Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26, 1875, in Kesswil, Switzerland (near Lake Constance), the second son of Johann Paul Achilles Jung, a clergyman, and Emilie Preiswerk Jung (their first son Paul had died in childbirth).
His sister, Johanna Gertrud Jung (Trudi), would later became his personal secretary.
At an early age, his father taught him Latin and his mother exposed him to exotic religions from illustrated children's books. Carl was a quiet, observant child who preferred to be left alone with his thoughts.
Perhaps as a result of that isolation, he spent hours observing the roles of the adults around him, something that no doubt shaped his later career and work.
A young Jung.
Carl’s childhood was influenced by the complexities of his parents. His father, Paul, was a pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church. Carl’s mother, Emilie, was chronically afflicted by mental illness and, when Carl was three, left the family to live temporarily in a psychiatric hospital. She spent a lot of time in isolation - obsessing about the spirits she believed visited her at night.
It was at this point in his life that Carl had his first exposure to spirits and the occult: some of his relatives were engaged in table-turning with a medium. He became fascinated with the subject and took meticulous notes on the experience. Although he eventually came to believe that the medium was a fake, his fascination with the supernatural would continue throughout his lifetime.
As was the case with his father and many other male relatives, it was expected that he would enter the clergy. In his teens, he discovered philosophy and read widely. Unlike his father, he did not subscribe to the notion of Jesus as God and embraced a more universal spectrum of belief. His own view of the Divine would later influence his conceptualization of the Collective Unconscious.
At the age of 19, he enrolled as a student at the University of Basel. From 1895 to 1900, he was exposed to numerous fields of study, including biology, paleontology, religion and archaeology, before finally settling on medicine. It is speculated that this decision was influenced by his grandfather’s reputation, who had been a professor of surgery at the University of Basel.
He did not immediately take up the study of psychiatry. A plausible reason is that the study of psychiatry and mental health was not considered a serious area of discipline. This may have been due in large part to the very negative sentiments society had towards the mentally ill. Jung graduated from the University of Basel in 1900, and obtained his M.D. two years later from the University of Zürich. As a university student, Jung changed the modernized spelling of Karl to the original family form of Carl.
Carl Jung with his parents and sister, 1893.
In 1900, at the age of 25, he began his work as First Assistant Physician at the Burghölzli Psychiatric Clinic in Zürich, under Eugen Bleuler. Bleuler was a pioneering Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist most notable for his contributions to the understanding of mental illness. He coined many psychiatric terms, such as "schizophrenia", "schizoid", "autism", “depth psychology” and what Sigmund Freud called "Bleuler's happily chosen term ambivalence”. During this period, Dr. Jung completed his dissertation, On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena (published in 1903).
Carl Jung at the Burghölzli Psychiatric Clinic in Zürich, 1900.
In 1903, Dr. Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, the elder daughter of a wealthy industrialist in eastern Switzerland, Johannes Rauschenbach-Schenck, the owner of IWC Schaffhausen, the famous International Watch Company. Upon his death in 1905, his two daughters and their husbands became owners of the business. Jung's brother-in-law, Ernst Homberger, became the principal proprietor, but the Jungs remained shareholders in a thriving business that ensured the family's financial security for decades.
Emma Jung, whose education had been limited, devoted considerable ability and interest in her husband's research. She passionately threw herself into studies and acted as his assistant at Burghölzli Clinic and eventually became a noted psychoanalyst in her own right. They had four daughters and a son: Agathe, Gret, Marianne, Helene and Franz. They maintained an open marriage that lasted until Emma's death in 1955.
In 1906, at the age of 30, Dr. Jung published Studies in Word Association. At the hospital, he had observed how different words elicited emotional responses from patients. He believed this represented subconscious associations around immoral or sexual content. He coined the term "complex" to describe the conditions. This publication led to Dr. Jung’s introduction to the Austrian neurologist, and founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
Dr. Jung began lecturing on psychiatry at the University of Zürich in 1905 and continued on there until 1913.
Jung and Freud
Jung and Freud
Dr. Jung was a fan of Sigmund Freud’s idea of the unconscious and a proponent of the newly developed “psycho-analysis” as depicted through Freud’s classic text The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). In 1906, Dr. Jung sent Freud a collection of his early papers entitled Studies in the Word Association to which Freud responded positively. The two psychiatrists became friends and worked together over a five-year period beginning in 1907.
Dr. Jung was widely believed to be the one who would continue the work of the elder Freud. Viewpoints and temperament, however - and differences of opinion over the formation of the core personality - ended their collaboration, and, eventually their friendship.
In 1909, Dr. Jung, extremely busy with his private practice, resigned from the Burghölzli Clinic. In that same year, he traveled to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts on a trip organized by the American psychologist G Stanley Hall.
While Dr. Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, (Psychology of the Unconscious: a study of the transformations and symbolisms of the libido, 1912), tensions flared between him and Freud - primarily over the nature of libido and religion. Freud believed in the power of the libido and sexual development as the source of personal growth. While he did think that libido was an important source for personal growth, unlike Freud, Jung did not believe that libido alone was responsible for the formation of the core personality. Jung also felt that Freud was too narrow-minded in his views on the unconscious mind and dream interpretation.
In 1912, while on a lecture tour in America, Jung publicly criticized Freud’s theory of the Oedipus Complex and his emphasis on infantile sexuality. This led to an irrevocable split between the two men.
Freud closed off his inner circle to Dr. Jung. He was both shunned and the victim of character assassination. In 1914, he resigned from the International Psychoanalytic Society, but continued undaunted in the development of his ideas. He went on to develop his own version of psychoanalytic theory, an approach he named “Analytical Psychology”.
Dr. Jung spoke at meetings of the Psycho-Medical Society in London in 1913 and 1914. His travels were soon interrupted by the war, but his ideas continued to receive attention in England primarily through the efforts of Constance Long, who translated and published the first English volume of his collected writing.
Group photo, Clark University, 1909. Front row: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung. Back row: Abraham Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi.
Individuation of the Psyche
Among Jung’s most important work was his in-depth analysis of the psyche, which he explained as follows: “By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious,” distinguishing his concept from the conventional concept of the mind, which is generally limited to the processes of the conscious brain alone. Jung saw the psyche as something that could be divided into component parts with complexes and archetypal contents personified, in a metaphorical sense, and functioning rather like secondary selves that contribute to the whole.
Dr. Jung believed that the psyche is a self-regulating system, rather like the body, one that seeks to maintain a balance between opposing qualities while constantly striving for growth, a process Jung called “Individuation”.
In short, Individuation is a process whereby an individual differentiates him- or herself from others. Dr. Jung also believed it to be a psychological process of integrating opposites, including the conscious and unconscious through means such as dreams and active imagination. He believed that striving for Individuation leads to achieving positive physical and mental health.
Dr. Jung’s methods of investigating the unconscious mind included dream analysis, word association tests, active imagery, art therapy (painting), and psychotherapy. Jung saw dreams as a compensatory function to make up for the failings of the Ego. Dreams emerge from the unconscious to compensate for the non-adaptive attitude of the Ego. He also saw them as having a perspective function of being able to address situations that might occur in the future.
Clients in Jungian therapy work with dreams in a number of ways. One way is to stick to the image as it appears to the dreamer rather than interpret it metaphorically. Another method is that of amplification, in which the images in dreams are compared to the images from the archetypes or myths in order to find parallels. The final way is through active imagination, in which clients engage in the dreams as if in a conversation. His first ideas were published in Psychology of the Unconscious (1912) which contained much of the mythological content that pointed out the parallels between mythology and the content of the unconsciousness. Also, it discussed parallels between myths and psychotic fantasies.
Jungian Analysis and Dream Therapy
Another important concept of Jung’s psychology is the Collective Unconscious. Dr. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative and inelastic. According to Dr. Jung, Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. To the idea of the personal unconscious, Dr. Jung added the concept of the Collective Unconscious.
This, based on his theory, is the part of the unconscious that contains ideas and memories inherited from our ancestors. The Collective Unconscious contains the blueprints for a whole range of ideas and images. This entails that each one of us is born with the tendency to conceive similar kinds of primordial images.
From this, Dr. Jung recognized the primordial images or primeval imprinting and basic patterns of human life which he called "Archetypes”, depicted in myths and fairytales. These basic patterns give rise to the development of complexes which mirror our personal experiences and anchor them in our memories.
As Jung put it, “The Collective Unconscious is a part of the psyche which can be negatively distinguished from a personal unconscious by the fact that it does not, like the latter, owe its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition.”
The Collective Unconscious
Dr. Jung would go on to describe 5 basic archetypes that originated out of the Collective Unconscious: The Ego (or the Self), the Shadow, the Anima, the Animus, and the Persona. The Ego or Self is the regulating center of the psyche and the facilitator of individualization, which is a process in which the unconscious becomes realized or understood. The Ego represents the unification of the unconsciousness and the consciousness of an individual. The Shadow is the opposite of the Ego and possesses qualities that the Ego does not. It mainly consists of the life and sex instinct being composed of repressed ideas, desires, and shortcomings. The Anima is the feminine image in a man’s psyche and the Animus is the masculine image in a woman’s psyche. Lastly, the Persona represents how we present ourselves in the world.
In his psychological theory, the Persona appears as a consciously created personality or identity, created out of part of the collective psyche through socialization, acculturation and experience. Jung applied the term Persona explicitly because, in Latin, it means both personality and the masks worn by Roman actors of the classical period, expressive of the individual roles played.
The Persona, according to Jung, is a mask for the "collective psyche", a mask that “pretends” individuality, so that both self and others believe in that identity, even if it is no more than a well-played role through which the collective psyche is expressed. Jung regarded the "persona-mask" as a complicated system which mediates between individual consciousness and the social community: it is a compromise between the individual and society as to what a man should appear to be. It is a character mask in the classical sense known to theatre, with its double function: both intended to make a certain impression on others, and to hide (part of) the true nature of the individual. Jung believed it was the therapist’s job to help the patient liberate themselves from the deceptive cover over the Persona, as well as the power of unconscious impulses.
Introversion and Extraversion
Another one of Dr. Jung’s more important developments from this early period was his conception of introverts and extraverts and the notion that people can be categorized as one of the two, depending on the extent to which they exhibit certain functions of consciousness. Dr. Jung was one of the first people to define introversion and extraversion in a psychological context.
In Jung's Psychological Types, he theorizes that each person falls into one of two categories, the introvert and the extravert. Jung compares these two psychological types to the ancient archetypes of Apollo and Dionysus. The introvert is likened with Apollo, who shines light on understanding. The introvert is focused on the internal world of reflection, dreaming and vision. Thoughtful and insightful, the introvert can sometimes be uninterested in joining the activities of others. The extravert is associated with Dionysus, interested in joining the activities of the world. The extravert is focused on the outside world of objects, sensory perception and action. Energetic and lively, the extravert may lose their sense of self in the intoxication of Dionysian pursuits.
Jungian introversion and extraversion are quite different from the modern idea of introversion and extraversion. Modern theories often stay true to behaviorist means of describing such a trait (sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness, etc.) whereas Jungian introversion and extraversion is expressed as a perspective: introverts interpret the world subjectively, whereas extraverts interpret the world objectively.
Jung's work in this area was featured in his publication Psychological Types. The original German language edition, Psychologische Typen, was first published by Rascher Verlag, Zürich in 1921.
When a person is self-realized, the Persona is minimized, the Anima and Animus is recognized, and there is balance between introversion and extraversion. The way by which self-realization is achieved is through transcendence. The transcendent function is essentially an aspect of the self-regulation of the psyche. It typically manifests symbolically and is experienced as a new attitude toward oneself and life. Thus, according to Jung, a transcendent function is a psychic function that arises from the tension between consciousness and the unconscious and supports their union.
Self-Realization and Transcendent Function
For Jung, archetypes constitute the structure of the collective unconscious - they are psychic innate dispositions to experience and represent basic human behavior and specific situations. Thus, the mother-child relationship is governed by the mother archetype and the father-child relationship is governed by the father archetype. Birth, death, power and failure are controlled by archetypes, as well as religious and mystical experiences. Jung felt the most important of all is the Self, which is the archetype of the center of the individual’s psyche, his/her totality or wholeness. The center is made of the conjunction of consciousness and unconscious reached through the individuation process.
Dr. Jung proposed that archetypes manifest themselves through archetypal images in all the cultures and religious systems, in dreams and visions. Therefore, a great deal of Jungian interest in the psyche focuses on interpretation of dreams and symbols in order to discover the compensation induced by archetypes as marks of psyche transformation.
More on Jung’s Archetypes
In 1913, when Jung left Freud’s psychoanalytic movement, he used the term “Analytical Psychology” to identify what he called a new psychological science having evolved out of psychoanalysis. Later, when he was firmly established in his own right, he referred to the “psychoanalytic method” of Freud and the individual psychology of Alfred Adler. He preferred to call his own approach “Analytical Psychology” - by which he meant a general concept embracing both, as well as other endeavors.
Analytical Psychology sees people motivated by repressed experiences and emotionally toned experiences coming from their ancestors. It sees people as primarily either male (Animus) or female (Anima), introvert or extravert, rational or irrational and experienced as either conscious or unconscious. It also sees motivations as either pushed by past events (causality) or being pulled by future expectations (teleology). Two other important aspects of the theory are progression and regression. Progression involves the outward flow of psychic energy in adapting to the outside world. Regression involves the backward flow of psychic energy adapting to the inner world.
Dr. Jung always asserted that his psychology was an empirically-based science. Today, the international professional association of Jungian analysts is called the International Association for Analytical Psychology, and analytical psychology embraces theory, writing, and research - as well as psycho-therapeutic practice.
In 1914, soon after the outbreak of World War I, Dr. Jung was drafted as a Swiss army doctor and soon made commandant of an internment camp for British officers and soldiers. (The neutral Swiss were obliged to intern anyone crossing their border trying to evade capture.) Dr. Jung worked to improve the conditions of soldiers stranded in Switzerland and encouraged them to attend university courses.
World War I Years
Alliances in Europe in 1915. Switzerland (yellow) found itself surrounded by members of opposing alliances.