Carl Jung is well known as the forefather of analytical psychology. He believed that religious expression was manifested from the psyche’s yearning for a balanced state of consciousness and unconsciousness simultaneously. Jung spent many years studying and practicing with Sigmund Freud, but this specific theory led them to part ways. Jung surmised that the collective unconscious was one shared by all people. The foundation for this theory was based on specific archetypes and patterns that dictate how people process psychic images. Throughout history and across all cultures, mythology and dream study have maintained a common thread. Jung believed that each person strives to achieve wholeness by attaining a harmony within consciousness and unconsciousness and that this can be accomplished through dream study.
Depth psychology is one of the many therapeutic approaches derived from Jungian Psychology. This method relies on discovering the motives behind mental problems as a means to treat them. During depth psychology, a therapist works with a client to reveal the source of their issue, rather than the symptoms associated with it. Once identified, the maladaptive motives can be transformed, resulting in healthier, more positive thoughts and behaviors.
One of the phenomena that exists in depth psychology is that of the “wounded healer.” When a therapist works with a client who has similar emotional wounds, the therapist becomes aware of this dynamic and may inadvertently transfer his wounds back to the client. This process of countertransference can be detrimental to both the therapist and the client because it exposes the therapist to the wounds of his client, thus potentially infecting the therapeutic process.
Founded in archeology and anthropology, archetypal psychology is one of the strategies that is often used to uncover unconscious motives. Jung studied how historical religions, deities, and fables influenced an individual’s sense of self. Archetypal psychology theorizes that a person’s dreams and psyche are intertwined with their beliefs and that this union is what forms their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. The archetype is symbolic of an individual’s collective life experiences and determines what choices, both conscious and unconscious, a person makes. Archetypal psychology focuses on the soul of a person and Jung and his predecessors found similarities in the archetypes of legends and the drive that is human motivation. Today, archetypal psychologists still consider archetypes a prominent force in the development of an individual’s psychological construct.
Although Jung was not the founder of psychodynamics, he influenced the field dramatically with his contributions. Jung believed that the psyche, or the soul, was driven toward individuation. His psychodynamic psychology revolved around the archetypes within the collective unconscious, as well as the personal unconscious and the ego. Jung also believed in the transcendent function, which was a diffusion of archetypes within the collective unconscious. Jung’s psychodynamic theories included the acknowledgement of a spiritual presence within each person, as well as varying organizing elements within the psyche. Together, these elements and archetypes could at times erupt in disagreement, causing internal conflict.
Jung’s thoeries also influenced many of the assessment tools used in psychotherapy today. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, was based on the theories Jung explored in his book Psychological Types. This personality tool is one of the most commonly used measures throughout the world today.
Another measure, the Jungian Type Index (JTI), developed in 2001, was designed by Hallvard E. Ringstad and Thor Odegard to provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s preferential method of psychological processing. The JTI is based on the specific psychological functions outlined by Jung and is presented in a more concise and universally understandable way. The JTI has replaced the MBTI in several countries, and is seen as a viable and more affordable option for gauging psychological personality. Another variation of these tests is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Although it is also loosely based on Jung’s theories, its content and application varies greatly from both the JTI and the MBTI.
Last updated: 02-04-2015
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