Carl G Jung Jungs Contribution to Personality Theory

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Although Jung is among the seminal thinkers in personality, his contributions have rarely been applied in the personality disorders. Once Freud's primary disciple, Jung broke from Freud, insisting that there is more to mental life than sex. Most students are acquainted with his distinction between extroversion and introversion. Extroverts explain events from the viewpoint of the environment. They see the focus of life as being driven by events outside themselves and fix their attention firmly on the external world. In contrast, introverts are essentially subjective, drawing from the environment that which satisfies their own inner dispositions. Because, for most of us, the external world is primarily social, extroversion is also associated with sociability, whereas introversion is associated with turning inward, away from the interpersonal world. Among the contemporary personality disorders, the histrionic is notoriously gregarious, an important facet of the larger extroversion construct. In contrast, the schizoid personality is almost completely asocial. The avoidant personality, who desires social relationships yet recoils from engaging others for fear of humiliation, can be seen as conflicted on these dimensions.

Interacting with his famous extroversion-introversion polarity, Jung proposed that thinking-feeling and sensing-intuiting form four additional psychological modes of adaptation or functioning (Jung, 1921). Thinking refers to logical and directed thought, a tendency to approach situations in a cool, detached, and rational fashion; feeling refers to a tendency to value your own subjective, emotional appraisals over any rational process. Because feelings very often have multiple contradictory aspects that are deeply felt and have to be figured out, this mode need not refer to impulsive emotionality. Sensation refers to stimuli experienced immediately by the senses. As an orientation, it refers to a tendency to be oriented to the events of the present moment, without reinterpretation or inference. Intuition is the analogue of sensation in the internal world. Like sensation, its products are given immediately to consciousness, without awareness of any intermediate process. As an orientation, it refers to a tendency to go with your hunches, global appraisals that come from within but whose source or justification is not immediately clear.

Although these additional dimensions do not translate directly into contemporary Axis II constructs, certain personality disorders nevertheless seem stuck in one of Jung's four modes. Compulsive personalities, for example, are famous for a "paralysis of analysis," a heroic effort to get all of life into a rational mode, though mainly because they fear making a mistake and being condemned for it. Histrionic and antisocial personalities are famously sensation seeking, so much so that they fail to anticipate the consequences of their actions in favor of momentary pleasures. Because Jung is now mainly a historical figure, the study of the thinking-feeling and sensing-intuiting polarities in connection with pathological personality has not yet come to fruition.

radically different ways. Some seem simple. Denial, for example, is a straightforward effort to ignore unpleasant realities. Repression is similar but is intended to keep unpleasant thoughts from ever reaching conscious awareness. If repression is successful, there is nothing to deny. Histrionics, for example, use repression to keep their world sweet and simple; they simply cannot be bothered with the deep existential riddles of human existence, nor do they wish to confront their own hypersexual manipulation of others.

In contrast to denial and repression, other defense mechanisms seem more complex or convoluted. Rationalization, for example, is often used to justify a particular action after the fact. In effect, ego looks at both its own behavior and the situation as it might be perceived by others and asks, "How can what I've done be made to seem reasonable?" This defense is a favorite of narcissists, whose self-centeredness often leads them to act without thinking through in advance the consequences for others or how their own actions might be viewed. Other defense mechanisms seem convoluted. In projection, for example, unacceptable motives are transferred from the self and attributed to others. Paranoids use projection to rid themselves of guilt about their own aggressive impulses; by attributing such threats to others, it is the paranoid who becomes the persecuted, endangered, sympathetic victim. A list of defense mechanisms is given in Table 1.3.

Although many psychodynamic ideas have withered over time—penis envy, for example—the defense mechanisms constitute an enduring heritage that continues to inform contemporary theories of the personality disorders. Early analysts were interested in what psychodynamic jargon calls the vicissitudes of instincts, that is, their transformation by the ego and eventual expression in behavior, often as symptoms. Gradually, however, thinkers became interested more in the various ways the ego defends itself from anxiety, as well as its own inherent capacities. Whereas Freud held that the ego developed from out of the id and, therefore, was dependent on its supply of libidinal energy, these ego psychologists asserted that the study of the id was only a first phase in the study of the total personality. They believed the ego possessed its own autonomous capacities, completely independent of the id. Naturally, the ego's method of defending itself against other agencies within the personality was a central focus of the thought.

Today, the defense mechanisms are viewed as so important that they constitute an Axis proposed for further study, to be considered for inclusion in DSM-V, still some years in the future. Although every individual uses a variety of defenses, each personality disorder seems to prefer a particular subset of defenses over the others (Millon, 1990). These can be used to construct a defensive profile that illustrates how that personality disorder protects itself from internal and external sources of anxiety, stress, and challenge. The compulsive personality, for example, must cope with intense aggressive urges created by parents who were excessively controlling and demanding of perfection. Using reaction formation, the compulsive transforms these urges into their opposite. By overconforming to internalized superego strictures, compulsives seem highly controlled and self-contained, though they are often boiling with rebellion underneath. Their need to stifle upwelling aggressive forces is so profound that they often make excessive use of another mechanism: isolation of affect. By stripping the emotions from ideas, the compulsive creates a mental working environment sterilized against the disorganizing influence of uncomfortable affects, while an awareness of the intellectual aspects of the ideas remains. Then the compulsive can get down to business.

Early Perspectives on the Personality Disorders TABLE 1.3 Common Defense Mechanisms




Acting Out



Displacement Dissociation



Isolation of Affect

Omnipotence Projection

Projective Identification


Reaction Formation





Conflicts are translated into action, with little or no intervening reflection.

Refusal to acknowledge some painful external or subjective reality obvious to others. Attributing unrealistic negative qualities to self or others, as a means of punishing the self or reducing the impact of the devalued item. Conflicts are displaced from a threatening object onto a less threatening one.

Conflict is dealt with by disrupting the integration of consciousness, memory, or perception of the internal and external world.

Avoidance of conflict by creating imaginary situations that satisfy drives or desires. Attributing unrealistic positive qualities to self or others.

Conflict is defused by separating ideas from affects, thus retaining an awareness of intellectual or factual aspects but losing touch with threatening emotions.

An image of oneself as incredibly powerful, intelligent, or superior is created to overcome threatening eventualities or feelings. Unacceptable emotions or personal qualities are disowned by attributing them to others.

Unpleasant feelings and reactions are not only projected onto others, but also retained in awareness and viewed as a reaction to the recipient's behavior.

An explanation for behavior is constructed after the fact to justify one's actions in the eyes of self or others.

Unacceptable thoughts or impulses are contained by adopting a position that expresses the direct opposite.

Forbidden thoughts and wishes are withheld from conscious awareness.

Opposite qualities of a single object are held apart, left in deliberately unintegrated opposition, resulting in cycles of idealization and devaluation as either extreme is projected onto self and others.

Unacceptable emotions are defused by being channelled into socially acceptable behavior.

Attempts to rid oneself of guilt through behavior that compensates the injured party actually or symbolically.

A student disrupts class because she is angry over an unfair grade.

A woman refuses to acknowledge a pregnancy, despite positive test results. The formerly admired professor who gives you a D on your term paper is suddenly criticized as a terrible teacher.

A student who hates his history professor sets the textbook on fire.

After breaking up with a lover, a suicidal student is suddenly unable to recall the periods of time during which they were together. A student from a troubled home daydreams about going to college to become a famous psychologist. A student worried about intellectual ability begins to idolize a tutor.

A biology student sacrifices a laboratory animal, without worrying about its right to existence, quality of life, or emotional state.

A student facing a difficult final exam asserts that there is nothing about the material that he doesn't know.

A student attributes his own anger to the professor, and thereby comes to see himself as a persecuted victim.

A student attributes her own anger to the professor, but sees her response as a justifiable reaction to persecution.

A professor who unknowingly creates an impossible exam asserts the necessity of shocking students back to serious study.

A student who hates some group of persons writes an article protesting their unfair treatment by the university.

A student's jealous desire to murder a rival is denied access to conscious awareness. A student vacillates between worship and contempt for a professor, sometimes seeing her as intelligent and powerful and himself as ignorant and weak, and then switching roles, depending on their interactions.

A professor who feels a secret disgust for teaching instead works ever more diligently to earn the teaching award.

A professor who designs a test that is too difficult creates an excess of easy extra-credit assignments.

Psychosexual Stages

As Freud and his associates viewed it, personality develops through a series of five psychosexual stages; four of the five involve erogenous zones that provide sexual gratification. For Freud, the term sexual was not limited to genital stimulation but instead referred to any pleasurable feeling. Over the course of normal maturation, each psycho-sexual stage naturally gives way to the next, presenting the individual with a sequence of maturational challenges. First is the oral stage, which runs from birth to about 2 years. Here, the mouth, lips, and tongue are the primary focus; pleasure is received through oral activity, such as nursing at the mother's breast, thumb sucking, and later, biting and swallowing. Next is the anal stage, which runs from about ages 2 to 3. Pleasurable stimulation occurs through defecation, the voiding of feces. Unlike the oral stage, however, the anal stage moves the child into a confrontation with caretakers, who now demand that anal activities be delayed until they can be performed in the proper place, the bathroom. Third is the phallic stage, at ages 3 to 6, during which the focus of sexual gratification moves to the penis or clitoris. Also at this point, children begin to experience libidinal desires for the opposite-sex parent and compete for attention with the same-sex parent, the famous Oedipal complex. Although Freud's idea of penis envy is now dismissed, it is nevertheless true that a special relationship with the opposite-sex parent seems important in the development of several personality disorders. The narcissistic personality, for example, is often an only or first-born male indulged by the mother for being special or gifted; similarly, the histrionic personality enjoys a special relationship with a doting father who reinforces behaviors that are cute and pretty. During ages 6 to 12, sexuality subsides in the latency stage, only to flair again in the genital stage, which begins at puberty. Whereas before, the goal was to maximize sexual pleasure from one's own body, the goal here is to invest sexual energy in relationships with others, through which mature love becomes possible.

Character Disorders

The term character, derived from the Greek word for "engraving," was used originally to signify distinctive features that served as the "mark" of a person. In contemporary colloquial usage, character refers to our civilized animal nature, as reflected in the adoption of the habit systems, customs, and manners of prevailing society, taught especially during early childhood.

In the psychodynamic perspective, character has a technical meaning, referring to the way in which the ego habitually satisfies the demands of id, superego, and environment (Fenichel, 1945). Because the study of personality begins with the psychodynamic study of character, many of the personality disorders have direct characterological counterparts. The oral character, for example, closely parallels the dependent personality, and the anal character closely parallels the compulsive. A list of personality disorders and their characterological antecedents is presented in Table 1.4. As later analytic writers such as Shapiro (1965) became interested in the relationship among character, defense, interpersonal conduct, and cognitive style, the relationship between character and personality has grown even stronger.

The foundations of analytic characterology were set forth by Karl Abraham (1927a, 1927b, 1927c) in accord with Freud's psychosexual stages of development, detailed previously. Freud believed that either indulgence or deprivation could result in the fixation of libidinal energy during a stage, thus coloring all subsequent development. For

TABLE 1.4 Character Types and Personality Disorder Parallels



Character Disorder

Personality Disorder



-► Dependent


-► Compulsive




-► Narcissistic




-► Antisocial



-► Avoidant



-^ Self-Defeating*




-► Histrionic





-► Paranoid

example, the oral period is differentiated into an oral-sucking phase and an oral-biting phase. An overly indulgent sucking stage yields an oral-dependent type, imperturbably optimistic and naively self-assured, happy-go-lucky, and emotionally immature. Serious matters do not affect this type. In contrast, an ungratified sucking period yields excessive dependency and gullibility, as deprived children learn to "swallow" anything just to ensure that they receive something. Frustrations at the oral-biting stage yield aggressive oral tendencies such as sarcasm and verbal hostility in adulthood. These oral-sadistic characters are inclined to pessimistic distrust, cantankerousness, and petulance.

In the anal stage, children learn autonomy and control. Their increasing cognitive abilities allow them to comprehend parental expectancies, with the option of either pleasing or spoiling parental desires. Anal characters take different attitudes toward authority depending on whether resolution occurs during the anal-expulsive or analretentive period. The anal-expulsive period is associated with tendencies toward suspiciousness, extreme conceit and ambitiousness, self-assertion, disorderliness, and negativism. Difficulties that emerge in the late anal, or anal-retentive, phase are usually associated with frugality, obstinacy, and orderliness; a hair-splitting meticulous-ness; and rigid devotion to societal rules and regulations. Such characteristics are obviously reminiscent of the compulsive personality.

With the writings of Wilhelm Reich in 1933, the concept of character was expanded. Reich held that the neurotic solution of psychosexual conflicts was accomplished through a total restructuring of the defensive style, ultimately crystallizing into a "total formation" called "character armor." The emergence of specific pathological symptoms now assumed secondary importance. Symptoms were thus to be understood in the context of this defensive configuration, similar to the contemporary multiaxial model, which holds that symptoms must be understood in the context of the total personality. Reich also extended Abraham's characterology to the phallic and genital stages of development. In the phallic stage, frustration may lead to a striving for leadership, a need to stand out in a group, and poor reactions to even minor defeats. Such "phallic narcissistic characters" were depicted as vain, brash, arrogant, self-confident, vigorous, cold, reserved, and defensively aggressive.

Object Relations

The development of the psychodynamic perspective can reasonably be divided into three periods. Classical psychoanalysis was almost exclusively an id psychology, emphasizing the role of instincts in creating psychological symptoms, the various psychosexual stages of development, environmental conflicts that could occur during these stages, the fixation of id energy in the concerns of a particular stage, and the id's role in the emergence of character. Freud created and perpetuated his id psychology through several key assumptions. Not only did the ego and superego develop from out of the id, they were forced to rely on basic instinctual drives as their only energy source. The ego and superego were derivative and dependent structures in the study and treatment of psychopath-ology, whereas the id was central. Understanding a particular mental disorder, then, meant understanding how that disorder served the expression of the basic sexual and aggressive drives in the context of the realistic constraints of the ego and the moral and idealized constraints of the superego. In contemporary terms, Freud was focused on Axis I: His interests were with psychological symptoms, their origin, and their development.

Eventually, however, opponents of Freud's "sexual psychology" shifted their interest from the id to the ego. These new thinkers discovered new forces in personality, so that the entire field began to be described as psychodynamic rather than psychoanalytic. Jung, for example, developed numerous, highly original ideas, including the collective unconscious, synchronicity, and the trait dimension of introversion-extroversion. Adler focused on social influences and on compensations against inferiority feelings. Later thinkers went so far as to assert that the ego is fundamentally an adaptational structure and, as such, is necessarily endowed with its own innate potentials prepared over the course of human evolution. Some of these are simple perceptual abilities present at birth; others are adaptive capacities, including reasoning and cognitive abilities (Hartmann, 1958). The ability to break complex tasks into subtasks, for example, may be necessary to satisfy the sexual drive, but it is difficult to understand how this capacity might derive from sexuality itself. Moreover, because the ego is concerned with coordinating psychological needs with the realities of the external world, ego psychologists naturally became more interpersonal. One important theorist was Karen Horney. Many of the constructs derived from her theory bear a surprising resemblance to the contemporary personality disorders.

The final stage in the development of the psychodynamic perspective is called object relations. The name seems cryptic at first, but its origin is easily understood as a throwback to the sexual reductionism of classical analysis. Every instinct has an aim and an object: The aim is always the satisfaction of instinctual desires; the object is something in the outside world through which this aim can be achieved. For Freud, the id instincts formed the basis of human nature. Other aspects of the personality, such as the ego and the superego, and persons in the outside world were valuable, or real, to the id only insofar as they brought with them satisfaction. Accordingly, id psychology cannot be a psychology of human relatedness. Others are just the furniture of mental life, objects whose presence promises instinctual satisfaction, not other beings knowable apart from their capacity for drive reduction.

In contrast, modern object relations theory is simultaneously cognitive and interpersonal, emphasizing first that the outside world is known through mental representations, or internal working models (Bowlby, 1969), and second, that the content of these models is interpersonal, being developed largely during early childhood from experiences with caretakers and significant others, prior even to the development of self-awareness. In effect, object relations are to the individual what paradigms are to scientific theories: For the most part, they exist as unconscious mental structures that organize experience but are only partially accessible to conscious reflection. As the most recent phase in the development of psychodynamic theory, object relations might be called a "superego psychology," because it is explicitly concerned with introjects, aspects, and images of others internalized in the course of development. However, it is more broadly concerned with how the mental representations of self and others influence ongoing behavior in the present, not just with condemnation and the morality principle.

The foremost object relations thinker in the personality disorders is Otto Kernberg (1967, 1984, 1996). Kernberg advocates classifying various personalities, some from the DSM and some from the psychoanalytic tradition, in terms of three levels of structural organization—psychotic, borderline, and neurotic—which represent degrees of organization or cohesiveness in the personality (see Figure 1.6). Normals possess a cohesive, integrated sense of self that psychoanalysts term ego identity. Most of us know who we are, and our sense of self remains constant over time and situation. We know our likes and dislikes, are conscious of certain core values, and know how we are similar to others and yet different from them as well. Individuals with a well-integrated ego identity are said to possess ego strength, the ability to remain integrated in the face of pressure or stress. In addition, normal persons also possess a mature and internalized social or moral value system, the superego, which includes features such as personal responsibility and appropriate self-criticism.

In contrast, the neurotic level is characterized by a well-developed ego identity, complicated by "unconscious guilt feelings reflected in specific pathological patterns of interaction in relation to sexual intimacy" (Kernberg, 1996, p. 121). Neurotic personalities are worried about sexual matters, a concern that leaks into their interpersonal relationships, creating feelings of guilt that affect behavior. The character types described by Kernberg vary somewhat from those of the DSM-IV. The neurotic level includes the depressive-masochistic, obsessive-compulsive, and hysterical personalities. The depressive-masochistic character, for example, derives primarily from reaction formation, that is, the tendency to do the opposite of unconscious wishes. Thus, the tendency is to deprive or sabotage oneself, rather than indulge what would otherwise be pleasurable or satisfying. In contrast, the hysterical personality is more obviously sexual, exhibiting a superficial provocativeness but with underlying sexual inhibition. Both the masochistic-depressive and hysterical reflect more integrated levels of more primitive character structures. The hysterical personality, for example, exists at the neurotic level, but is also related to the so-called infantile personality, which tends to be more demanding, impulsive, and aggressive. The two are said to exist on a spectrum, a term commonly used to express the relationship between higher functioning and lower functioning character types.

Histronie Wut
FIGURE 1.6 Kernberg's Levels of Personality Organization. (Adapted from Kernberg, 1996.)

The borderline level of personality functioning exists between the neuroses and the psychoses. Superficially, personalities at the borderline level are often similar to neurotics but are not as integrated. Like neurotics, they are in contact with reality but nevertheless sometimes dissociate or experience psychotic episodes. Moreover, they tend to rely on primitive defense mechanisms, not those of mature adults. According to Kernberg, all individuals at the borderline level exhibit what is called split object-representation, which accounts for much of their behavior. Normal persons realize that very few people or situations are either all good or all bad; instead, most are somewhere in the middle, with both good and bad aspects. The good and bad can be held in mind simultaneously, creating a picture that is complex but realistic. Personalities at the borderline level, however, see persons and situations as either all good or all bad; people are either angels or devils. Such persons invariably exhibit severe difficulties in their interpersonal relationships, particularly intimate relationships, and exhibit various degrees of sexual pathology. You can imagine what your friends would think of you if you suddenly switched from worshipping them to hating them and back again. All the psychoanalytic character types, according to Kernberg, derive from the basic borderline

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    What are the contribution of Carl Jung to personality development?
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    What are the contributions of Carl Jung in the development of a person personality?
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    What specific aspect of human experience did carl Jung focus on regarding personality theory?
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