Jung’s contribution to Psychodynamic Psychology

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, was a great follower of Sigmund Freud. He read spiritedly the writings of Freud and also wrote himself about many issues relating to the psychodynamics. Though he was a follower of Sigmund Freud and also worked with him on Freud’s theory, but in later years, his writings considerably differed from him.

In the year 1907, Jung wrote a book entitled, Psychology of Dementia Praecox, in which he upheld the Freudian psychodynamic viewpoint, although with some reservation. That year, Freud invited Jung to visit him in Vienna. The two men, it is said, were greatly attracted to each other, and they talked continuously for 13 hours. This led to a professional relationship in which they corresponded on a weekly basis, for a period of 6 years.

The contribution of Carl Jung’s works, experience to psychodynamic psychology can be summed as follows:

  1. There is a need to recognise the multiplicity of the psyche and psychic life.
  2. Images can be used to help the ego move in the direction of psychic wholeness.
  3. These images communicate the dynamic processes taking place in the personal and collective unconscious.
  4. The role of images which spontaneously arise in the human psyche. These are images, which include the interconnection between effect, images and instinct.
  5. There are also several organising principles within the psyche, and that they are at times in conflict.
  6. The psyche tends towards wholeness.
  7. The collective unconscious contains the archetypes, which manifest in ways particular to each individual.
  8. Archetypes are composed of dynamic tensions and arise spontaneously in the individual and collective psyche.
  9. Archetypes are autonomous energies common to the human species.
  10. Archetypes give the psyche its dynamic properties and help to organise it. Their effects can be seen in many forms and across cultures.
  11. The self is composed of the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.

Positive Psychology

The concept of positive psychology put forward by Carl Jung. His positive psychology is the psychodynamic conception of flow of conscious state of mind in harmonious order.

In simple terms, it is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sake of doing it.

In other words, in positive psychology, flow is a state of mental activity or operation in which the person is fully immersed in what she/he is doing. It is characterised by energised focus, full involvement and success in the process of the activity.

The concept of flow about mental contentment was developed by American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who, beginning in the 1970s, interviewed and studied hundreds of successful people, such as musicians, athletes, artists, chess masters and surgeons. He defines flow as ‘the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer shake of doing it.’

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