Carl Jung Executive Summary

 John Ruh  Leadership, Professional Development

Carl Jung, the founder of Analytical Psychology, was born in Switzerland, (1875-1961). While a young man, training to become an internist, he had what some might call an epiphany and switched his studies to psychiatry, and ultimately became internationally known for creating what today is called Analytical Psychology. By most accounts, Jung had a troubled early life and lived his adult life somewhat outside the social norms of the day. He was a prolific author, psychiatrist, and student of many other disciplines. Jung was influenced early in his career by Sigmund Freud and others; however, he separated from them and created his own the school of thought regarding the human psyche.

Five of his Key Concepts
Jung made contributions in many areas. I found these 5 most helpful.

Introversion / Extraversion
In 1921 Jung wrote “Psychological Types”. This book discusses how individuals are differently oriented and process information in a variety of ways, which affords an illuminating insight into interpersonal dynamics and conflicts. I see his brilliant work in this area as foundational work for 4 dimensional tools such as Disc/Myers- Briggs and many others published in many languages and used world-wide in training and development. Do you know what behavioral type you are?

His Definition of Self
The self is the term Jung chose to describe the utter uniqueness and totality of the individual, encompassing all elements, both conscious and unconscious, individual and collective. As Jung would say, “Both the center and circumference” of the psyche. Peter Mudd, my Jungian tutor, likens the self to our “DNA”,i.e., that which contains the individual’s unique “blueprint” and organizes and drives the process of its actualization.

Persona and Shadow Concept
Persona is a term Jung borrowed from Greek drama, wherein actors held and spoke through masks which signified their characters. We like to project our (mask) persona to the world, an image of how we like to be seen. For each persona, however, there is a “hidden other” Jung called the shadow- that part of us we prefer to hide, (disown). Most of us are simply unaware of our shadows. Jung might say those parts you disown would reside in your shadow. A way to know your shadow is by paying attention to those people who trigger strong emotional responses in your psyche. Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde is an excellent illustration of persona and shadow.

Individuation is the process of discovery, understanding, accepting, and integrating all of one’s selves/parts, making oneself whole. Jung uses many complex terms like persona, shadow, self, introversion, extraversion, archetypes, all of which, when understood and accepted in proper proportion, can allow one to grow and develop in accordance with one’s unique blueprint. As we continuously embrace the many parts of ourselves, we can become more whole, and Jung might say less neurotic through integration.

Spiritualism / Value of Religions
I experience Jung as a very spiritual being and many of his thoughts connect to what I will call “spiritualism”. For example, his concept of synchronicity has a spiritual tone to me, as it notes a meaningful connection between the individual and the “cosmos.”. Additionally, Jung found value in the world religions and asserted that the psyche had an inherent “religious function.” His concept of archetypes ties into religious symbols, which he saw as links to powerful dynamisms in the human psyche. Jung noted, however, that religious symbols are not everlasting and can “wear out” and no longer convey a deep sense of the sacred. In his definition of the self, Jung described one primary characteristic as the “imago dei” (image of God), reflecting the authority of what others might call God, Jesus, spirit, Allah, the higher self, oneness, the zone, the force, and on and on. Jung is complex to read and understand yet quite interesting and thought provoking. To Jung, life was a great mystery, and he was comfortable saying, “I don’t know”.

5 of My Favorite Jung Quotes

  1. “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses”
  2. “The first half of life is to form a healthy ego and second half is to go inside and let go of it”
  3. “Those people that irritate you can teach you a lot about yourself”
  4. “Neurosis is always a poor substitute for legitimate suffering”
  5. “There is no birth to consciousness without pain”

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