Carl Jung (1875-1961)

Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Jung was an early 20th century psychotherapist and psychiatrist who created the field of analytical psychology. He is widely considered one of the most important figures in the history of psychology.

Early Life

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Switzerland in 1875 to Emilie Preiswerk and Paul Jung, a pastor. Because of his father’s faith, Jung developed a keen interest in religious history, but he settled on the study of medicine at the University of Basel. After he completed his medical degree, Jung joined the staff at Burghoelzli Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland as an intern to Eugen Bleuler, where he explored the unconscious mind and its related complexes. He also traveled to Paris to study under Pierre Janet in 1902. In 1905, Jung was appointed to the faculty at the University of Zurich where he worked until 1913.

Jung married Emma Rauschenbach in 1903. The couple had five children and remained married until Emma's death in 1955, although Jung's extramarital affairs were extensive. Jung died in Switzerland in 1961. 

Professional Life

Jung sent a copy of his book Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in 1906, and Freud reciprocated by inviting Jung to visit Vienna. Their friendship lasted until 1913, at which time they parted ways due to a difference in academic opinion. Jung agreed with Freud’s theory of the unconscious, but Jung also believed in the existence of a deeper collective unconscious and representative archetypes. Freud openly criticized Jung's theories, and this fundamental difference caused their friendship and psychological views to diverge.  

Jung traveled throughout the world to teach and influence others with his psychoanalytical theories. He published many books relating to psychology, and others that seemed outside the realm science, including Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, which examined and dissected the psychological significance of UFO sightings. Jung’s work embodied his belief that each person has a life purpose that is based in a spiritual self. Through his eastern, western, and mythological studies, Jung developed a theory of transformation called individuation that he explored in Psychology and Alchemy, a book in which he detailed the relationship of alchemies in the psychoanalytical process.

Contribution to Psychology

Carl Jung is recognized as one of the most influential psychiatrists of all time. He founded analytical psychology and was among the first experts in his field to explore the religious nature behind human psychology. He argued that empirical evidence was not the only way to arrive at psychological or scientific truths and that the soul plays a key role in the psyche. Key contributions of Jung include:

  • The collective unconscious: A universal cultural repository of archetypes and human experiences.
  • Dream analysis and the interpretation of symbols from the collective unconscious that show up in dreams. 
  • Extroversion and introversion: Jung was the first to identify these two personality traits, and some of his work continues to be used in the theory of personality and in personality testing. 
  • Psychological complexes: A cluster of behaviors, memories, and emotions grouped around a common theme. For example, a child who was deprived of food might grow into an adult smoker, nail biter, and compulsive eater, focusing on the theme of oral satiation. 
  • An emphasis on spirituality: Jung argued that spirituality and a sense of the connectedness of life could play a profound role in emotional health. 
  • Individuation: The integration and balancing of dual aspects of personality to achieve psychic wholeness, such as thinking and feeling, introversion and extroversion, or the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. Jung argued that people who have individuated are happier, more ethical, and more responsible. 
  • The persona and the shadow: The persona is the public version of the self that serves as a mask for the ego, and the shadow is a set of infantile, suppressed behaviors and attitudes. 
  • Synchronicity: A phenomenon that occurs when two seemingly unrelated events occur close to one another, and the person experiencing the events interprets this correlation as meaningful. 

In addition, some of Jung's patients helped to found Alcoholics Anonymous, inspired by Jung's belief in an evangelic cure for alcoholism.

Selected Works of Carl Jung

  • Psychology of the Unconscious (1912)
  • Psychological Types (1921)
  • Essays on Contemporary Events (1947)
  • Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (1952)
  • The Undiscovered Self (1957)
  • Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961)
  • Man and His Symbols (1964)
  • The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (2nd ed. with R. Hull, 1981) 
  • The Red Book (with Sonu Shamdasani, 2009)

Quote by Carl Jung

Quote on understanding self by Carl Gustav Jung

Quote on accepting self by Carl Gustav Jung

References:

  1. C. G. Jung. (2006.) Scientists: Their Lives and WorksBiography In Context. Retrieved from: http://ic.galegroup.com.ez.trlib.info
  2. MacIntyre, Alasdair. (2006). Carl Gustav Jung. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Biography In Context. Retrieved from: http://ic.galegroup.com.ez.trlib.info/

Last Update: 07-06-2015

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