Who is C.G. Jung?

Carl Gustav Jung

"My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole."

- C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Carl G. Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist who founded the school of depth psychology known as "analytical psychology". Educated in Basel, he spent the rest of his life in Zurich, working as an analyst, educator, and writer. His work is grounded in his classical education, clinical experience, respect for diverse cultures, and lifelong interest in human spiritual development.

As the above quotation implies, Jung explored the unconscious in personal as well as in scholarly and clinical ways. This involved a lonely inward journey during which he discovered important creative and synthesizing forces within the human psyche. He learned that, by honestly facing personal conflicts on the most everyday level, we each confront the deepest spiritual problems of universal human concern.

In addition to working with, and in, the personal unconscious, he discovered and explored the collective unconscious or "objective psyche". In so doing, he studied dreams, mythology, and literature, and uncovered the "archetypal" or universal patterns which form the structure of the psyche. His research into Eastern religions and his study of alchemy led him to connect these ancient traditions with what he called "individuation", the search for value and meaning in human experience.

Although he is often seen as a philosopher and spiritual pioneer, Jung always insisted that he was first and foremost a scientist and a doctor. He stressed the importance of maintaining a balance between conscious and unconscious forces, so that the unconscious informs but does not overwhelm individual consciousness.

Since his death in 1961, Jung's work has become widely known. The first institutes for the training of Jungian analysts were founded in the early 1940's in San Francisco and in Zurich in 1948. There are now training institutes throughout the world.

(Copied and adapted by permission of Webmaster,
Jung Society of Atlanta, Georgia and the
C. G. Jung Society of Seattle, Washington