What Did Carl Jung Say About Depression? (+3 Significant Theories)

In this blog we will discuss Carl Jung depression. 

We will also briefly discuss who Carl Jung was, what his contributions were, and what you can do if you are depressed. 

Carl Jung on depression 

According to Jung,  depression is a lack of psychic energy. He believed that disharmony or disconnect between the conscious and unconscious could lead to psychological problems. 

For Jung, depression is related to libido and is often a result of not being able to meet and satisfy one’s own needs which ultimately leads to a depletion in the person’s ego- his psychic energy. 

Jung believed that the only way to cure depression is that a person must strike a balance in between the individual’s conscious and unconscious mind. 

He also believed that depression occurs when there is a change or when a person is turning to a new life in the face of change.  To Jung, and most theorists, treating depression and other mental illnesses requires acceptance. 

The moment we accept the fact that we are depressed, only then will it be possible for us to change our behavior and overcome depression. It is only through awareness will we be able to take control over our own lives and lead healthier lives. 

Who was Carl Jung?

Carl Gustav Jung was an influential Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist. He is the founder of Analytical Psychology or Jungian Psychology. 

He is known for his interest in the human unconscious and developed a type of psychotherapy known as Analytical Therapy which helped people better understand the unconscious part of their mind. 

His theories focused on archetypes, the collective unconscious and introverted and extraverted personalities. 

What are the contributions of Carl Jung?

Some of Carl Jung’s notable contributions are as follows:

Theory of Libido

Jung moved away from Freud’s sexual understanding of libido and the psyche. According to him it was not just sexual energy, but psychic energy as a whole. 

He considered that libido is more so a desire or impulse which was unchecked like thirst, hunger , sleep or emotional states. 

Personality theory

Jung had classified attitude into introverted and extroverted, and sensation and intuitive.. He believed that every person has one attitude which is dominant and a psychological function which is also dominant.  The combination of the two would then be the personality of the person. 

Based on these combinations, he formated 8 different personality types:

  • Extraverted thinking types
  • Introverted thinking types
  • Extraverted feeling types
  • Introverted feeling types
  • Extraverted sensation types
  • Introverted sensation types
  • Extraverted intuitive type
  • Introverted intuitive type

He used this model to categorize personality types of individuals for the purpose of psychotherapy.

His personality theory now informs Personality tests such as Big Five Personality Test as well as MBTI test (The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers based on his initial work

Theory of the unconscious and Collective Unconscious

According to Jung there are 3 levels of consciousness. The first being the conscious mind or the ego. It consists of the thoughts and feelings that the person is aware of. 

The second is the personal unconscious where the person has experienced certain feelings or events but are not fully conscious of it. 

The third is the collective unconscious. Jung believed that people have characteristics which are already imprinted in them which is a result of evolution, which are basically ancestral memories and experiences. He believes it is common to all human beings. 

Theory of Archetypes

One of the most important contributions of Carl Jung was a concept of archetypes which he believed was passed down to us from our ancestors. 

There are 4 major types of archetypes:

  • The Persona which is the different masks we wear are the different personalities we put up in different social settings in situations. It is how we present ourselves to the world. The mask put on allows us to blend into the social situation. The mask helps to hide things that are socially not acceptable.
  • The Shadow which is the dark side that we choose to repress and this is what he called the shadow. It consists of sex and life instincts. It consists of everything that is unacceptable not only to society but for our own personal growth as well. 
  • The Anima or Animus which  is the femininity that exists in the male psyche and the animus is the masculinity that exists in the female psyche. This refers to our true selves rather than the image of ourselves that we put up for the society around us to see. 
  • The Self which is the unconsciousness and consciousness of the individual. The merging of the ego with the conscious unconscious gives rise to ‘the self’. 

What to do if you have depression?

Seek out medical help

The first thing that you can do if you have depression or feel like your depression is eating your life or hampering your quality of life is to go see your doctor- general physician or a psychiatrist. 

Usually when you meet your doctor, they will do a general assessment and direct you to a psychiatrist or give you the medication you need as well as refer you to a therapist. 

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms as honestly as possible and work with them to come up with a treatment plan with them.

When they prescribe you medication, make an effort to give them feedback as often as possible about the dosage and the side effects as well to ensure effective treatment. 

Seek out  professional help

We also advise you to seek out professional help immediately since depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. 

There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition. 

Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person. 

Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.

Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time. 

Actively seek positive experiences

According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being. For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.

Take active action to seek out these positive experiences in your day to day life. Even if you do not want to, even if your body is refusing to- take that chance for yourself and choose to do something that makes you feel less miserable. 

This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.

Focus on self-care

While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things. 

It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward. 

Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first. 

Once you feel like you are up for it, take time to seek out support from your friends, family, and loved ones. Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. 

Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them. 

Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships. 

You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself. 

Join a support group

Another thing you can do for yourself is to join a support group of people struggling with depression so that you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other. 

It is possible that people with depression can also struggle with a sense of worthlessness, a feeling that you have nothing of value to offer. 

By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey. 


In this blog we have discussed Carl Jung depression. 

We have also briefly discussed who Carl Jung was, what his contributions were, and what you can do if you are depressed. 

FAQ related to Carl Jung depression 

Why is Carl Jung criticized?

The major criticism against junge is that he has been accused of metaphysical essentialism because most of his theories lacked necessary scientific basis, making it mystical rather than on science. 

What was Carl Jung’s main theory?

Two major theories of Carl Jung are that of personality and Collective consciousness. Jung had classified attitude into introverted and extroverted, and sensation and intuitive.. He believed that every person has one attitude which is dominant and a psychological function which is also dominant.

What is the collective consciousness?

Jung believed that people have characteristics which are already imprinted in them which is a result of evolution, which are basically ancestral memories and experiences- this he called collective consciousness. 

Why is Jung not taken seriously?

The major criticism against Jung is that his theories such as that of the collective consciousness and archetypes lacked necessary scientific basis, making it mystical rather than on science. 



Character of his psychotherapy. Britannica. 18th April 2022. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Carl-Jung/Character-of-his-psychotherapy

McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Carl jung. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html

Carl Jung Theory Of Archetypes. Harappa. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://harappa.education/harappa-diaries/carl-jung-theory-of-archetypes/

Cherry.K. The 4 Major Jungian Archetypes. Very Well Mindful. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-jungs-4-major-archetypes-2795439

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