Archetypes

Jung’s theories were similar, albeit different then Freud’s theories.  For instance, Jung theorized our psyche is a composite of a consciously aware ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious (Friedman & Schustack, 2012, p. 109).  Similar to Freud, the ego represents our conscious sense of self.  Distinctly different from Freud, however, Jung believed our personal unconscious is composed of thoughts, feelings, experiences and memories collected throughout our lives.  Further, our collective unconscious consists of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and memories collected over many lifetimes and passed down to each of us genetically in much the same way as biological instincts are passed down.  Representations of the collective unconscious are expressed via archetypes universal to all persons and cultures, such as the anima and animus, persona and shadow, and hero and demon.  In Jung’s own words, “there is good reason for supposing that the archetypes are the unconscious images of the instincts themselves, in other words, that they are patterns of instinctual behavior” (Jung, 1936, p. 100).  As demonstrated in the preceding examples, archetypes are commonly represented by pairs: good versus evil, hero versus demon, persona versus shadow.  As such, archetypes are tasked with balancing the psyche between opposing forces, motivations, and behaviors.  To function as a balance, archetypes often take various forms: imagery, dreams, and fantasy necessary to travel from unconsciousness to conscious awareness (Adamski, 2011).

Given that archetypes are universally accessible, they provide a useful therapeutic bridge when working with individuals allowing for analysis and discussion (Kozlowski, 2012).  Theoretically, the psyche experiences roadblocks known as complexes that are unable to be surpassed by traditional, conscious exploration; however, the overarching generality and universality of archetypes provides useful building blocks with which to begin conversation toward understanding the root of difficulties and/or complex.  This technique makes sense in that lay persons are cognitively aware of the concept that dreams are not typically representative of literal events, but are, rather, symbolic in nature.  Further, our lives are full of visual imagery and symbols.  Therefore, it is simply a matter of accessing the unconscious thoughts represented by archetypes and using them to find the focal point of difficulty.

Adamski, A. G. (2011). Archetypes and Collective Unconscious Compared to Development Quantum Psychology. NeuroQuantology9(3), 563-571.  Retrieved from http://www.neuroquantology.com/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/413/436

 

Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2012).  Personality: Classic theories and modern research (5th ed.).  Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

 

Jung, C. G. (1936). The concept of the collective unconscious. Collected works,9(1), 99-104.  Retrieved from http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/The-Concept-of-the-Collective-Unconscious.pdf

 

Kozlowski, K.A. (2012).  Healing through mythology.  Journal of Poetry Therapy: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory, Research and Education, 25(3), 125-136.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08893675.2012.709713.

 

 

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