A brief introduction to the psyche
Jung (as cited in Geçtan, 2012) explained the structure that we call the mind today with the concept of psyche, which constitutes the whole of personality. psyche; Consciousness consists of personal unconscious and social unconscious systems. Although these systems are different from each other, they interact with each other (Geçtan, 2012). While the parts that the person is directly aware of and recognize are included in the consciousness, all experiences that have never reached the consciousness or that have been suppressed are included in the personal unconscious (Boeree, 2006).
Collective unconscious – psychic inheritance – genetic memory
If we come to the concept of the social (collective) unconscious, Jung (cited in Geçtan, 2012) thought that there might be a phenomenon that affects the mind other than childhood experiences and environmental effects, and he revealed the concept of the social unconscious. Just as heredity and evolution affect the body, they also affect the soul, and thus the mind can be said to have been shaped by evolution. The evolution of the brain, which is the organ of mental functions, is directly related to the formation of the collective unconscious (Geçtan, 2012). The collective unconscious can be called psychic inheritance because it is where all the experiences of the human species are stored, and everyone is born with this information, but is not aware that they have this information (Boeree, 2006). From this, we can understand that man is connected with his past, that the lives and behaviors of his ancestors are ingrained in his mind. As for the issue of the universality of the collective unconscious, the mentioned issue is valid for all humanity as it includes human history and evolution. The most common example of this, the fear of snakes being ingrained in the brain is the result of the transmission of the lives of our ancestors through generations. Since the collective unconscious is the product of a shared and secret memory from the past, which has not been experienced at the conscious level before, people know that snakes are dangerous even if they have never met a snake before. Considering another example of this, one may involuntarily feel the need to pick up a stick while walking in a forest or a secluded place, although no danger is encountered. This situation can be explained by the effect of genetic memory that people have. Since our ancestors’ fighting with dangerous animals with sticks exists in our collective unconscious, our brain enables us to show self-defense behavior.
Sometimes people say and do things without knowing how they know. In fact, not knowing how you know means that the thought has not been experienced in consciousness before, but exists in the collective unconscious. An example of this would be the fact that the scattering of rice all over the head when entering the new bride’s house for the first time was done to bring blessings to almost all of us. When you ask this to the people around you, you get the answer of abundance, but when you ask how they know it, they say they don’t know, but they think it is. In this way, we see the existence of the collective unconscious.
Are archetypes collective?
Archetypes reflect the content of the collective unconscious and are as much as the number of real life events and objects (Geçtan, 2012). Archetypes are tendencies that are not taught to the person, but are known to the person from birth, and enable one to realize an experience by following a certain path (Boeree, 2006). When archetypes are found in real life, ambiguous images turn into animate or inanimate beings, an example of this is the mother archetype. Jung (as cited in Geçtan, 2012) stated that archetypes are universal. There are four basic archetypes that are of great importance in the development of personality and they are listed as persona, anima/animus, shadow and self.
The identity and masks that people acquire in order to adapt to society define the persona archetype (Geçtan, 2012). Persona reflects what one thinks they are, not what they really are (Jung, 2012). Although the existence of these masks is known by everyone, Jung (cited in Geçtan, 2012) reveals that they are a reflection of innate archetypes. In other words, the effort of a person to adapt to society pushes him to behave in different ways and even to appear as someone he is not. Adapting to society means behaving according to certain norms, laws and traditions, so we can say that the persona archetype is a collective archetype that is valid for all humanity and facilitates social life.
Anima and Animus
Throughout history, men and women who have lived together have had the characteristics of each other, and this has affected them to get to know each other better. The anima and animus represent the feminine and masculine aspects of the collective unconscious of man and woman (Boeree, 2006). The woman in the man’s psyche is called the anima, and the man in the woman’s psyche is called the animus. The anima and animus archetypes, which describe the introverted face of human beings, are innate in every man and woman and enable the formation of certain norms in the unconscious mind (Geçtan, 2012). Every man carries the image of woman in him, and this unconscious image consists of the traces of femininity and all the experiences of our ancestors (Jung, 2012). It can be explained by a man’s passion or hatred for a woman (Jung, 2012). Mothers and fathers are the first examples embedded in the child’s anima and animus image, and while a man finds women who resemble his mother more attractive, he finds women who do not fit his mother’s image more repulsive, and the same is true for women (Geçtan, 2012). The lack of development or extinction of the human anima and animus can explain many human behaviors. A man who denies the woman in him will only act with his masculine side in consciousness, for example, men who show rude and masculine features.
The shadow archetype is the common spiritual elements that the person cannot cope with in the conscious and does not allow himself to be expressed because it creates contradictions in the unconscious (Jung, 2012). The shadow tells the real and dark side of the person and has to be suppressed unconsciously because it is not welcomed in the society (Jung, 2012). Although the shadow looks like a negative figure, it also has positive aspects and meaningful content. The archetypal element that one must first accept and integrate in the journey of self-knowledge is the shadow (Jung, 2012). The shadow archetype is the archetype that is related to a person’s gender and affects their relationship with their own gender (Geçtan, 2012). Jung (2012) states that the shadow figure that the person sees in his dreams is of the same gender as himself. If a person accepts his shadow, his relations with his own gender will be positive, if the shadow is rejected, it will be negative (Geçtan, 2012). What we do not like in ourselves and therefore reject, is our shadow, and rejection of the shadow means suppressing what one wants to do or not, their desires, thoughts, and animal impulses. The reason for the rejection of the shadow is to adapt to the society, so the persona that will suppress the shadow comes into play (Geçtan, 2012). The shadow archetype is a powerful archetype that has existed since the first humans, as it includes the animal instincts of humans, such that emotions such as wild desires, greed and jealousy existed in the first human and continue to exist today. The rejection of the shadow archetype causes human life to become ordinary and lose its vitality (Geçtan, 2012). Psychopathological consequences can occur if the person lives only by social rules and ignores the dark side of his own self. For example, the person may think that he or she lives meaninglessly in later ages and show depressive symptoms. On the other hand, the creativity of a person who is aware of his shadow can develop. A person who accepts his shadow can use his creativity to find new ways of communication. After all, since the shadow reflects the real feelings of the person, the person uses these communication ways to show this side of him to other people. A person who accepts himself becomes more open to other people. Mental energy is directed towards creativity, not hiding or suppressing something. The person manages to direct his energy to himself, not to his relations with people, and his mental function and creative thinking speed increase. The person who is aware of his shadow is also aware of his wishes, it is necessary to balance the operation of the shadow, because a person who lives completely according to his wild desires and impulses is only governed by his dark side and may not be accepted in society. .
The ego archetype is the element that organizes and regulates the personality and other archetypes (Jung, 2015). What I understand in the definition of the element that organizes the personality is that both the conscious and the unconscious are considered as a whole. In other words, the ego archetype enables archetypes, which are the reflection of the social unconscious, and their appearance in the consciousness, to form the personality as a whole. If the person feels in harmony, he/she performs the self archetype task successfully (Jung, 2015). In this case, if the person feels that there is no harmony within himself, it can be said that the ego archetype cannot do its job properly because the person’s shadow, persona and anima/animus have not been fully integrated and remain dark.
The place of archetypes in the psychotherapy process
The most important goals of psychotherapy are to gain insight and help the person use and develop their potential. In the subject of Persona archetype, it can help us to understand human behavior for what purpose and how often the person uses his masks, and whether there are areas where they can reflect their inner world and get rid of their masks. If there are places where people get rid of their masks and feel comfortable, these areas are safe areas for them and it is important for the person to feel safe and be like himself in order to protect his mental health. If people get too caught up in their roles, they move away from their inner world, become alienated from their surroundings and become lonely (Geçtan, 2012). In the psychotherapy process, the positive and negative aspects of the persona archetype are discussed, and the client can realize how far he has moved away from his inner world when he sees the negative aspects. This awareness can help the client develop insight. As the client gains insight, the influence of the persona may begin to wane, so that in therapy, cooperation is made to reveal the client’s underdeveloped aspects, namely potential. The persona of the client is actually the mask he uses to hide the aspects that he knows will not be accepted by the society. Thus, it is necessary to try to understand the unacceptable aspects of the client, namely his shadow, during therapy.
When people get to know and develop their anima and animus, men and women can get closer to each other in many ways. When men show their compassionate side when they don’t hide their feelings, and women show their courage and ready-to-fight side, they will get closer to each other. In fact, they will understand each other better when they see that both sexes have similar feelings. The anima of men who are described as vulgar and masculine, remained completely unconscious and could not develop, and it may be necessary to reveal the feelings and weaknesses of these men in order to ensure the development of the anima during the therapy process. Even if the emergence of their feelings and weaknesses is disturbing, insight will increase for these people during the therapy process, and steps will be taken to get to know themselves and therefore understand the opposite sex, and thus, healthier relationships will be established. Since the emergence of feminine features in men is not generally welcomed by society, the persona comes into play and the anima cannot develop. Therefore, a balance should be established between the persona and the anima/animus in the therapy process.
One of the greatest contributions of the psychotherapy process to the person is the awareness of the shadow. The shadow archetype is a concept that has shaped the work of the therapist and the client to make the client’s life more lively and creative in collaboration. From the perspective of productivity and encouragement of the dark side of the person, steps will be taken to accept the client’s disliked side. In addition, during the therapy process, the client can realize what they want to do in life, so that when there is harmony between the ego and the shadow, they can realize their potential and develop it. In the therapy process, the client recognizes and accepts himself/herself and learns to enjoy life. By raising the awareness of the unconscious, that is, the acceptance of the shadow, the dark side of the person is enlightened, so an important step is taken to resolve the relations with the opposite sex, that is, to meet the anima/animus (Jung, 2012).
The ego archetype emerges through self-knowledge, and this process of self-knowledge can be accompanied by psychotherapy. Having seen three main archetypes in the therapy process, the client accepted himself and increased his awareness, so it was the turn of the ego archetype. A person with increased insight does not consist only of his persona, nor does he reject his shadow or anima/animus. He lives them all together and has been able to define everything about himself and his internal conflicts have decreased. A person who can raise his unconscious consciousness has succeeded in reconciling with himself and thus becomes a more tolerant person, while a person who cannot achieve this continues to reflect his unconscious side to other people and does not realize that this disliked side is in himself (Geçtan, 2012). The emergence of the ego archetype requires a strenuous process, so it usually occurs in middle age (Geçtan, 2012). According to Jung (as cited in Geçtan, 2012), the I archetype is to be individuated and the purpose of life.