Carl Gustav Jung
The collective unconcious
Carl Gustav Jung was born on July 26th 1875 in
Kesswil, Switzerland. The son of a pious Protestant clergyman and
his extroverted well-born wife. An only child for the first nine
years of his life, he developed, during a lonely childhood, a
pronounced inclination for dreaming and meditation which he later
sought to actually develop.
Jung graduated in medicine from the universities of Basel
(M.D. 1900) and Zürich (PhD. 1902) and worked between 1900
and 1909 in a Zürich Mental Hospital. Early in 1903 he
married Emma Rauschenbach who was herself trained in
It may be possible that Aristotle, way back in the days of
classical Greece, investigated the possiblity that there is a
great significance in the way in which words suggested to one
person will elicit another word in response. Alike with many
other areas of investigation that may have had some currency in
ancient Greece word association techniques seem to have
completely fallen into abeyance until revived by Jung shortly
after his graduation.
He came to accept that a patient's response words, uttered in
reaction to his own stimulus words, would inevitably tend to
reveal areas of particular concern or anxiety that were being
experienced by the patient. Jung gave the name "complexes" to
such areas of particular concern or anxiety. As well as using
these word association techniques he also followed an approach to
psychonalysis deriving largely from the works of Sigmund
Early in 1906 he sent a book he had written about word
association to Freud. From this time an exchange of letters began
with a face to face meeting taking place in March of 1907 after
Jung journeyed to Vienna at Freud's invitation.
Jung and Freud remained on close terms as professional
psychologists for several years thereafter. In 1909 Jung
established himself in private practice as a psychoanalyst at
Freud seemed to look to Jung as being much in sympathy with
his own approach to psychology. Freud's influence contributed to
Jung's being selected as the Permanent President of the
International Psychoanalytical Association in 1910. It happened
however that Jung eventually came to believe that Freud's view of
the human "unconcious mind" placed too great an emphasis on
sexuality in relation to human behavior and to psychological
complexes. Although Freud at one time had seemed to hope that
Jung would carry "Freudianism" into the future there was a
parting of the ways. In 1912 Jung's book New Ways of
Psychology overtly set out the difference in his approach to
that of Freud. An actual professional and personal estrangement
became definitely established in 1913.
New Ways in Psychology was re-published, with some
amendments in 1916, as On the Psychology of the
Jung relinquished the Presidency of the International
Psychoanalytical Association and became deeply involved, as a
co-founder, in a movement called analytical psychology.
In 1921 he published Psychological Types a major work
dealing with the relationship between the conscious and
unconscious and proposing the recognition of the personality
types extrovert and introvert.
Jung's theorisings were largely based on a period of intense
self-analysis, later made a distinction between the personal
unconscious and the collective unconscious. The
individual unconscious could be seen as the set of repressed
feelings and thoughts experienced and developed during an
individual person's lifetime. The collective unconscious could be
seen as the set of inherited and typical modes of expression,
feeling, thought, and memory that were seemingly innate to all
Jung saw the collective unconscious as being made up of
so-called "archetypes". These archetypes being potentialities, or
proclivities, that can find a channel of expression in the
finding of a mate, religion, art, myth, and even in the eventual
facing of death.
Jung's approach to psychotherapy is aimed at achieving a
reconciliation between the diverse states of personality, which
he saw not only as being stressed by the tendencies toward
introvertedness or extrovertedness, but also by other contrary
tendencies of sensing or intuiting, and of feeling or thinking.
Through achieving a true insight into how an individual patient's
unconscious integrates with the collective unconscious that
patient can be helped towards achieving a state of
individuation, or wholeness of self.
Between 1932-1940 Jung held a professorship in psychology in
Zürich and in 1944-5 he held a professorship in medical
psychology at Basel.
Jung died on June 6, 1961, in Küsnacht. He was then
eighty five years old.