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. Four Easy Steps To Put A Tourniquet On Your Teen’s Depression

    March 5, 2013

    Depression and sadness

    Image Credit: Mike Bailey-Gates

    by Jennifer Mathis

    Seeing Depression as a Serious Injury

    Without broken bones, a high fever, or profuse bleeding, it can be difficult to determine how severe your teen’s depression really is. Depression stripped of any scientific or medical terminology is, put simply, a severe brain injury.

    It’s not like your teen face planted in a skateboard stunt; it’s not that kind of brain injury. It is usually a slow, relentless assault on your child’s psyche, which drains vital hormones from their brain. It may be their love life’s gone bad, or lack of friends, or being the victim of bullies, or even their reaction to your divorce, or contentions at home that rob their brain of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

    How important are these hormones? Well, imagine trying to drive your brand new car while it is dangerously low on oil, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Everything looks fine. It may even have that new-car smell, but it doesn’t seem to work right. Maybe your car just has a bad attitude.

    Similarly, when your teen is low on serotonin, it is difficult for them to feel happy or good about anything. Low norepinephrine robs your child of motivation to achieve or even get out of bed, and low dopamine can affect your teen’s grasp of reality.

    When your child is in this weakened condition, dealing with ordinary problems and stress can feel overwhelming and further tax their body’s remaining supply of these vital hormones, sending them into a full clinical depression.

    When your teen is grappling with depression they won’t appear to be broken, injured, or in pain. In reality, they are bleeding to death in front of your eyes. Hopefully you will see it in time.

    Does depression sound serious to you yet? If you are convinced, here are the four steps you need to take now for your teen.

    Step 1 – See Your Doctor

    Yes, you will need to see a doctor. Depression is a medical condition. It isn’t a “bad attitude.”

    Under most insurance plans, your teen will need to see your primary care physician first. Be sure you attend this visit. Most primary care physicians know when a condition requires a mental health specialist. He or she will most likely recommend a good child psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on the severity of your teen’s condition.

    Step 2 – See the Psychologist

    Based on your doctor’s recommendation, a health care professional which has the proper training and experience to deal with your child’s condition will be able to help determine the underlying causes and ongoing circumstances that exacerbate your child’s depression.

    He or she will also know the proper treatment such as psychotherapy. Severe depression usually requires both a psychotherapy provided by a licensed child psychologist or psychotherapist as well as medication prescribed by a psychiatrist.

    Step 3 – Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment

    The Internet isn’t a good repository of medical information, mainly because much of it is inflammatory, misguided, or trying to sell something. You will surely find several sites that disagree with your doctor. Paying attention to this misinformation is a bad strategy.

    Those who foster a non-medical approach don’t have a vested interest in your child’s welfare. They are most likely trying to sell you an herbal, vitamin concoction that is the equivalent of a band-aid on a broken leg.

    Depression, like any other serious injury, can’t just be walked off, it needs medical intervention. The psychotherapy and medication your doctor prescribed will help your teen to heal.

    Step 4 – Provide a Healing Environment

    Even though medication for depression exists, it isn’t like aspirin for a headache. It only helps your child to cope enough to follow strategies and regimens that allow for gradual healing.

    Based on this reality, it is impractical to think that your teen could heal in the very environment that helped create the problem in the first place. The competitive, negative, and often toxic atmosphere of school can nullify the effects of their medication and therapy.

    Many parents have found the success they are looking for in boarding schools specifically created as places of healing. Severe depression often requires this type of intensive care for the psyche, allowing your teen to learn to deal with life and achieve academically without the negative stimuli that could reopen wounds and prevent proper healing.

    As in cases of severe bleeding, doctors will eventually remove a tourniquet in order to repair tissue and allow the patient to fully recover. Similarly, drastic measures to save your teen from depression can eventually lead to full integration of your teen back into your life as well as society.

    If you like this article please share and save a life.

    Author’s bio: Jennifer Mathis is a freelance article writer specializing in teen depression. She’s currently writing for a number of therapeutic boarding schools that helps teens deal with depression.