Carl Jung's Exploration of the Unconscious Mind

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Carl Jung's Exploration of the Unconscious Mind

Carl Jung is best known for his exploration of the unconscious mind, developed through his education in Freudian theory, mythology, religion, and philosophy.

Jung was born July 26, 1875 to a well-educated family in Kesswil, Switzerland. He was raised with a love for language and literature, beginning Latin lessons at the age of 6.

As a teenager, Jung led a solitary life. He did not care for school, and shied away from competition. When he went to boarding school in Basel, Switzerland, he was the victim of jealous harassment, and learned to use sickness as an excuse. He later went on to the University of Basel, intending to study archaeology, but instead decided to study medicine. After working under the famous neurologist, Krofft-Ebing, he discovered psychiatry. After graduating, Jung worked at a mental hospital in Zurich under Eugene Bleuler (who later discovered and named schizophrenia). In 1903, he married and at this time he was also teaching classes at the University of Zurich, working at his own private practice, and working on his theory of word association. He finally met Freud, in 1907, and they developed a friendship as the two compared theories. Their friendship eventually ended, and soon afterwards came WWI and a rough time of self-examination for Jung (which then led to his theories of personality). He retired as a psychiatrist in 1946, and died fifteen years later.

Jung’s theories of personality are closely related to the Freudian theories. He divided the human psyche into three categories; the ego, or the conscious mind, the personal unconscious which holds memories and such, and the collective unconscious which is the connection that all humans share. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is made up of archetypes. An archetype is the “unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way”#. There are an innumerable amount of archetypes, which all organize experiences or materialize thoughts in their own way.

The mother, Mana, Shadow, Persona, and Syzygy archetypes are the most common. The mother archetype is a “built-in” void, which automatically seeks out a mothering figure. If the individual lacks an actual person to fill that void, he/she may live in which something else fills it. They may live a life devoted to the church (meditating on a figure of Mary),...

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...the four functions through which humans perceive and deal with the world. These include sensing (through which a person gets information from their senses), thinking (through which a person evaluates ideas with logic), intuiting (which is a kind of sixth sense unconscious perception), and feeling (through which a person assesses information by their emotional response). Jung described sensing and intuiting as “irrational” because they involve simply receiving information and making no judgment on them, and thinking and feeling as “rational” because one judges the information received.

Much of Jung’s work, controversial as it was, is still in use or extended upon to some degree today. Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator based on Jung’s categorization of the psyche. Through taking this test, one can be identified as being one out of sixteen different categories such as ENFJ (extroverted feeling with intuiting) or ISTJ (introverted sensing with thinking). Jung’s Word Association test is also in wide use in the psychiatric field today.

Works Cited

Dr. C. George Boeree. "Carl Jung." Personality Theories. 1997.

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