Carl Jung | Analytical Psychology: Archetype, Psychic energy


Carl Jung (born 1875 in Kesswil (Canton Thurgau), Switzerland) was another close associate of Freud’s during the early period of psychoanalysis, but ultimately disagreed with the master on theoretical issues and, like Adler, founded his own school. Jung’s system is known as
“analytical psychology,” and, as the name implies, is closer in both spirit and practice to Freud’s system than is Adler’s individual psychology. Jung’s major point of disagreement with Freud .

Sigmund Freud once designated Carl Jung as his spiritual heir, but Jung went on to develop a theory of personality that differed dramatically from orthodox psychoanalysis.

       The first point on which Jung came to disagree with Freud was the role of sexuality. Jung broadened Freud’s definition of libido by redefining it as a more generalized psychic energy that includes sex but is not restricted to it. 

       The second major area of disagreement concerns the direction of the forces that influence personality.  Whereas Freud viewed human beings as prisoners or victims of past events, Jung argued that we are shaped by our future as well as our past.  We are affected not only by what happened to us as children but also by what we aspire to do in the future.

         The third significant point of difference revolves around the unconscious. Freud had recognized this phylogenetic aspect of personality (the influence of inherited primal experiences), Jung made it the core of his system of personality. He combined ideas from history, mythology, anthropology, and religion to form his image of human nature.


“To Jung, who freely and frequently satisfied his sexual needs, sex played a minimal role in human motivation.  To Freud, beset by frustrations and anxious about his thwarted desires, sex played the central role” (Schultz, 1990, p. 148).

         Jung used the term  LIBIDO in two ways: first, as a diffuse and general life energy, and second, from a perspective similar to Freud’s, as narrower psychic energy that fuels the work of the personality, which he called the  PSYCHE. It is through psychic energy that psychological activities such as perceiving, thinking, feeling, and wishing are carried out.

        Jung drew on ideas from physics to explain the functioning of psychic energy. He proposed three basic principles: opposites, equivalence, and entropy (Jung, 1928).

 THE  PRINCIPLE OF OPPOSITES:  JUNG noted the existence of opposites or polarities in physical energy, such as heat versus cold, height versus depth, creation versus decay. So it is with psychic energy: Every wish or feeling has its opposite.

PRINCIPLE OF EQUIVALENCE: Jung applied to psychic events the physical principle of the conservation of energy. He stated that energy expended in bringing about some condition is not lost but rather is shifted to another part of the personality. Thus, if the psychic value in a particular area weakens or disappears, that energy is transferred elsewhere in the psyche. For example, if we lose interest in a person, a hobby, or a field of study, the psychic energy formerly invested in that area is shifted to a new one.  The psychic energy used for conscious activities while we are awake is shifted to dreams when we are asleep. The energy is continually redistributed within the personality.

PRINCIPLE OF ENTROPY: refers to the equalization of energy differences. For example, if a hot object and a cold object are placed in direct contact. A tendency toward balance or equilibrium within the personality; the ideal is an equal distribution of psychic energy overall structures of the personality.

          Ideally, the personality has an equal distribution of psychic energy over all its aspects, but this ideal state is never achieved. If perfect balance or equilibrium were attained, then the personality would have no psychic energy because, as we noted earlier, the opposition principle requires conflict for psychic energy to be produced.



        THE  EGO: is the center of consciousness, the part of the psyche concerned with perceiving, thinking, feeling, and remembering. It is our awareness of ourselves and is responsible for carrying out the normal activities of waking life.



        Jung believed that psychic energy could be channeled externally, toward the outside world, or internally, toward the self. Extraverts are open, sociable, and socially assertive, oriented toward other people and the external world. Introverts are withdrawn and often shy, and they tend to focus on themselves, on their own thoughts and feelings.

       According to Jung, everyone has the capacity for both attitudes, but only one becomes dominant in the personality.



         Jung came to recognize that there were different kinds of extraverts and introverts, he proposed additional distinctions among people based on what he called the psychological functions.  These functions refer to different and opposing ways of perceiving or apprehending both the external real world and our subjective inner world. Jung posited four functions of the psyche: sensing, intuiting, thinking, and feeling (Jung, 1927). 


 Jung’s psychological types

Extraverted thinking: Logical, objective, dogmatic

Extraverted feeling: Emotional, sensitive, sociable; more typical of women than men 

Extraverted sensing: Outgoing, pleasure-seeking, adaptable    

Extraverted intuiting: Creative, able to motivate others and to seize opportunities 

Introverted thinking: More interested in ideas than in people  Introverted thinking: Reserved, undemonstrative, yet capable of deep emotion 

Introverted sensing: Outwardly detached, expressing themselves in aesthetic pursuits

Introverted intuiting: More concerned with the unconscious than with everyday reality

         Sensing and intuiting are grouped together as nonrational functions; they do not use the processes of reason.  The Sensing reproduces an experience through the senses the way a photograph copies an object. Intuiting does not arise directly from an external stimulus.

         The second pair of opposing functions, thinking, and feeling, are rational functions that involve making judgments and evaluations about our experiences.  Although thinking and feeling are opposites, both are concerned with organizing and categorizing experiences.  The thinking function involves a conscious judgment of whether an experience is true or false.  The kind of evaluation made by the feeling function is expressed in terms of like or dislike, pleasantness or unpleasantness, stimulation, or dullness.

           just as one attitude is dominant, so only one function is dominant.  The others are submerged in the personal unconscious. Further, only one pair of functions is dominant—either the rational or the irrational—and within each pair only one function is dominant.  A person cannot be ruled by both thinking and feeling or by both sensing and intuiting, because they are opposing functions.



      To Jung, eight personality types based on interactions of the attitudes (introversion and extraversion) and the functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting).


Jung’s system is similar to Freud’s conception of the preconscious. It is a reservoir of material that was once conscious but has been forgotten or suppressed because it was trivial or disturbing.  There is considerable two-way traffic between the ego and the personal unconscious.



   As we file more and more experiences in our personal unconscious, we begin to group them into what Jung called complexes. A complex is a core or pattern of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes organized around a common theme. For example, we might say that a person has a complex about power or status.

    Complexes may be conscious or unconscious. Some complexes may be harmful, but others can be useful.


 The deepest level of the psyche containing the accumulation of inherited experiences of human and prehuman species. This heritage is passed to each new generation.



         The ancient experiences contained in the collective unconscious are manifested by recurring themes or patterns Jung called archetypes (Jung, 1947). He also used the term primordial images. There are many such images of universal experiences, as many as there are common human experiences. By being repeated in the lives of succeeding generations, archetypes have become imprinted on our psyche and are expressed in our dreams and fantasies.

         These major archetypes include the persona, the anima and animus, the shadow, and the self.

Persona Archetype: is a mask, a public face we wear to present ourselves as someone different from who we really are.  The persona is necessary, Jung believed, because we are forced to play many roles in life in order to succeed in school and on the job and to get along with a variety of people.

Anima archetype; animus archetype: Feminine aspects of the male psyche; masculine aspects of the female psyche.

Shadow archetype: The dark side of the personality; the archetype that contains primitive animal instincts.

The self archetype represents the unity, integration, and harmony of the total personality.  To Jung, the striving toward that wholeness is the ultimate goal of life. This archetype involves bringing together and balancing all parts of the personality.



Jung’s developmental stages 

Childhood: Ego development begins when the child distinguishes between self and others.

Puberty to young adulthood: Adolescents must adapt to the growing demands of reality. The focus is external, on education, career, and family.  The conscious is dominant. 

Middle age: A period of transition when the focus of the personality shifts from external to internal in an attempt to balance the unconscious with the conscious.


INDIVIDUATION: A condition of psychological health resulting from the integration of all conscious and unconscious facets of the personality.

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