Counselling, Freud, Jung, My Story, psychology, stages of development, thoughts influence on physical body, Uncategorized

16.A little background on Jung (part 1)

A little background on Jung

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Born in Switzerland in 1875, Carl Gustav Jung had a stressful, oppressive childhood. Both his parents were religious (his father was a minister) which was influential on his theory of personality. His mother suffered a nervous breakdown causing her to be hospitalized for several months which prevented her from being present during Jung’s crucial years of developing an attachment (according to Bowlby). As an adult, Jung had his own psychiatry practice whilst teaching at various universities and was influenced by some of Freud’s earlier opinions on psychoanalysis. He enjoyed travelling and wrote many works experiencing much emotion living through both world wars before his death in 1961 [1].

Early attempts to identify types of character/ personality included ancient cosmological philosophies which involved observational patterns of behaviour, i.e., astrological horoscopes, and the Greek physiological categories that were based on the outdated idea of humorism (i.e., an excess or lack of certain bodily fluids (humors) influenced one’s temperament, emotions, and personality). One such ‘humorist’ theory, offered by Hippocrates, described an individual’s temperament according to their bodily secretions: phlegmatic (phlegm) was associated with being tranquil and thoughtful; sanguine (blood) was associated with being outgoing and fun seeking; choleric (yellow bile) was associated with ambition and taking leadership; and melancholic (black bile) was associated with investigative and literal characteristics.

Also heavily influenced by humorism, Galen of Pergamon (Roman; AD 131–200)) developed Hippocrates’ (Greek) theory of temperament further, describing how a physiological imbalance of excess humors could occur between the ‘four’ elements: hot, cold, dry and wet.  Galen described a total of nine temperaments, including balances of (paired) qualities, stating that the ideal personality would be a mix of complementary characteristics such as warm (sanguine) and moist (choleric) or cool (melancholic) and dry (phlegmatic). Individuals with a personality of one dominant quality were not ideal.

Jung recognised three components of the personality: the ego (one’s consciousness including thoughts, feelings, perceptions and memories); the personal unconscious (unique, personal experiences that are repressed or forgotten); and the collective unconscious (a bond between humans that includes shared experiences (archetypes) such as birth, death, light, dark, power, males, females, sex, pain). He highlighted five important archetypes: the persona (deceptive public self), the anima (the female component in males derived from life times of experiences with females, which also aids interactions with females), the animus (the male component in females which should be demonstrated to avoid being portrayed as easily controlled), the shadow (the dark (opposing), inferior part of the personality (includes lust, anger etc.) which must be understood in order to reach wholeness); and the self (one’s life goal of “wholeness” with balanced integration of personality components).

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Stevens, A. (1994) Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.


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