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.

Image source: psychology.about.com

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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Paul Gabrinetti, Ph.D., is a core faculty professor in Clinical Psychology at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. With four decades of professional experience, he has been on various teaching or consultancy roles from a number of prestigious institutions, including the University of Southern California, Antioch University, Pepperdine University, Woodland Hills Psychiatric Medical Group, Wesval Counseling Center, and The Institute for Human Studies.

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