An Outline of Analytical Psychology

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An Outline of Analytical Psychology

Analytical Psychology is the school of depth psychology based on the discoveries and concepts of Carl Gustav Jung. Jung gave the broadest and most comprehensive view of the human psyche yet available. His writings include a fully-developed theory of the structure and dynamics of the psyche in both its conscious and unconscious aspects, a detailed theory of personality types and, most important, a full description of the universal, primordial images deriving from the deepest layers of the unconscious psyche. These primordial images are called archetypes of the collective unconscious.

The latter discovery has enabled Jung to describe striking parallels between the unconscious images produced by individuals in dream and vision and the universal motifs found in the religions and mythologies of all ages. The concept of the collective unconscious gives analytical psychology an added dimension in comparison with other schools of psychotherapy. It takes the theory and practice of psychotherapy out of the exclusive realm of psychopathology and relates it to the whole history of the evolution of the human psyche in all its cultural manifestations.

The practice of analytical psychology thus becomes not only a therapy for neurosis but also a technique for psychological development applicable to normal and superior individuals. An abstract, theoretical presentation is alien to Jung who always strove to engage the response of the whole man, not just the intellect. This presentation should thus be recognized as no more than a two-dimensional sketch of a three-dimensional reality. Libido: The psychic energy that directs and motivates the personality is called libido. Interest, attention and drive are all expressions of libido.

The libido invested in a given item is indicated by how highly it is valued. Libido can be transformed or displaced but not destroyed. If the libido attached to one object disappears, it reappears elsewhere. Libido is the dynamism of the life process manifested in the psychic sphere. The theory of libido is closely connected with the law of opposites. The processes of the psyche depend on a tension and interplay between opposite poles. If one side of a pair of opposites becomes excessively predominant in the personality, it is likely to turn into its contrary.

This is called enantiodromia. A one-sided conscious attitude constellates its opposite in the unconscious. See Jung’s essay “On Psychic Energy” (1). Psychological Types: Analytical psychology distinguishes several psychological types. These refer to innate differences in temperament which cause individuals to perceive and react to life in different fashions. There are two attitude types, the extravert and the introvert. The extravert is characterized by an innate tendency for the libido to flow outwards, connecting the individual with the external world.

The extravert naturally and spontaneously gives greatest interest and value to the object – people, things, external accomplishments, etc. He or she will be most comfortable and successful when functioning in the external world and human relationships, and will be restless and ill at ease when alone without diversion. Having little relation to the inner world of subjectivity, the extravert will shun it and tend to depreciate subjective concerns as morbid or selfish. The introvert is characterized by a tendency for the libido to flow inwards connecting him or her with the subjective, inner world of thought, fantasies and feelings.

Greatest interest and value is given to the subject – the inner reactions and images. The introvert will function most satisfactorily when free from pressure to adapt to external circumstances. He or she prefers their own company and is reserved or uncomfortable in large groups. Both introvert and extravert have the defects of their strengths and each tends to undervalue the other. To the extravert, the introvert appears self-centered and withholding of himself. To the introvert, the extravert appears shallow, opportunistic and hypocritical.

Every individual possesses both tendencies, but one is usually more developed than the other. As a pair of opposites they follow the law of opposites. Thus, an excessive, one-sided emphasis on one attitude is likely to lead to the emergence of its opposite. The opposite, however, because it is undeveloped and undifferentiated, will appear in a negative, crude and unadapted form. Thus the extreme extravert will become a victim of negative inferior introversion in the form of depressions. The extreme introvert is likely to have episodes of compulsive extraversion which are crude, ineffectual and unadapted to outer reality.

In addition to attitude types, we also distinguish four function types. The four basic psychological functions are thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Thinking is the rational capacity to structure and synthesize discrete data by means of conceptual generalizations. Feeling is the function which determines value. It is the function that values and promotes human relationships. Sensation is that function which perceives and adapts to external reality via the senses. Intuition is defined as perception via the unconscious, that is, the perception of representations or conclusions whose origin is obscure.

These four functions arrange themselves into two pairs of opposites: thinking – feeling and sensation – intuition. Although every individual has all four functions potentially at their disposal, in actuality one function is usually more fully developed than the others. This is called the superior function. The one least developed is the one that is most primitive and unconscious – the inferior function. Often a second function will have achieved considerable development which approaches that of the superior function. This is an auxiliary function.

Since any one of the four functions may be superior, we have the possibility of four function types: the thinking type, feeling type, sensation type, and intuitive type. The thinking type is found more often in men than in women. The thinking type’s mental life is concerned largely with the creation of intellectual formulae and the fitting of all life experience into these forms. To the degree that the individual is identified with the thinking function and unconscious of the other functions, the thinking will tend to be autocratic and limit the full experience of life.

Since feeling will be the inferior function, its values will suffer the most neglect. Human relationships will be quickly sacrificed if they interfere with the ruling formula. The feeling type is found more often in women than in men. The development and sustenance of personal relationships is the major aim. A sensitivity to human needs and a willingness to meet them is its outstanding characteristic. It finds its greatest satisfaction in rapport with others. In its extreme, this function type can be objectionable in its excessive emphasis on personal matters.

Since thinking is the inferior function, its capacity for abstract, impersonal judgments will be neglected or denied. Thinking will be accepted only so long as it plays a subservient role to the interests of feeling values. The sensation type is characterized by the excellent adaptation to simple, matter-of-fact reality. He or she is content to relate to life on its most elementary terms without subtlety, reflection or imagination. The sensation type appears stable and earthy but may lack creative spark. Vision and imagination, which could mitigate this earthbound state, are products of intuition, which is the inferior function of this type.

The sensation type, in fact, will often depreciate intuitive expressions as unrealistic fantasies and thus be deprived of badly needed leaven at times of mental heaviness. The intuitive type is motivated chiefly be a steady stream of new visions and possibilities, derived from active intuition. The new, the strange and the different are a constant lure. He or she often perceives obscure connections between things which seem separate and unrelated. The intuitive mind works in quick jumps, which is sometimes difficult for others to follow.

When asked to proceed more slowly, he or she is apt to become impatient, perhaps considering listeners slow in making connections. This type’s weakness lies in its inferior sensation function. The relationship to reality may be poor. The hard work required to bring a possibility into actuality or to make an intuitive flash generally accepted seems too onerous. He or she may remain misunderstood with insights, which if they are to bear fruit, must be patiently developed by others. The function types are seldom as definite as would appear by these descriptions.

Usually the development of an auxiliary function will soften and modify the sharp characteristics here described. In addition, we have a further complication. According to the attitude type, each of the function types may have either an introverted or an extraverted orientation. Ideally, all four functions should be available to the individual in order to have a complete response to life experience. It is one of the goals of Jungian psychotherapy to bring in to consciousness and to aid the development of the inferior undeveloped functions in order to approach psychic wholeness.

Many conflicts in human relationships and disputes can be understood through the theory of psychological types. For instance, Jung has explained the difference between the psychological theories of Freud and Adler on this basis. Freud’s theory is concerned chiefly with the individual’s need for and love of the object. Thus it is an extraverted theory. Adler’s theory is based on the individual’s need to maintain his own self-esteem, prestige and power. Adler emphasizes the inner, subjective need; hence his is an introverted theory. Differences in type can underlie difficulties in interpersonal relationships.

Marital conflicts are often related to differences in psychological type. Knowledge of one’s own type and of the fact that other equally valid types exist can often help to relativize one’s own personal reactions and can lead to more conscious and fruitful human relationships. (2) Structure of the Psyche: The psyche can be divided into conscious and unconscious aspects. The ego is the center of conscious and the starting point for all empirical psychology. It is the seat of individual identity, and all contents which are conscious, must be connected with it.

The unconscious includes all psychic elements which are outside conscious awareness and therefore are not connected with the ego. Contents of the unconscious are first encountered as complexes. A complex is an emotionally charged unconscious psychic entity made up of a number of associated ideas and images clustered around a central core. On investigation, this core is found to be an archetypal image (see below). One recognizes that a complex has been struck by the emergence of an affect which upsets psychic balance and disturbs the customary function of the ego.

The ego stands between the inner world and the outer world, and its task is to adapt to both. By its extraverted orientation, it relates itself to external reality. By introversion, it perceives and adapts to inner, subjective reality. The requirement for external adaptation leads to the construction of a psychic structure which mediates between the ego and the external world of society. This mediating structure is called the persona, the Latin word for the ancient actor’s mask. It is the partially calculated public face an individual assumes towards others.

The persona is composed of various elements, some based on the individual’s personal propensities and others derived from the society’s expectations and the early training of parents and teachers. The persona is a mediating compromise between individuality and the expectations of others. It is the role one plays in society. It is also a protective covering that shields from public view what is personal, intimate and vulnerable. The characteristic symbol for the persona is the clothes we wear. Dreams involving missing or inappropriate clothes refer to a persona problem.

Ideally a persona should be appropriate, well fitting and flexible. It is especially important that the individual realize that he is not identical with his persona. The persona sometimes lends one a prestige and authority belonging to the collective group which is not properly used for personal ends. To identify with the persona can cause inflation and alienation from reality. Other persona disorders include a lack of persona which leaves the individual sensitive and exposed to every social touch, and a too rigid, defensive persona which is a barrier to realistic adaptation.

For further discussion of the persona, see (3). Just as the persona stands between the ego and the outer world, so another psychic entity stands between the ego and the inner world of unconscious. This entity is called the shadow. The shadow is a composite of personal characteristics and potentialities of which the individual is unaware. Usually the shadow, as indicated by the word, contains inferior characteristics and weaknesses which the ego’s self-esteem will not permit it to recognize. The shadow may be personified in dreams by such figures as criminals, drunkards and derelicts.

Technically it must be of the same sex as the dreamer. As with all unconscious contents, the shadow is first experienced in projection. This means that an unconscious quality of one’s own is first recognized and reacted to when it is discovered in an outer object. So long as the shadow is projected, the individual can hate and condemn freely the weakness and evil seen in others while maintaining a sense of righteousness. Discovery of the shadow as a personal content may, if it is sudden, cause temporary confusion and depression. This will be most likely if the ego’s previous attitude has bee especially inflated.

The shadow is the first layer of the unconscious to be encountered in psychological analysis. It is not always a negative content. In many cases unconscious positive potentialities of the personality reside in the shadow. In such cases we speak of a positive shadow. Furthermore, the evil and dangerous aspect of the shadow is often due more to its circumstances than to its essence. Just as animals which have become vicious by starvation and brutal treatment can be changed into loyal companions by loving care, so the shadow loses much of its negative aspect when given conscious acceptance and attention.

The problem of the shadow and its projection applies to collective psychology as well. The persecution of the Jews by the Nazis is a terrifying example of the extent to which a collective shadow projection can go. The same psychological mechanism operates in discrimination against other minority groups. For more on the shadow, see (4). The first layer of the unconscious, the shadow, is also called by Jung the personal unconscious, as distinguished from the collective unconscious.

The personal unconscious or shadow contains personal contents belonging to the individual himself which can and properly should be made conscious and integrated into the conscious personality and ego. The collective unconscious, on the other hand, is composed of transpersonal, universal contents which cannot be assimilated by the ego. Between these two layers of the unconscious, the personal and the collective, is another entity with, so to speak, one foot on each side. This is the anima in a man and the animus in a woman.

The anima is an autonomous psychic content in the male personality which can be described as an inner woman. She is the psychic representation of the contrasexual elements in man and is depicted in symbolic imagery by figures of women ranging from harlot and seductress to divine wisdom and spiritual guide. She is the personification of the feminine principle in man, the principle of Eros, pertaining to love and relatedness. The projection of the anima is responsible for the phenomenon of a man’s “falling in love. ” Too much identification of the ego with the anima causes the man to outwardly manifest feminine qualities.

Anima moods or states of anima possession can be recognized by their characteristic features of resentment and emotional withdrawal. Such a condition renders a man psychically paralyzed and impotent. It is most likely to occur in relation to a woman with whom he is emotionally and sexually involved. With full psychological development, the anima leads the man to the full meaning of human relationship and provides him an entrance to the deeper layers of the psyche, the collective unconscious. The animus is the corresponding representative of the masculine contrasexual elements in the psychology of women.

It can be expressed in symbolic imagery by a multitude of male figures from frightening, aggressive men threatening rape to divining bringers of light. It is the personification of the masculine principle in women, the principle of Logos, which is the capacity for rationality and consciousness. A woman’s “falling in love” is likewise due to the projection of the animus. Subjective identification of the ego with the animus causes the woman to lose contact with her feminine nature and to take on more masculine qualities. The animus-possessed woman is more interested in power than in relatedness.

As with the man’s anima, the animus is most often activated in relation to an emotionally significant man, especially a man with whom she is sexually involved. Indeed, the anima and animus have a marked affinity for each other. The slightest evidence of one is likely to evoke the other in the partner. With maturity and maximum development, the animus can become a valuable psychic entity enabling the woman to function with objective rationality and, similarly to the anima in a man, opens to her the collective unconscious. Further discussion of anima and animus is in (5) and (6).

The collective unconscious, more recently termed objective psyche, is the deepest layer of the unconscious which is ordinarily inaccessible to conscious awareness. Its nature is universal, suprapersonal and non-individual. Its manifestations are experienced as something alien to the ego, numinous or divine. The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes and their particular symbolic manifestations, archetypal images. The concept of the archetype has a close relation to the concept of instinct. An instinct is a pattern of behavior which is inborn and characteristic for a certain species.

Instincts are discovered by observing the behavior patterns of individual organisms. The instincts are the unknown motivating dynamisms that determine an animal’s behavior on the biological level. An archetype is to the psyche what an instinct is to the body. The existence of archetypes is inferred by the same process as that by which we infer the existence of instincts. Just as instincts common to a species are postulated by observing the uniformities in biological behavior, so archetypes are inferred by observing the uniformities in psychic phenomena.

Just as instincts are unknown motivating dynamisms of biological behavior, archetypes are unknown motivating dynamisms of the psyche. Archetypes are the psychic instincts of the human species. Although biological instincts and psychic archetypes have a very close connection, exactly what this connection is we do not know any more than we understand just how the mind and body are connected. Archetypes are perceived and experienced subjectively through certain universal, typical, recurring mythological motifs and images.

These archetypal images, symbolically elaborated in various ways, are the basic contents of religions, mythologies, legends and fairy tales of all ages. Such images also emerge from the collective unconscious of individuals through dreams and visions in cases of deep psychological analysis, profound subjective experience or major mental disorder. The experience of encountering an archetypal image has a strong emotional impact which conveys a sense of divine or suprapersonal power transcending the individual ego. Such an experience often transforms the individual and radically alters their outlook on life.

Archetypal images are so various and numerous that they defy comprehensive listing. For our purposes, we shall describe four broad categories of archetypal imagery. I. The Archetype of the Great Mother, the personification of the feminine principle, represents the fertile womb out of which all life comes and the darkness of the grave to which it returns. Its fundamental attributes are the capacity to nourish and to devour. It corresponds to mother nature in the primordial swamp – life being constantly spawned and constantly devoured. If the great mother nourishes us, she is good; if she threatens to devour us, she is bad.

In psychological terms, the great mother corresponds to the unconscious which can nourish and support the ego or can swallow it up in psychosis or suicide. The positive, creative aspects of the great mother are represented by breast and womb. The negative, destructive aspects appear as the devouring mouth or the vagina dentata. In more abstract symbolism, anything hollow, concave or containing pertains to the great mother. Thus, bodies of water, the earth itself, caves, dwellings, vessels of all kinds are feminine. So also is the box, the coffin and the belly of the monster which swallows up its victims. See Neumann(7). II.

The Archetype of the Spiritual Father. As the great mother pertains to nature, matter and earth, the great father archetype pertains to the ream of light and spirit. It is the personification of the masculine principle of consciousness symbolized by the upper solar region of heaven. From this region comes the wind, pneuma, nous, ruach, which has always been the symbol of spirit as opposed to matter. Sun and rain likewise represent the masculine principle as fertilizing forces which impregnate the receptive earth. Images of piercing and penetration such as phallus, knife, spear, arrow and ray all pertain to the spiritual father.

Feathers, birds, airplanes and all that refers to flying or height are part of this complex of symbols which emphasizes the upper heavenly realms. In addition, all imagery involving light or illumination pertain to the masculine principle as opposed to the dark earthiness of the great mother. Illumination of the countenance, crowns, halos and dazzling brilliance of all kinds are aspects of masculine solar symbolism. The image of the wise old man as judge, priest, doctor or elder is a human personification of this same archetype.

The positive aspect of the spiritual father principle conveys law, order, discipline, rationality, understanding and inspiration. Its negative aspect is that it may lead to alienation from concrete reality causing inflation, a state of spiritual hubris or presumption that generates grandiose thoughts of transcendence and results in the fate of Icarus or Phaeton. III. The Archetype of Transformation pertains to a psychic process of growth, change and transition. It can express itself in many different images with the same underlying core of meaning.

Perilous journeys to unknown destinations, exploration of dark places, purposeful descent to the underworld or under the sea or into the belly of a monster to find a hidden treasure are expressions of this archetype. The theme of death and rebirth as well as the symbolism of initiation rites in all of their various forms; the crossing of rivers or waters or chasms and the climbing of mountains; the theme of redemption, salvation or recovery of what has been lost or degraded, wherever it appears in mythological or unconscious symbolism – all of these are expressions of the archetype of transformation.

The theme of the birth of the hero or wonder-child also belongs to this archetype. This image expresses the emergence of a new, dynamic content in the personality presaging decisive change and enlargement of consciousness. (8) A rich and complex example of this archetype is provided by the symbolism of medieval alchemy. In alchemy, the psychic transformation process was projected into matter. The goal of the alchemists was to transmute base matter into gold or some other supremely valuable object. The imagery of alchemy derives from the collective unconscious and belongs properly to the psychological process of transformation.

(9) IV. The Central Archetype, The Self, expresses psychic wholeness or totality. The Self is defined by Jung as both the center and circumference of the psyche. It incorporates within its paradoxical unity all the opposites embodied in the masculine and feminine archetypes. Since it is a borderline concept referring to an entity which transcends and encompasses the individual ego, we can only allude to it and not encompass it by a definition. As the central archetype is emerging, it often appears as a process of centering or as a process involving the union of opposites.

Alchemical symbolism gives us numerous examples of the central archetype as a union of opposites. For example, the philosopher’s stone, one of the goals of the alchemical process, was depicted as resulting from the marriage of the red king and the white queen, or from the union of the sun and moon, or fire and water. The product of such a union is a paradoxical image often described as hermaphroditic. Other images which are used to express the union of opposites are the reconciliation of opposing partisan factions and the reconciliation of good and evil, God and Satan.

The emerging central archetype gives rise to images of the mandala. The term mandala is used to describe the representations of the Self, the archetype of totality. The typical mandala in its simplest form is a quadrated circle combining the elements of a circle with a center plus a square, a cross or some other expression of fourfoldness. Mandalas are found everywhere in all times and places. They seem to represent a basic unifying and integrating principle which lies at the very root of the psyche.

Mandalas can be found in the cultural products of all races. A fully developed mandala usually emerges in an individual’s dreams only after a long process of psychological development. It is then experienced as a release from an otherwise irreconcilable conflict and may convey a numinous awareness of life as something ultimately harmonious and meaningful in spite of its apparent contradictions. (10,11) Psychological Development is the progressive emergence and differentiation of the ego or consciousness from the original state of unconsciousness.

It is a process which, ideally, continues throughout the lifetime of the individual. In contradistinction to physical development, there is no time at which one can say that full psychic development has been achieved. Although we may distinguish various stages of development for descriptive purposes, actually one stage merges into another in a single fluid continuum. In the early phase, the ego has very little autonomy. It is largely in a state of identification with the objective psyche within and the external world without.

It lives in the world of archetypes and makes no clear distinction between inner and outer objects. This primitive state of ego development is called, after L? vy-Bruhl, participation mystique, and is shared by both the primitive and the child. It is a state of magical participation and interpretation between the ego and its surroundings. What is ego and what is non-ego are not distinguished. Inner world and outer world are experienced as a single totality.

This primitive state of participation mystique is also evident in the phenomena of mob psychology in which individual consciousness and responsibility are temporarily eclipsed by identification with a collective dynamism. Jung made no effort to present a systematic theory of psychological development. However, some of his followers, especially Neumann(12), have attempted to fill in this gap.

Following Neumann, the stages of psychological development can be described as follows. The first or original state is called the uroboric stage, derived from uroborus, the circular image of the tail-eating serpent. It refers to the original totality and self-containment which is prior to the birth of consciousness.

The ego exists only as a latent potentiality in a state of primary identity with the Self or objective psyche. This state is presumed to pertain during the prenatal period and early infancy. The transition between this state and the second stage of development corresponds to the creation of the world for the individual psyche. Thus world creation myths refer to this first decisive event in psychic development – the birth of the ego out of the unconscious. The basic theme of all creation myths is separation. Out of undifferentiated wholeness one element is discriminated from another.

It may be expressed as the creation of light – the separation of light from darkness, or as the separation of the world parents – the distinction between masculine and feminine, or the emergence of order out of chaos. In each case the meaning is the same, namely, the birth of consciousness, the capacity to discriminate between opposites. The second stage of psychological development is called the matriarchal phase. Although beginning consciousness has appeared, it is as yet only dim and fitful. The nascent ego is still largely passive and dependent on its uroboric matrix which now takes on the aspect of the great mother.

Masculine and feminine elements are not yet clearly differentiated so that the great mother will still be undifferentiated as to sex. To this stage belongs the image of the phallic mother incorporating both masculine and feminine components. Here, the ruling psychic entity is the great mother. The predominant concern will be to seek her nourishment and support and to avoid her destructive, devouring aspect. The father archetype or masculine principle has not yet emerged into separate existence. Mother is still all.

The ego has achieved only a precarious separation and is still dependent on the unconscious, which is personified as the great mother. The matriarchal phase is represented mythologically by the imagery of the ancient Near Eastern mother religions, for example, the Cybele-Attis myth. Attis, the son-lover of Cybele, was unfaithful to her. In a frenzy of regret, reflecting his dependent bondage, he was castrated and killed. The matriarchal phase corresponds to the Oedipal phase as described by Freud. However, analytical psychologists interpret incest symbolically rather than literally as was done by Freud.

The matriarchal phase is the phase of original incest, symbolically speaking, prior to the emergence of the incest taboo. In the life of the individual, this phase corresponds roughly with the early years of childhood. The third stage is called the patriarchal phase. The transition is characterized by particular themes, images and actions. In an attempt to break free from the matriarchal phase, the feminine with all its attributes is rejected and depreciated. The theme of initiation rituals pertains to this period of transition.

The father archetype or masculine principle emerges in full force and claims the allegiance of the individual. Tests, challenges, rules and discipline are set up in opposition to the sympathy and comfortable containment of the great mother. The incest taboo is erected prohibiting regression to the mother-bound state. Once the transition to the patriarchal stage has been accomplished, the archetype of the great father, the masculine spirit principle, determines the values and goals of life. Consciousness, individual responsibility, self-discipline and rationality will be the prevailing values.

Everything pertaining to the feminine principle will be repressed, depreciated or subordinated to masculine ends. In childhood development, the patriarchal phase will be particularly evident in the years preceding puberty. The fourth phase is designated the integrative phase. The preceding patriarchal stage has left the individual one-sided and incomplete. The feminine principle, woman and therefore the anima and the unconscious have been repressed and neglected. Another change or transition is thus needed to redeem these neglected psychic eleme.


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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  • Date: 1 November 2016

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