Jung and Analytical Psychology
Jung worked to bridge biological, psychological, and social domains of understanding in his formulations of personality' and psychopathology', and he drew on the philosophical pragmatism of William James in his approach to theory, research, and practice, emphasizing “the extraordinary' diversity' of individual life” that we cannot “fit into any scheme... I have always felt the need for a conspectus of many viewpoints,” he writes, “giving divergent opinions their view;” otherwise we are “doing violence to our own empirical material” (1929/1975, p. 36). Like James, he was critical of reductive versions of materialism that dismissed the value of subjective experience and personal meaning, seeking to join scientific and humanistic realms of understanding.
He completed medical school at the University of Zurich and trained in psychiatry at the Burgholzli clinic, where he worked as an assistant to Eugen Bleuler, known for having introduced the terms “schizophrenia” and “autism.” Like Freud, Jung was influenced by Charcot’s work and studied with his collaborator, Pierre Janet, at the Saltpetriere hospital, embracing the new field of dynamic psychiatry'. Jung carried out research on unconscious processes over the course of his training at the Burgholzli, conducting word association experiments that would provide empirical foundations for his emerging formulations of the self and the dynamics of inner life.
He read The interpretation of dreams in 1900 and returned to the account three years later, sending Freud reports of his research on unconscious phenomena. They began corresponding in 1906; in time, Freud invited Jung to join his psychoanalytic study group. In 1909 Freud and Jung traveled to the United States, where they gave a series of lectures for the 20th anniversary' celebration of the founding of Clark University' in Worcester, Massachusetts. In the course of the visit they' met William James. While Freud and James found themselves uneasy with one another—James describing Freud as fixed and rigid—Jung came to think of James as an exemplar, embracing his pragmatic philosophy.
Jung increasingly found Freud’s thinking reductive and mechanistic, believing that he placed too much emphasis on sexuality' as a motivating force in human life. While Freud saw the unconscious largely' as the domain of instinctual life that precipitates conflict and symptoms, Jung proposed that the sexual instinct is but one aspect of human experience and regarded the unconscious region of the mind as a potential source of growth and creativity. Following his break with Freud in 1913, Jung initiated a deep exploration of his own experience that he recounts in his autobiography, Memories, dreams, reflections (1961). He began to formulate concepts and methods that would shape the development of his school of thought, known as analytical psychology', enlarging ways of understanding self, relational life, and the interactive field of psychotherapy. He came to believe that the search for wholeness and the integration of personality—what he described as the process of individuation—is the cardinal motivation in human development, and it shaped his conceptions of maturation across the course of life.
In fashioning his depth psychology' Jung describes core structures of the personality thought to mediate the dynamics of psychic life. The psyche, like the body, is a self-regulating system. He conceives of the ego as the center of consciousness, encompassing our experience of emotions, thoughts, images, and memories, preserving cohesion and coherence in sense of self and identity. The executive functions of the ego facilitate efforts to negotiate inner experience and the outer realities of everyday life. He introduces the term persona to describe the functions of the public self, shaped by convention and tradition, facilitating efforts to cany out various roles.
The personal unconscious encompasses experiences that have been repressed, dissociated, forgotten, or ignored; it also holds experiences that we fail to register in conscious awareness, carried in what we now understand as implicit memory. The contents of the personal unconscious are potentially accessible to awareness through exploration and processing of experience.
Jung thinks of the collective unconscious as the source of memory traces inherited from the ancestral past encompassing the history of humans as a species, the cumulative outcome of repeated experience over many generations. The brain, he proposes,
is inherited from its ancestors; it is the deposit of the psychic functioning of the whole human race... In the brain the instincts are preformed, and so are the primordial images which have always been the basis of man’s thinking—the whole treasure house of mythological motifs.
He introduced the concept of the archetype to describe the structural elements of the collective unconscious (Jung 1954/1968). The archetype, bridging the realms of body and mind, is an inherited part of the psyche that generates patterns of imagery' and behavior. Jung distinguishes the “archetype as such” from the “archetype as image” as follows:
By' this I do not mean the existing form of the motif but its preconscious, invisible “ground plan.” This might be compared to the crystal lattice that is preformed in the crystalline solution. It should not be confused with the variously structured axial system of the individual crystal.
(Jung, 1928/1978, p. 311)
The tradition of Platonic thought, Kant’s a priori categories of perception (see Chapter 7), and Schopenhauer’s notion of prototypes prefigure Jung’s formulations of the archetype, and the concept of innate psychological structure
The Psychodynamic Paradigm: 1 81 emerges later in the fields of evolutionary' biology' and behavioral genetics. Tradition and cultural life shape various expressions of archetypal elements.
Jung introduced the concept of the shadow to represent the negative elements of personality' that we come to find personally or socially' unacceptable— in his definition, “the thing a person has no wish to be” (1946/1975, p. 262). He emphasizes, however, that the shadow potentially' carries generative elements that sponsor change and growth as we bring experience into consciousness.
Jung joins archetypal and personal realms of experience in his formulations of the complex, grounded in his empirical research on the dynamics of the unconscious. We can think of the complex as an admixture of sensations, emotions, images, and thoughts that operate out of awareness and influence behavior when activated in particular situations; from the perspective of contemporary' neuroscience, we understand complexes as networks of association that originate in core constituents of “psychophysiology” (archetypal elements) and in the concrete particularity' of individual experience over the course of development (personal elements). Complexes carry' the potential to precipitate splits between conscious and unconscious domains of experience, fragmenting the self and constricting ways of being, relating, and living. Following traumatic experience they may operate autonomously as “splinter-psyches,” he proposed, as if they have a consciousness of their own, perpetuating vicious circles of feeling, thought, and action.
Jung describes two fundamental orientations of personality' in his formulations of psychological types, the “attitude types” of introversion and extraversion. The extraverted attitude orients the individual to the outer, objective world of activity. The introverted attitude orients the individual to the inner, subjective realm of experience. Both attitudes are present in the personality, Jung proposes, but one is more conscious and dominant. He conceptualizes four modes of functioning that characterize the ways in which we negotiate experience and process information: thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting. Thinking encompasses cognitive efforts to comprehend the nature of experience, including analysis, abstraction, generalization, reason, and judgment. Feeling emphasizes the subjective value of experience. Sensing is the perceptual or reality' function, focused on concrete particulars. Intuition is a mode of perception mediated by unconscious processes and context. From the perspective of contemporary' neuroscience, Jung describes fundamental differences in the processing functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The left hemisphere is instrumental in thinking and sensing functions, while the right hemisphere is dominant in feeling and intuiting functions.
As Jung elaborated his conceptions of individuation he shifted the focus of attention from Freud’s formulations of the ego—closely' associated with the conscious, analytical, language-based functions of the left hemisphere—to the unconscious, emotional, non-verbal domains of the right hemisphere, now understood as the source of the bodily-based self system. As noted in Chapter 2, converging lines of study in developmental psychology and interpersonal neurobiology' link the functions of the right hemisphere to the emergence of the corporeal and emotional sense of self, governing capacities for regulation of sensation and emotion, empathy, mentalization, and intersubjectivity (Schore, 2019a, 2019b; see Wilkinson, 2006, 2015, for expanded accounts of developmental neuroscience and analytical psychology).
Although Jung recognizes the crucial role of the ego in coping and adaptation, he regards the self as the fundamental organizing principle of personality, regulating the dynamics of psychic life. The self is the core of the personality in its actual and potential forms. In his developmental schema, the self originates in an inborn dynamic structure integrating the core constituents of brain and mind. Jung proposed that the symbols of the self originate in the depths of the body and came to think of the self as the regulating system that governs maturation across the course of life. He writes: “The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of the conscious mind’’ (Jung 1946/1977, p. 41). The development of the self is shaped by emerging challenges, concerns, values, and goals; as such it is purposive or teleological. He describes the transcendent function as the maturational force that regulates ongoing efforts to integrate different elements of the personality, process unconscious constituents of the psyche and life experience, and work toward wholeness or individuation of self (for expanded accounts see Jung, 1934/1978; 1944/1993).
Jung’s conceptions of the self prefigure orienting perspectives that have come to shape understanding in contemporary neuroscience, emphasizing the need to take account of the core structures and functions of the brain and the phenomenal world of the mind in accord with pragmatic formulations of “non-reductive materialism” outlined in Chapter 3. The human sciences must encompass “the physical and the psychic'' he emphasizes, cautioning that “psychology' does this only in so far as it is psychophysiology" (1946/1977 p. 87; italics added).
In line with Jung’s formulations, Antonio Damasio describes a “preconscious biological precedent,” the “protoself,” that serves as the foundation for the emergence of the “core self.” In his account of development, “Body and brain bond...the body is best conceived as the rock on which the protoself is built, while the protoself is the pivot around which the conscious mind turns” (2010, p. 21). Drawing on Jung’s developmental model and recent research in neuroscience, Jaak Panksepp, Antonio Alcaro, and Stefano Carta have linked brain activity within subcortical structures to the emergence of prototypical affective states believed to influence the organization of personality, consciousness, and behavior (Alcaro, Carta & Panksepp, 2017). In accord with Jung’s emphasis on the plurality of the psyche, Joseph LeDoux proposes that different domains of experience reflect the functions of different brain systems. While explicit memory is mediated by a single system, he observes, a variety of brain systems store information implicitly, “allowing for many aspects of self to coexist” (2002, p. 31). Like Jung, LeDoux understands the self as “the totality of what an organism is physically, biologically, psychologically, socially, and culturally” (2002, p 31).
The fundamental aim of the therapeutic endeavor, from the perspective of analytical psychology', is to reinstate the maturational process that governs the dynamics of individuation—the psychic equilibrating force—and to integrate elements of the personality that have been split, dissociated, or unrealized. Conceptions of neural development, integration, and regulation described in Chapter 3 parallel this formulation of therapeutic action.
Jung took a pragmatic approach to psychotherapy, as noted, and he remained uneasy with efforts to reduce the therapeutic process to basic procedures or techniques. He embraced a pluralist outlook, emphasizing the concrete outcomes of ideas. “I have taken as my guiding principle William James’ pragmatic rule: ‘you must bring out of each word its practical cash value, set it at work within the stream of your experience’” (Jung, 1912/1976, p. 86).
He challenged psychotherapists to focus on the patient as an individual and to remain open and flexible in accord with the values of clinical pragmatism, considering different ways of working in light of our understanding of what is the matter, personality' and temperament, stage in life, capacities and skills, and therapeutic outcomes. As he explains in his account of “The aims of psychotherapy,” he allows “pure experience” and practical outcomes to shape the course of help and care, cautioning: “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no universal recipe for living” (Jung, 1929/ 1975, p. 41).
He describes the ways in which efforts to manage trauma through dissociation can precipitate splits between conscious and unconscious realms of experience: “As a result of some psychic upheaval,” he writes, “whole tracts of our being can plunge back into the unconscious and vanish from the surface for years and decades... disturbances caused by affects are known technically as phenomena of dissociation, and are indicative of a psychic split” (Jung, 1934/ 1978, pp. 138-139).
If problems in living and symptoms reflect signs of underlying trauma, he proposes, they also provide points of entry into less conscious realms of experience that carry the potential to bring about change and growth.
He explores the ways in which dreams and images deepen understanding of self and life experience, and dream analysis remains a defining feature of classical Jungian practice. In the reductive approach, the clinician and patient explore dream content in light of past experience, exploring, for example, the dynamics of early development, family life, and traumatic events. In the synthetic or constructive approach the patient and therapist focus on future possibilities, exploring dream content in light of symbolic meanings, emerging concerns, and efforts to realize potential in the individuation of the self.
He attempts to override neurotic patterns of behavior and engage unconscious domains of experience through his method of active imagination. As he describes it, the patient engages in dialogue with figures of the unconscious as they have emerged in dream images or in the conscious process of reflection and imagination. Dream analysis and active imagination carry the potential to provide access to the deeper healing influence of the psyche.
Jung anticipates fundamental developments in the contemperar}' relational paradigm, emphasizing the crucial role of the therapeutic alliance and interactive experience in the two-person field. He describes the ways in which conscious and unconscious elements of the patient and therapist influence interaction over the course of the therapeutic process. In doing so he prefigures reciprocal conceptions of transference and countertransference, and introduces ways of understanding interactive processes that foreshadow accounts of right-brain forms of communication described in Chapter 2.
He views transference and countertransference states as crucial sources of experience that deepen understanding of trauma, the dynamics of psychic functioning, and problems in living. He considers the ways in which earlier relationships and archetypal elements influence reactions, distinguishing the “personal” and the “archetypal” transference. The personal transference is shaped by patterns of expectation originating in earlier relational life; the patient recreates the experience of others through projection or selective perception of particular features of the therapist that correspond to earlier relationships. The archetypal transference originates in the dynamics of the collective unconscious rather than in the interpersonal experience of the patient (see Jung, 1946/1975; 1977).
Whereas Freud believed that countertransference reactions originate in the unconscious dynamics of the clinician, potentially compromising the therapeutic process, Jung regards the subjective experience of the practitioner as a “highly important organ of information” (1931/1975, p. 71). In accord with the values of clinical pragmatism, he emphasizes the mutuality of the therapeutic relationship and believes that the process carries the potential to transform the patient and the clinician as they engage the authenticity and authority of their experience. “For two personalities to meet is like mixing two different chemical substances: if there is any combination at all, both are transformed” (1931/1975, p. 71).
Over the course of his work Jung engaged essential concerns that converge with the principles of clinical pragmatism, joining scientific and humanistic domains of understanding, and emphasizing the individuality' and subjectivity' of the person; notions of agency' and intention; the crucial role of the therapeutic relationship, collaboration, and dialogue; the co-creation of narrative and meaning; experiential learning; and inherent capacities for change, growth, and realization of potential in the ongoing individuation of the self. In doing so, as we will see in the following chapter, he anticipates fundamental developments in the evolution of the psychoanalytic paradigm, prefiguring explorations of subjectivity', self, and relational life.