‘Describe and Evaluate Carl Jung’s Theory Concerning Personality Types

Categories: Carl Jung

Intro In this essay I aim to show an understanding of Jung's personality types by describing and evaluating his theory and to demonstrate how they might helpful in helping a therapist to figure out healing goals. I will likewise take a look at a few of the criticisms levelled at Jung's theory. Carl Gustav Jung, (26 July 1875-- 6 June 1961), was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, and the founder of analytical psychology. His father was a Pastor, and he had a separated childhood, ending up being extremely shy, it seems he had a schizoid personality.

Although Freud was involved with analytical psychology and worked with patients with hysterical neuroses; Jung, however, worked with psychotic clients in healthcare facility. He was struck by the universal signs (or Archetypes) in their delusions and hallucinations (ref. Dennis Brown and Jonathan Redder (1989) p. 107). His work and impact extends method beyond understanding personality, and he is thought about to be among the greatest thinkers to have actually theorised about life and how individuals connect to it.

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Carl Jung was amongst many great personality theorists who drew motivation and guidance from the ancient designs like astrology and the Four Temperaments. For hundreds of years there has been some type of 'typology' to try and categorise person's mindsets and behaviour, e. g. Astrology. Asian astrologists invented the oldest kind of typology; thinking is that there is a personality trait that pertains to each sign and that an individual's character/personality can be classified in terms of the aspects-- fire water air and earth.

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Those under fire had a fiery nature and corresponding personality and fate, etc. The ancient Greeks believed in the '4 characters'/ '4 humours', which can be traced back to Ancient Greek medication and philosophy (400BC), specifically in the work of Hippocrates - the 'Father of Medication') and in Plato's concepts about character and character. It was thought that in order to preserve health, people required an even balance of the four body fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.

These four body fluids were linked to certain organs and illnesses and also represented the ‘Four Temperaments’ or ‘Four Humours’ of personality. The Greek physician Galen (AD 130-200) later introduced the aspect of four basic temperaments reflecting the humors: the sanguine, buoyant type; the phlegmatic, sluggish type; the choleric, quick-tempered type; and the melancholic, dejected type. Galen also classified drugs in terms of their supposed effects on the four humors.

He thus created a systematic guide or selecting drugs, which although scientifically incorrect were the foundation stone of treating psychological and psychiatric illnesses. Carl Jung approached personality and 'psychological types' (also referred to as Jung's psychological types) from a perspective of clinical psychoanalysis. He was one of the few psychologists in the twentieth century to maintain that development extends beyond childhood and adolescence through mid-life and into old age. He focused on establishing and developing a relationship between conscious and unconscious processes.

Jung believed that Page 2 there was a dialogue between the conscious and unconscious and without it the unconscious processes can weaken and even jeopardise the personality and this is seen in one of his central concepts of individuation. He believed that individuation is a life long process of personal development that involves establishing a connection between the ego and the self, which could be brought to its highest realisation if worked with and the unconscious was confronted. (Stevens 1999) Jung, like Freud, referred to the ego when describing the more conscious aspect of personality.

Unlike Freud he did not seek to minimise the unconscious side of the personality, but instead gave it equal status, complimentary to that of the conscious. He referred to the integrated personality as Self; the centre of the total psyche, including both the conscious and the unconscious. The Self includes all of a person’s qualities and potentials whether or not they become apparent at a particular stage of life. The goal of therapy is to guide the client to become a whole a human being as personal circumstances will allow.

It was out of Jung’s confrontation with the unconscious, both in himself and in his patients, that he slowly elaborated his psychology. In his 1921 work, ‘Personality Types’, Jung compared his four functions (as shown below) of personality to the four points on a compass. While a person faces one direction, he or she still uses the other points as a guide. Most people keep one function as the dominant one although some people may develop two over a lifetime. It is only the person who achieves self-realization that has completely developed all four functions.

His book also acted as the compass by which Jung tried to understand how he differed from Freud and Adler, but more importantly, could begin to chart the internal world of people. Jung’s Four Psychological Functions are as follows: Rational Functions ?Thinking (process of cognitive thought) ?Feeling (function of subjective judgment or valuation) enabling decision making Irrational Functions ?Sensation (perception using the physical sense organs ?Intuition (receptivity to unconscious contents) providing the information on which to make judgments.

Jung held a deep appreciation of creative life and considered spirituality a central part of the human journey. There is a whole literature relating Jungian psychology and spirituality, primarily from a Christian perspective. This literature includes writings by Kelsey (1974,1982) and by Sanford (1968, 1981). Caprio and Hedberg's (1986) Coming Home: A Handbook for Exploring the Sanctuary Within is a practical guide for spiritual work in the Christian tradition. It contains striking personal stories, excellent illustrations, and useful exercises.

(Frager & Fadiman 2005) Jung's description of personality states that in order to Page 3 identify a psychological type it is necessary to determine whether a person is oriented primarily toward his inner world (introversion) or toward external reality (extraversion), known as the fundamental attitude of the individual to emphasise its importance. Jung's eight personality types are as follows: ?Extroverted Thinking – Jung theorized that people understand the world through a mix of concrete ideas and abstract ones, but the abstract concepts are ones passed down from other people.

Extroverted thinkers are often found working in the research sciences and mathematics. •Introverted Thinking – These individuals interpret stimuli in the environment through a subjective and creative way. The interpretations are informed by internal knowledge and understanding. Philosophers and theoretical scientists are often introverted thinking-oriented people. •Extroverted Feeling – These people judge the value of things based on objective fact. Comfortable in social situations, they form their opinions based on socially accepted values and majority beliefs.

They are often found working in business and politics. •Introverted Feeling – These people make judgments based on subjective ideas and on internally established beliefs. Oftentimes they ignore prevailing attitudes and defy social norms of thinking. Introverted feeling people thrive in careers as art critics. •Extroverted Sensing – These people perceive the world as it really exists. Their perceptions are not colored by any pre-existing beliefs. Jobs that require objective review, like wine tasters and proofreaders, are best filled by extroverted sensing people.

•Introverted Sensing – These individuals interpret the world through the lens of subjective attitudes and rarely see something for only what it is. They make sense of the environment by giving it meaning based on internal reflection. Introverted sensing people often turn to various arts, including portrait painting and classical music. •Extroverted Intuitive – These people prefer to understand the meanings of things through subliminally perceived objective fact rather than incoming sensory information.

They rely on hunches and often disregard what they perceive directly from their senses. Inventors that come upon their invention via a stroke of insight and some religious reformers are characterized by the extraverted intuitive type. •Introverted Intuitive – These individuals, Jung thought, are profoundly influenced by their internal motivations even though they do not completely understand them. They find meaning through unconscious, subjective ideas about the world. Introverted intuitive people comprise a significant portion of mystics, surrealistic artists, and religious fanatics.

They are mystic dreamers, concerned with possibilities rather than what is currently present. Seldom understood by others. Repress sensing. Jung described himself as an introverted intuitor. Introverts are people who prefer their internal world of thoughts, feelings, fantasies, dreams, and so on, while extroverts prefer the external world of things and people and activities. Page 4 Today the words have become confused with ideas like shyness and sociability, partially because introverts tend to be shy and extroverts tend to be sociable.

But Jung intended for them to refer more to whether you ("ego") more often faced toward the persona and outer reality, or toward the collective unconscious and its archetypes. In that sense, the introvert is somewhat more mature than the extrovert. Our culture, of course, values the extrovert much more. Jung warned that we all tend to value our own type most, (Boeree 1996); a notion which is particularly useful to therapists today as it is important not to allow personal feelings to take place when working with clients.

Both introvert and extravert overvalue their strengths and each tends to undervalue the other. To the extravert, the introvert seems egotistical and dull, and to the introvert, the extravert appears superficial and insincere (Fordham, 1966). Jung believed that a person remained an extravert or introvert without change for the whole of his life, and that heredity determines whether the libido is directed inward or outward. Whether a person is an introvert or extrovert they need to deal with both their inner and outer world. And each has their preferred way of

dealing with it, ways which they are comfortable with and good at. This hypothesised stability of the introversion-extroversion trait is consistent with empirical research using Non-Jungian measures of introversion and extraversion. (Cloniger 2000) Jung suggested a link between each of the attitudes and certain neurotic disorders which will be discussed later. We now find the introvert-extravert dimension in several theories, notably Hans Eysenck's. In Eysenck’s (1982) view people are biosocial animals and that psychology stands at the crossroads of biological sciences and social sciences.

He states that psychology must become more of a true science with methodology in all that the therapist does in order to permit personality theorists to make predictions that can be tested and therefore make possible the development of the causal theory of personality, which he believes will inevitably help the therapist with clients presenting problems. Jung compared the conscious part of the psyche (ego) to an island that rises out of the sea. We notice only the part above the water, even though there is a greater landmass below the water – much like an iceberg, the unconscious lies below (Fordam1953).

The personal unconscious is a reservoir of experience unique to each individual consisting of perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories that have been put to one side or repressed but not always covered by sea and therefore can be reclaimed. Whereas the personal unconscious is unique to every individual, the collective unconscious is shared or “transpersonal” and consists of certain potentialities that we all share because of our human nature, because we all live in groups and in some form of society or family life.

He believed that the collective unconscious did not develop individually but was inherited and consisted of pre-existent forms, the archetypes. An archetype is a universal thought form or predisposition to respond to the world in certain ways and is crucial to Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious because it emphasises potentialities in which we may express our humanness. He believed that they appeared to us in dreams, art, ritual, myths and symptoms.

Eysenck believed that from a point of view of science, Jung’s contribution to the study of personality types had been primarily negative as he permitted mystical notions to override empirical data and sought to go beyond descriptive analysis to the causal analysis of personality. A person is not usually defined by only one of the eight personality types. Instead, the different functions exist in a hierarchy. One function will have a superior effect and another will have a secondary effect.

Usually, according to Jung, a person only makes significant use Page 5 of two functions. The other two take inferior positions. Jung believed that it was not sufficient to possess just one of the above-mentioned functions to be a well-rounded personality and be able to face life’s experiences. Jung described two of the four functions as rational and two as irrational; also he used the terms judging/perceiving. Thinking can account for logic and judging. Our likes/dislikes are a feeling function.

These two functions are known as rational as they use our reflecting ability. Sensation and intuition are known as irrational functions because it is what is seen in the external world (sensation) and inner world (intuition). In practice, the auxiliary function is always one whose nature, rational or irrational, is different from the primary function. For instance, feeling cannot be the secondary function when thinking is dominant, and vice versa, because both are rational and judging functions (Daryl Sharp. 1989. p.19) One of the four functions may be developed more, and this would be known as a primary or superior function, whilst the others may be classed as inferior.

What this means is that a primary function is one which a person uses more, whilst perhaps, other functions are not used so much (inferior) and these might contribute to a person feeling unable to cope with a situation in which an inferior function is needed to be active. Jung acknowledged that the four orienting functions do not contain everything in the conscious psyche. Will power and memory, for instance, are not included.

The reason for this is that they are not typological determinants-though naturally they may be affected by the way one functions typologically thinking is always accompanied by an inferiority of feeling, and differentiated sensation is injurious to intuition and vice versa (ref. Daryl Sharp. 1987. p. 15) Jung used the term 'libido' to define what he meant by extrovert and introvert, it was not meant in a sexual way, like Freud, but as a term for energy. Introversion, writes Jung, “is normally characterized by a hesitant, reflective, retiring nature that keeps itself to itself, shrinks from objects {and} is always slightly on the defensive”.

Conversely, Extraversion “is normally characterized by an outgoing, candid, and accommodating nature that adapts easily to a given situation, quickly form attachments, and, setting aside any possible misgivings, will often venture forth with careless confidence into unknown situations”. (ref. Daryl Sharp1987. p. 13). The balance between the two can be disturbed either way, on the one side, extreme withdrawal, introversion or even psychosis, cuts a person off from external reality. On the other side, excessively extroverted or constricted personalities may be cut off from subjective feelings or inner reality (Ref.Dennis Brown & Jonathan Redder 1989p. 81).

Jung acknowledged that it is sometimes difficult to work out what personality type some people belong to, he stated, '…It is often very difficult to find out whether a person belongs to one type or the other, especially in regard to oneself' (ref Jung. Anthony Stevens. 2001. p. 99) People change their way of behaviour in different circumstances, because this is the way they wish to be perceived, to be accepted by others. Jung referred to this as a persona (or a mask) where a person relays to others, someone they are not, seemingly to conform to others expectations of them.

This is also known as the primitive side of the personality The persona Page 6 forms in early childhood, when a child forms in his mind what is acceptable to his parents, teachers etc. If it is repressed this is what Jung referred to as 'the shadow'. If the shadow is not allowed to surface, it will grow bigger. Jung believed that by facing up to your shadow, it may enable you to change it. The shadow may emerge in times of extreme anger/dreams. Jung believed that the shadow is essential as it allows an individual to view the world.

We are each born with a natural balance. If our natural balance is upset due to repression or conditioning then our minds will in some way seek to restore the balance which Jung saw as the power of the unconscious surfacing as 'the return of the repressed '. The ego emerges out of the self in childhood. It is your individuality, who you are, your own ego appertaining just to you, the centre of consciousness. As you go into adulthood there may be trouble between the ego and self, as the individuals attitude change.

Affirmation of the Self liberates its creative energies and brings certain knowledge that the best life is the life lived sub specie fraternisation (ref.. Anthony Stevens 2001. p. 157). Jung seemed to place a lot of emphasis on the Self. I suppose this is because it is the Self, which he believed, will ultimately envisage change in behaviour. He was one of the few psychologists in the twentieth century to maintain that development extends beyond childhood and adolescence through mid-life into old age. (ref. Anthony Stevens 2001. p. 38)..

Jung disagreed with Freud on his views on sexuality i.e. the 'Oedipus complex'. Jung preferred to call this complex 'a love aspect', of a mother/child and not a sexual one/incest, as Freud believed to be the case. Jung and Freud both agreed though, that unconscious thoughts (dreams) were the way to personal insight of the individual. After his parting with Freud, overtly because of disagreement about the importance of sexuality, but perhaps also over father-son rivalries, Jung again withdrew into what Heisenberg (1970) calls a 'creative illness' during which he too conducted a self analysis (ref Dennis Brown and Jonathan Redder (1989) p. 107).

But he did not use 'free association', but provoked unconscious imagery which he wrote down, drew his dreams, prolonging stories which he told himself. This is how he became involved in analytical psychology. He spent long periods at his lakeside retreat, alternating between his inner world/ outer world. Freud, looked back into a client's childhood, whereas Jung looked to the future more and did not put much importance into the past, more in what can be achieved, the goals to aim for..... the hope..... of change. The unconscious mind of a man, Jung believed, contained a female element (anima), and a woman's a male element (animus).

These he believed to be linked to erotic desires, on what the individual finds attractive in the opposite sex. Another belief Jung held, is that if a person reacts very strongly to his anima/animus it may lead to homosexuality. This is what he believed, not which has been proven to be true.

Page 7 Jung's theories, I believe to be useful in therapy, because if you can assess an individuals personality, you can endeavor to make the therapy more applicable to their 'type' which Jung viewed as their uniqueness as an individual, 'the wholeness'. He did not hide behind a client like Freud,preferring to use a face to face method, where the client and the therapist are equal; he also used personal work on dreams, a variety of ways to try and promote growth in the client, to look to the future.

His views on mental illness gave some hope to a sufferer as he believed that within the psychosis experienced there is a personality concealed, with hopes, desires etc. he tried to understand them through interpretation. Jung saw mental illness as a flaw, as inferior, but tried to help the individual face this inferior side and approach his extroverted side to achieve 'wholeness'.

On the whole, Jung's typology is best used in the way that one would use a compass; all typological possibilities are theoretically available to the Self, but it is useful to be able to establish those co-ordinates that one is using to chart one's course through life. Jung accepted that this course is never intractably fixed; it may be at any time be subject to alteration. Viewed in this light, awareness of one's psychological type is not a constraint but liberation, for it can open up new navigational possibilities in life, the existence of which one might otherwise never have discovered (ref.Anthony Stevens. 2001. p. 101)

Jung possessed his critics, mainly Freudian, after his split with Freud; in particular his Archetypes theories focusing on Jung's belief that the origins of archetypes (and their basis in the collective unconscious) transcend to the individual, in that they reflect on ancestral or universal essence. The critique also examines a related notion of Jung's, that the collective unconscious unites us with the world around us in an immediate paranormal or synchronization sense. These notions of Jung's are found to be seriously flawed.

In spite of this, the critique suggests that Jung's belief in the genetic basis of certain unconscious content holds some promise. With this in mind, suggestions are made concerning needed modification in Jung's theory and concerning the kind of evidence required for its support. (ref. Journey of Humanistic Psychology, Spring 1996. Vol 36 no. 261. 91. p. 223-242. Another criticism with regards to Jung is he does not delve into childhood experience; in contrast to Freud and psychoanalysis and some psychologists find his theories difficult and drawn out.

Also his theory does generate a moderate amount of research and 2) Neither possible to verify or falsify. (ref. HttpYahoo. com. Page 8 Conclusion In order to efficiently help a client and to determine therapeutic goals it is necessary to establish whether a person is primarily orientated toward their inner (introversion) or outer world (extraversion) and next to assess which are the dominant and auxillary psychological functions of the client. Jung said that people connect ideas, feelings, experiences and information by way of associations in the unconscious in such a way as to affect their behavior.

He identified these groupings as ‘Complexes’. He believed that they may be organised around a particular person or object and the therapist may use this knowledge to bring to the forefront of the client’s consciousness a situation which they may be finding difficult to extricate from. The therapeutic goal of Jungian therapy is to help the client resolve unbalanced aspects of their personality which present in a number of differing ways of psychological disturbance.

Examples include: extreme negativity, addictions, degrees of paranoia, sudden religious conversion, in appropriate attachments to unsuitable partners, hysteria, mania, depression, hypochondrias or schizoid personality traits as Jung himself had as a boy. By understanding his theory and how each type may present the therapist can help them unlock the shadow sides of their personality. It is a process in which the client is helped to come to terms with the place of self within their own world and also to help them see that they are part of a greater collective unconscious.

Much of Jung’s work was about the interconnectedness of all people and cultures. Today more than ever as we seek to become “one world” Jung’s work with eastern as well as western religions and cultures seems more and more appropriate. The work of Hans Eysenck through empirical studies across the world has shown that personality types exist in all cultures and therefore concludes that there is a genetic component to personality types.

“Such cross cultural unanimity would be unlikely if biological factors did not play a predominant part” (Eysenck,1990) But like Jung he believed that environmental factors probably determine how much an individual will develop to their full potential. The use of appropriate assessment techniques can be invaluable in helping a therapist to develop the untapped potential within the individual and is so doing contribute to the collective unconsciousness and synchronicity of the planet as a whole.

Updated: Mar 11, 2022
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‘Describe and Evaluate Carl Jung’s Theory Concerning Personality Types essay
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