Jungian archetypes are a concept from psychology that refers to a universal, inherited idea, pattern of thought, or image that is present in the collective unconscious of all human beings. The psychic counterpart of instinct, archetypes are thought to be the basis of many of the common themes and symbols that appear in stories, myths, and dreams across different cultures and societies. Some examples of archetypes include such as the mother, the child, the trickster, and the flood, among others. The concept of archetypes and the collective unconscious was first proposed by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.
According to Jung, archetypes are innate patterns of thought and behavior that strive for realization within an individual's environment. This process of actualization influences the degree of individuation, or the development of the individual's unique identity. For instance, the presence of a maternal figure who closely matches the child's idealized concept of a mother can evoke innate expectations and activate the mother archetype in the child's mind. This archetype is incorporated into the child's personal unconscious as a "mother complex," which is a functional unit of the personal unconscious that is analogous to an archetype in the collective unconscious.
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