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carl jung and his Theories

As a disciple of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung expanded upon Freud’s initial approach to develop what is now known as analytic psychology, or Jungian psychology. Jung pioneered the development of extraverted and introverted personality types, archetypes, individuation, and the collective conscious.


Although many tenets of Jungian psychology mirror those of Freudian psychology, the two approaches differ when applied to fairy tales.

To learn more about the life of Carl Jung and his contributions to analytic psychology, use the link to the right to access an in-depth biography available through the Encyclopedia Britannica

The Collective Unconscious

Jung introduced the term “collective unconscious” to represent a form of the unconscious that is shared by all and originates in the innate structure of the brain. It is unlike the personal unconscious, which is specific to the individual, or the Freudian unconcious, which is filled with sexual fantasies and repressed desires. The collective unconscious encompasses the soul of humanity. It is universal, impersonal, and identical in all individuals. According to Jung, it contains inherited primordial and pre-existant archetypes of the human psyche.


Archetypes are expressed in dreams, religious beliefs, myths, and fairy tales. Archetypes are present in their most primitive and simple forms within dreams. They increase in complexity within myths and fairy tales due to the operation of conscious elaboration. 


The main archetypes of the collective unconscious are the persona (a person’s social mask), the shadow (a person’s hidden nature), the anima (the feminine aspect of the archetypal male), the animus (the masculine aspect of the archetypal female), and the self (the archetype of wholeness). Although the archetypes are common to all humans, how they interact and express themselves differ in each person. An individual’s unique personality is formed through the integration of these dynamic relationships, a process that Jung termed ‘individuation.’

The Individuation Process

The process of individuation allows for completeness or the wholeness of personality. It allows an individual to become increasingly conscious of the symbolic manifestations of the archetypes.

The Persona

The persona is the social mask one wears to conform to their society. It forms early in life due to our tendency to identify with the elements of our persoanlity that correspond to social norms and to reject the characteristics that clash with them. The persona is a small component of an individual’s personality, and an over-identification with the person can inhibit the process of individuation.

The Anima and Animus

These conta-sexual archetypes are often underdeveloped. Unlike the persona, which is oriented outward, the anima/animus is oriented inward and serve to protect the ego from the darker elements of the unconscious. As the persona functions as a bridge between the ego-conciousness and the external world, the anima/animus functions as a bridge between the ego-consciousness and the collective unconscious. 

Once the anima/animus archetype are integrated into one’s ego, one gains access to the archetype of wholeness, the self. 

The Shadow

​​The Shadow is the collection of repressed aspects of our identity. It is composed of negative traits and the rejected personality traits that clash with the dominant social attitudes. 

The Self

The proper expression of the self is the ultimate goal of individuation, and it occurs when the persona, shadow, anima/animus are integrated with one’s ego-consciousness. 

Marie-Louise von Franz and the Jungian Fairy Tale

Von Franz spearheaded the Jungian interpretation of fairy tales by analyzing the archetypal figures and motifs within Western fairy tales as symbols of the collective unconscious. 

This video presents an analysis of The Frog Prince from an archetypal perspective, one that mirrors how von Franz would interpret the story. 

Further reading
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