In this essay I will aim to demonstrate an understanding of Jung’s Personality Types by describing and evaluating his theory and show how they might be useful in helping me to determine therapeutic goals. I will also look at some of the criticism levelled at Jung’s theory,I think this allows the therapist,ie myself to better understand the positive from the negative. I am also of the opinion that detailing Jung’s early years and background play am important role in the overall evaluation. I have particular interest in when Jung met Freud and how this meeting of minds shaped or maybe changed their individual conclusions. I will cover this later in my essay.
Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26, 1875, in the small Swiss village of Kessewil. His father was Paul Jung, a country parson, and his mother was Emilie Preiswerk Jung. He was surrounded by a fairly well educated extended family, including quite a few clergymen and some eccentrics as well. By the age of just six years old Jung started to learn Latin which started an interest in language and literature, especially ancient literature. Jung read several ancient languages including ‘Sanskrit’ the original Holy Hindu language book. Jung was a distant youth whilst growing up who did not enjoy his schooling years and was not competitive. Jung’s later education was in Basel, Switzerland where he attended boarding school where he found himself the centre of jealous pestering.
Carl Jung began to use sickness as an excuse, developing an embarrassing tendency to faint under pressure. Carl Jung’s first career choice was archaeology; Jung went on to study medicine at the University of Basel. Whilst working under the well-known neurologist Krafft-Ebing, he established himself on psychiatry as his career. After graduating, he took a place at the Burghoeltzli Mental Hospital in Zurich under Eugene Bleuler, an expert on schizophrenia. In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach. He also taught classes at the University of Zurich, had a private practice, and invented word association at this time. (internet search)
In 1907 Jung met Freud. Freud would be seduced by the esteem and personality of Jung and would soon see in him the spiritual son that could guarantee the survival of psychoanalysis. The unwillingness of Jung towards the Freudian Theory referred to the role of sexuality in the psychic development. In fact Jung on no occasion completely embraced the sexual theory of Freud. From 1912 onwards Jung found himself more and more distant from Freud’s writings. By abandoning the winding and indirect of Psycho-sexuality, Jung would launch himself in the fields of spirituality and science which was understood by only an initiated few.
Jung’s inner world became something for him to study and develop his theories on and during this time Jung evolved the goal of his psychology of individuation, which is the achievement of the self and other guide marks, such as the archetypes, the collective unconscious. Jung’s theory stresses the importance of understanding our personal unconsciousness (events, feeling, behaviour patterns that we have buried in our subconscious from our own direct past) and the collective unconscious (patterns, trends, traits, behaviours that all humans have no matter what background or culture have running through our lives). Whereas Freud believed the unconscious was suppressed by the human mind. Jung in the other hand believed the unconscious mind was where the conscious mind had its origins and where our psyche begins or is created from.
Balance was the key for Jung, which he believed the balancing of the two sides is what drives us humans ‘towards’ or ‘away’ from goals. The foundation of the mind that consisted of the EGO (who we think we are); the SHADOW (the part of us that we deny or do not acknowledge) was developed by Jung. He continued to believe our mind was constantly developing or moving towards our true self (individuation) and this journey was fuelled by natural laws, the principles of opposites, that every aspect of our mind has an opposite force. The principle of equivalence that equal amounts of energy are given to both sides, and the principle of entropy, that everything natural winds down as energy is evenly distributed, eventually with the opposing side blending together creating a harmony.
Jung believed that our mind’s voyage followed a repeating in the ‘rites of passage’ for birth, marriage and death, mirrored throughout all cultures and peoples. Jung believed that this drive to move towards a state if harmony or individuation, was fundamentally important to us all. Jung spent a good deal of time and energy on the importance of dreams and getting to understand what their meanings meant to each individual. Jung believed that by understanding the imageries within our dreams we would benefit a better knowledge of ourselves. He indicated that dreams should not be interpreted too accurately, but considered for finding personal meanings in the imaginary or symbolism.
Jung also recognised and identified two opposites of personality;
Introversion – when psychic energy is turned inwards towards our inner world. These people tend to be thoughtful people with reserved natures, preferring their own company and evading large groups, they may be cautious and uncertain, disliking change or new things, they may seem defensive and they like privacy and personal space and spend a lot of time in contemplation. Extreme forms of introversion have similar qualities to autism and some forms of schizophrenia.
Extroversion – is when the movement of energy is turned outwards towards the outside world. An extroverted person would show interest in the outside world, they will be objective and frank with helpful and easy-going personalities, they like action and people around them, extreme versions of extroverts would be hopeless alone and not able to bear silence or solitude, needing continuous excitement and external inspiration to prevent boredom or unhappiness.
Jung also identified four different functions (attitudes) of the mind;
THINKING – when a person connects to the world via reason and intelligence. These types will have thinking searching minds, always questioning. They will be good at judging things able to see the origin and results, and will reach logical decisions. They may be open and appear cool and detached emotionally, and will be good at adjusting to new situations.
FEELING – when a person makes worth decisions about the world based on how they feel about something, putting ideas, points, and issues in order based on how they assess them and not on emotional feelings. Feeling people have a sturdy sense of traditional values and human connection is significant to them as they tend to be warm and creative.
SENSATION – when a person relies sensory impressions – perceptions. These people rely on sensory impressions, how certain things appear, feel and sound. They tend to be mentally and emotionally stable people, taking things at face value, they can be seen as dull and boring which often be easy going and fun, with a calm nature.
INTUITION – when the world is understood or interpreted in a particular way mainly through the unconscious – when people speak of having a hunch, gut feeling or instinct about something, this type of person is conscious of changes. Possibilities can appear distracted or ungrounded; they will get bored of uninterested or boring details which are often not practical. They can be creative and inspirational.
Jung believed that a person is essentially an introvert or an extrovert and this remains equally fixed, however, an individual will rely mainly on functioning using one of these four modalities but that opposing function also had an impression on their relationships and behaviour and these functions may adjust throughout life. He combined two attributes and the four functions to eight different psychological types. Jung understood that most people are a blend of two or more types, and that understanding how your own personality type and that of people around you related to the world would offer a deeper understanding of yourself. For example; bringing you closer to individuation. Jung trusts that we understand and recognised the strengths and weaknesses of our mind; that we would improve and achieve balance. The functions and attitudes are also not fixed with one side of the pair leading, the other becomes unconscious. Jung believed that the unconscious part then finds a way of expressing its hidden self. A person’s conscious orientation will be towards one of the four functions; the leading or principle function – this will decide how you respond to experiences.
1.The dominant or principle function – this will determine how you react to experiences.
2. Auxiliary functions – mainly conscious.
3. The opposite auxiliary – suppressed and partially unconscious.
4. Remaining generally unconscious
Jung believed when the conscious function was solid there was a trend for the opposing function to break through into the conscious occasionally in the form of hysteria, phobias and obsessions. He believed in order to achieve balance one must work with the repressed function in therapy which in this case has echoed Freud’s theory on repressed feelings and emotions surfacing unconsciously.
These combinations of psychological types, Jung formulated into eight types, combining the two attitudes with the four functions;
Extroverted and Introverted
The above generalisation was Jung’s way of providing a structure in order to begin and to understand individual’s behaviours and feelings. Although these types are still current they form the basis of personality or psychometric testing (Myers-Briggs) which is still in use today. I believe the significance of this information is that it is an opening point from which to discover and explore our own or clients mind using a structure.
Jung maintains that psychological types are mostly inborn and not acquired through life’s experiences. I concur with this belief, However, Jung recognised that personality types were influenced as a child advances through life by factors such as parents and the amount of influence each parent has over a child, and social factors such as school, peer groups surroundings. Jung also believed problems (mental ill health) arose when external influences forced children into a pattern that goes against the natural energy flow of a person’s mind or psychological type.
As with Freud, most of the theories of early pioneers are quite impossible to prove or test due to no scientific way of measuring them. Also the amount of patients used was in very small numbers and little practical work was done. Jung’s work has given foundations to many modern psychologies including theories to develop and explore further and deeper, including words that have been accepted by the modern language. For example;
These are parallels with other great psychologies – Freud, as I already mentioned and discussed, and the work of Hans Eysenck a more modern theorist. Eysenck was the first psychologist to make this trait or temperament business into something more mathematical: he gave long lists of adjectives to hundreds of thousands of people and used a special statistics called factor analysis to figure out what factors trait dimensions carry the most weight. He took results of this work and created a test called the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) instead of making these traits either-or, like Jung did, he saw them as dimensions. His first trait dimension was, like Jung, ‘extraversion-introversion’. But rather than say you were one or the other (an I or an E), he provided you a score on extraversion-introversion.
Eysenck based his theories on Galen, an ancient Greek theory which was created around two thousand BC. It is one of the oldest personality theories around. Eysenck added on the two basic dimensions of temperament (like Jung) and these were based on four types (unscientifically based on the types of fluids he believed were washing around the individuals body) a sanguine type, cheerful, optimistic and easy to be with, choleric, quick, hot tempered and aggressive. A phlegmatic type temperament, slow people who had a tendency to be sad, depressed and have a negative view of the world.
Much simpler and much less sophisticated than Jung’s theory; Eysenck expands this into three dimensions of personality;
1. Introversion – extroversion
2. Neuroticism – emotional
3. Stability and psychoticism
With five further subdivisions;
The theme of four (opposing) forces repeats throughout cultures and across time, North, South, East and West, Earth, Fire, Wind and Air. In religion(used my own as my example!) we see recurrences of types, for example; The Father
The Holy Ghost or the Virgin Mother
Archetypal images we can recognise and begin to understand. These theories have a degree of objectivity, whilst they may give different labels to the personality types there does seem to be agreement that you begin to understand individuals if you can assess basic similar categories or repeating personality traits. Like Jung’s theory, and the teachings in the Bible (parables) perhaps these theories have value as a way of forming a framework for us to ask question, and discovering more of ourselves.
Jung believed each personality type or psyche was influenced by another, it is logical to assume that in all human relationships, mainly within an analyst/patient relationship, the analyst may encourage the patient so a subjective conclusion or true individuation may not be achievable. I feel it is important to recognise as Jung did that these types are not fixed and that a person’s personality or psyche changes throughout life and that energy flows and fluctuates between the opposing sides of our psyche so we understand that a person does not fit neatly into one of the boxes. Jung created this structure or framework to help work towards understanding of our own psyches and how better to relate to the world and people around us.
Understanding how a person or patient feels, reacts and relates is obviously the first step to the beginning to help them. Being able to plan a patient’s healing journey will be more effectively tailored to them if we have a good understanding of why they think or feel the way they do and help them to understand this too. Jung believed that in order to heal, people need to learn to listen to messages from the unconscious mind, to follow their own path and think independently, and that in order to become a competent analyst you must ‘first understand yourself’ in order to efficiently help a client and to determine therapeutic goals,This is an ongoing journey of self discovery which this course is bringing out in me.
Chrysalis – Diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling – year two – Module Three
Carl Jung Resources, 2014
What Freud really said – David Stafford-Clark
WWW.Philosophy.lander.edu (Internet research)
Carl Jung – Dr. C. George Boeree
Hans Eysenck – Dr. C. George Boeree
Introducing Jung a graphic guide – Maggie Hyde & Michael McGuinness
Personality Types: Jung’s Model of Typology – Darl Sharp