Types of unconscious according to Carl Jung

The idea that there is something unconscious in our mind which totally influences the way we think, feel and act has won over hundreds of thousands of people since Sigmund Freud published his first books on psychoanalysis. However, since the current of psychology inherited from Freud is strongly based on metaphysics, many hypotheses have been made about the structure of this unconscious structure of the human psyche.

One of the best-known explanations in this regard is that of Carl Jung, one of the first followers of the father of psychoanalysis who, however, ends up radically deviating from the theories of his master. Then we will see what they consisted of the different types of unconscious according to Carl Jung.

    Repressions, pathologies, symbolisms … Psychodynamics

    The current of psychology initiated by Sigmund Freud, based on his beginnings in psychoanalysis, is famous for placing a lot of emphasis on a concept called “unconscious”. This unconscious refers to that aspect of the human mind which he stays out of the spotlight of consciousness and that, therefore, it is difficult for us to take into account or even try to modify or anticipate.

    However, this unconscious mind that Freud’s followers referred to is not just any type of unconscious (for example, it has nothing to do with how current psychology and neuroscience understand non-consciousness. ), but which starts from a very determined way of understanding the psyche, deeply based on metaphysics and symbol analysis in search of a hidden meaning.

    Thus, the descendants of psychoanalysis understand this concept as a set of entities that struggle against the forces of the conscious psyche to manifest and reveal themselves. And symbols and symbolic embodiments of thoughts, sensations and memories play a major role: hence, for example, Freud’s emphasis on dream analysis and the result of free association.

      Beyond an individual phenomenon

      Carl Jung rejected many of Freud’s ideas, but he ultimately used a conception of the mind which in its most basic form resembled that of the creator of psychoanalysis. He also believed in the need to look for symbols and signs of hidden meanings, albeit with a difference; if psychoanalysts understood that the unconscious was fundamentally confined to individuals, Jung proposed the opposite: that the unconscious it is fundamentally a collective phenomenon, like the history of mankind.

      How did you come to this conclusion? Through the study of symbolisms and religions. Learning about the different myths and ways of understanding the world from different cultures on the planet, Jung realized that many of these mythical elements had many characteristics in common: symbols, themes and development structures of mythical stories.

      However, the conclusions he reached did not lie in the mere recognition of very similar aspects in different cultural elements of virtually all societies, regardless of their degree of isolation from others. In addition, Carl Jung defended the idea that these essential elements that are found in all the mythical tales of the world manifests itself in dreams of patients with schizophrenia.

      From there, this Swiss researcher came up with an idea that he said answered the question of how these common symbolic elements can appear in all kinds of people, no matter where they live and whether they have experienced other cultures or not. There were two types of unconscious: an individual and another collective.

      Carl Jung and the types of unconscious he proposed

      The most characteristic idea of ​​the work of Carl Jung in comparison with other referents of the current of psychodynamics is that for him the psyche of a person is not only the product of his individual personal experiences added to his biological propensities. also. it basically works out of things that go beyond the individual.

      This emphasis on the collective does not refer to how others influence the behavior of the person by interacting with him; it goes much further. In fact, this “transpersonal” psychological factor has more to do with human history, that is, what happened before this individual was born. This is a part of the psyche that existed before the individual psyche had the opportunity to begin to exist: that’s why for Jung symbols, myths and religion were so important when it comes to understanding the minds of people: they are the products of the evolution of humanity as a whole.

      Thus, the types of unconscious according to Jung are as follows.

      1. Personal unconscious

      These are all the repressed and hidden aspects that arise from the interaction between the person and his environment (including the people with whom he comes in contact). For example, if someone’s mother punishes him very harshly during his childhood, it leaves a mark on his subconscious.

      2. Collective unconscious

      The collective unconscious is the type of unconscious that Carl Jung places the most emphasis on. It contains historical and collective elements that shape the way human beings think, feel and act. More precisely, it includes hereditary and socially constructed psychological structures, called archetypes.


        All of Carl Jung’s work has been widely criticized both by members of the psychodynamic current and by psychologists and philosophers of science who do not consider themselves to be Freud’s heirs. The latter, in particular, they point out how unreliable it is to trust the “ own interpretation analyze people’s behavior; after all, there is no objectively valid way of interpreting symbols.

        In any case, the types of unconscious proposed by Carl Jung had a great influence on the humanities and were embodied in many forms of art, so it is interesting to know them.

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