August Author of the Month: John Beebe

John Beebe, author of Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type, is our Routledge Mental Health Author of the Month for August! Read our exclusive interview and learn more about his fantastic new book!

"My goal is to help the reader identify the process involved in using each [type]--what it looks like from the outside, what it intends, and what that type of awareness is aiming at in terms of self-fulfillment."

Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type presents a way of understanding Jung’s theory of psychological types as a key to the self-experience of developing individuals. The entire field of attention, memory, emotion, intention, and projection that occurs in the background of consciousness can be illuminated through the observation of how we deploy the eight types of awareness that Jung identified in his 1921 book, Psychological Types. He named these types of consciousness extraverted thinking, introverted thinking, extraverted feeling, introverted feeling, extraverted sensation, introverted sensation, extraverted intuition, and introverted intuition.

The book starts by unpacking what each type of consciousness means. My goal is to help the reader identify the process involved in using each one--what it looks like from the outside, what it intends, and what that type of awareness is aiming at in terms of self-fulfillment. 

Using personal, historical and clinical examples, as well as examples from classic films, the book proceeds to show how the types operate as a self-organizing complexity that generates consciousness in individuals. Original to my view of type is the degree to which the self-organization of our consciousness is unconsciously driven by the archetypal roles people inhabit in the course of their lives: the heroic role, the parental role, the eternally childlike role, and the tutelary role of a spirit or soul figure, often of the opposite gender, that wells up from within to reorganize consciousness in a less gendered and ego-driven way toward a holistic inclusiveness of all sides of one’s humanity. 

I have also examined the shadow side of that archetypal pattern within complexity that yields a personality that opposes the hero, a personality that limits the fostering of others inherent in parenting, a cunning trickster that shadows the innocence of the eternal child, and a demonic personality that undermines the wholeness the spirit and soul would like to foster. I have also looked at the positive side of each of these shadow roles. What is unique to this analysis of consciousness is the understanding of how archetypal life-roles intersect with individual differences in conscious preference.

I aim to write about complexity in a way that demystifies it without oversimplification, constructing the book as a kind of story, told from many points of view, that demonstrates appreciation for the range and the specificity of the consciousnesses that inform our lives. Readers with some background in Jungian psychology or in using or having taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® will find much here that they cannot find in other sources, but they will also find that they can return to those other sources with a heightened understanding of what the patterns Jung talked about, and Isabel Briggs Myers codified, mean for the individual seeking to engage life with what I called in a previous book Integrity in Depth. This new book shows what that integrity consists of and takes us to the very heart of what it means to be sensitive to the needs of the whole.

This book emerged out of a long process of trying to make sense of Jung’s psychological types as a guide to clinical work. As a practicing analyst, I witness every day how people seek to become more conscious. I wanted to clarify the process they follow, one that simultaneously takes both conscious and unconscious paths. I have learned not only from my patients and from my own experience but also by studying what others have written, analyzing films, and by talking with psychologically minded people in the hundreds of lectures I have given and discussions I have led on this topic around the world over the past thirty years.

I hope readers will seize on the idea that there is an integrative center of all our personalities that is bent on becoming more conscious of what goes on when self relates to other. This center uses some powerful tools to enable us to process self-experience. These tools are the eight function-attitudes of consciousness that Jung called the “psychological types.” The typology that Jung described can orient us to what we need to understand and accept to live consciously with others.

Consciousness is an emergent quality that accompanies self-organization. Jung’s concept of complexes with archetypal cores describes the way our unconscious lives are structured.The types of consciousness emerge out of those complexes. They are colored by the archetypal energies that have driven them into being.

The most common misconception is that Jung’s types are types of ‘ego’ consciousness and therefore can be studied as coping skills learned in the course of ego development. Jung’s typology is not ego-psychology, but self-psychology, in the sense that Heinz Kohut used the term. Our typology provides the alembic that allows us relate our more narrowly willed ego concerns to the mysterious purposes of the transpersonal Self with its archetypal drive to make us whole.

I am exploring how types of consciousness in individuals can combine to become cultural attitudes that shape the way individuals voice and emphasize their own take on the civilization we all share. I want to find out if collective consciousness can individuate in similar ways to the consciousness of individuals.

John Beebe talks to Type Tips about developing functions through dreams:

I am a Jungian analyst and a former president of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. A psychiatrist, I am a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and a recipient of the President’s Award for Exceptional Service from the Association for Psychological Type International. I founded the journal that is now called Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche and was the first American co-editor of The Journal of Analytical Psychology.

Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type

  • Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type

    The reservoir of consciousness, 1st Edition

    By John Beebe

    This book encapsulates John Beebe’s influential work on the analytical psychology of consciousness. Building on C. G. Jung’s theory of psychological types and on subsequent clarifications by Marie-Louise von Franz and Isabel Briggs Myers, Beebe demonstrates the bond between the eight types of…

    Paperback – 2016-06-22
    Routledge