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Personal Unconscious

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Synonyms

Preconscious; Psyche; Repression

Definition

According to Jung, the topmost layer of the unconscious psyche is what he called the “personal unconscious” because it is filled with content derived from a person’s individual subjective life experience. This aspect of unconsciousness was in contrast to his conception of the collective unconscious which contained the archetypes and was not connected to personal life experience.

Introduction

The personal unconscious is a structure in the upper layer of the unconscious made up of both repressed contents and other material which has been simply laid aside like memories. Since it is the gateway to the deeper collective unconscious, its contents must be accessed for personal growth and development.

The Contents of the Personal Unconscious

While all of a person’s life experience is retained in the psyche, consciousness is only able to attend to a limited amount of content at any one time, so much of it has to be put aside for later...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1409
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References

  • Jung, C. G. (1921/1989). Psychological types. CW 6. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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  • Jung, C. G. (1936/1992). Individual dream symbolism in relation to alchemy. In Psychology and alchemy (pp. 39–223). CW 12. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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  • Jung, C. G. (1966/1990). The structure of the unconscious. In Two essays on analytical psychology (pp. 269–304). CW 7. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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Correspondence to John Merchant .

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Merchant, J. (2020). Personal Unconscious. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1409

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