for in the following decades.

In November 1912, Jung and Freud met in Munich for a meeting among prominent colleagues to discuss psychoanalytical journals. At a talk about a new psychoanalytic essay on Amenhotep IV, Jung expressed his views on how it related to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytic movement. While Jung spoke, Freud suddenly fainted and Jung carried him to a couch.

Jung and Freud personally met for the last time in September 1913 for the Fourth International Psychoanalytical Congress, also in Munich. Jung gave a talk on psychological types, the introverted and the extraverted type, in analytical psychology. This constituted the introduction of some of the key concepts which came to distinguish Jung's work from Freud's in the next half century.

In the following years Jung experienced considerable isolation in his professional life, exacerbated through World War I. His Seven Sermons to the Dead (1917) reprinted in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections (see bibliography) can also be read as expression of the psychological conflicts which beset Jung around the age of 40 after the break with Freud.

Jung's primary disagreement with Freud stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung (though not according to Freud), Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung agreed with Freud's model of the unconscious, what Jung called the 'personal unconscious,' but he also proposed the existence of a second, far deeper form of the unconscious underlying the personal one. This was the collective unconscious, where the archetypes themselves resided, represented in mythology by a lake or other body of water, and in some cases a jug or other container. Freud had actually mentioned a collective level of psychic functioning but saw it primarily as an appendix to the rest of the psyche.

Recommend Reading


Recommend Listening