Analytic Psychology

Analytic psychology is the psychological approach developed by Carl Gustav Jung. Jung was an early disciple of Freud's, but broke with Freud over a combination of personal and theoretical reasons. Theoretically, Jung de-emphasized the role of sexuality, preferring to speak more generally of energy. Also, Jung developed an innovation over Freud's theory in the idea of the collective unconscious, a part of the unconscious shared by all people and containing what Jung called archetypes. Although people do not use all their archetypes, people still have them, much like they have a tailbone but no tail, and much like the tailbone, archetypes are rooted in the prehistory of the human race.

Jung's topological model also differs from that of Freud. At the center of the psyche is the ego, or "I." This is what is conscious. Around the ego is the personal unconscious, which contains dreams and all things repressed. To this point Jung and Freud are in perfect agreement. However, Jung goes further. Around the personal unconscious is the collective unconscious, which contains archetypes, symbols, and collective dreams. At the edge of the collective unconscious is the boundary of the known universe, and outside of that boundary (according to Jung) lies all there is, the void (Buddhist), or God. The ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious together comprise the self, psyche, or soul.

Many people who seek analytic therapy want to explore the collective unconscious. However, many of those people do not have enough ego strength to handle the challenges in their everyday lives, and building this ego strength constitutes the first task of analytic therapy. The boundary of the ego is porous. If the ego is flooded by the unconscious because the ego is not strong enough to resist, then that is psychosis. Jung worked with many psychotic persons while he was developing his theories, unlike Freud, who worked mainly with neurotic persons. In fact, Jung himself had a kind of nervous breakdown, or "creative illness," when he broke with Freud; many think this might have been a psychotic episode, or break with reality.

Whereas Freud believed in causality and psychic determinism, Jung believed in teleology (i.e., goal-directedness, from Greek telos, or goal), and in free will. Whereas Freud focused on the psychopathology of childhood, Jung focused on psychological development throughout the lifespan. Whereas Freud denounced religion as an infantile desire for parental protection, Jung saw religion as the fulfillment of a basic human need.

Jung also disagreed with behaviorists. Whereas behaviorists insisted on studying quantifiable responses to external stimuli, Jung insisted on studying symbolic experiences and inner events. Whereas for behaviorists the mind was anathema, for Jung the psyche took precedence over all else.

Activity: The Shadow Test.

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