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Carl Gustav Jung

(1875—1961) Swiss psychologist


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(1875–1961)

Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology and who proposed the concepts of extrovert and introvert personalities, archetypes, and the collective unconscious. He also developed valuable methods of psychiatric therapy.

After qualifying in medicine at the University of Basle (1900), Jung became an assistant at the Burghölzi Asylum, Zürich, and later senior staff physician and an instructor in psychiatry to the University of Zürich. He was appointed professor of psychology at the Federal Polytechnical University, Zürich (1933–41), and from 1943 was professor of medical psychology at the University of Basle. Jung made his name as a psychiatrist with a study of schizophrenia, using both physiological and psychological methods. He showed that word association tests were useful indicators of emotional activity and that such activity was accompanied by physiological changes – in heart rate and respiration. In 1906 Jung met Freud and they collaborated closely until 1912, when their differences could no longer be reconciled. Jung opposed Freud's theory of a sexual basis for neurosis and completed their break when he published Psychology of the Unconscious (1913), which expressed his conflicting views. Jung analysed the causes of the estrangement and concluded that he and Freud were constitutionally different types and therefore approached problems from opposing viewpoints. He expanded his theories of typology (Psychological Types, 1923), first differentiating two major types of people, according to their attitudes, as either extrovert or introvert. Later he differentiated four functions of the mind (thinking, feeling, sensations, and intuition), one or more of which predominate in any particular person.

Jung's major interest was the unconscious background underlying the conscious life and he attached great importance to dreams. He had always been subject to dreams and fantasies and allowed them free expression so that he could study them scientifically by detailing his thoughts and experiences. He considered that a dream is a fact and discovered in some patients some ancient material that could not be explained in terms of their own history. This led him to study some less advanced peoples in an attempt to learn about human thought. He eventually developed his hypothesis of the collective unconscious, in which he proposed that the mind, like the body, has a very long ancestry so that an individual's unconscious contains both his own personal experiences and the common inherited cultural experiences consisting of symbols and ideas shared by all humans. The patterns of shared ideas that he found he called archetypes, and he spent the rest of his life developing these ideas, particularly in relation to religion and psychology.

Jung's methods of therapy emphasized normal and healthy psychology, pointing out that symptoms were disturbances of normal processes and not entities themselves. He suggested that neuroses were interferences with the healthy mind and that dreams were unrealized potentialities. His approach was to concentrate on the patient's present and his failure to cope with life at that particular time. He pioneered psychotherapy for the middle-aged and the elderly, especially those who considered that their lives were no longer of value.

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Subjects: Literature.


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