Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Carl Jung was an influential Swiss Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst who developed personality types and made remarkable contributions to counselling and psychotherapy, philosophy, anthropology, archaeology and literature. Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts, including synchronicity, archetypal phenomena, the collective unconscious, the psychological complex and extraversion and introversion.
Jung also develop a model of human psychological function that was organised into four categories, arranged as pairs of opposites: thinking and feeling; sensing and intuition. Todays blog is exploring these four functions in order to understand the ways we orient reality and experience.
Thinking is an application of the intellect and is our dominant cultural function Thinking seeks to evaluate situations with reason and logic. Thinking looks for facts, concepts and makes judgments and is based on a kind of intellectual sensibility.
Feeling is not about emotions which he describes as 'affect' but rather it's about evaluating the value or importance of a thing and then protecting that value. A lived sense of ethics, beauty or intrinsic worth based on one’s own unique sense of right and wrong; good or bad.
Sensing is about our connection with the physical reality via sensory experience and how we absorb information through our sensory organs rather than the unconscious. Sensation helps us discover that something exists.
Intuition helps us “to look around corners” and discover what an objective situation holds in store. Intuition allows us to know (without knowing how) about where a thing is going, where it came from and what it could be in the future. Intuition is not so concerned with the present but rather a sixth sense of hidden possibility.
Jung said we are all born with a dominant function and we need to make a special effort to develop the opposite inferior function in order to be whole. The remaining two functions assist the dominant function. In counselling after sometime it becomes more obvious the way a client orients their reality. Some clients are really cognitive and in their heads, while others are more intuitive and sensing. Though mindfulness practices we can explore all the functions and have conversations aimed at creating practical strategies to focus on developing weaker functions. The Jungian functions can act as a guide for understanding and exploring your psychological function and how you orient perception as both and individual and a part of the natural wor. Using these four functions as a compass to explore the mysteries of nature and human psyche in the mindfulness counselling and coaching process can help you expand your perception into unknown frontiers.
Here's some helpful questions to contemplate and discuss:
What is my dominant psychological function?
What are some ways you can develop the opposite weaker function?
How will you explore and develop your psychological function? (mindful contemplation, dialogue, behaviour, writing etc.)
If this blog is of interest you may like to join our weekly Mindfulness Group to explore this theme (and others) in contemplation and conversation. Find out more here.