Jung Develops Analytical Psychology Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The psychiatrist Carl Jung established in the early twentieth century a very influential school of psychological analysis, now known as analytical psychology, that contrasted in many respects with Sigmund Freud’s program. Not least among the differences was Jung’s stress on the spiritual or religious dimension in the treatment of mental illness.

Summary of Event

In 1900, psychiatry—a branch of medicine that specialized in the examination and treatment of mental illness—was still in its infancy. Most physicians still regarded psychiatry as a kind of stepchild of the medical profession, suspect largely because its focus on the human mind seemed inherently too subjective to fit within the parameters of the objective scientific method. Early in the twentieth century, however, three brilliant young psychiatrists appeared in Europe, and their work would change this situation dramatically. Of the three, the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud was already making the biggest mark in the field. However, two younger colleagues, Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, would soon rival him in their creative contributions to psychiatric theory and practice. [kw]Jung Develops Analytical Psychology (1930’s) [kw]Analytical Psychology, Jung Develops (1930’s) [kw]Psychology, Jung Develops Analytical (1930’s) Psychology;analytical Psychiatry [g]Switzerland;1930’s: Jung Develops Analytical Psychology[07440] [c]Psychology and psychiatry;1930’s: Jung Develops Analytical Psychology[07440] [c]Health and medicine;1930’s: Jung Develops Analytical Psychology[07440] [c]Religion, theology, and ethics;1930’s: Jung Develops Analytical Psychology[07440] [c]Publishing and journalism;1930’s: Jung Develops Analytical Psychology[07440] Jung, Carl Freud, Sigmund Adler, Alfred

Carl Jung was born near Zurich, Switzerland, in 1875. As the son of a clergyman, Jung was expected eventually to take up the profession. He was a lonely child and was given to private fantasies, especially because he found his parents emotionally distant and unhappy. Later, during his undergraduate years at the University of Basel, Jung read widely, especially in science, philosophy, theology, and mythology. He decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps and instead chose a career in medicine; he completed his M.D. in 1900. By then he had decided to specialize in the new discipline of psychiatric medicine because of its exciting potential.

After seeing some of Jung’s early research conducted in his medical practice at a Zurich mental hospital, Sigmund Freud invited him to Vienna to collaborate in Freud’s prestigious psychoanalysis program. From 1907 to 1912, Jung assisted Freud in a number of his psychoanalytic investigations. Freud regarded Jung as his eventual successor in the program, and he managed to have Jung elected as the first president of the newly formed International Psychoanalysis Association. Jung, however, was becoming increasingly alarmed at Freud’s unshakable conviction that a repressed sexual instinct was the sole explanation for human neuroses. To Jung, such a doctrinaire position contradicted the very concept of psychiatry as a science.

Meanwhile, Alfred Adler, the other luminary in the new psychology movement, had determined that the basic source of mental illness lay in a misguided will to power. Jung concluded that both Freud and Adler were wrong to reduce so complex a problem as mental illness to any single factor. His extensive reading and clinical experience in Zurich prompted him to consider a much broader range of causes for mental pathologies, including a spiritual dimension ignored by his more rationalist and material-minded colleagues.

Relations between Freud and Jung cooled, and then the publication of Jung’s Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (1912; The Psychology of the Unconscious, 1915) Psychology of the Unconscious, The (Jung) made the breach permanent. In the book, which was later revised as Symbole der Wandlung (1952; Symbols of Transformation, 1967), Symbols of Transformation (Jung) Jung directly challenged Freud’s contention that repressed sexual desires could be the sole explanation for the disturbed dreams and fantasies of the mentally ill. Instead, Jung maintained that these phenomena could be better explained by a number of nonsexual factors. Each thinker went his separate way, although Jung was devastated. He felt professionally isolated and scorned, especially since many saw his book as a deliberate betrayal of Freud’s trust. Jung had to resign both as president of the psychiatric association and as editor of the foremost journal in the field. In the meantime, his marriage was also in serious difficulty.

Jung continued his private practice in Zurich but produced very little from 1913 to 1919. During these troubled years, he continually grappled with a deep psychological depression and a sense of hopeless alienation. At times, he felt on the verge of madness. In final desperation, he applied several of his own psychiatric theories and techniques to his condition and gradually found his way out of the abyss, as evidenced by the publication of his major book Psychologische Typen (1921; Psychological Types, 1923). Psychological Types (Jung)

The appearance of Modern Man in Search of a Soul in 1933 proved that Jung had fully recovered. Modern Man in Search of a Soul (Jung) This slender volume, written in a clear, nontechnical style for a larger lay audience, set forth virtually all the main themes and methods that constituted Jung’s analytic psychology, some of which had benefited his understanding of his own mental illness. Not least among the themes was the idea of a midlife crisis, which Jung found afflicted many (including himself) as they approached middle age. He also described in detail the techniques of dream analysis essential to a patient’s diagnosis and therapy.

Next, in his theory of psychological types, Jung divided the human race into two basic, biologically determined orientations: an other-directed extrovert and an inner-directed introvert. Each person had one of these orientations dominant in the conscious self, while the other was recessive in the unconscious. If not consciously confronted, Jung believed, the suppressed element could acquire a destructive power. In order to achieve psychic harmony, some reconciliation or adjustment of the extrovert-introvert opposition had to occur within the individual.

A cornerstone of Jung’s psychiatric system was his novel theory regarding the “archetypes of the collective unconscious.” The idea of a collective unconscious, distinct from the conventional personal unconscious unique to each individual, was Jung’s construct to explain the striking similarity of mental patterns and images (archetypes) evident in the dreams and fantasies of the world’s cultures and expressed in myths, folklore, and art. Through his clinical work, reading, and wide travels, Jung had discovered many common recurring images and symbols in various cultures, and he noted that certain innate images were shared by all humans. Among the most frequent archetypal images included the masculine and feminine figures, “the wise old man” or guru figure, and the “shadow figure of the dark side,” often used to signify evil. The “shadow” within the unconscious had to be consciously acknowledged in order to neutralize its baneful opposition. Such archetypes needed to be identified in a patient by a therapist to bring about a healing of the tensions between the conscious and unconscious sides of the self.

Finally, in his essay on the relationship of psychology and religion, Jung related how his extensive work with the mentally ill had convinced him that the feelings of despair and anguish he so often encountered were invariably associated with a loss of religious faith or a lack of any spiritual meaning to life. Whereas Sigmund Freud regarded religion as a superstitious abomination that should be eliminated from society, Jung concluded that a psychiatrist had to respond to human experience in all its aspects, including the spiritual. According to Jung, who was himself a pantheist, religious belief could confer an essential purpose and dignity to human life. The addition of a transcendent spiritual dimension lifted the human race beyond the level of mere biological necessity. Modern Man in Search of a Soul made Jung renowned far beyond the limited circle of his fellow psychiatrists. For the rest of his life, Jung continued to elaborate the main elements of his psychic model, and his popularity seemed at times to overshadow that of Freud himself. Just before his death in 1961, Jung professed himself at peace with himself and with the world.


Carl Jung’s school of psychological analysis came to have a major impact on the psychiatric profession in the twentieth century. In contrast to his rival Sigmund Freud’s essentially mechanistic and rationalist approach to mental illness, Jung sought to dramatically widen the purview of psychiatric theory and practice. To better understand the patient’s plight, Jung adapted whatever sources or perspectives promised to illuminate the problem. In addition to his own clinical observations, Jung drew freely from the annals of mythology, folklore, art, religion, and even the occult. In his view, psychiatrists needed to be proficient in the humanities and the esoteric arts as well as in medical science.

Further, Jung believed that the psyche was as real as any physical matter that existed in time or space. Convinced that science and its methodology could not penetrate the mysterious inner realms of the human mind, Jung advocated a “psychology of the spirit” that included a significant role for religion not found in the work of Freud and Alder. Jung had observed that religious belief could, among other things, give a sense of meaning and purpose to life, and not only for the despairing and the alienated. Finally, Jung challenged his profession by devising a number of intriguing hypotheses to account for the great variety and complexity of psychic phenomena. Prime among these ideas were his “archetypes of the collective unconscious,” the “midlife crisis,” and his psychological types. Jung’s message and methods continue to be heard and practiced in centers of Jungian analysis across Europe and North America. Psychology;analytical Psychiatry

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Jung, C. G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and Selected by Aniela Jaffe. Rev. ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1963. A fascinating, highly revealing autobiographical account unlike anything Jung had previously done.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">_______. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. 1933. Reprint. Translated by W. S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes. London: Routledge, 2001. The lectures here collected demonstrate the remarkable range of Jung’s thought and point forward to his research agenda over the nearly three decades to come.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">McLynn, Frank. Carl Gustav Jung: A Biography. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. A controversial but thoroughly researched examination of Jung’s analytical psychology. Quite critical of Jung’s personal life.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Stevens, Anthony. Jung. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. The best brief introduction in English to Jungian psychology.

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Categories: History