Jung’s Analytical Psychology


Jung’s Analytical Psychology.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and a close friend of Sigmund Freud. He emphasized the idea that we need to study different cultures as it will provide the essence of humanity. Jung’s personality theory is known as the analytic theory or analytical psychology (1933).

He proposed that everyone has a personal unconscious that is composed of one’s own experiences which have been repressed due to some reasons. He proposed that everyone has an ability to balance the conscious and unconscious forces.

  • The first point on which Jung came to disagree with Freud was the role of sexuality. Jung broadened Freud’s definition of libido in his analytical psychology. He redefined it as a more “generalized psychic energy that includes sex but does not restrict it.”
  • The second major area of disagreement concerned the direction of the forces that influence personality. Whereas, Freud viewed human beings as prisoners or victims of past events. Jung argued that we are shaped by our future as well as our past. We are affected not only by what happened to us as children, but also by what we aspire to do in the future.
  • The third significant point of difference revolved around the unconscious. Rather than minimizing the role of the unconscious, as did the other neo-psychoanalytic dissenters. Jung probed more deeply into the unconscious and added a new dimension:

The inherited experiences of human and pre-human species. Although Freud had recognized this phylogenetic aspect of personality (the influence of inherited primal experiences). Jung made it the core of his system of personality. He combined ideas from history, mythology, anthropology, and religion to form his image of human nature.

Psychic Energy: Opposites, Equivalence, and Entropy in Analytical psychology.

  • One of the first points on which Jung disputed Freud concerned the nature of libido. Jung did not agree that libido was primarily a sexual energy; he argued instead that libido was a broader, more generalized and undifferentiated form of psychic energy. Interestingly, Jung, who minimized the importance of sex in his personality theory, maintained a vigorous, anxiety-free sex life and enjoyed a number of extramarital affairs.
  • Jung used the term libido in two ways: firstly, as a diffuse and general life energy, and second, from a perspective similar to Freud’s, as a narrower psychic energy that fuels the work of the personality, which he called the psyche.
  • It is through psychic energy that psychological activities such as perceiving, thinking, feeling, and wishing are carried out.
  • When a person invests a great deal of psychic energy in a particular idea or feeling, that idea or feeling has a high psychic value and can strongly influence the person’s life. For example, if you are highly motivated to attain power, then you will devote most of your psychic energy to seeking power.
  • Jung drew on ideas from physics to explain the functioning of psychic energy in analytical psychology. He proposed three basic principles: (Jung, 1928).
    1. Opposites
    2. Equivalence
    3. Entropy

Opposition principle:

  • Jung’s idea in analytical psychology that conflict between opposing processes or tendencies is necessary to generate psychic energy.
  • You can see the principle of opposites throughout Jung’s system. He noted the existence of opposites or polarities in physical energy in the universe, such as heat versus cold, height versus depth, creation versus decay. So it is with psychic energy: Every wish or feeling has its opposite.
  • This opposition or antithesis, this conflict between polarities, is the primary motivator of behavior and generator of energy. Indeed, the sharper the conflict between polarities, the greater the energy produced.

Equivalence principle:

  • The continuing redistribution of energy within a personality. If the energy expended on certain conditions or activities weakens or disappears, that energy transfers elsewhere in the personality.
  • Jung applied to psychic events the physical principle of the conservation of energy. He stated that energy expended in bringing about some condition does not lose but rather it shifts to another part of the personality.
  • Thus, if the psychic value in a particular area weakens or disappears, that energy transfers elsewhere in the psyche. For example, if we lose interest in a person, a hobby, or a field of study, the psychic energy formerly invested in that area shifts to a new one.
  • The psychic energy used for conscious activities while we are awake shifts to dreams when we are asleep.
  • The word equivalence implies that the new area to which energy has shifted must have an equal psychic value; that is, it should be equally desirable, compelling, or fascinating.
  • Otherwise, the excess energy will flow into the unconscious. In whatever direction and manner energy flows, the principle of equivalence suggests that energy continually redistributes within the personality.
  • In whatever direction and manner the energy flows, the principle of equivalence suggests that energy is continually redistributed within the personality.

Entropy principle:

  • A tendency towards balance or equilibrium within the personality; the ideal is an equal distribution of psychic energy over all structures of the personality.
  • The principle of entropy refers to the equalization of energy differences. For example, if a hot object and a cold object placed in direct contact, heat will flow from the hotter object to the colder object until they are in equilibrium at the same temperature. In effect, an exchange of energy occurs, resulting in a kind of homeo- static balance between the objects.
  • Jung applied this law to psychic energy and proposed that there is a tendency towards a balance or equilibrium in the personality. If two desires or beliefs differ greatly in intensity or psychic value, energy will flow from the more strongly held to the weaker.

Aspects of Personality in Analytical Psychology.

Jung believed that the total personality, or psyche, is composed of several distinct systems or aspects that can influence one another.

The Ego:

The ego is the center of consciousness, the part of the psyche concerned with perceiving, thinking, feeling, and remembering. It is our awareness of ourselves and is responsible for carrying out all the normal everyday activities of waking life. The ego acts in a selective way, admitting into conscious awareness only a portion of the stimuli to which we are exposed.

The Attitudes: Extraversion and Introversion

Extraverts are open, sociable, and socially assertive, oriented towards other people and the external world. Introverts are withdrawn and often shy, and tend to focus on themselves, on their own thoughts and feelings.

According to Jung, all of us have the capacity for both attitudes, but only one becomes dominant in our personality. The dominant attitude then tends to direct our behavior and consciousness. The nondominant attitude still remains influential, however, and becomes part of the personal unconscious, where it can affect behavior.

Psychological Functions.

Jung proposed additional distinctions among people based on what he called the psychological functions. These functions refer to different and opposing ways of perceiving both the external real world and our subjective inner world. Jung posited four functions of the psyche: sensing, intuiting, thinking, and feeling (Jung, 1927).

Sensing and intuiting are grouped together as non rational functions because they do not use the processes of reason. Sensing reproduces an experience through the senses the way a photograph copies an object. Intuiting does not arise directly from an external stimulus. For example, if we believe someone else is with us in a darkened room, our belief may be based on our intuition or a hunch rather than on actual sensory experience.

Thinking and feeling, are rational functions that involve making judgments and evaluations about our experiences. Although thinking and feeling are opposites, both are concerned with organizing and categorizing experiences. The thinking function involves a conscious judgment of whether an experience is true or false. The kind of evaluation made by the feeling function is expressed in terms of like or dislike, pleasantness or unpleasantness, stimulation or dullness.

Psychological Types

Jung proposed eight psychological types, based on the interactions of the two attitudes and four functions.

  • Extraverted thinking: Logical, objective, dogmatic
  • Extraverted feeling: Emotional, sensitive, sociable; more typical of women than men
  • Extraverted sensing: Outgoing, pleasure seeking, adaptable
  • Extraverted intuiting: Creative, able to motivate others, and to seize opportunities
  • Introverted thinking: More interested in ideas than in people
  • Introverted feeling: Reserved, undemonstrative, yet capable of deep emotion
  • Introverted sensing: Outwardly detached, expressing themselves in aesthetic pursuits
  • Introverted intuiting: Concerned with the unconscious more than everyday reality

Assessment in Jung’s Analytical Theory.

Jung’s techniques for assessing the functioning of the psyche drew on science and the supernatural, resulting in both an objective and a mystical approach. He investigated a variety of cultures and eras, studying their symbols, myths, religions, and rituals.

He also formed his personality theory on the basis of his patients’ fantasies and dreams (as well as his own). His explorations of ancient languages, alchemy, and astrology.

Three formal techniques Jung used to evaluate personality were the word association test, symptom analysis, and dream analysis. A widely used self-report personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed later by others to assess Jung’s psychological types.

Word Association.

The word-association test, in which a subject responds to a stimulus word with whatever word comes immediately to mind, has become a standard laboratory and clinical tool in psychology. He also used word association to uncover complexes in his patients. A variety of factors indicated the presence of a complex, including physiological responses, delays in responding, making the same response to different words, slips of the tongue, stammering, responding with more than one word, making up words, or failing to respond.

Symptoms Analysis.

Similar to catharsis, Symptoms analysis focuses on the symptoms reported by the patient and attempts to interpret based on the person’s free associations to those symptoms. However, between the patient’s associations to the symptoms and the analyst’s interpretation of them, the symptoms will often relieved or disappear.

Dream Analysis.

A technique involving the interpretation of dreams to uncover unconscious conflicts. Jung also agreed with Freud that dreams are the “royal road” into the unconscious. Jung’s approach to dream analysis differed from Freud’s, however, in that Jung was concerned with more than the causes of dreams, and he believed that dreams were more than unconscious wishes.

Reflections on Jung’s Theory.


Jung’s complex and unusual approach to the human personality has had considerable impact on a broad range of disciplines, notably psychiatry, sociology, economics, political science, philosophy, and religion. It was recognized by the intellectual community at large, Jung received honorary degrees from Harvard and Oxford and has been acknowledged as a powerful influence on the work of many scholars.

Jung made several important and lasting contributions to psychology. The word-association test became a standard projective technique and inspired the development of the Rorschach inkblot test and the so-called lie-detection techniques. The concepts of psychological complexes and of introverted versus extraverted personalities, are acceptable in psychology today. The personality scales that measure introversion and extraversion are standard diagnostic and selection devices. A great deal of research conducted on the introversion–extraversion personality dimensions.


Despite the significance of these formulations, the bulk of Jung’s theory was not received enthusiastically by psychologists. One reason concerns the difficulty of understanding Jungian concepts. Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and others wrote in a clear style that allows their books to be easily read and understood. Jung did not write for the general public. Reading his work can be frustrating, because his books contain many inconsistencies and contradictions.

Jung once said, “I can formulate my thoughts only as they break out of me. It is like a geyser. Those who come after me will have to put them in order”, One Jungian scholar described one of Jung’s major books as only partly intelligible. “The connection between one thought and the next is not clear and … there are many internal contradictions”. This criticism can also be applied to many of Jung’s writings. Moreover they are difficult to comprehend and lack internal consistency and systematization.



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