“Describe and evaluate Carl Jung’s theory concerning personality types and show how they might usefully help a therapist to determine therapeutic goals”.
For the purpose of this essay I will attempt to show an understanding of Carl Jung’s theory of personality types, evaluate his theory and show how the theory might help a therapist to determine therapeutic goals.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was born in Kesswil, Thurgau in Switzerland, and studied Psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy and analytical psychology at the University of Basel.
Jung’s influences were; Eugen Bleuler (19th century Swiss psychiatrist), Sigmund Freud (19th century psychologist), Friedrich Nietzsche (German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer), and Arthur Schopenhauer (18th century German philosopher).
Jung married Emma Rauschenbach who was the daughter of a wealthy Swiss family; Emma was also a psychotherapist and author in her own right. Jung had a good relationship with his father however Jung’s mother suffered with bouts of depression and was known as very eccentric.
Jung would often use his mother’s issues as reasons for his own difficulties in life.
Jung was the founder of analytical psychology and developed the concepts of extroversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. Jung’s work has been extremely influential within many fields including; psychiatry, study of religion, philosophy, archaeology, anthropology, and literature, Jung was also a prolific published writer. Jung was very religious by nature, and his work was based around this religiousness, he also held a fascination with philosophy and the occult. Because of Jung’s strange and unusual beliefs, many considered him to be a little mystic.
Jung’s desire was to be seen as a “man of science”, his influence on popular psychology, the “psychologization of religion”, “spirituality” and the “new age movement has been huge.”
Carl Jung was one of the great personality theorists who was guided by and took inspiration from ancient models such as astrology. The study of personality has been going on for hundreds and possibly thousands of years, and Hippocrates himself (c. 460-377/359 BC) studied others characters and personality traits.
Jung founded a new school of psychotherapy called analytical psychology, referred to as “Jungian Psychology”. Jung’s theories included the following;
The concept of “introversion and extroversion”.
The concept of the “complex”.
The concept of the “collective unconscious”, this includes the archetypes. “Synchronicity” as a mode of relationship that is not casual, an idea that has influenced Wolfgang Pauli (with whom he developed the notion of “unus mundus” in connection with the notion of non-locality) and other physicists.
P.Reeve; City College, Norwich
Jung stated that a person’s psychological make-up works on two fundamental levels, the conscious and the unconscious. Jung believed that the conscious and unconscious worked in such a way that balanced each other out. For instance if a person’s conscious side responds in a particular manner, the unconscious will respond in such a way as to balance things out. Jung believed that we are all born with a natural and equal balance, and that if this balance was altered by external experiences or happenings, the mind would work to restore the equilibrium.
Jung saw consciousness as a product of rational and irrational systems of encountering and assessing reality. Jung developed a framework of “four functional types, consisting of two sets of pairs. These were described by Jung as being those from which “most differentiated function plays the principal role in an individual’s adaptation or orientation to life.” (From Psychological Types, 1921). By “most differentiated” Jung meant superior or dominant. Jung’s four functions are;
Jung stated that these functions enable us to decide and to judge, or “rational”.
Jung stated that these are the functions which enable us to gather information and perceive, or “Irrational”. Jung stated that each one of us needs to both perceive and judge, in order to survive and carry on “normal functioning behaviour.” Jung stated that each of us will favour one function from each of the pairs.
Definitions of the four functional types are;
What something is.
Meaning and understanding.
Analytic, objective, principles, standards, criteria.
Whether it is good or not.
Weight and value.
Subjective, personal, valuing intimacy, humane.
Jung called these functions “rational”. The functions are opposite, reasoning and judging functions. People consciously prefer one or the other.
Realistic, down-to-earth, practical, sensible.
Where it’s from and where it’s going.
Possibilities and atmosphere.
P.Reeve; City College, Norwich
Hunches, future, speculative, fantasy, imaginative.
Jung called these functions “irrational”, and stated that these functions enable us to “gather information” and “perceive” Businessballs.com (http://www.businessballs.com/personalitystylesmodels.htm#carl Jung’s personality types).
Jung stated that each person has a natural orientation towards one of the four functions, which would be their “superior” or most “differentiated” function. In this case the opposite function, “inferior” or “unconscious” function would be represented and compensated within the person’s unconscious. Jung stated that a personality would generally be represented by a conscious dominant function from each opposite pair: one of these dominant functions would be overall dominant or “superior” and the other dominant function would be the supporting or “auxiliary” function.
The four functions; thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition along with extraversion and introversion, make up Jung’s “eight types”, which are eight mental Functions-in-Attitude attitude. These eight mental functions in their particular attitude form the core of Jung’s “theory of psychological types”. These are the eight functions we all call upon to adapt to the world. What this means is that a person can be defined by which of the eight they are, for example;
“Outward and active focus on bringing order to the objective world through
building and seeking harmony with others and alignment with openly expressed values.”
“Inward and reflective focus on the subjective world of deeply felt values, that seeks harmony through alignment of personal behaviour, with those values and evaluation of phenomena in light of those values.
Jung explains this as being defined by our dominant function, or our most preferred mental function. If a person uses “Extraverted Sensing” more than any of the other seven mental functions, this is the more dominant function, and this person would be defined as an “Extraverted Sensing Type”.
Jung’s theory of the eight functions appears to work very well within practice, however does take considerable time to “get to grips” with the system, as there is much information to familiarise yourself with. This theory once understood can be applied to almost any situation or experience, and does seem to make complete sense.
Aelius Galenus, (c.130AD-200AD), better known as “Galen of Permagon” was a renowned Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire. Galen created a theory about personalities, and around the second century AD, published “De Temperamentis” which outlined his theory. Galen was inspired by the works of Hippocrates, and elaborated on his theory. Hippocrates identified the four fluids that lie at the base of Galen’s theory, which were: Blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm.
Galen, unlike Hippocrates (who studied the four fluids for medical purposes rather than the study of human temperament) stated that these four fluids were responsible for differing moods, behaviours and emotions. Due to the time since Galen’s theory was created, almost millennia, Galen’s theory has not withstood the test of time. (Galen’s Personality Theory-Psychology of Personality Period 6;
P.Reeve; City College, Norwich
Another, more recent psychologist known for his interest and work around personality types and intelligence was Hans Eysenck (1916-1997). Eysenck was born in Berlin, Germany although became a British citizen, and attended “UCL” University College London. Eysenck spent most of his life studying and working in Britain, which was very much as a result of his hatred of Hitler and the Nazis. Eysenck hated everything they stood for; he decided to leave his native country. Eysenck was the founding editor of the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” and authored more than 80 books and in excess of 1600 journal articles.
Eysenck’s model (P-E-N), was based on three personality dimensions; Psychoticism, Extraversion and Neuroticism. Eysenck meant that in terms of dimensions of temperament, these three dimensions are related to basic human emotions. In basic terms;
Psychoticism trait = a bipolar scale which is anchored at the high end by aggressiveness and divergent thinking, and is at the low end for empathy and caution. Extraversion trait = Enjoy positive/social events, a bipolar scale which is anchored at the high end by sociability and stimulation seeking, and at the low end by social reticence and stimulation avoidance. Neuroticism trait = a bipolar scale anchored at the high end by emotional instability and spontaneity, and by reflection and deliberateness at the low end.
Eysenck stated that “E and N” provided a 2-dimensional space to describe individual differences in behaviour. An analogy can be made to how latitude and longitude describe a point on the face of the earth. Eysenck acknowledged that these two dimensions were very similar to the four personality types first proposed by “Galen”. For example;
High N and High E = Choleric type
High N and Low E = Melancholic type
Low N and High E = Sanguine type
Low N and Low E = Phlegmatic type
The major strength of Eysenck’s model was that it provided data supporting a clear theoretical explanation of personality differences. Eysenck proposed that extroversion was caused by variability in cortical arousal, and introverts are characterized by higher levels of activity than extroverts and therefore are chronically more cortically aroused than extroverts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Eysenck).
Although Jung worked with and was influenced by Freud, he had difficulties with the fact that all of Freud’s ideas and theories were based around sexuality. Freud saw Jung as his main ally and supporter, however Jung moved away from Freud in 1913 due to these difficulties.
Understanding Jung’s theory of personality types can help a therapist to better understand their client’s self-image and self-worth. It is crucial for the therapist to understand the client’s expectations of the therapy, so that achievable goals may be established. Sensible, achievable goals for the client are a must, if the client is to have a chance of succeeding in their therapy, achieving “wholeness” and potentially self-actualizing. P.Reeve; City College, Norwich
For a person to become “whole”, Jung considered “Individuation, a psychological process of integrating the opposites including the conscious with the unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy, necessary for a person to become whole.” (http://www.businessballs.com/personalitystylesmodels.htm#carl Jung’s personality types).
People who have advanced towards individuation tend to be harmonious, mature and responsible, and have a good understanding of life, human nature and the universe.
Jung believed that someone suffering “psychological disturbance” showed a level of psychic imbalance, for example, neurosis over-emphasizing the characteristic traits on a person’s personality. If a person suffers a traumatic event at some point in their life, there are likely to be difficult emotional issues. These traumas’ may have been consciously forgotten or placed within the unconscious, but they are still likely to prove problematic for the person, in the form of complex emotional and/or behavioural difficulties. Jung stated that these issues could then be displayed as anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional and psychological problems, leading to imbalance.
Jung believed that in order to redress this imbalance, all areas of the psyche must be investigated so that the very point of the imbalance could be identified. Jung’s theories do hold much weight in the world of psychology; however there are areas where Jung greatly differed from other personality theorist’s. Jung did not consider a client’s emotional aspect towards a situation. This conflicts with Eysenck’s theory, as he placed everyone on his scale of “normal to neuroticism.” Eysenck stated “neuroticism is a true temperament that should be regarded when looking into personality types.” Jung believed that the role of the therapist was extremely relevant for the client to overcome their issues, which is why Jung was often accused of being too self-absorbed, using his own personal experiences within many of his ideas and theories.
Understanding personality types is an extremely important element of a therapist skill set. The relationship between the therapist and client is all important, as the client must feel safe, valued and listened to by the therapist. If the therapist did not consider the client’s personality, the relationship would be unlikely to develop positively. The therapist must treat the client as an individual, based on the client’s personality, “for example; Does the client seem more introverted or extroverted, does the client seem to talk more logically or emotionally, is the client more cautious or compulsive?” (Counselling Philosophy; Role of the Counsellor; http://www.exrx.net/Psychology/CounsellorRole.html)
In understanding the client’s personality and working with the client based on this personality, allows the client to feel understood, which will be more likely to result in the client being more open and honest within the therapy sessions. This will also help the therapist to determine appropriate, realistic therapeutic goals.
I have looked at and considered three “personality type” theorists, Jung, Eysenck and Galen, all from very different periods throughout history. Although all share a common interest, they are all very different people, from different historical periods, with different personalities themselves. All three arguably had different childhood and life experiences, which in itself potentially led to conflicting ideas/theories within the same interest and discipline. The idea that theorists for example can share a common interest or subject, which
P.Reeve; City College, Norwich
Result’s in varying answers and outcomes, goes some way to show the importance and relevance of the “personality”, and the different outcomes as a result.
Ultimately, personality types are arguably extremely relevant with regards to therapy and therapeutic goals. The patterns of the impact of client’s persona, ego and self-etcetera, will affect them in their everyday life, social and personal relationships. If the therapist does not consider the individual personality of the client, how can they possibly build a relationship with their client, based on the core conditions?
Understanding the client’s personality will be extremely useful to the therapist, and will help the therapist in assisting the client to achieve positive therapeutic outcomes, and to enable them to reach their therapeutic goals.
P. Reeve; City College, Norwich
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Jung’s psychological types – the four functional types.
Galen’s Personality Theory – Psychology of Personality Period 6. https://sites.google.com/site/psychologyofpersonalityperiod6/home/type-and-trait-theories/galen-s- personality-theory).
Counselling Philosophy; Role of the Counsellor.