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Carl Gustav Jung ( 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, literature, and related fields. The central concept of analytical psychology is individuation – the psychological process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy. Jung considered individuation to be the central process of human development.
Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts including the archetype, the collective unconscious, the complex, and synchronicity. Jung saw the human psyche as “by nature religious” and made this religiousness the focus of his explorations. Jung’s work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep innate potential. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung believed that this journey of transformation, which he called individuation, is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Jung’s pantheism may have led him to believe that spiritual experience was essential to our well-being, as he specifically identifies individual human life with the universe as a whole.
Jung recommended spirituality as a cure for alcoholism and he is considered to have had an indirect role in establishing Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung proposed that art can be used to alleviate or contain feelings of trauma, fear, or anxiety and also to repair, restore and heal. In his work with patients and in his own personal explorations, Jung wrote that art expression and images found in dreams could be helpful in recovering from trauma and emotional distress. He often drew, painted, or made objects and constructions at times of emotional distress, which he recognized as more than recreational.
Jung’s interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view Jung as a mystic, although Jung’s ambition was to be seen as a man of science. His influence on popular psychology, the “psychologization of religion”, spirituality and the New Age movement has been immense.