Jungian Archetypes: The Shadow, The Anima, The Animus, and The Persona

In his book, “The Structure of the Psyche,” Carl Gustav Jung, a renowned psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, explained that “all the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes.” These archetypes, he said, define the thoughts and actions of a person. They are innate, universal, and hereditary.
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Based on his concept of the unconscious mind (a process in the mind that occurs automatically), archetypes, in Jungian psychology, are derived from highly developed elements of the “collective unconscious,” which is a structure of the unconscious mind shared among beings of the same kind.

There are four major Jungian archetypes:

The shadow. Often appearing in the form of dreams or visions, the shadow comprises of “repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts and shortcomings.”

The anima and the animus. This represents one’s “true self” as opposed to the image people present others in their waking life.

The persona. This refers to the aspect of someone’s character according to how he or she wishes to present himself or herself to the world.

Archetypes, according to Jung, are not static nor are they fixed. Apart from these, other archetypes may be related.

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Paul Gabrinetti is a Jungian analyst who received his certification from the CG Jung Institute in Los Angeles, California. Read more articles on Jungian archetypes here.

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The Breaks Between Freud And Jung

Carl Gustav Jung had a strictly psychoanalytic phase between 1909 and 1913, and during these years, he corresponded with Sigmund Freud with an alacrity that would have assumed the identical nature of their theories. But the theories of these two most renowned psychoanalysts would later diverge, and Jung himself would define the body of his work under the rubric of analytical psychology.

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Image source: http://www.aceshowbiz.com

The so-called “intellectual break” between the two actually succeeded their common interest in the unconscious psyche. At some point in 1910, Jung was even president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, which he had formed with Freud. A bit after, they were disputing theoretical points such as:

  1. Sexuality as a primary motivator of behavior: Freud’s study and interpretation of the unconscious led to a focus on childhood experience, notably the sexual desires repressed during this phase of life. Jung, meanwhile, in a significant break from this line of thinking, stressed the concept of the “collective unconscious,” a sort of personal imprint of humanity’s memories. Thus, behavior for Jung would tend to have a more social motivation.
  2. Religion as either illusion or nature: Given Jung’s collective take on the unconscious, he understood religion as an inherent feature of humanity’s solidarity with each other. For Freud, meanwhile, religion had a personal flavor, and it took the form of illusion, or a repression of instincts or unsanctioned sexual desires. Religion, in the Freudian sense, is a form of hysteria.
  3. What dreams signify: In line with his reductive reasoning, Freud thought that dreams reflected suppressed desires. Jung, meanwhile, was more expansive in his interpretation of dreams, refusing to limit these to a predefined set of symbols and experiences, such as sexuality.

Whatever the scholarly leanings of psychologists, however, these two had

Image source: http://www.carl-g-jung.de
Image source: http://www.carl-g-jung.de

contributed greatly to the development of psychology as it is today.

Paul Gabrinetti, Ph.D is a Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist on the faculty of C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles’ analyst training program. For more articles on Jungian psychology, visit this blog.