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Carl Jung

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Carl Jung
Jung 1910-crop.jpg
Jung in 1910
Born Carl Gustav Jung
(1875-07-26)26 July 1875
Kesswil, Thurgau, Switzerland
Died 6 June 1961(1961-06-06) (aged 85)
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Residence Switzerland
Citizenship Swiss
Fields Psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, analytical psychology
Institutions Burghölzli, Swiss Army (as a commissioned officer in World War I)
Alma mater University of Basel
Doctoral advisor Eugen Bleuler, Sigmund Freud
Known for Analytical psychology
Spouse Emma Jung

Carl Gustav Jung ( / ˈ j ʊ ŋ / YUUNG; German: [ˈkarl ˈɡʊstaf ˈjʊŋ]; 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, literature, and related fields.

The central concept of analytical psychology is individuation – the psychological process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy. Jung considered individuation to be the central process of human development.

Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts, including the archetype, the collective unconscious, the complex, and synchronicity. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular psychometric instrument, has been developed from Jung's theories.

Jung saw the human psyche as "by nature religious", and made this religiousness the focus of his explorations. Jung is one of the best known contemporary contributors to dream analysis and symbolization.

Though he was a practicing clinician and considered himself to be a scientist, much of his life's work was spent exploring tangential areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and sociology, as well as literature and the arts. His interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view him as a mystic.

Early life and career



Carl Jung was born Karl Gustav II Jung in Kesswil, in the Swiss canton of Thurgau, on 26 July 1875, as the fourth but only surviving child of Paul Achilles Jung and Emilie Preiswerk. Emilie Preiswerk was the youngest child of Samuel Preiswerk, Paul Achilles Jung's professor of Hebrew. His father was a poor rural pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church, while his mother came from a wealthy and established Swiss family.

When Jung was six months old his father was appointed to a more prosperous parish in Laufen. Meanwhile, the tension between his parents was growing. An eccentric and depressed woman, Emilie Jung spent much of the time in her own separate bedroom, enthralled by the spirits that she said visited her at night. Jung had a better relationship with his father because he thought him to be predictable and thought his mother to be very problematic. Although during the day he also saw her as predictable, at night he felt some frightening influences from her room. At night his mother became strange and mysterious. Jung claimed that one night he saw a faintly luminous and indefinite figure coming from her room, with a head detached from the neck and floating in the air in front of the body.

His mother left Laufen for several months of hospitalization near Basel for an unknown physical ailment. Young Carl Jung was taken by his father to live with Emilie Jung's unmarried sister in Basel, but was later brought back to the pastor's residence. Emilie's continuing bouts of absence and often depressed mood influenced her son's attitude towards women — one of "innate unreliability," a view that he later called the "handicap I started off with" and that resulted in his sometimes patriarchal views of women. After three years of living in Laufen, Paul Jung requested a transfer and was called to Kleinhüningen in 1879. The relocation brought Emilie Jung in closer contact to her family and lifted her melancholy and despondent mood.

Childhood memories

A solitary and introverted child, Jung was convinced from childhood that, like his mother, he had two personalities — a modern Swiss citizen and a personality more at home in the eighteenth century. "Personality Number 1," as he termed it, was a typical schoolboy living in the era of the time, while "Personality Number 2" was a dignified, authoritative and influential man from the past. Although Jung was close to both parents he was rather disappointed in his father's academic approach to faith.

A number of childhood memories had made a lifelong impression on him. As a boy he carved a tiny mannequin into the end of the wooden ruler from his pencil case and placed it inside the case. He then added a stone which he had painted into upper and lower halves and hid the case in the attic. Periodically he would come back to the mannequin, often bringing tiny sheets of paper with messages inscribed on them in his own secret language. This ceremonial act, he later reflected, brought him a feeling of inner peace and security. In later years he discovered that similarities existed in this memory and the totems of native peoples like the collection of soul-stones near Arlesheim, or the tjurungas of Australia. This, he concluded, was an unconscious ritual that he did not question or understand at the time, but which was practiced in a strikingly similar way in faraway locations that he as a young boy had no way of consciously knowing about. His findings on psychological archetypes and the collective unconscious were inspired in part by these experiences.

Shortly before the end of his first year at the Humanistisches Gymnasium in Basel, at the age of twelve, he was pushed to the ground by another boy so hard that he was for a moment unconscious (Jung later recognized that the incident was his fault, indirectly). A thought then came to him that "now you won't have to go to school any more." From then on, whenever he started off to school or began homework, he fainted. He remained at home for the next six months until he overheard his father speaking worriedly to a visitor of his future ability to support himself, as they suspected he had epilepsy. With little money in the family, this brought the boy to reality and he realized the need for academic excellence. He immediately went into his father's study and began poring over Latin grammar. He fainted three more times, but eventually he overcame the urge and did not faint again. This event, Jung later recalled, "was when I learned what a neurosis is."

Young adulthood

University years

Jung had no plans to study psychiatry, because it was held in contempt in those days, but as he started studying his psychiatric textbook, he became very excited when he read that psychoses are personality diseases. Immediately he understood this was the field that interested him the most. It combined both biological and spiritual facts and this was what he was searching for.

In 1895, Jung studied medicine at the University of Basel. In 1900, he began working in the Burghölzli, a psychiatric hospital in Zurich, with Eugen Bleuler. His dissertation, published in 1903, was titled "On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena." In 1906, he published Studies in Word Association and later sent a copy of this book to Sigmund Freud, after which a close friendship between these two men followed for some six years (see section on Relationship with Freud). In 1912 Jung published Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (known in English as Psychology of the Unconscious) resulting in a theoretical divergence between him and Freud and consequently a break in their friendship, each stating that the other was unable to admit he could possibly be wrong. After this falling-out, Jung went through a pivotal and difficult psychological transformation, which was exacerbated by news of the First World War. Henri Ellenberger called Jung's experience a "creative illness" and compared it to Freud's period of what he called neurasthenia and hysteria.

Army career

During World War I Jung was drafted as an army doctor and soon made commandant of an internment camp for British officers and soldiers. (Swiss neutrality obliged the Swiss to intern personnel from either side of the conflict who crossed their frontier to evade capture.) Jung worked to improve the conditions for these soldiers stranded in neutral territory; he encouraged them to attend university courses.


In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, who came from a wealthy family in Switzerland. They had five children: Agathe, Gret, Franz, Marianne, and Helene. The marriage lasted until Emma's death in 1955, but he had more-or-less open relationships with other women. The most well-known women with whom Jung is believed to have had extramarital relationships were patients and friends Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff.


Meeting Freud

Jung was thirty when he sent his Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in Vienna in 1906. The two men met for the first time the following year, and Jung recalled the discussion between himself and Freud as interminable. They talked, he remembered, for thirteen hours, virtually without stopping'. Six months later, the then 50-year-old Freud sent a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Zurich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted six years and ended in May 1913. At this time Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association, where he had been elected with Freud's support.

Jung and Freud influenced each other during the intellectually formative years of Jung's life. Freud called Jung "his adopted eldest son, his crown prince and successor". As Freud was already fifty years old at their meeting, he was well beyond the formative years. In 1906 psychology as a science was still in its early stages. Jung, who had become interested in psychiatry as a student by reading Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing, professor in Vienna, now worked as a doctor under the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in Burghölzli and became familiar with Freud's idea of the unconscious through Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and was a proponent of the new "psycho-analysis." At the time, Freud needed collaborators and pupils to validate and spread his ideas. Burghölzli was a renowned psychiatric clinic in Zurich at which Jung was a young doctor whose research had already given him international recognition.

Jung de-emphasized the importance of sexual development and focused on the collective unconscious: the part of unconscious that contains memories and ideas inherited from our ancestors. While he did think that libido was an important source for personal growth, he, unlike Freud, believed that libido alone was not responsible for the formation of the core personality.

Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research

In 1908, Jung became an editor of the newly founded Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research. The following year, Jung traveled with Freud and Sándor Ferenczi to the United States to speak about psychoanalysis and, in 1910, Jung became Chairman for Life of the International Psychoanalytical Association. While Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Psychology of the Unconscious), tensions grew between Freud and Jung, mostly due to their disagreements over the nature of libido and religion. In 1912 these tensions came to a peak because Jung felt severely slighted after Freud visited his colleague Ludwig Binswanger in Kreuzlingen without paying him a visit in nearby Zurich, an incident Jung referred to as "the Kreuzlingen gesture". Shortly thereafter, Jung again traveled to the United States and gave the Fordham lectures, which were published as The Theory of Psychoanalysis. While they contain some remarks on Jung's dissenting view on the nature of libido, they represent largely a "psychoanalytical Jung" and not the theory Jung became famous for in the following decades.

Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. Front row: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Jung; back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi

Travels to the USA

In 1909 Jung and Freud traveled to the conference at Clark University. The event was planned by psychologist G. Stanley Hall and included twenty-seven distinguished psychiatrists, neurologists and psychologists. It represented a watershed in the acceptance of psychoanalysis in North America. This forged welcome links between Jung and influential Americans. Jung returned to the United States the next year for a brief visit, and again for a six-week lecture series at Fordham University in 1912.

Last meetings with Freud

In November 1912, Jung and Freud met in Munich for a meeting among prominent colleagues to discuss psychoanalytical journals. At a talk about a new psychoanalytic essay on Amenhotep IV, Jung expressed his views on how it related to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytic movement. While Jung spoke, Freud suddenly fainted and Jung carried him to a couch.

Jung and Freud personally met for the last time in September 1913 for the Fourth International Psychoanalytical Congress in Munich. Jung gave a talk on psychological types, the introverted and the extraverted type in analytical psychology. This constituted the introduction of some of the key concepts which came to distinguish Jung's work from Freud's in the next half century.

Midlife isolation

London 1913-14

Jung spoke at meetings of the Psycho-Medical Society in London in 1913 and 1914. His travels were soon interrupted by the war, but his ideas continued to receive attention in England primarily through the efforts of Constance Long. She translated and published the first English volume of his collected writings.

Red Book

In 1913, at the age of thirty-eight, Jung experienced a horrible "confrontation with the unconscious". He saw visions and heard voices. He worried at times that he was "menaced by a psychosis" or was "doing a schizophrenia". He decided that it was valuable experience and, in private, he induced hallucinations or, in his words, " active imaginations". He recorded everything he felt in small journals. Jung began to transcribe his notes into a large red leather-bound book, on which he worked intermittently for sixteen years.

Jung left no posthumous instructions about the final disposition of what he called the " Red Book". His family eventually moved it into a bank vault in 1984. Sonu Shamdasani, a historian from London, for three years tried to persuade Jung's heirs to have it published, to which they declined every hint of inquiry. As of mid-September 2009, fewer than two dozen people had seen it. Ulrich Hoerni, Jung's grandson who manages the Jung archives, decided to publish it. To raise the additional funds needed the Philemon Foundation was founded.

In 2007, two technicians for DigitalFusion, working with the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, painstakingly scanned one-tenth of a millimeter at a time with a 10,200-pixel scanner. It was published on October 7, 2009, in German with "separate English translation along with Shamdasani's introduction and footnotes" at the back of the book, according to Sara Corbett for The New York Times. She wrote, "The book is bombastic, baroque and like so much else about Carl Jung, a willful oddity, synched with an antediluvian and mystical reality."

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City displayed the original Red Book journal, as well as some of Jung's original small journals, from October 7, 2009, to January 25, 2010. According to them, "During the period in which he worked on this book Jung developed his principal theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and the process of individuation." Two-thirds of the pages bear Jung's illuminations of the text.


In the following years Jung experienced considerable isolation in his professional life, exacerbated through World War I. His Seven Sermons to the Dead (1917), reprinted in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections (see bibliography), can also be read as expression of the psychological conflicts which beset Jung around the age of forty after the break with Freud.

London 1920-23

Constance Long arranged for him to give a seminar in Cornwall in 1920. Another seminar was held in 1923, this one organized by Helton Godwin Baynes (known as Peter), and another in 1925.

USA 1924-25

Jung made a more extensive trip westward in the winter of 1924–5, financed and organized by Fowler McCormick and George Porter. Of particular value to Jung was a visit with Chief Mountain Lake of the Taos Pueblo near Taos, New Mexico.

East Africa

In October 1925, Jung embarked on his most ambitious expedition, the "Bugishu Psychological Expedition" to East Africa. He was accompanied by Peter Baynes and an American associate, George Beckwith. On the voyage to Africa, they became acquainted with an English woman named Ruth Bailey, who joined their safari a few weeks later. The group traveled through Kenya and Uganda to the slopes of Mount Elgon, where Jung hoped to increase his understanding of "primitive psychology" through conversations with the culturally isolated residents of that area. Later he concluded that the major insights he had gleaned had to do with himself and the European psychology in which he had been raised.

USA 1936

Jung made another trip to America in 1936, giving lectures in New York and New England for his growing group of American followers. He returned in 1937 to deliver the Terry Lectures, Psychology and Religion, at Yale University.


In December 1937, Jung left Zurich again for an extensive tour of India with Fowler McCormick. In India, he felt himself "under the direct influence of a foreign culture" for the first time. In Africa, his conversations had been strictly limited by the language barrier, but in India he was able to converse extensively. Hindu philosophy became an important element in his understanding of the role of symbolism and the life of the unconscious, though he avoided a meeting with Ramana Maharshi. Jung became seriously ill on this trip and endured two weeks of delirium in a Calcutta hospital. After 1938, his travels were confined to Europe.

Last publications

Jung continued to publish books until the end of his life, including Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies (1959), which analyzed the archetypal meaning and possible psychological significance of the reported observations of UFOs. He also enjoyed a friendship with an English Roman Catholic priest, Father Victor White, who corresponded with Jung after he had published his controversial Answer to Job.


Jung died on 6 June 1961 at Küsnacht, after a short illness.


Jung founded a new school of psychotherapy, called analytical psychology or Jungian psychology.


His theories include:

  • The concept of introversion and extraversion (although he did not define these terms as they are popularly defined today).
  • The concept of the complex.
  • The concept of collective unconscious, which is shared by all people. It includes the archetypes.
  • Synchronicity as a mode of relationship that is not causal, an idea that has influenced Wolfgang Pauli (with whom he developed the notion of unus mundus in connection with the notion of non-locality) and some other physicists.

Divergence from Freud

Jung's primary disagreement with Freud stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung, Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung agreed with Freud's model of the unconscious, what Jung called the " personal unconscious", but he also proposed the existence of a second, far deeper form of the unconscious underlying the personal one. This was the collective unconscious, where the archetypes themselves resided, represented in mythology by a lake or other body of water, and in some cases a jug or other container. Freud had actually mentioned a collective level of psychic functioning but saw it primarily as an appendix to the rest of the psyche.


Jung considered individuation, a psychological process of integrating the opposites including the conscious with the unconscious while still maintaining their relative autonomy, necessary for a person to become whole.

Individuation is a process of transformation whereby the personal and collective unconscious is brought into consciousness (by means of dreams, active imagination or free association to take some examples) to be assimilated into the whole personality. It is a completely natural process necessary for the integration of the psyche to take place. Individuation has a holistic healing effect on the person, both mentally and physically.

Besides achieving physical and mental health, people who have advanced towards individuation tend to be harmonious, mature and responsible. They embody humane values such as freedom and justice and have a good understanding about the workings of human nature and the universe.


In his psychological theory – which is not necessarily linked to a particular theory of social structure – the persona appears as a consciously created personality or identity fashioned out of part of the collective psyche through socialization, acculturation and experience. Jung applied the classical term persona, explicitly because, originally, it meant the mask which the actor bears, expressing the role he plays (see also persona (psychology)).

The persona, he argues, is a mask for the "collective psyche", a mask that 'pretends' individuality, so that both self and others believe in that identity, even if it is really no more than a well-played role through which the collective psyche is expressed. Jung regarded the "persona-mask" as a complicated system which mediates between individual consciousness and the social community: it is "a compromise between the individual and society as to what a man should appear to be". But he also makes it quite explicit that it is, in substance, a character mask in the classical sense known to theatre, with its double function: both intended to make a certain impression to others, and to hide (part of) the true nature of the individual. The therapist then aims to assist the individuation process through which the client (re-)gains his "own self" – by liberating the self, both from the deceptive cover of the persona, and from the power of unconscious impulses.

Jung's theory has become enormously influential in management theory; not just because managers and executives have to create an appropriate "management persona" (a corporate mask) and a persuasive identity, but also because they have to evaluate what sort of people the workers are, in order to manage them (for example, using personality tests and peer reviews).


Jung's work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep innate potential. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung believed that this journey of transformation, which he called individuation, is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Jung thought spiritual experience was essential to our well-being.


The work and writings of Jung from the 1940s onwards focused on alchemy.

In 1944 Jung published Psychology and Alchemy, where he analyzed the alchemical symbols and showed a direct relationship to the psychoanalytical process. He argued that the alchemical process was the transformation of the impure soul (lead) to perfected soul (gold), and a metaphor for the individuation process.

In 1963 Mysterium Coniunctionis was first published in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Mysterium Coniunctionis was Jung's last book and focused on the "Mysterium Coniunctionis" archetype, known as the sacred marriage between sun and moon. Jung argued that the stages of the alchemists, the blackening, the whitening, the reddening and the yellowing, could be taken as symbolic of individuation — his favourite term for personal growth (75).

Political views

Views on the state

Jung stressed the importance of individual rights in a person's relation to the state and society. He saw that the state was treated as "a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected" but that this personality was "only camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it", and referred to the state as a form of slavery. He also thought that the state "swallowed up [people's] religious forces", and therefore that the state had "taken the place of God"—making it comparable to a religion in which "state slavery is a form of worship". Jung observed that "stage acts of [the] state" are comparable to religious displays: "Brass bands, flags, banners, parades and monster demonstrations are no different in principle from ecclesiastical processions, cannonades and fire to scare off demons". From Jung's perspective, this replacement of God with the state in a mass society led to the dislocation of the religious drive and resulted in the same fanaticism of the church-states of the Dark Ages—wherein the more the state is 'worshipped', the more freedom and morality are suppressed; this ultimately leaves the individual psychically undeveloped with extreme feelings of marginalization.

Leadership in professional organizations in Germany, 1933 to 1939

Jung had many friends and respected colleagues who were Jewish and he maintained relations with them through the 1930s when anti-semitism in Germany and other European nations was on the rise. However, until 1939, he also maintained professional relations with psychotherapists in Germany who had declared their support for the Nazi regime and there were allegations that he himself was a Nazi sympathizer. In his work Civilisation in Transition, Collected Works Volume X, however, Jung wrote of "...the Aryan bird of prey with his insatiable lust to lord it in every land, even those that concern him not at all."

In 1933, after the Nazis gained power in Germany, Jung took part in restructuring of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy (Allgemeine Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Psychotherapie), a German-based professional body with an international membership. The society was reorganized into two distinct bodies:

  1. A strictly German body, the Deutsche Allgemeine Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Psychotherapie, led by Matthias Göring, an Adlerian psychotherapist and a cousin of the prominent Nazi Hermann Göring;
  2. International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, led by Jung. The German body was to be affiliated to the international society, as were new national societies being set up in Switzerland and elsewhere.
C. G. Jung Institute, Küsnacht, Switzerland

The International Society's constitution permitted individual doctors to join it directly, rather than through one of the national affiliated societies, a provision to which Jung drew attention in a circular in 1934. This implied that German Jewish doctors could maintain their professional status as individual members of the international body, even though they were excluded from the German affiliate, as well as from other German medical societies operating under the Nazis.

As leader of the international body, Jung assumed overall responsibility for its publication, the Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie. In 1933, this journal published a statement endorsing Nazi positions and Hitler's book Mein Kampf. In 1934, Jung wrote in a Swiss publication, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, that he experienced "great surprise and disappointment" when the Zentralblatt associated his name with the pro-Nazi statement.

Jung went on to say "the main point is to get a young and insecure science into a place of safety during an earthquake". He did not end his relationship with the Zentralblatt at this time, but he did arrange the appointment of a new managing editor, Carl Alfred Meier of Switzerland. For the next few years, the Zentralblatt under Jung and Meier maintained a position distinct from that of the Nazis, in that it continued to acknowledge contributions of Jewish doctors to psychotherapy.

In the face of energetic German attempts to Nazify the international body, Jung resigned from its presidency in 1939, the year the Second World War started.

Response to Nazism

Jung's interest in European mythology and folk psychology has led to accusations of Nazi sympathies, since they shared the same interest. He became, however, aware of the negative impact of these similarities:

Jung clearly identifies himself with the spirit of German Volkstumsbewegung throughout this period and well into the 1920s and 1930s, until the horrors of Nazism finally compelled him to reframe these neopagan metaphors in a negative light in his 1936 essay on Wotan.

There are writings showing that Jung's sympathies were against, rather than for, Nazism. In his 1936 essay "Wotan", Jung described Germany as "infected" by "one man who is obviously 'possessed'...", and as "rolling towards perdition", and wrote

...what a so-called Führer does with a mass movement can plainly be seen if we turn our eyes to the north or south of our country."

The essay does, however, speak in more positive terms of Jakob Wilhelm Hauer and his German Faith Movement which was loyal to Hitler. In April 1939, Richard Parsons, the Bishop of Southwark, asked Jung if he had any specific views on what was likely to be the next step in religious development. Jung's reply was:

We do not know whether Hitler is going to found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like Mohammed. The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with wild god. That can be the historic future.

Jungian psychologist and author J. Marvin Spiegelman provided the following explanation of the above quote:

Jung had mentioned, in passing, that he felt the spirit of Islam in the military passion of the Nazis, without casting any aspersion on the religion of Islam itself. Rather, he sensed that passion, armed with divine mission, something missing from the West for some time, was a primitive invasion of soulless Europe.

Jung would later say that:

Hitler seemed like the 'double' of a real person, as if Hitler the man might be hiding inside like an appendix, and deliberately so concealed in order not to disturb the mechanism.... You know you could never talk to this man; because there is nobody there.... It is not an individual; it is an entire nation.

In an interview with Carol Baumann in 1948, Jung denied rumors regarding any sympathy for the Nazi movement, saying:

It must be clear to anyone who has read any of my books that I have never been a Nazi sympathizer and I never have been anti-Semitic, and no amount of misquotation, mistranslation, or rearrangement of what I have written can alter the record of my true point of view. Nearly every one of these passages has been tampered with, either by malice or by ignorance. Furthermore, my friendly relations with a large group of Jewish colleagues and patients over a period of many years in itself disproves the charge of anti-Semitism.


Jung has had an enduring influence on psychology as well as wider society.


Psychology of religion

During several decades, Jung's ideas on religion gave a counterbalance to the Freudian scepticism on religion. Jung's idea of religion as a practical road to individuation has been quite popular, and is still treated in modern textbooks on the psychology of religion, though his ideas have also been criticized.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Jung recommended spirituality as a cure for alcoholism and he is considered to have had an indirect role in establishing Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung once treated an American patient ( Rowland Hazard III), suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.

Rowland took Jung's advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a First-Century Christian evangelical movement known as the Oxford Group (later known as Moral Re-Armament). He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience. One of the alcoholics he brought into the Oxford Group was Ebby Thacher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, later co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Thacher told Wilson about the Oxford Group, and through them Wilson became aware of Hazard's experience with Jung. The influence of Jung thus indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original twelve-step program, and from there into the whole twelve-step recovery movement, although AA as a whole is not Jungian and Jung had no role in the formation of that approach or the twelve steps.

The above claims are documented in the letters of Jung and Bill W. (i.e., Bill Wilson), excerpts of which can be found in Pass It On, published by Alcoholics Anonymous. Although the detail of this story is disputed by some historians, Jung himself discussed an Oxford Group member, who may have been the same person, in talks given around 1940. The remarks were distributed privately in transcript form, from shorthand taken by an attender (Jung reportedly approved the transcript), and later recorded in Volume 18 of his Collected Works, The Symbolic Life ("For instance, when a member of the Oxford Group comes to me in order to get treatment, I say, 'You are in the Oxford Group; so long as you are there, you settle your affair with the Oxford Group. I can't do it better than Jesus.'" Jung goes on to state that he has seen similar cures among Roman Catholics).

Art therapy

Jung proposed that art can be used to alleviate or contain feelings of trauma, fear, or anxiety and also to repair, restore and heal. In his work with patients and in his own personal explorations, Jung wrote that art expression and images found in dreams could be helpful in recovering from trauma and emotional distress. He often drew, painted, or made objects and constructions at times of emotional distress, which he recognized as more than recreational.

Cultural influence


  • Laurens van der Post claimed to have had a 16-year-long friendship with Jung, from which a number of books and a film were created about Jung's life. The accuracy of van der Post's claims about the closeness of his relationship to Jung have been questioned.
  • Hermann Hesse, author of works such as Siddhartha and Steppenwolf, was treated by Joseph Lang, a student of Jung. For Hesse this began a long preoccupation with psychoanalysis, through which he came to know Jung personally.


Original statue of Jung in Mathew Street, Liverpool, a half-body on a plinth captioned "Liverpool is the pool of life"
  • The visionary Swiss painter Peter Birkhäuser was treated by a student of Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz, and corresponded with Jung regarding the translation of dream symbolism into works of art.
  • American Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock underwent Jungian psychotherapy in 1939 with Dr Joseph Henderson. His therapist made the decision to engage him through his art, and had Pollock make drawings, which led to the appearance of many Jungian concepts in his paintings.
  • Contrary to some sources, Jung did not visit Liverpool but recorded a dream in which he had, and of which he wrote "Liverpool is the pool of life, it makes to live." As a result a statue of Jung was erected in Mathew Street in 1987 but, being made of plaster, was vandalised and replaced by a more durable version in 1993.

Television and film

  • Federico Fellini brought to the screen an exuberant imagery shaped by his encounter with the ideas of Carl Jung, especially Jungian dream interpretation. Fellini preferred Jung to Freud because Jungian analysis defined the dream not as a symptom of a disease that required a cure but rather as a link to archetypal images shared by all of humanity.
  • BBC interview for Face to Face with John Freeman at Jung's home in Zurich. 1959.
  • A Dangerous Method, a 2011 film directed by David Cronenberg, is a fictional dramatisation of Jung's life as a psychoanalyst between 1904 and 1913. It mainly concerns his relationships with Freud and Sabina Spielrein, a Russian analyst who became his lover, and later his student.


Jung's interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view Jung as a mystic, although Jung's ambition was to be seen as a man of science. His influence on popular psychology, the "psychologization of religion", spirituality and the New Age movement has been immense.


Jung was a prolific writer. His collected works fill 19 volumes. Many of his works were not translated into English until after his death.

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