Carl Jung's Theories: Personality, Psyche & Dreams

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Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

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Jennifer Levitas

Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Psychology. She's taught multiple college-level psychology courses and been published in several academic journals.

In this lesson, we will be discussing Carl Jung's theories. Specifically, we will look at his theories on personality, dream analysis and the human psyche. At the end, you can test your knowledge with a short quiz. Updated: 12/15/2019

Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist whose research was deep-rooted in psychoanalysis. He was greatly influenced by Sigmund Freud and even conducted research alongside him. Eventually, though, Jung disagreed with many of Freud's theories. Jung is best known for his research in personality, dream analysis and the human psyche.

His theories are so revered that they were made into their own school of psychotherapy: Jungian psychology, which is also called analytical psychology. Let's look deeper into the main theories of Jungian psychology.

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  • 0:05 Carl Jung
  • 0:42 Personality Theory
  • 2:48 Human Psyche
  • 4:33 Dream Analysis
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Personality Theory

In his theory of personality, Carl Jung distinguishes two different attitude types: Introverts, which are those people who receive stimulation from within, and extroverts, which are those who receive their stimulation from the environment.

Introverts are generally more withdrawn, while extroverts are generally more sociable. For example, Donna is an extrovert. She loves to go out on adventures with lots of people and see exciting new things. Her friend David, though, is the opposite. Given the choice, he'd rather read a book on his couch than go skydiving with Donna. David is an introvert.

Jung also separates introverts and extroverts into four subtypes according to the functions that control the way they perceive the world. Both introverts and extroverts can be any of these subtypes, so there are eight possible personality types. These four functions are:

1. Thinking

Applying reasoning to the situations and environments you encounter. For example, David likes to think things through and consider all the pros and cons before he makes a decision about anything.

2. Feeling

Applying subjective, personal assessment to the situations and environments you encounter. Unlike David, Donna relies on her feelings to tell her how to make a decision. If something feels good, she goes for it; if it doesn't, she avoids it.

3. Sensation

Applying aesthetic value to the situations and environments you encounter. For example, when deciding how to arrange his living room, David tries to make things very symmetrical. If there's a chair on one side of the room, he has to put the same chair on the other side of the room to balance it. This symmetry makes the room look nice.

4. Intuition

Using your unconscious or the mystical to understand your experiences. For example, Donna thinks David is arranging his furniture all wrong. She thinks he should use feng shui, an ancient Chinese philosophy, to choose where to put his furniture.

Human Psyche

The human psyche is the whole mind, including the conscious and the unconscious. Jung's theory states that each person's psyche is comprised of three components:

1. Ego

The hub of consciousness that forms all unrepressed perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories. When Donna walks into a room, her ego perceives the color of the walls, the people in the room and what they're doing and the song playing in the background. But, the ego can only hold a select amount of information and the remaining data sinks into the unconscious.

2. Personal unconscious

The experiences and memories unique to the individual that are not currently in, but are readily available to, the conscious mind. For example, maybe Donna feels uncomfortable in the room where she just walked. She doesn't like it, but she's not sure why. It just gives her a bad feeling. Perhaps it's because the walls are the same color as the hospital room where her grandmother died. She doesn't consciously associate the room with her grandmother dying, but she has bad feelings because her personal unconscious is at work.

3. Collective unconscious

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Additional Activities

Carl Jung's Theories

Writing Prompt 1:

Carl Jung believed there to be four functions that control the way people view and act in the world. These functions are thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. Think about your own personality. Where do you think you fall along each of these dimensions? For example, you may feel that you tend to give short shrift to thinking about situations and emphasize how you feel about them. You may emphasize the aesthetics of a situation and examine situational variables, and discount intuition or "gut" feelings as being irrational. In two to three paragraphs, write an essay with your opinion as to where you fall on these dimensions.

Writing Prompt 2:

Jung believed that dreams helped a person "work on" problems in life by bringing suppressed desires into consciousness. Think of a vivid dream you have had recently. Write a reflective journal article on what you think your dream revealed, according to Jungian dream interpretation. For example, a woman may dream about flying and experience a sense of freedom in the ability to fly all by herself, on her own terms and under her own power. Depending on what the woman is experiencing in her life, this may mean that she wants to leave the law firm where she practices and open up her own firm where she would be free to practice as she chooses, or that she is no longer happy in her marriage and desires freedom and independence from her spouse. In two to three paragraphs, interpret a dream you have recently had in a Jungian manner, with a focus on what is going on in your life and bringing unknown desires into consciousness.

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