By Gregory Mitchell
Analytical Psychology is the name given to the psychological-therapeutic system founded and developed by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). Carl Jung was the son of a pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church, and many of his relatives were ministers too. Jung went to Basel University in 1895 to study medicine, and student life, along with the early death of his father, proved to be emancipatory. His commitment to knowing the nature of the psyche through direct, personal experience and revelation resulted in the precedence he gave to dreams and visions and the idea of understanding them through investigations of philosophy, religion and literature. The death-blow to Jung's Christian faith came when he felt nothing at all at his confirmation, the religious initiation of which he had been led to expect much. A good deal of his later work can be viewed as a quest to replace the faith he had lost.
Renown came first to Jung from his research on word association, in which a person's responses to stimulus words can reveal complexes: groups of related, often repressed, ideas and impulses that bring about habitual patterns of thought or behavior. While a young psychiatric resident, Jung read the just-published book by Freud on the interpretation of dreams. Freud's revolutionary idea of attributing unconscious motivation to human behavior resonated with similar thoughts Jung was entertaining at the time, and Jung proceeded to devise an experimental method, called the Word Association Test, which could be seen as providing an objective, scientific basis for some of Freud's ideas. Jung used the psychogalvanometer as a tool for hitting upon a complex.
In psychology a complex is generally an important group of unconscious associations, conflicting beliefs that stand on their own like a splinter identity, or a strong unconscious impulse, lying behind an individual's condition. Jung described a "complex" as a node in the unconscious; it may be imagined as a knot of unconscious feelings and beliefs, detectable indirectly, through behavior that is puzzling or hard to account for. Complexes such as the 'Guilt Complex' drain energy and integrity from the conscious Ego. What is unconscious tends to be projected onto others: attributed to other people or external situations. The projection may lead to an erroneous perception such as when you think your friend is angry while he himself feels quite content. To resolve the complex may give significant relief.
The inferiority complex, in particular, has become widely understood and used due to the importance it holds in Adler's Individual Psychology.
Use of the psycho-galvanometer
The simple psycho-galvanometer was one of the earliest tools of psychological research. A psycho-galvanometer measures the resistance of the skin to the passage of a very small electric current. It has been known for decades that the magnitude of this electrical resistance is affected, not only by the subject's general mood, but also by immediate emotional reactions. Although these facts have been known for over a hundred years and the first paper to be presented on the subject of the psycho-galvanometer was written by Tarchanoff in 1890, it has only been within the last 25 years that the underlying causes of this change in skin resistance have been discovered. This change was found to be related to the level of cortical arousal. The emotional charge on a word, heard by a subject, would have an immediate effect on the subject's level of arousal.
One of the first references to the use of this instrument in Psychoanalysis is in the book by Carl Gustav Jung, entitled 'Studies in Word Analysis', published in 1906. He describes a technique of connecting the subject, via hand-electrodes, to an instrument measuring changes in the resistance of the skin. Words on a list were read out to the subject one by one. If a word on this list was emotionally charged, there was a change in body resistance causing a deflection of the needle of the galvanometer, indicating that a complex-related 'resistance' was triggered. Any words which evoked a larger than usual response on the meter were assumed to be indicators of possible areas of conflict in the patients, hinting at unconscious feelings and beliefs, and these areas were then explored in more detail with the subject in session. Jung used observed deflections on the meter as a monitoring device to aid his own judgment in determining which particular lines of enquiry were most likely to be fruitful with each subject.
Many papers have been presented on this subject over the last 25 years, and the most important findings of this research are:
Although many hundreds of papers have been written about lie detectors and the use of the psycho-galvanometer in biofeedback, less than a handful of papers have been written on the use of the psycho-galvanometer as a monitoring device in counseling, psychotherapy, and psychiatry, since the publication of Jung's seminal paper on word analysis. Apart from a few pioneers such as Volney Mathison and myself, most psychotherapists continue with traditional methods of counseling similar to those advocated by Freud. A full description of the use of Galvanic Skin Response in psychotherapy is contained in the GSR Meter Course.
- A low level of cortical arousal is desirable for relaxation, hypnosis, and the subjective experience of psychic states and unconscious manifestations.
- A high level of cortical arousal gives increased powers of reflection, focused concentration, increased reading speed, and increased capacity for long-term recall.
- Cortical arousal has a simple relationship to skin conductivity. Arousal of the cortex increases the conductivity of the skin and conversely, a drop in arousal causes a drop in skin conductivity.
Jung and Freud
Jung was thirty when he sent his work 'Studies in Word Association' to Sigmund Freud in Vienna. Freud reciprocated by sending a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Z rich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted more than six years and ended shortly before World War I in May 1914, when Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association. His own researches led him away from Freud's emphasis on the psychosexual origins of neuroses, founding his own analytic psychology in response to Freud's psychoanalysis. This differed from the Freudian model in downgrading the importance of sexuality and childhood conflicts in the treatment of neuroses, and concentrating more on a patient's current conflicts.
Jung and Freud agreed on the most basic hypothesis: in addition to the rational, conscious aspect of the personality, there is another realm of the psyche of which man is normally not aware, which they called the unconscious. But they soon disagreed as to what the contents of the unconscious is. Freud maintained that the unconscious was composed of repressed, traumatic childhood experiences that involved the clash of emerging instinctual needs and the oppressive reality of the family and society. Psychoanalysis was then developed as a technique, consisting of free associations, designed to bring such conflicts into awareness and thus deal with them from an adult viewpoint.
The way to Individuation
Jung employed the meter technique successfully for a while, but gradually became dissatisfied with it. Although it certainly seemed correct as far as it went, it did not go far enough. He found he could not, in good conscience, reduce all of a person's current life situation to repressed childhood instinctuality, especially if instinctuality primarily meant sexuality. Jung identified five primary functions of the psyche that are themselves archetypes, or universal patterns of experience:
- The Persona is an identity we hold and which we present to the outside world. We may hold several of such: our career role; our role as mother father, son, etc; our political identity, and so on.
- The Ego is our center of consciousness, our conscious sense of self. Therefore it excludes (although remains influenced by) all of our make-up that is unconscious. Jung says: "So far as we know, consciousness is always Ego-consciousness. In order to be conscious of myself, I must be able to distinguish myself from others. Relationship can only take place where this distinction exists."
- The Shadow is an unconscious part of the Ego, and receptacle for that which we have for one reason or another disowned or wish to remain out of sight and those qualities that one would rather not see in oneself, as well as unrealized potentials. The Shadow is intimately connected to the Id and its structures, Thanatos and Eros that contain the animal instincts. It's the part of the personality that's forced out of mental awareness by the Ego's defense mechanisms.
- The Anima is a node of unconscious beliefs and feelings in a man's psyche relating to the opposite gender, the Animus is the corresponding complex in a woman's psyche. As part of the Ego unconscious, these complexes can rise into consciousness when activated by appropriate circumstances.
- The Self is simply the totality of the entire psyche. It is the function which contains all the other functions and around which they orbit. It may be difficult for the conscious Ego to accept that there may be more to the psyche than that of which it is currently aware.
The above diagram incorporates the Freudian concepts of Id and Superego, which I feel are needed to complete an accurate picture. The mind is an immensely complex structure, which has been described with great insight by Jung, Freud, Adler, Assagioli and other eminent psychologists, up to the present day. Each concentrate on different aspects but one does not invalidate the other; taken together they provide a complete understanding.
According to Jung, the Ego - the "I" or self-conscious faculty - has four inseparable functions, four fundamental ways of perceiving and interpreting reality: Thinking, Feeling, Sensation, and Intuition. Generally, we tend to favor our most developed function, which becomes dominant, while we can broaden our personality by developing the others. Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person's least developed, or "inferior" function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped function(s) thus tend to progress together.
Jung understood and acknowledged the enormous importance of sexuality in the development of the personality, but he perceived the unconscious as encompassing much more. In addition he saw in unconscious material, especially dreams and fantasies, an unfolding of a process. This process was uniquely expressed in each person, but it had nevertheless a common structure. Jung called it the "individuation process" in which the potential of a person's psyche is seeking fulfillment. The concept of Individuation is considered by many to be his major contribution. It is a process which generally takes place in the last half of life - a time in the life cycle neglected by many other psychologists. While the first half of life is devoted to making one's way and establishing oneself in the world, the last half can be a time of psychological development, of moving toward awareness, integration, wholeness.
The barriers to individuation which we must seek to explore and resolve are contained in our 'Shadow' personality: those qualities that one would rather not see in oneself, as well as unrealized potentials. The Shadow of beauty is the beast. Because they're repressed such beliefs and feelings are typically unconscious; they influence our entire lives, tell us what we can and can not do, and drive our behaviors. Even when we're conscious of them, we tend to hide them because we're ashamed or embarrassed. We don't want anyone to know that we feel unworthy of love or that we're not good enough so we try to suppress such beliefs and deny them.
Being opposite the Persona, the Shadow is not generally acknowledged or accepted by the Ego, but when integrated (rather than repressed) it can be very useful to the individual in seeing or realizing the full aspect of the inner self. This energy can be re-directed positively into waking life. For example, a positive side of the Shadow is to provide strength to an intimidated person.
The major goal of Jungian therapy is Individuation through the integration of the Ego and the Shadow. By this means a person becomes a psychological 'in-dividual,' that is, a separate indivisible unity or 'whole'.
According to the concept of Equifinality, there is more than one route to integrating the Ego and the Shadow and achieving Individuation: Mind Development courses include extensive practice with the use of right brain mnemonics, techniques of creativity and Image Streaming, and these methods all draw on Shadow Materials in the right hemisphere. Jung may have given us the inspiration, but we have methods that deal with the Shadow with a minimum of pain.
Introversion and extraversion
Carl Jung introduced several new terms to the language, among which are 'introvert' and 'extravert.'
Introversion is "the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life." Introverts tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and relatively non-engaged in social situations. They take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, watching movies, inventing and designing. An introverted person is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people (although they may enjoy one-to-one or one-to-few interactions with close friends).
According to Jung, extraversion and introversion refer to the direction of psychic energy. If a person's energy usually flows outwards, he or she is an extravert, while if this energy normally flows inwards, this person is an introvert. Extraverts feel energized when interacting with large group of people, but feel a decrease of energy when left alone. Conversely, introverts feel energized when alone, but feel a decrease of energy when surrounded by large group of people.
Extraversion is "the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self." Extraverts tend to enjoy human interactions and to be enthusiastic, talkative, assertive and gregarious. They take pleasure in activities that involve large social gatherings, such as parties, community activities, public demonstrations, and business or political groups. An extraverted person is likely to enjoy time spent with people and find less reward in time spent alone.
The words introvert and extravert have become part of everyday speech, often confused with ideas like shyness and sociability, partially because introverts tend to be shy and extraverts tend to be sociable. But Jung intended for them to refer more to whether the individual more often faced outward through the persona toward the physical world, or inward toward the collective unconscious and its archetypes. In that sense, the introvert is somewhat more mature than the extravert. Our culture, of course, values the extravert much more. And Jung warned that we all tend to value our own type most!
We all exhibit degrees of introversion and extraversion and most people fall in-between the two extremes. The term ambivert was coined to denote people who fall more or less directly in the middle and exhibit both tendencies in respect to different aspects of their lives. An ambivert is normally comfortable with groups and enjoys social interaction, but also relishes time alone and away from the crowd. Note: Mind Development has further coined the term 'Metavert' to describe a person free of any compulsion or inhibition with respect to either state and is able to be introverted or extraverted at will and as appropriate to the circumstance.
In his book, The Origins and History of Consciousness, Erich Neumann combined elements of Jung's psychological theory and some new elements of his own, showing how the great cycles of world myth depict the hard-won development of Ego-consciousness in humanity, and how this development is recapitulated in each individual's life.
Neumann, a student of Jung, synthesizes Jung's ideas into a unified theory of psychology around his own new concept of "centroversion," in which Ego-consciousness - the self-aware "I" of an individual - functions as an integrative force when an imbalance has developed through the tendency of differentiation: for example, becoming excessively intellectual or driven by emotions. Centroversion, then, is an integrating process that protects the Ego from overwhelm, and reasserts the unity of the Ego that expresses itself in the individuative path. If the two tendencies of differentiation and centroversion are in a state of equilibrium, then Individuation is facilitated.
Neumann defined centroversion as "...the innate tendency of a whole to create unity within its parts and to synthesize their differences in unified systems."
The development of the personality as described by Neumann is threefold. First there is adaptation to the outside world, extraversion, the man of action. Second is inward adaptation to the psyche and archetypes, or introversion, acquiring wisdom. Third is centroversion, or individuation within the psyche itself for which self-transformation is the goal.
With centroversion, left and right brain are in good communication, there is whole-brain thinking, divergent meeting convergent, and the "Unified Ego" equates with Individuation. This makes a much sounder basis for transcending the ego at a higher mystical level, than one centered on nondual reality which by definition (no separation) has no place for self whatsoever.
Nondual consciousness is certainly a dimension of mystical consciousness, but it cannot be the whole of consciousness, or there is no self remaining to be enlightened. So it's two sides of a coin, viewed simultaneously as whole - not just one side mistakenly viewed as the whole (which is what one normally hears from new-age, religious or materialist viewpoints).
Centroversion occurs as as one pulls oneself together and becomes mindful, with a higher viewpoint or state of consciousness than both introversion and extraversion. Consciousness turns vertically to become aware of the Self. There is a shift of emphasis from the Ego, with its thrust to power in creating a niche for itself within society, to the Self. This state is a requirement for Individuation as well for for Metaversion.
Jung published 'Psychological Types' in which the concepts of introverted and extroverted personality types are introduced - habitual outlooks which determine a person's experience of life. He refined these ideas according to four functions of the mind: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition, and considered that, in each person, one or more of these functions predominate, and that the others require development through application if that person is to become whole. Jung put it like this: "For complete orientation all four functions should contribute equally."
By the use of a Bilateral Meter, a form of dual psychogalvanometer which measures and compares arousal of each of the brain hemispheres, it is possible to make a Hemispheric Assessment. By this method the subject's left or right dominance and flexibility of hemispheric arousal are determined, and his degree of introversion/extraversion. People have habitual responses and styles of cognition that relate to certain personality types as specified by Jung. Although Jung was primarily interested in psychopathology, he recognized that these factors could be influenced by exercise and tailored case handling, and with the use of a Bilateral Meter (designed and built by Gregory Mitchell, unfortunately not available commercially) this is a task that we are now in a position to undertake.
Galvanometer Tests may be represented in the form of a two-dimensional 'Personality Map', as shown below. This incorporates the factors of brain arousal (as a result of such factors as anxiety, tension, alertness, involvement and willingness to confront life) which may be measured on the GSR Meter; and hemispheric balance (as a result of cognitive or feeling functions predominating) which may be measured on the Bilateral Meter.
The map derived from these two dimensions is similar in many ways to the model of personality and mental pathology postulated by C.G. Jung. The small central square in the diagram represents what we call the 'Ideal Range of Readings': a range of rational response; outside of this area responses become neurotic and at the extreme, psychotic. If the techniques used in analysis have been effective, a client's readings should fall within the innermost square, in which case the client may approach advanced techniques with a reasonable expectation of success.
The medium sized square represents the normal range of personality according to the Jungian Model, and the terms are defined as follows:
1. Phlegmatic = Thinking Introvert.
2. Melancholic = Feeling Introvert or Intuitive Type.
3. Sanguine = Thinking Extravert.
4. Choleric = Feeling Extravert or Sensation Type.
The large square represents the pathological ranges of personality. The difference between the pathological states and the normal states is a difference of degree; one state shades imperceptibly into the other.
The oval marked A represents the access a hypothetical client may have to a range of personality or consciousness states: the range of arousal and hemispheric mobility which is under the person's conscious control. The tandem arrangement of GSR and Bilateral Meters is able to show both axes simultaneously, thus presenting a dynamic display of these factors.
Jung and the transpersonal
'My life is the story of the self-realization of the unconscious,' wrote Jung on the very first line of his autobiography, and the process that he called 'individuation' - the idea of continual, lifelong personal development - was an important part of his approach to psychology and to life. Few contemporary psychologists shared his view that psychological development, the growth towards the realization of an individual's true potential, continued throughout the whole of life rather than being limited to childhood. Such self-realization could occur, he argued, by treating the unconscious as a living, daemonic presence: by confronting and examining what the unconscious has to say, a person can come to know themselves more truly and personal transformation can occur.
The personal unconscious contains all the beliefs, values, feelings and memories which one is not currently conscious of. It contains material that can be made conscious by simple act of will, which can be termed 'Preconscious'; material that requires some effort or external stimulus to retrieve, both cognitive and affective, which can be termed 'subconscious'; as well as material that may never be recalled to consciousness ever again. It is made up of the things you've experienced every day of your life. The personal unconscious is also a dumping ground for things we aren't comfortable with and which we'd really rather not have in consciousness very often.
In analytical psychology, the "personal unconscious" is Carl Jung's term for the Freudian "unconscious," as contrasted with the "collective unconscious." Jung made the significant step of defining the unconsciousness of a person as comprised of both a personal unconscious (proceeding from the experiences of the individual) and a second, far deeper form of the unconscious underlying the personal one, the collective unconscious (issuing from the inherited structure of the brain, and common to humanity)...
The collective unconscious contains instinctive drives and patterns of behavior that we all share, as human beings. It includes the overall cellular memory of past ancestors, that is located inside of the body and is passed on genetically. But Jung also perceived the collective unconscious as something we tap into by psychic means, as a current 'over-mind' of our race.
In Jung's theory, complexes may be related to environmental traumatic experience, or they may be caused by internal conflicts. There are many kinds of complex, but at the core of any complex is a universal pattern of experience, or archetype. He postulated that the complexes originate in the archetypal depths of the psyche - deep structures, patterns and ways of living that represent an inherited memory of the history of human culture.
Archetypes are innate, universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge. A group of memories and interpretations associated with an archetype is a complex, e.g. a mother complex associated with the mother archetype. Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological constructs that arose through evolution. Being universal and innate, their influence can be detected in the form of myths, symbols, rituals and instincts of human beings. Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct and inform human thought and behaviour. According to Jung, archetypes heavily influence the human life cycle, propelling a neurologically hard-wired sequence which he called the stages of life. Each stage is mediated through a new set of archetypal imperatives which seek fulfillment in action. These may include being parented, initiation, courtship, marriage and preparation for death.
Although the general idea of an archetype is well recognized, there is considerable confusion as regards their exact nature and the way they result in universal experiences. The confusion about the archetypes can partly be attributed to Jung's own evolving ideas about them in his writings and his interchangeable use of the term "archetype" and "primordial image." Strictly speaking, archetypal figures such as the Hero, the Goddess and the Wise Man are not archetypes, but archetypal images which have crystallized out of the archetypes-as-such. Basically, each of us have archetypes that are dominant in our personalities and lives. Although the number of archetypes is limitless, there are a few particularly notable, recurring archetypal images: the Child, the Hero, the Mother, the Sage, the Trickster, the Leader, the Explorer, the Warrior, the Artist, the Hero, the Master, etc.
The concept of archetypes - potent universal symbols appearing in myths, fairytales and dreams - is an important part of Jung's concept of the unconscious. He considered the complexes existing in the personal unconscious to be personifications or manifestations of archetypes from the collective unconscious leading to characteristic patterns of behavior. The archetypes represented within each person also include the projected ideas of the world around, according to the way the individual perceives the world, in ways that may tend toward positive or negative, and according to diverse influences from upbringing, education and enculturation. Another factor is the overall intelligence of the people in whom the person has originated from; through the genes, and psychological decent.
Both Jung and Freud postulated certain defenses against autonomous complexes. Freud recognizes new defenses, whereas Jung perceives new contexts for defenses, so they are left and right brain in nature. Freud refers to resistance against disturbing personal emotions, whereas Jung's defenses derive from a non-personal, "external" onslaught of the collective unconscious. Jungian defenses may involve the denial of a potentially life-changing archetypal experience and a defensive return to the earlier, narrower persona; or capitulating to the collective psyche, perhaps with the justification of possessing unique spiritual wisdom or connections.
It seems to me that the Collective Unconscious is a sort of Genetic Superego, as it crosses cultural boundaries. The Superego contains parental voices that constrain thought and behavior, whereas the collective unconscious contains archetypes that constrain thought and behavior in much the same way.
Humans are clearly predisposed to enjoy the company of other humans, to cooperate (at least in some activities), and we have a need for recognition and a sense of belonging as well. At the same time, many of the predispositions that are commonly believed to exist in humans - envy, greed and jealousy for example, particularly with respect to territory and possessions - have the capacity to threaten society and resist the efforts of culture to constrain them. Campbell has argued that if a society is to survive, it must develop improved social and cultural mechanisms to control its anti-social instincts and the more selfish and violent archetypes of human nature. The caring and mothering archetypes are not powerful enough alone to restrain a patriarchal society.
There is considerable confusion as regards the exact nature of archetypes and the way they result in universal experiences. The phenomenon is real. For example, there is a clear and obvious state of affairs with animal instincts - often with considerable sophistication, such as the migratory patterns of birds - being passed down genetically. No doubt the same applies with humans; tribal behavior has many parallels throughout the world, through into civilized societies. There is also the phenomena of scalar fields, information fields, morphogenetic fields - names for the same thing according to the theories of Tom Bearden and Rupert Sheldrake - hypotheses that explain an enormous amount of apparent phenomena (including archetypes, evolutionary breaks, collective consciousness and psychic communication) that otherwise lacks a scientific explanation. "Gods," if you like, and archetypal characters could well crystallize out of such formations.
The Ego-complex grows and develops through "collisions with the outer world and the inner." Consciousness and activity are necessary for its existence, although part of the ego is unconscious, including archetypes and instincts. The Ego is a subject which relates to objects. It is capable of identifications and projections, and can weave a complex web of interpretations of reality and defenses against unwelcome truths. The Ego has four primary states: waking, dreaming, sleep, and transpersonal. Every human being has a waking consciousness which is normally associated with the Ego, a dream consciousness, a sleep consciousness, and a transpersonal consciousness. The fourth state is the state of Gurdjieff's self remembering man, the mindful awareness we have at times of our own consciousness - the aspect that responds to spiritual development, such as with the tools of The Insight Project.
As the carrier of the individual's consciousness, it is the task of the Ego to become aware of its own limitations, to see its existence as only an island - though an essential one - in the ocean of personal and collective unconscious. A major part of the Ego's task is to develop an appropriate relationship with what Jung termed the Self, the archetype of wholeness. The Self can be understood as the central organizing principle of the psyche, that fundamental and essential aspect of human personality which gives cohesion, meaning, direction, and purpose to the whole psyche.
Jung uses the term Superego infrequently and usually in discussion of Freud's views. This was because of Jung's emphasis on the innate nature of morality, there being a pre-existing moral channel to accommodate the flow of psychic energy. The inbuilt Superego has a harsh archetypal (ie. powerful, primitive, extreme) nature and this is modified, rather than accentuated by parental introjects. Hence there is less need to postulate a learning process in connection with conscience.
When Jung does write of the Superego as such, he equates it with collective morality, buttressed by culture and tradition. Against the background of such collective morality, a person has to work out his or her own system of values and ethics (Ego Morality) - this is part of the process of individuation (the integration of the Ego and the Shadow). Jung points out that conscience does not equate with Superego, but that is only true when Ego is sufficiently developed to have it's own Ego Morality rather than an imposed one.
There is a modern neurological explanation for the theoretical differences in psychoanalytic concepts and techniques between Freud and Jung. Freudian concepts such as Ego and Superego have a left-brain foundation, the Superego is in the left frontal lobe, and the Id resides the deep brain; whereas Jungian concepts such as the Persona, Shadow and Collective Consciousness have a right-brain foundation: Modern neurological techniques reveal unique brain functions that explain many of the visionary and so-called mystic phenomena discussed by Jung. Many of Jung's psychoanalytic concepts can be traced to right brain function. Freud analyzes defenses in the left hemisphere, whereas Jung analyzes the content of the right hemisphere; both Freud and Jung are correct from their particular perspective.
Ernest Rossi in The Cerebral Hemispheres in Analytical Psychology proposes that recent neurological studies indicate that the notion of bringing both hemispheres into greater harmony offers a plausible basis for Individuation or the 'higher consciousness', which Jung described as the primary consequence of the transcendent function and the union of opposites. Impressive reaffirmation of Jung's archetypal hypothesis has come from developments in behavioral biology (Tinbergen 1951; Cosmides 1985), structural anthropology (L vi-Strauss 1967), developmental psychology (Bowlby 1969), and dream research (Jouvet 1975). A close correspondence exists between Jungian theories of dreaming in human beings and modern biological theories of dreaming in animals. Under the heading of a possible neurological basis for Jung's concepts, Anthony Stevens in his Archetypes: A Natural History of the Self reviews Jung's ideas in the context of an extensive study of the relationship between Jungian psychology and ethnology (a branch of anthropology that analyzes cultures, especially in regard to their historical development and the similarities and dissimilarities between them).
Following World War I, Jung became a worldwide traveller. He visited India and his experiences led him to become fascinated and deeply involved with Eastern philosophies and religions. He drew parallels with the 'unitary consciousness' of the Eastern concept of spirituality and aspects of the collective unconscious.
Jung proposed an underlying, unitary reality that gives rise to the archetypes. This is an idea found in much mystical and religious thought. He also turned his thoughts to parapsychology, and developed a theory of 'meaningful coincidence' which he called synchronicity. He described this as 'a coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning.'
Through the Individuation process, Jung hoped that each of us who heeds the call might one day reach our full potential. He realized that if the individuals in our society could face up to their shadows and reconnect with their inner opposites, that we could all hopefully transcend the destructive side of our nature. This could open the way for a direct connection with the vast and humbling resources of both the personal and collective unconscious, resources that have long been used by poets, painters, and performers and are there for anyone who makes the commitment to becoming a true individual.
It is important to note that Jung seemed to often see his work as not a complete psychology in itself but as his unique contribution to the field of psychology. Jung claimed late in his career that only for about a third of his patients did he use "Jungian analysis." For another third, Freudian psychology seemed to best suit the patient's needs and for the final third Adlerian analysis was most appropriate. Freud focused on problems of adults as they related to childhood; Adler on problems of adults as they related to adulthood; and Jung on problems of adults as they related to middle and later years. In fact, it seems that most contemporary Jungian psychoanalysts merge a personal eclectic approach with the Jungian theories in order to have a "whole" theoretical repertoire to do actual clinical work.
The Superego vs. Ethical Consciousness
Freud's Superego is the consequence of the imposition of a moral code through parents and other authority figures. However, Jung has made an important distinction between the moral conscience and the ethical. The first type of conscience refers to the psychic reaction that occurs when the conscious mind decides to abandon the usual path of customs, of habits and of the mores. In this sense, moral consciousness can hardly be distinguished from the fear of primitive man of everything that is uncommon, extraordinary, or not in accordance with the usual behavior of everybody in such and such circumstances. As such, it constitutes a practically instinctive reaction and could, when all is said, be reducible to an inherited pattern of behavior, to a trait grafted in the genetic code of man.
The ethical consciousness implies, on the other hand, that behavior is subject to the conscious judgment of what is right or wrong, according to higher criteria of justice. The problem of ethics is raised when a conflict of duties appears, and blind obedience to the moral code or written law cannot satisfy the moral requirement of the moment any more.
Jung, and those who built upon his efforts, gathered empirical data to form a groundwork for a philosophy of ethics. It is a system based on a psychological understanding of the power and influence of archetypal patterns. Depth psychology aims to bring to light unconscious motivations that, if left on their own, result in destructive and harmful behavior. These tendencies can usually be traced to repressed feelings and emotions that make up the part of the unconscious which Jung called the Shadow. Jung writes, "Moral principles that seem clear and unequivocal from the standpoint of Ego-consciousness lose their power of conviction, and therefore their applicability, when we consider the compensatory significance of the shadow in the light of ethical responsibility." Responsibility connotes a system of ethics.
Repressed qualities are relocated feelings and emotions that were thrown into the depths of the unconscious, condemned to be projected in a shadow-play. To help keep repressed feelings safely tucked away, the Ego dons a mask (persona), a societal role that gives an impression of identity with the community. This simultaneously hides the repressed qualities, which are, instead, cast onto others (projection or scapegoating). The persona is a psychological construct designed to help one fit in with the local culture by covering the individual's uniqueness.
To comport oneself without egotism is not a way of being that will happen of its own. This starts after one has begun to deal with one's unconscious and its shadows. Highlighting the imperative of coming to terms with the unconscious, Jung writes, "Confrontation with an archetype or an instinct is an ethical problem of the first magnitude, the urgency of which is felt only by people who find themselves faced with the need to assimilate the unconscious and integrate their personalities." Such persons have made a commitment to the path of individuation, which calls for the merging of conscious and unconscious. That union, according to Jung, is "the core of the ethical problem."
Jung's Stages of Development
Jung who foresaw the development of the human mind reaching a crescendo in the late middle age, when many chances in life have been taken or ignored and the person starts to wonder if their life is truly what it should have been. Here are the four Jungian Stages of Development:
Jung was one of the first to describe an adult developmental position in psychology. During the first half of life (under forty), Jung sees the therapies of Freud and Adler as addressing the central problems. For the later fall and winter seasons of life, Jung's psychology has specific relevance.
The 'archaic stage' of infancy has sporadic consciousness; then during the 'monarchic stage' of the small child there is the beginning of logical and abstract thinking, and the ego starts to develop.
- Youth & Early Years
From puberty until 35 - 40 there is maturing sexuality, growing consciousness, and then a realization that the carefree days of childhood are gone forever. People strive to gain independence, find a mate, and raise a family.
- Middle Life
The realization that you will not live forever creates tension. If you desperately try to cling to your youth, you will fail in the process of self-realization. At this stage, you experience what Jung calls a 'metanoia' (change of mind) and there is a tendency to more introverted and philosophical thinking. People often become religious during this period or acquire a personal philosophy of life.
- Old Age
Consciousness is reduced in the last years, at the same time there is there acquisition of wisdom. Jung thought that death is the ultimate goal of life. By realizing this, people will not face death with fear but with the feeling of a "job well done" and perhaps the hope for rebirth.
As Harry Moody says in The Five Stages of the Soul: "The nearer we approach to the middle of life, and the better we have succeeded in entrenching ourselves in our personal attitudes and social positions, the more it appears as if we had discovered the right course and the right ideals and principles of behaviour. For this reason we suppose them to be eternally valid, and make a virtue of unchangeably clinging to them. We overlook the essential fact that the social goal is attained only at the cost of a diminution of personality. Many - far too many - aspects of life which should also have been experienced lie in the lumber-room among dusty memories; but sometimes, too, they are glowing coals under grey ashes."
Plotkin's Eight Stages of Eco-Soulcentric Human Development
Bill Plotkin in Nature and the Human Soul perceived a connection between Jung's archetypal conception of individual and collective evolutionary life aligned with the wild forces of nature. We continue to develop throughout our lives and each stage of our life has its own challenges and its unique rewards. His eight stages on the wheel of spiritual development are illuminated by the pairing of a human archetype with an ecological archetype:
Following a discussion of how Western society fails to provide adequate support for any of the stages of human development, Plotkin goes on to offer practices and principles that assist the reader to ripen into a more complete and genuine adulthood and eventually in elderhood, a wise caring for all of humanity and Nature. Plotkin states that changes are needed urgently:
- The Innocent in the Nest (early childhood),
- The Explorer in the Garden (middle childhood),
- The Thespian at the Oasis (early adolescence),
- The Wanderer in the Cocoon (late adolescence),
- The Soul Apprentice at the Wellspring (early adulthood),
- The Artisan in the Wild Orchard (late adulthood),
- The Master in the Grove of Elders (early elderhood),
- The Sage in the Mountain Cave (late elderhood).
"The evolution of our species does not force species to mature psychospiritually, and individual maturation, in general, does not cause our species to evolve. But, in our time, if we do not mature as individuals (and consequently as societies), the entire arc of human evolution might soon come to an end. We are in danger of extinction––along with the extinction we have already wrought upon thousands of other species. The continuation of our human arc depends on which circle – egocentric or soul centric – we embrace."
Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development
Erik Erikson (1902-1994) was a Danish-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase "identity crisis," which he believes is the most important conflict human beings encounter when they go through eight developmental stages in life.
In his book, Childhood and Society, Erikson postulated that in the passage from birth to death, every human being goes through eight stages to reach his or her full development. In each stage the person confronts, and hopefully masters, new challenges. Each stage builds on the successful completion of earlier stages. The challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as problems in the future. According to Erikson, the environment in which a person lives is crucial in the process of stimulating growth, adjustment, self awareness and identity.
Here the four Jungian developmental stages are interleaved with Erickson's eight stages of psychosocial development...
Jungian 1st Stage - Childhood
Erikson Stage 1. Infancy (birth to 18 months)
Psychosocial Crisis: Trust vs. Mistrust
Ego Quality: Hope
Main question asked: Is my environment trustworthy or not?
Does the child believe its caregivers to be reliable? If an individual does not learn to trust themselves, others and the world around them then they may lose the virtue of hope.
Erikson Stage 2. Toddler (18 months to 3 years)|
Psychosocial Crisis: Autonomy vs. Shame & doubt
Main question asked: Do I need help from others or not?
Ego Quality: Will
Child needs to learn to explore the world, to develop a sense of autonomy. Bad if the parent is too smothering or completely neglectful.
Erikson Stage 3. Preschool (3 to 5 years)|
Psychosocial Crisis: Initiative vs. Guilt
Ego Quality: Purpose
Main question asked: How moral am I?
Can the child plan or do things on his own, such as dress him or herself. This stage is about the development of courage and independence. If "guilty" about making his or her own choices, the child will not function well. Erikson has a positive outlook on this stage, saying that most guilt is quickly compensated by a sense of accomplishment. In order to promote a safe balance between initiative and guilt, parents must provide the child with achievable responsibility.
Erikson Stage 4. Primary schooling (6 to teens)|
Psychosocial Crisis: Industry vs. Inferiority
Ego Quality: Competence
Main question asked: Am I good at what I do?
Children at this age are becoming more aware of themselves as individuals, comparing theirself-worth to others (such as in a classroom environment). They work hard at being responsible, being good and doing things properly. They can share and cooperate and are eager to learn and accomplish more complex skills: reading, writing, telling time. They also get to form moral values, recognize cultural and individual differences and are able to manage most of their personal needs with minimal assistance. Children in this stage have to learn the feeling of success. If the child is allowed too little success, he or she will develop a sense of inferiority or incompetence and mightfeel the need to assert their independence by being disobedient, using back talk and being rebellious.
Jungian 2nd Stage - Youth & Early Years
Erikson Stage 5. Adolescence (teens to 20's)
Psychosocial Crisis: Identity vs. Role Confusion
Ego Quality: Fidelity
Main Question: "Who am I?"
The teenager is newly concerned with how he or she appears to others. Who am I, how do I fit in? Where am I going in life? Erikson believes that if the parents allow the child to explore, they will conclude their own identity. However, if the parents continually push him/her to conform to their views, the teen will face identity confusion. In later stages of adolescence, the child develops a sense of sexual identity.
Erikson Stage 6. Young adulthood (20's to 40 years)|
Psychosocial Crisis: Intimacy vs. Isolation
Ego Quality: Love
Main Question: "Am I loved and wanted?"
Young adults are still eager to blend their identities with friends. They want to fit in. But now they need to be prepared for intimacy, a close personal relationship, and isolation, the fact of being alone and separated from others. Who do I want to be with or date, what am I going to do with my life? Will I settle down? This stage has begun to last longer as young adults choose to stay in school or further education and not settle. A balance between intimacy and isolation makes love possible as we must know how to be alone in order to learn to truly love. This will also help in the later stages when unwelcome or unexpected isolation surfaces, for example, the death of a spouse or forced retirement.
Jungian 3rd Stage - Middle Life
Erikson Stage 7. Middle adulthood (40 to 60 years)
Psychosocial Crisis: Guiding the next generation vs. Stagnation
Ego Quality: Caring
Main Question: "Am I fulfilling my responsibilities?"
At this stage we need to assist the younger generation to become established. We measure our accomplishments and failures, which may lead to a mid-life crisis or a serious interest in spiritual concerns. Stagnation is the feeling of not having done anything to help the next generation.
Jungian 4th Stage - Old Age
Erikson Stage 8. Late adulthood (from 60 years)
Psychosocial Crisis: Ego Integrity vs. Despair
Ego Quality: Wisdom
Main Question: "What kind of life have I lived?"
As we move toward the end of our lives, if we can look back on good times with gladness, on hard times with self-respect, and on mistakes and regrets with forgiveness then we will find a new sense of integrity. But as they reflect on the past, some can become bitter, regretful and despair at what they accomplished or failed to accomplish within their lifetime.
According to Erikson's stages, the onset of the identity crisis is in the teenage years, and only individuals who succeed in resolving the crisis will be ready to face future challenges in life. But the identity crisis may well be recurring, as the changing world demands us to constantly redefine ourselves. If you find yourself (again) in an identity crisis, you can look at seven areas of difficulty in which to work towards a resolution...
- Time perspective: Can you distinguish immediate gratification from long-term goals? Have you learned to balance between jumping at opportunities as soon as they are presented to you and working steadily and patiently towards your long-term goal?
- Self-certainty: Do you feel consistent in your self-image and the image you present to others?
- Role experimentation: Have you tried different roles in search of the one that feels right to you?
- Anticipation of achievement: Do you believe that you will be successful in what you choose to do -- whether your role is at the work front or home front?
- Sexual identity: Do you feel comfortable being a male or a female, and dealing with others as such?
- Leadership polarization: Are you able to become both a leader and a follower, whichever is called for in a given situation?
- Ideological: Have you found a set of basic social, philosophical, or religious values that your outlook on life can be based upon?
According to Otto Rank, people at the late stage of their life, if they have solved the problem of ego Integrity vs. Despair, strive for immortality; not of their body, but in their works and deeds.
There is a tendency, starting in middle life at about the age of forty, toward introversion and a growing interest in the existential and spiritual questions of life. This is perhaps the best time to start work on the advanced spiritual development program, The Insight Project. Self Realization and Transpersonal insights are the final stages of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which require the fulfilment of underlying needs. The Insight Project is therefore best done on the foundation of sound personal development.