Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology. Jung's approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in countercultural movements across the globe. He emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician, much of his life's work was spent exploring other areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts. His most notable ideas include the concept of psychological archetypes, the collective unconscious and synchronicity.
Jung emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern people rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of unconscious realms.
As a quiet, introverted child, Carl Jung would come to be one of the most influential psychiatrists in the world. And, his association, collaboration, and eventual fall out with Sigmund Freud would make his biography even more astounding. Through an expansive education and by authoring many books, Carl Jung donated so much to the study of the human psyche that he is considered by many to stand next to, and not in the shadow of, the world’s leading psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.
Born the son of a preacher, Jung went on to graduate with a degree in medicine from the University of Basel. He worked until 1909 in Burghöltzi, an asylum and clinic for those suffering the maladies of schizophrenia in Zürich. This experience undoubtedly affected Jung’s work in his later years.
Always interested in spirituality and parapsychology, Carl Jung dabbled in the arts of the spiritual world, ever exploring the realms of unconscious human experience that was often being ignored in modern-day medicine. Jung released his book entitled, The Psychology of Dementia Praecox. This caught the attention of Sigmund Freud and the two would later work and lecture together in the United States.
What bitterly separated Freud and Jung was their different beliefs on just how much sexuality controlled motivation. Freud believed it absolute. Jung admitted it was a part of man’s make up, but wouldn’t go as far as Freud did in his theories. This break-up caused a six-year mental breakdown for the young Jung. Some say that Jung was having prophetic images of World War I, which was looming in the distance.
Carl Jung overcame his breakdown and found the modern system of Analytical Psychology. Feeling limited and enclosed by the academia of the day, Jung decided to travel the world to explore and be an anthropologist of the mind of the people. He later dubbed this the “Collective Consciousness” of mankind. He went on to classify personalities as extrovert or introvert. He regarded mental breakdowns and fervent behavior to be rooted in the fact that one had not yet discovered their own personal meaning in the world. Jung hypothesized that through the exploration of the unconscious, in dreams, in art, and in other cultures, the ‘self’ could fully be realized.
Jung had interests in the study of literature and alchemy, and came to theorize that men and women each had a certain anima or animus – the inner need to feel and not reject our own male or female tendencies. Many of his theories are cited in his biography entitled Memories, Dreams, Reflections where he also explores the psychological conflicts of his own life.
Carl Jung was made the president of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy in 1933. While this organization did have certain Nazi connections, Jung accepted the position in hopes of preserving the field of psychoanalysis and therapy. With some criticized publications, Jung never claimed any personal anti-Semitic feelings, but only theorized about differences of how each interpreted the role of psychology.
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