John Beebe’s Special Issue on Typology: 100 years later
In his 1920 foreword in Psychological Types, Jung writes:
This book is the fruit of nearly twenty years’ work in the domain of practical psychology … the psychological views presented in this book are of wide significance and application, and are therefore better treated in a general frame of reference than left in the form of a specialized scientific hypothesis (Jung 1921, p. xi).
Some would say ... (click on picture for full blog)
Some would say Volume 6 of the Collected Works contains his most fundamental material, that lays down his model of the psyche and its compensatory dynamics that transform the personality—indeed, it was the result of his astute impressions, research, and clinical experiences begun in the Burghölzli, finding an understanding about differences between colleagues, and his descent into the content of the Red Book, now understood analytically, with the support of Toni Wolff, who was an influential companion as he was completing his understanding of typology as relevant to both rational and irrational apprehensions of the psyche.
In the November 2021 issue of the Journal of Analytical Psychology, we are very fortunate to have John Beebe as guest editor. John is preeminent in this field; he is without doubt the analyst who has done most to further develop Jung’s work in this area, illustrated by his most recent book, Energies and patterns in psychological type: The reservoir of consciousness (Beebe 2016). For the Journal, he opens his editorial:
The 100th anniversary of the publication of Psychological Types is remembered in this issue as the occasion for analytical psychology that it was – the introduction of a founding document in the understanding of the self-experience we call consciousness. This consciousness, which psychoanalysis had initially imagined that encounters with the unconscious would enlarge, had already been demonstrated by both Freud and Jung to be restricted by the very complexes that emerge when the unconscious is explored. What had not been demonstrated was the way the complexes, when listened to, could also become lenses through which the unconscious could be seen as being ‘onto’ something. Naming the functions and attitudes of such awareness was, for Jung, the way to realize the consciousness that hides in complexes. Unfortunately, his notion of complexes as keys to the psyche’s self-regulation has not been explored as systematically as he had hoped (Beebe, Editorial, 2021).
In this special issue, the authors rectify some of what Beebe believes Jung had hoped for when it comes to complexes, archetypal energy and typology.
Returning to the very first paragraph of Jung’s introduction to the CW6, it is worth noting that he names two psychological types: introvert and extravert. This historic statement was a major contribution to psychology that has had a tremendous impact on the development of consciousness, with his observations and ideas seamlessly incorporated into not just the field of psychology and beyond, but found in the collective contemporary banter, albeit at times misused, misunderstood, and even misspelled (extro- instead of extra-version). Jung’s formulation of typology offered us a sturdy bridge where we might meet each other to better understand our differences, while deepening our own personal understanding of the inherent two-sided nature that organizes our personality. Jung further wrote:
These insights will … help to clarify a dilemma which, not only in analytical psychology but in other branches of science as well, and especially in the personal relations of human beings with one another, has led and still continues to lead to misunderstanding and discord. For they explain how the existence of two distinct types is actually a fact that has long been known (Jung 1921, p. 4).
When speaking of the types, and alluding to the gripping and compelling energy of the complexes, Jung writes: ‘If one of these functions habitually predominates, a corresponding type results’ (Jung 1921, p. 6).
In his editorial for the Journal, John Beebe notes that the selected papers in this centennial issue:
… draw upon Jung’s understanding of the eight function complexes that he identified as the toolkit of consciousness. They are arrived at in each of us by deploying the four functions of consciousness (sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition) in their extraverted and introverted attitudes within the different archetypal roles our lives require us to assume (Beebe 2017). The eight types of consciousness that emerge in those roles are often spoken of today as function-attitudes and given the notation of Se (extraverted sensation), Si (introverted sensation), Te (extraverted thinking), Ti (introverted thinking), Fe (extraverted feeling), Fi (introverted feeling), Ne (extraverted iNtuition), and Ni (introverted iNtuition). But they are not simply different forms of ego consciousness, as most Jungians have assumed.
Beebe goes on to explain that these functions are also complexes with archetypal cores that offer both nourishment and difficult realizations that serve the development of consciousness. Remembering that complexes are defined by Jung as autonomous collections of affect-laden images, Beebe explains that they challenge the ego, presenting opportunities for psychological growth and individuation. The alternative is remaining unconsciously identified and justified by the shadow aspects of our own typology.
In this November 2021 issue, John Beebe has collected an impressive and finely edited series of papers from authors who offer contributions from their own professional experiences and views on typology, continuing to expand and deepen the subject of typology for the contemporary readership of the Journal.
In the first paper, Cai Chenghou provides an exploration of typology in China in his paper ‘The current situation and the cultural background of psychological type theory in China’. Elizabeth Murphy’s paper ‘Type development in childhood and beyond’ considers a developmental model of typology and how it unfolds and extends throughout a lifespan, expressing the dynamic energic force of the psyche. In ‘Experiencing whole type: living into the archetypal Self’, a new model of typology, emphasizing the primacy of the extraverted and introverted attitudes over the functions and how these both undergo enantiodromia in the second half of life, is advanced and developed by Angelo Spoto. Carole Shumate suggests in her paper, ‘The eightfold way of teaching typology’, that teaching typology, even in an academic setting, is most effective when relying on the pattern of individuation. The notion of individuation is further considered in ‘The Transcendent function in Spitteler’s Prometheus and Epimetheus’, where John Beebe and Steve Myers discuss their differing interpretations on typology and the use of Spitteler’s famous poem, which provided a contemporary foundation for Jung’s ideas. This is followed by ‘Typology, the eight-function model, and archetypal complexes’, where Danish Jungian analyst Hanne Urhøj illustrates how the use of typology is clinically beneficial when confronting complexes and archetypal patterns. Finally, expanding on the theme of cultural advancement, Mark Hunziker and Peter T. Dunlap take up the role of typology in politics and the ‘citizen therapist’ model in ‘Embodying the psychological attitude: types of consciousness in the transformation of culture.’
This edition also contains our Film and Culture and Book Review sections which have reviews related to the theme of the Special Edition, and there is an interview of Ladson Hinton by Hessel Willemsen. If ever you wondered about the Journal’s cover image—the serpent—a brief exploration is provided by the guest editor.
As a thoughtfully collected and interrelated selection of papers solely focused on typology, John Beebe offers us a historic gift that celebrates these important roots. His editorship of this special issue reminds us that while we contemplate the present and look towards the future, and the individuation of typology itself, we must not ignore, that 100 years ago, Jung’s pivotal publication was a catalyst that changed the psychological world. His ideas greatly influenced the manner in which we view and engage with the psyche, and how we might actively participate in the development of consciousness on personal and collective levels, both in the consulting room and in our daily lives. With all this in mind, John Beebe’s Special Issue will generously repay investigation, exploration and study.
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