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Analytical psychology

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Jungian Map of the Psyche

Analytical psychology (or Jungian psychotherapy) theory and practice of the clinical psychotherapy developed from the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and then advanced by his students and other thinkers who followed in his tradition. It is distinct from Freudian psychoanalysis but also has a number of similarities. Its aim is the apprehension and integration of the deep forces and motivations underlying human behaviour by the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, folklore and mythology. Depth psychology and archetypal psychology are related in that they both employ the model of the unconscious mind as the source of healing and development in the individual.

Overview

Jung developed his own distinctive approach to the study of the human mind. In his early years when working in a Swiss hospital with schizophrenic patients and working with Sigmund Freud and the burgeoning psychoanalytic community, he took a closer look at the mysterious depths of the human unconscious. Fascinated by what he saw (and spurred on with even more passion by the experiences and questions of his personal life) he devoted his life to the exploration of the unconscious. Unlike many before him, Jung did not feel that experimenting using natural science was the best means to understand the soul. For him, an empirical investigation of the world of dream, myth, and soul represented the most promising road to deeper understanding.

The overarching goal of Jungian psychology is the reconciliation of the life of the individual with the world of the supra-personal archetypes. Central to this process is the individual’s encounter with the unconscious. The human experiences the unconscious through symbols encountered in all aspects of life: in dreams, art, religion, and the symbolic dramas we enact in our relationships and life pursuits. Essential to the encounter with the unconscious, and the reconciliation of the individual’s consciousness with this broader world, is learning this symbolic language. Only through attention and openness to this world is the individual able to harmonize their life with these supra-personal archetypal forces.

“Neurosis” results from a dis-harmony between the individual’s consciousness and the greater archetypal world. The aim of psychotherapy is to assist the individual in reestablishing a healthy relationship to the unconscious (neither being swamped by it — a state characteristic of psychosis — nor completely shut off from it — a state that results in malaise, empty consumerism, narcissism, and a life cut off from deeper meaning). The encounter between consciousness and the symbols arising from the unconscious enriches life and promotes psychological development. Jung considered this process of psychological growth and maturation (which he called the process of individuation) to be of critical importance to the human being, and ultimately to modern society.

In order to undergo the individuation process, the individual must be open to the parts of oneself beyond one’s own ego. In order to do this, the modern individual must pay attention to dreams, explore the world of religion and spirituality, and question the assumptions of the operant societal worldview (rather than just blindly living life in accordance with dominant norms and assumptions).

Archetypes

In an early definition of the term, Jung writes: “Archetypes are typical modes of apprehension, and wherever we meet with uniform and regularly recurring modes of apprehension we are dealing with an archetype, no matter whether its mythological character is recognised or not.”[2]

These archetypes dwell in a world beyond the chronology of a human lifespan, developing on an evolutionary timescale. Regarding the animus and anima, the male principle within the woman and the female principle within the man, Jung writes:

“They evidently live and function in the deeper layers of the unconscious, especially in that phylogenetic substratum which I have called the collective unconscious. This localisation explains a good deal of their strangeness: they bring into our ephemeral consciousness an unknown psychic life belonging to a remote past. It is the mind of our unknown ancestors, their way of thinking and feeling, their way of experiencing life and the world, gods and men. The existence of these archaic strata is presumably the source of man’s belief in reincarnations and in memories of “previous experiences”. Just as the human body is a museum, so to speak, of its phylogenetic history, so too is the psyche.“[3]

Archetypes of the collective unconscious. These primordial images reflect basic patterns or universal themes common to us all which are present in the unconscious. These symbolic images exist outside space and time. Examples: Shadow, animus, anima, the old wise person, the innocent child. There also seem to be nature archetypes, like fire, ocean, river, mountain. The word archetype has been in use for centuries and means the original pattern or prototype from which copies are made. In the collective unconscious contents, we are dealing with archaic, primordial types universal images that have existed since remotest times. While the form of an archetype is universal, the specific content is individual, is filled in from personal experience, and cannot be predicted from knowledge of the form alone.

Jung considered the complexes existing in the personal unconscious to be personifications or manifestations of archetypes from the collective unconscious leading to characteristic patterns of behavior. The archetypes represented within each person also include the projected ideas of the world around, according to the way the individual perceives the world, in ways that may tend toward positive or negative, and according to diverse influences from upbringing, education and enculturation. Another factor is the overall intelligence of the people in whom the person has originated from; through the genes, and psychological decent.[4]

All psychic imagery partakes of the archetypal to some extent. That is why dreams and many other psychic phenomena have numinosity. Archetypal behaviours are most evident at times of crisis, when the EGO is most vulnerable. Archetypal qualities are found in SYMBOLS and this accounts in part for their fascination, utility and recurrence. GODS are METAPHORS of archetypal behaviors and myths are archetypal ENACTMENTS. The archetypes can neither be fully integrated nor lived out in human form. Analysis involves a growing awareness of the archetypal dimensions of a person’s life.[5]

Collective Unconscious

The term “collective unconscious” first appeared in Jung’s 1916 essay, “The Structure of the Unconscious”. This essay distinguishes between the “personal”, Freudian unconscious, filled with sexual fantasies and repressed images, and the “collective” unconscious encompassing the soul of humanity at large.[6]

That aspect of the unconscious which manifests inherited, universal themes which run through all human life. Inwardly, the whole history of the human race, back to the most primitive times, lives on in us. Its origin is in heredity, and instinctual patterns. Has a universal character: Its structure is more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals. It “constitutes a common psychic substrate of a supra-personal nature which is present in every one of us” In his explorations through India, China, Japan, and Africa, he found dreams that belonged to the whole of mankind. In Elgon in Africa, he found that their witch doctor drew the same distinction between personal and collective dreams that he did.[7]

The collective unconscious could be thought of as the DNA of the human psyche. Just as all humans share a common physical heritage and predisposition towards specific gross physical forms (like having two legs, a heart, etc.) so do all humans have innate psychological predispositions in the form of archetypes, which compose the collective unconscious. In contrast to the objective material world, the subjective realm of archetypes cannot be fully plumbed through quantitative modes of research. Instead it can be revealed more fully through an examination of the symbolic communications of the human psyche — in art, dreams, religion, myth, and the themes of human relational/behavioral patterns. Devoting his life to the task of exploring and understanding the collective unconscious, Jung theorized that certain symbolic themes exist across all cultures, all epochs, and in every individual.[1]

Personal Unconscious

Jung’s idea of the personal unconscious is comparable to the unconscious that Freud and other psychoanalysts referred to. To Jung, it is personal, as opposed to the collective unconscious, which is shared amongst all persons. The personal unconscious contains memories which are unaware we still possess, often as a result of repression. As we exist in a conscious state, we do not have direct access to our personal unconscious, but it emerges in our dreams or in a hypnotic state of regression.

The basic assumption is that the personal unconscious is a potent part — probably the more active part — of the normal human psyche. Reliable communication between the conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche is necessary for wholeness. Also crucial is the belief that dreams show ideas, beliefs, and feelings of which individuals are not readily aware, but need to be, and that such material is expressed in a personalized vocabulary of visual metaphors. Things “known but unknown” are contained in the unconscious, and dreams are one of the main vehicles for the unconscious to express them. Analytical psychology distinguishes between a personal and a collective unconscious. The collective unconscious contains archetypes common to all human beings. That is, individuation may bring to surface symbols that do not relate to the life experiences of a single person. This content is more easily viewed as answers to the more fundamental questions of humanity: life, death, meaning, happiness, fear. Among these more spiritual concepts may arise and be integrated into the personality.

Complex

Usually unconscious and repressed emotionally-toned symbolic material that is incompatible with consciousness. “Stuck-together” agglomerations of thoughts, feelings, behavior patterns, and somatic forms of expression. Can cause constant psychological disturbances and symptoms of neurosis. With intervention, can become conscious and greatly reduced in their impact.  Complexes are so central to Jung’s ideas that originally he called his body of theories “Complex psychology”. Historically the term originated with Theodore Ziehen, a German psychiatrist who experimented with reaction time in world association test responses.[7]

Complexes are psychic fragments which have split off owing to traumatic influences or certain incompatible tendencies, interfere with the intentions of the will and disturb conscious performance, produce disturbances of memory and blockages in the flow of associations, appear and disappear according to their own laws, and can temporarily obsess consciousness or influence speech and action in an unconscious way.

A complex is an interrelated cluster of unconscious contents which is part of the shadow. “Strongly accentuated emotionally” a pair of ill-fitting glasses through which one sees situations and other people in exaggerated or otherwise distorted form.” (When emotion in complex becomes overwhelming, we get halluclnation, illusion or delusion, like the “savior complex.”) Complexes include disrupted cognitions, compulsive thoughts, and disturbed memories. When a complex is activated, person has a sense of being out of control. They may arise from a one-time traumatic incident or an oft-repeated experience. Frequent parental criticism can produce a “criticism complex”. Complexes may take on guise of “splinter psyches” that can appear in waking behavior but seem foreign. In a sense, complexes can seem to be like independent beings, In the voices heard by the insane they may even take “personal identities,” as in “spirits” who appear through such means as automatic writing.[4]

Shadow

The shadow is an unconscious complex that is defined as the repressed and suppressed aspects of the conscious self. The side of our personality which we do not consciously display in public. May have positive or negative qualities. If it remains unconscious, the shadow is often projected onto other individuals or groups. The Real Bad Dude, for example, may push his friendly, nourishing sides into the shadow. Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness, lest one project these attributes on others. The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.

According to Jung the human being deals with the reality of the Shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation. To know our shadow involves recognizing dark aspects of personality as present & real. Shadow wants to do all the things we do not allow ourselves to do. “I was not myself” or “I don’t know what came over me.” To some extend we are all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When we especially dislike someone, often it is a quality of our own we find in the other.

The shadow is unavoidable and we are incomplete without it.  It is in the nature of human life that there should be light dark, sun and shade, laughter & sorrow. Superstition holds that the person without a shadow is the devil himself. We are cautious with someone “too good to be true.

Persona

The “mask” or image we present to the world. Designed to make a particular impression on others, while concealing our true nature. • To a certain extent it is a figure in the unconscious–that is, we do not realize that we are wearing the mask. It prescribes conduct in accord with requirements of everyday life. It represents conscious ego with its many variations. It is the person’s adaptation to the world; the manner he or she assumes in dealing with it. Must not be mistaken for whole person. If person identifies fully with persona, this becomes a denial of the other parts of the personality, including the rest of the unconscious.

Jung: “One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not but which oneself as well as others think one is.” 

The Ego is our center of consciousness, our conscious sense of self. Therefore it excludes (although remains influenced by) all of our make-up that is unconscious.

Jung says: “So far as we know, consciousness is always Ego-consciousness. In order to be conscious of myself, I must be able to distinguish myself from others. Relationship can only take place where this distinction exists.”

According to Jung, the Ego – the “I” or self-conscious faculty – has four inseparable functions, four fundamental ways of perceiving and interpreting reality: Thinking, Feeling, Sensation, and Intuition. Generally, we tend to favor our most developed function, which becomes dominant, while we can broaden our personality by developing the others. Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person’s least developed, or “inferior” function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped function(s) thus tend to progress together.

Self

Jung felt that the “self” – the whole of the personality, including both conscious and unconscious elements – strives for unity among the opposing parts of the personality.

Individuation

Jung believed that a human being is inwardly whole, but that most of us have lost touch with important parts of our selves. Through listening to the messages of our dreams and waking imagination, we can contact and reintegrate our different parts. The goal of life is individuation, the process of coming to know, giving expression to, and harmonizing the various components of the psyche. If we realize our uniqueness, we can undertake a process of individuation and tap into our true self. Each human being has a specific nature and calling which is uniquely his or her own, and unless these are fulfilled through a union of conscious and unconscious, the person can become sick. He writes:

“Individuation means becoming a ‘single, homogenous being, and in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it “also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation’ as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realization.”

Jung understood and acknowledged the enormous importance of sexuality in the development of the personality, but he perceived the unconscious as encompassing much more. In addition he saw in unconscious material, especially dreams and fantasies, an unfolding of a process. This process was uniquely expressed in each person, but it had nevertheless a common structure. Jung called it the “individuation process” in which the potential of a person’s psyche is seeking fulfillment. The concept of Individuation is considered by many to be his major contribution. It is a process which generally takes place in the last half of life – a time in the life cycle neglected by many other psychologists. While the first half of life is devoted to making one’s way and establishing oneself in the world, the last half can be a time of psychological development, of moving toward awareness, integration, wholeness.

The barriers to individuation which we must seek to explore and resolve are contained in our ‘Shadow’ personality: those qualities that one would rather not see in oneself, as well as unrealized potentials. The Shadow of beauty is the beast. Because they’re repressed such beliefs and feelings are typically unconscious; they influence our entire lives, tell us what we can and can not do, and drive our behaviors. Even when we’re conscious of them, we tend to hide them because we’re ashamed or embarrassed. We don’t want anyone to know that we feel unworthy of love or that we’re not good enough so we try to suppress such beliefs and deny them.

The major goal of Jungian therapy is Individuation through the integration of the Ego and the Shadow. By this means a person becomes a psychological ‘in-dividual,’ that is, a separate indivisible unity or ‘whole’.

 


Reference

 

[1]. Analytical psychotherapy, PsychologyWiki.com, Accessed May 2020.

[2]. Jung, Collected Works vol. 8 (1960), “Instinct and the Unconscious” (1919/1948), 280 (pp. 137–138).

[3]. Jung, Collected Works vol. 9.I (1959), “Conscious, Unconscious, and Individuation” (1939), 518 (pp. 286–287).

[4]. Daniels, Victor. The Analytical Psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. 2011.

[5]. Andrew Samuels, Bani Shorter and Fred Plaut. A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis, Routledge: New York, 1986, pp. 26-28.

[6]. Jung, Collected Works vol. 7 (1953), “The Structure of the Unconscious” (1916), 437–507 (pp. 263–292).

[7]. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung: Volume 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche.

[8]. Mitchell, Gregory.  CARL JUNG & JUNGIAN ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY, Mind-development.eu , Accessed May 2020.

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