The Undiscovered Self – C. G. Jung and the Psychology

Carl Jung (lower right) and Sigmund Freud (lower left) in 1908,
at Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA.

What is the driving force behind our motivations and ambitions? Is it pure reasoning? Hardly, as famous psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung would argue. Moreover its the unconscious buried deep below the surface of our daily self that is responsible. Carl Gustav Jung took into account the unconscious for his new school of analytical psychology, which differs from Freud’s original school of psychoanalysis. C. G. Jung was one of the creators of modern depth psychology, which seeks to facilitate a conversation with the unconscious energies which move through each of us.

On this day in 1875 Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist C.G. Jung was born as a son of a parson and a mother, who believed in the supernatural. As a child, Jung preferred to be left alone to play by himself. He was happy when he was in isolation with his thoughts. His father taught him Latin and his mother read to him about exotic religions from an illustrated children’s book, to which he frequently returned to view with fascination the pictures of Hindu gods. Influenced by his grandfather’s reputation, who had been professor of surgery at the University of Basel, Jung decided to study medicine.

In the late 19th century, psychiatry as a branch of medicine, was not highly respected, so Jung had only little interest in it. But when he opened his psychiatric textbook, Krafft-Ebing’s “Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie“, and read that psychoses are “diseases of the personality” his excitement was intense and it became very clear to him that psychiatry was going to be the goal of his life. Finally he had found a field to study that included both spiritual and biological facts. In 1902 he completed his doctoral dissertation “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena“.

In 1906 Jung sent a collection of his early papers entitled “Studies in the Word Association” to the famous psychiatrist Siegmund Freud to which Freud responded positively. When they first met, they talked for thirteen hours, almost with no brake. The two became friends and worked together until 1913. Both, Jung and Freud did not mutually agree on all aspects of their psychological theories. Jung disagreed with Freud’s view that all complexes come from sexual trauma, because he had experience with psychological problems that had different origins. Freud also did not share the same interest with Jung, about spiritualism and parapsychology.

The end of Jung’s friendship with Freud marked the beginning of a difficult period. By renouncing Freud’s dogma, the whole psychoanalytic community turned against Jung. He was cut off from all his former professional associates and several of his friends. He also started the difficult trip inside his subconscious. According to Jung, our psychological purpose in life is to discover our other side, so that both sides can enjoy the whole range of our capacities. He called this spiritual experience individuation and considered it essential for our well-being.

At yovisto you might watch an interview (with BBC’s John Freeman from 1959) with the late Carl Gustav Jung himself at his home in Zürich.

References and further reading:

  • C.G.Jung biography at soultherapynow.com
  • Jung, C. G. (1976). The Portable Jung (R. Hull, Trans.) (J. Cambell, Ed.). New York: Penguin Books. (Original work published 1971
  • Jung, C. G. (1989). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Rev. ed., C. Winston, R. Winston, Trans.) (A. Jaffe, Ed.). New York: Random House, Inc. (Original work published 1963)

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