15 Sep / Jungian Psychology: A Brief Description
“The integration of unconscious contents into consciousness, which is the main endeavour of analytical psychology, is just such an alteration of principle, in that it does away with the sovereignty of the subjective ego-consciousness and confronts it with unconscious collective contents.” – C. G. Jung
Analytical psychology, alternatively described as complex psychology, is a system of theories and ideas that originated from the twentieth century swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung. Jung worked with Sigmund Freud between 1906 and 1913. Theoretical differences led to a professional break between the two men, which ended with Jung’s publication of Transformations and Symbols of the Libido in 1912. Freudian psychoanalysis considered repressed sexuality as the principal driver of human behavior, whereas Jung’s analytical psychology counted sexuality as merely one instinct of many. For Freud, the psyche was reducible to biological factors whereas Jung viewed the psyche as something more. Jung’s psychology aimed at integrating unconscious contents into the conscious personality.
Jungian psychology consists of two principal parts. The first is analysis, which is distinct from the general theoretical aspect of analytical psychology. Whereas analytical psychology addresses the psychoanalytic aspect of his psychology, complex psychology focused on theoretical viewpoints that could unify the social and the natural sciences. Like psychoanalysis, Jung’s psychology has its own unique lexicon of psychological concepts and theories. The psyche arguably is the bedrock of Jung’s psychology. Understandably, it is difficult to imagine a psychology without a psyche. The psyche is the tendency of advanced organisms to form images from experience. The psyche is comprised of both unconscious and conscious processes. The unconscious consists of a personal and collective layer. The collective layer extends throughout the evolutionary history of the human species whereas the personal unconscious begins and ends with the biography of the individual. The collective unconscious is made up of what Jung called the archetypes. Archetypes could be viewed as the typical modes of psychic functioning. Conversely, a complex, as the name suggests, is a complex of emotions, memories, or impressions of the personal unconscious. When constellated, complexes exhibit an influence on the conscious personality.
Consciousness consists of two attitudes and four functions. The two attitudes are extraversion and introversion and the four functions are sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling. The unconscious can be viewed as a battleground of psychic forces which arise in the form of conflict. Symbols are natural products of the unconscious which help the personality reconcile inner conflict and develop a new attitude. Jung believed that the personality naturally sought out wholeness and called this process individuation. The product of individuation is what Jung called the Self, the archetype of wholeness, which results from the union of the conscious personality with unconscious contents. Individuation is a process that continues throughout life and never ends. Apart from a few exceptional cases, no one becomes completely whole in a lifetime.