1. Carl Jung’s Contributions to Psychology

    September 3, 2013

    Carl Jung, Psychologist

    by Adrienne Erin

     

    Carl Jung’s contributions to the field of psychology still impact how psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health workers perform their work today. Born on July 26, 1875 in Switzerland, Jung was the only son of a Protestant minister and his wife and, ultimately, the only surviving child out of four children. He described his childhood as lonely and spent most of his time observing people to try to understand their behavior. Though a number of his family were clergymen, Jung decided not to travel that path. Instead, he chased his intellectual pursuits at the University of Basel.

     

    Education

     

    Jung attended the university from 1895 and studied subjects ranging from archaeology, biology, paleontology, zoology and, of course, medicine. He became an assistant physician in 1900 and obtained his MD in 1902 from the University of Zurich. In his dissertation entitled “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomenon”, he first presented his ideas on the wholeness of the psyche. Over his lifetime, he wrote approximately 200 papers and several books. He is considered one of the most prominent thinkers in the field of modern psychology.

     

    Word Association, Freud and Divergent Views

     

    Jung’s first research study was conducted in 1904 on word association. At this time, he coined the term “complex,” which refers to repressed psychic content. The term is still widely used today. As Jung continued his studies and wrote a number of papers, he confirmed many of Freud’s ideas. In 1906 at the age of thirty, Jung sent Freud a copy of his papers on word association, and this sparked a friendship and collaboration between the two.

     

    They met in 1907 and worked together for seven years until the relationship turned sour due to Jung’s divergent ideas on what drives a man to act. Freud felt that men (and women) are driven by sexual impulses while Jung believed libido is not an exclusive diver in formation of human personality, while not denying the role of libido, he felt that there are other factors such as the fear of death and collective unconscious. After Jung published “Psychology and the Unconscious,” which argued against some of Freud’s ideas, the two did not speak again. At this time, Jung lost a number of friends and professional acquaintances. Still, his time with Freud had a major impact on his later theories and fostered his fascination with the unconscious mind. In 1921, he published his book “Psychological Types,” which further distinguished his ideas from those of Freud.

     

    Psyche: The Conscious and Unconscious Mind

     

    One purpose of Jung’s research was to study the analogies between the contents of the conscious in Western man as compared to the cults, myths and rituals of more primitive societies. His theory of symbols was based on his idea that symbols are the key to understanding human nature. He found that humans used similar symbols across cultures and throughout time.

     

    Jung proposed that the psyche exists in three parts: the ego (conscious mind), personal unconscious and collective unconscious. The personal unconscious involves knowledge and concepts that we have acquired during our lifetime but have forgotten or repressed. Collective unconscious refers to the collection of “memories” that are common to all mankind. Jung coined the term individuation process to describe the full integration of the conscious and unconscious mind, which is essential to becoming a whole and fully developed person.

     

    Archetypes

     

    These ideas concerning the psyche further formed his work on archetypes, which are the innate predispositions we have to experience and symbolize certain situations in a distinct way. (For example, finding a mate, having children and confronting death have elicited similar behaviors and symbols across cultures and over time). These archetypes are found in all mythological and religious systems. Jung also introduced an archetype of Self, which he defined as “archetype of archetypes”. In his book “The stages of life” he introduced concept of individuation as the most fundamental concept defining person’s meaning of life – through individuation, which usually takes place in the second half of life, one finds his purpose in life and realizes Self archetype. Jung also introduced core archetypal components affecting development of human personality and social life. These archetypal components are ego, persona, shadow, anima, and animus.

     

    Introversion and Extroversion

     

    The terms introvert and extrovert also made their appearance in our everyday vernacular thanks to Jung. He termed an introvert as one who is withdrawn and more interested in ideas over people. Introverts prefer quiet isolated environment and take pleasure in solitary activities. Extroverts are more socially-oriented people who are stimulated by other people and outside world. While Jung and Jungians popularized terms introvert and extrovert, the concept was originated by French psychologist Alfred Binet, who called “knowledge we have of our inner world, our thoughts, our feelings” an introspection and “orientation of our knowledge toward the exterior world as opposed to knowledge of ourselves” an externospection.

    Jung linked introversion and extraversion with four psychological functions such as thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation to create 8 categories for psychological types. He claimed that every person has one dominant psychological type (e.g. extravert thinking) that manifests in her persona and one secondary type (e.g. introvert feeling) that manifests in her shadow personality.

     

    The Significance of Dreams

     

    Jungian therapy deals with dreams and fantasies. Dreams, Jung believed, compensate for the neglected parts of personality, specifically for secondary personality type associated with shadow and hidden in the unconscious. His autobiography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” offers deeper insight into his own dreams and the importance he feels they play in our personal development. He also believed that we could ultimately understand humanity through our dreams, art, myths and philosophy.

     

    Jung’s contributions can be found in many psychological disciplines today, with his influence far-reaching.

     

    Author Bio: Adrienne Erin is a writer interested in health, wellness, and well-being. She enjoys researching the ways psychological ideas have real implications in therapy and rehab centers. Follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin to see more of her work.


  2. Research Quantifies Benefits of Exercise Against Depression

    June 16, 2013

    exercise against depression

    by Jessica Josh

     

    We all heard that: exercise to avoid or alleviate depression. For years, mental healthcare providers have universally agreed on the merits of exercise as complimentary therapy for depression. But no clinical research has been performed in order to quantify its power over mental illness. Until now.

     

    In the May issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, psychiatrists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas reported unprecedented research findings on benefits of physical activity for treating clinical depression, known in medical parlance as major depressive disorder (MDD).

     

    “Despite the substantial evidence supporting the use of exercise in the treatment of MDD, previous studies have not provided a clear indication of the proper dose of exercise needed to elicit an antidepressant effect,” wrote authors Chad Rethorst, PhD, and Madhukar Trivedi, MD.

     

    According to World Health Organisation, depression afflicts around 350 million people worldwide, with 9 million adults in the US alone suffering from clinical depression.

     

    Specific guidance

     

    Reviewing findings from existing randomised trials, the authors found that exercise is indeed an effective antidepressant, either by itself or in conjunction with drugs and psychotherapy, among other treatments. These trials also suggest that MDD patients respond optimally to aerobic exercise and, to an extent, resistance training.

     

    Based on statistical results of their study, Rethorst and Trivedi recommend depression patients to aim for 50 to 85 percent of their HRmax (maximum heart rate) when performing aerobic activities. They also prescribed weight training at 80 percent of 1-RM (repetition maximum); three sets of eight repetitions involving both lower- and upper-body muscle groups are adequate.

     

    All in all, MDD sufferers should clock in three to five exercise sessions weekly, with each session lasting 45-60 minutes. However, Rethorst and Trivedi warned that measurable health benefits can manifest within four weeks of starting the regimen.

     

    Granted, clinical psychologists argue that exercise of any frequency and intensity is better than doing nothing at all. Even in the study by Trivedi and Rethorst 15 percent of patients did not finish the physical activity regimens required by the trials. So, why does it work? Physical exercise increases the rate at which serotonin (aka “hormone of happiness”) is generated by the brain, thus causing the increase in release and synthesis of serotonin.

     

     

    Stubborn depression

     

    Alas, even the best treatments may prove futile against depression. Sometimes other conditions, can aggravate it. Bipolar disorder, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular ailment, and anemia have all been known to make depression resistant to treatment.

     

    Psychiatrists may prescribe, in addition to antidepressants, medications indicated for other mental illnesses, e.g. mood stabilizers, stimulants, and antipsychotics. They may also request a cytochrome P450 genotyping test, which tells if the patient can efficiently metabolize a drug.

     

    Clinical psychologists are essential participants in the treatment of depression. Psychodynamic treatment, a relatively drastic kind of psychotherapy, helps the sufferer dig up deep-seated beliefs and feelings that contribute to the depression. This method obviously takes time but, unlike medication, it arms the patient with tools to avoid depression in the future.

     

    It is rarely used nowadays, but if worse comes to worst, psychiatrists may proffer options like transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), both of which make use of electric currents.

     

    In the former, a large coil builds magnetic fields that affect the mood-controlling parts of the brain. ECT, on the other hand, offers stopgap relief from severe depression by practically passing electricity through the brain; patients experience a seizure each time.

     

    Author Bio: Jessica Josh is an Australian freelance writer and blogger.  Since 2007 she has been writing about health and nutrition and fitness, and articles for  Northshore Health & Fitness

     Image Credit: Mark Sebastian