Today is Carl Jung’s birthday, and consequently, also the second “birthday” of my LMSW license (one more year until the big “C!”).
My introduction to Carl Jung was in a personal growth class we had to take in 10th grade, taught by a Marist Brother at the Catholic high school I attended. I remember being so fascinated by the concept of the collective unconscious (i.e., We have an individual unconscious and a one connected to the larger universe) and archetypes that I decided to take an Intro to Psychology elective my senior year of high school taught by another teacher, and a transpersonal psychology class taught by the former brother. In other words, I really preferred to write reflection papers than take AP Calculus courses.
Work with archetypes, especially with the masculine lover/magician/warrior/king ones, would briefly come up once again in my life when I joined a men’s group in college (which I like to think of as a more “consciously-aware fraternity society” which had a huge effect on my life and also being a fan of well-done peer group work).
However, don’t worry, Carl Jung may probably not be on the exam, but he brings an important contribution to the field in that as long as this field is around, it will always be growing, diverting, and adapting newer perspectives from old ones. Jung diverged from Freud in the same way many theorists after him did, but not as a spite to Freud’s “wrongness.”
Instead, much like the blind men and the elephant story we read in our personal growth class, he diverged in a way that shows that none of us may have complete grasp of “the truth,” but still perceive something true. In a similar way, in our work with our clients, the coming together of different perspectives will challenge our objectivisms into subjective curiosity. As practitioners, we will learn one or more modalities in an in-depth way, but may eventually, through experience and “truths” discovered, adapt it to make it our own. Also, the elephant is totally like a tree. Give the man a prize.