Jungs Theory Concerning Personality Types Psychology Essay

Describe and evaluate Jung’s theory concerning personality types and their relationship to different forms of psychological disturbance.

In order to understand Jung’s theory concerning personality types and their relationship to different forms of psychological disturbance it would be important firstly to understand a little about Jung himself, his major influences and his contributions. This provides the context to Jung’s personality (typology) model which we will discuss in more detail shortly.

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Carl Gustav Jung was born in Switzerland on the 26th July 1875. Jung studied medicine from 1894 to 1900 and towards the end of his studies, he specialized in psychiatric medicine. Ultimately, though Jung’s interest in psychology was very much linked to his study of the humanities. Jung emphasized the importance of understanding the worlds of philosophy, anthropology, mythology, astrology, art, religion, and so on.

In his letter to the Psychoanalytic Review Jung (1913) wrote,

“We need not only the work of medical psychologists, but that also of philologists, historians, folklore students, ethnologists, philosophers, theologians, pedagogues and biologists” (p 117 – 118)

Jung was also very knowledgeable about mystical traditions such as Alchemy and the Kabala and the symbolism found in these traditions. He was also interested in Buddhism and Hinduism. In addition Jung’s work on the personality model (or typology model) was very much influenced by the Four Greek Temperaments model and its various interpretations. The Four Temperaments are in fact echoed in Jung’s Four Functions. – Phlegmatic, Choleric, Melancholic and Sanguine.

Although Jung was very much influenced by the humanities it is helpful to note that Jung approached personality types from a perspective of clinical psychoanalysis. Understanding the nature and direction of psychic energy within people would be an important element of psychoanalysis.

Therefore in order to understand Jung’s personality model it is important to realise that it is based on psychic energy and how we have a preference to use the energy in relation to Self and the external world. Jung saw the psyche and personality as a whole. Individuation is a synthesis of all psyche and personality – working towards becoming Self.

It is also important to recognize the many pioneering personality and psychological concepts originally proposed by Jung including The Collective Unconscious, The Archetype, The Complex, Synchronicity as well as Individuation. These were major contributions and all helped Jung shape his thinking about personality types. The Archetypes – Persona, Anima/Animus, the Shadow and the Self – are all aspects of a person’s psyche and personality.

Storr (1973) explains how the Persona for example can influence a person’s outward personality,

“The Persona is the term derived from the Latin for the mask assumed by actors, and is used by Jung to designate the role played by an individual in accordance with the expectations of society as opposed to what the person is in reality. A man may become identified with his role, to the detriment of his personality” (p 21)

Jung describes the process of individuation in relation to the mask in his Collected Works (1966)

“During analysis this mask is stripped off and the individual is seen to be, at bottom, collective” [p 280 – 283]

Another Archetype is the Shadow or the dark side of a person’s personality, which Jung saw as having creative possibilities and not necessarily negative. The most important Archetype – the Self – is the integration of all.

Another important aspect to Jung’s work is the balance between the conscious and the unconscious mind. According to Jung a person uses both his conscious and unconscious mind and this makes up his/her psychological make-up.




Jung asserted that the conscious and unconscious are self balancing. If the conscious side becomes too dominant, then the unconscious side will begin to surface to try and rectify the balance. This can manifest itself externally, for example a physical or visible illness can occur or internally, for example through dreams or internalised images.

To become Self (whole) an integration of the conscious and unconscious needs to take place. If it doesn’t take place this can lead to mental health problems, personality disturbances or unhelpful personality traits. If a person does not proceed towards self-knowledge and individuation, neurotic symptoms may arise. Jung held the view that neurotic conditions were

evidence of failure to integrate and harmonise aspects of the personality, and a loss of life meaning. However, he did not view neurosis as negative, providing the individual responds to the self-regulating message from the psyche.

In order to reach individuation, the individual must be open to aspects of themselves that goes beyond their own ego. The basic assumption is that appropriate and healthy communication between the conscious and unconscious is necessary for wholeness. According to Jung, psychotherapy assists the individual to re-establish a healthy relationship with the unconscious mind and to integrate and harmonise aspects of the personality and work towards integration.

The above is useful to understand as it is integral to Jung’s work. It provides the context to Jung’s personality (typology) model which we will now discuss in more detail.

The personality model developed by Jung can be utilized for those with a mental disorder and also for those who desire to enhance their personal development and well-being. It can not only help with neurosis or psychosis and other mental health disorders but can also help those who display a distorted way of living – for example an anti-social personality or a passive-aggressive.

An interpretive framework allows us to more easily identify personality characteristics and features. By understanding and interpreting what’s happening, then a psychotherapist is more likely to be able to suggest what improvements need to take place. Jung accordingly developed his concept of personality types in order to improve this understanding

Jung asserted that there are two main behaviour types and these both (alongside some others explained later) form the essence of Jung’s personality types model.

These two types are Introverted and Extraverted and are seen as opposites. Jung believed in the integration of opposites (for example, thinking and feeling masculine and feminine) and saw this as vitally important.


In Psychological Types (Jung 1921 p 514 ) Jung describes the introverted and extraverted general types. According to Jung, the attitude of the introvert towards an object is abstracting. The extravert on the other hand, holds a more positive relation to the object.


In an extravert the psychic energy is directed out of the person

Focus is outward and objective

In an introvert the person’s psychic energy is directed internally

Focus is inward and subjective

Extraverts and introverts will see things in very different ways and this can cause confusion and misunderstandings. Two people looking at the same situation will see quite different things.

Jung believed that extroversion and introversion are both present in each person. However, one is conscious and dominant, while the other is unconscious and subordinate. For example, if the ego is predominantly extroverted, the personal unconscious will be introverted.

Jung believed that a subordinate ‘attitude’ compensates for any weakness of the other. For example, the dreams of an introverted person are more likely to be extroverted, whereas those of an extrovert are more likely to have an introverted quality. Jung also believed that a person’s behaviour at a given time wasn’t necessarily an indication of that person’s dominant personality type.

Sharp (1987) points out

“It is important to realize that a person’s activities are not always a reliable indication of the attitude type. The life of the party may indeed be an extravert, but not necessarily. Similarly, long periods of solitude do not automatically mean that one is an introvertaˆ¦aˆ¦aˆ¦ in other words, while a particular activity maybe associated with introversion or extraversion, this does not so easily translate into the type one is” [p 31]

Jung asserted that extraversion and introversion will be self-balancing. A person who is dominantly consciously extraverted for example, will find that their introverted side will be revealed unconsciously.

In his Collected Works, Jung (1966) states,

“aˆ¦aˆ¦.the unconscious has a special significance in this case as a corrective to the one-sidedness of the conscious mind” (Vol 7 , p 256 – 262)

Jung linked this compensatory effect to the repression of a person’s natural tendencies which could result in deep unhappiness or depression or even illness or disease.

Also, in his Collected Works, Jung (1966) observed

“that anyone who desires self realisation must make conscious and assimilate the contents of his personal unconsciousness [ Vol 7 p 269 – 273 ]

There is also some research to suggest that there maybe a correlation between personality types and psychological disorders. For example, introverts maybe more inclined to catatonic type schizophrenia and extroverts towards bipolar disorder.

So we can see that the two attitudes of extraversion and introversion form the foundation to Jung’s personality model. Jung built on the two attitudes of

extraversion and introversion and developed the ‘Four functional types’ framework.

Jung’s Four Functions are:





They are described here:


what something is

Focus on meaning and understanding

Is analytical and objective

They are opposites.

People prefer one or the other.

They are reasoning, rational and judging functions

They are rational as they evaluate, reason and decide.


whether it’s good or not

Focus on value and weight

Is personal and subjective


something exists

Focus on sensual perceptions

Is realistic and practical.

They are opposites

People prefer one or the other

They are perceiving and irrational functions

They are irrational as they do not evaluate, reason or decide.


where it’s from and where it’s going

Explores possibilities and atmosphere

Is imaginative and speculative.

Jung arranged the four functional types as two pairs of opposites. They are quite often shown as four points as above.





Jung believed that each of us has a natural orientation towards one of the functions and that this becomes our dominant type. He used the term ‘most differentiated’ meaning dominant. The dominant type plays the principal role in a person’s make- up.

He believed that the opposite function (or inferior function) would be compensated within the unconscious part of a person’s mind. In the diagram above if thinking is superior than feeling would be repressed. Either one of the other two could be next dominant and would be used as an auxiliary function to support the superior function. The auxiliary functions are not polarised in the same way as the superior and inferior functions are.

On the next pages are some examples:

Thinking is the superior function

< this will be the conscious 'superior' or dominant function


< one of these will be the auxiliary function >

Feeling is the superior function

< this will be the conscious 'superior' or dominant function


< one of these will be the auxiliary function >

Intuition is the superior function

< this will be the conscious 'superior' or dominant function


< one of these will be the auxiliary function >

Sensation is the superior function

< this will be the conscious 'superior' or dominant function


< one of these will be the auxiliary function >


< this will be the unconscious 'inferior' function

Jung added introversion and extraversion to this and brought it altogether as the eight major ‘Psychological Types’ [see table below]

The Eight Psychological Types
Psychological Type
Extraverted Thinking

Organiser, analyses, plans, implements,

Introverted Thinking

Discovering, theoretical, seeks self-knowledge

Extraverted Feeling

seeks personal success, sociable, sentimental,

Introverted Feeling

seeks inner intensity, self-contained inaccessible, enigmatic,

Extraverted Sensation

pleasure-seeking, hard-headed, practical,

Introverted Sensation

Expert, intense, obsessive, detached, distant

Extraverted Intuition

seeks change , adventurous, innovative,

Introverted Intuition

Aloof, visionary, stand offish, idealistic, mystical,

You will notice that the eight psychological types at this stage do not include the ‘auxiliary’ functions.

Haber (1980 p 113 -121) in his study, ‘Different Strokes for Different Folks: Jung’s Typology and Structured Experiences’ examined and compared the evaluations of 175 students differentiated by Carl Jung’s psycho-typology when they were involved in either a session of nonverbal communication experiences or a session of fantasy experiences. The significant findings were as follows: intuitive types preferred the two experiences more than the thinking types; extraverts preferred the two experiences more than the introverts; and the feeling types preferred the nonverbal communication experiences more than the fantasy experiences. Thus, it seems evident that some of the Jungian psychological types prefer different structured experiences.
It needs to be made clear that Jung wasn’t attempting to ‘pigeon-hole’ people into a personality type.

Jung in Chapter 10 of his book Psychological Types (1921) explains:

“…In the foregoing descriptions I have no desire to give my readers the impression that such pure types occur at all frequently in actual practice. They are, as it were, only Galtonesque family-portraits, which sum up in a cumulative image the common and therefore typical characters..” (p 514)

Although Jung’s personality model doesn’t aim to pigeon hole people it can help clients become more aware of their personality and behaviour patterns.

We can see how it can be useful when considering the following case studies:

Paul – Extroverted Intuitive

Paul felt stifled by his present life and wanted to make changes. He was dissatisfied in his work and wanted to move on. He had changed his job 5 times in the last 2 years. Whenever a new work possibility arose he felt

excited and motivated, but as soon as he changed job within a short while this excitement disappeared and he became unmotivated and bored again. He was also experiencing headaches and generally feeling run down and tired.

Paul was an extroverted intuitive type so he was always on the lookout for new opportunities and change. The extraverted intuition type tends to tire of existing situations, quickly becoming bored and cannot stick to something for a reasonable length of time. Because introverted sensation is the inferior function little attention is placed on physical needs, so Paul was neglecting his body and his health. If Paul continued like this over time this could lead to more serious physical illness.

Emma – Extraverted Thinker.

Emma had a busy life. She had previously managed her own business. She instigated the idea behind the business and set it up herself. She was really good at organising and planning, including organising other people. She was very much the extraverted thinker and, if extraverted thinking is the primary function, then introverted feeling will be the inferior function. Unfortunately her business had been struggling and she was forced to sell up. Also, she had broken up with her partner and was living on her own. She didn’t like living on her own and was frightened of the prospect of continuing to do so. She spent most evenings on her own, doing very little except trying to avoid people in her life who appeared to care about her. She took little or no interest in them. She would occasionally listen to their problems but without any feeling and would come across to them as cold, even defensive and aggressive. She was

actually quite interested in the facts of their problems but showed no sign of caring or compassion. Her feeling function had become repressed. She was more interested in the facts than in how she came across to others which made her appear unfriendly. To compensate, the unconscious feelings had become highly oversensitive and she was starting to become aggressive and mistrustful of others. If Emma remained unaware of this, it could have lead to a neglect of both her own feelings and the feelings of others who cared about her.

Jane – Introverted Thinking

Jane was unable to maintain a healthy relationship and couldn’t understand why. She had short term relationships which were based more on her desperate need for company. To satisfy this need she latched on to inappropriate partners who only had short term interests in mind. Jane’s primary function was introverted thinking with extraverted feeling as an inferior function. Because Jane was so bound up with her inner thoughts and feelings she did not recognise the requirements of a relationship and did not know how to express feelings. When feelings did surface she described them as overwhelming. Her poor choice in relationships and her allowing partners to use her for their short term needs, would seem to be as a result of an inferior extraverted feeling. If Jane remained unaware of this she could continue with her a pattern of unhealthy relationships.

Jung’s work influenced psychometrics and personality testing. They for example relate to Myers Briggs’ equivalent of these types. Now auxiliary functions have been added to each of the eight main types to produce sixteen personality types.

These are widely used today.

Extraverted Thinking Intuition

Extraverted Thinking Sensation

Extraverted Feeling Intuition

Extraverted Feeling Sensation

Extraverted Sensation Feeling

Extraverted Sensation Thinking

Extraverted Intuition Feeling

Extraverted Intuition Thinking

Introverted Thinking Sensation

Introverted Thinking Intuition

Introverted Feeling Intuition

Introverted Feeling Sensation

Introverted Sensation Feeling

Introverted Sensation Thinking

Introverted Intuition Feeling

Introverted Intuition Thinking

Other psychometric models have been influenced by Jung’s personality types model.

British psychologist Hans Jurgen Eysenck (1916-97) like Jung was very much influenced by Galen’s Four Temperaments. Eysenck’s concepts explore and analyse personality related to emotional stability. Eysenck’s model was of-course based on Jung’s Psychological Types.

Katherine Benziger’s model is relatively recent. Benziger is unusual because she emphasises ‘wellness’ and aims to help people to avoid denying their true type. Benziger considers the four quadrants of the brain and divides these into – vision and creativity; process and routine; logic and results; intuition and empathy. Benziger drew great inspiration from Carl Jung. She relates the four quadrants to Jung’s Four Functions.

The Myers Briggs and Keirsey models also make use of Jung’s main ‘four functional types’ – Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, Intuition – as reference points.

The fact that Carl Jung’s personality typology model continues to influence many of the leading psychometrics systems in use today including those developed by Myers Briggs, Eysenck and Benziger is testimony to Jung’s work. Jung provided us with the original framework and others have built on this since.

While Jung’s theories have influenced commercially based personality testing we mustn’t forget that Jung’s original purpose was to improve his own understanding of mental illness and ultimately other people’s understanding. Jung accordingly developed his concept of personality types in order to improve this understanding.

Jung’s personality model provided an interpretive framework, to allow us to far more easily identify features and characteristics in a person’s personality. As stated earlier the model developed by Jung can be utilized for those with a mental disorder and also for those who desire to enhance and promote their own development and well-being.

Jung believed people had potential to develop and improve and this was central to his work.

Carl Jung’s key concepts relating to personality has been of benefit to us all.

(Word count : 3266)

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