Four Jung Archetypes


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What are the four archetypes?

Did Carl Jung come up with these categories?

How are they different from the twelve other archetypes outlined by Jung?

Carl Jung discovered and coined the concept of psychological archetypes. Because of his work, many people around the world have benefitted from the understanding of their own personal archetypes.

Individuals fall into one of twelve categories that make up Jung’s 12 Archetypes, but this classification is different from the four archetypes that exist within every person.

In this article, you’ll learn about the four internal archetypes every human being has. You’ll find out which of these four may be strongest in you, and which you might want to explore more deeply, moving forward.

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1. Persona


  • Definition
    • When a person masks their real traits and behaviors in order to fit in, they are creating a Persona. Everyone has a Persona, but some are much stronger than others. Even if you behave differently at work than you do at home, this can be considered a Persona.
  • Positive Traits
    • In many instances, it can be beneficial to fit in and match those around you.
    • Your Persona allows you to communicate with others outside your immediate circle.
    • The Persona allows us all to fit into the right societal roles.
  • Negative Traits
    • Focusing too much on the Persona can lead to a loss of Self.
    • Trying too hard to fit in can be overwhelming and upsetting.
    • It can be difficult to set aside time to be yourself when you focus too much on your Persona.
  • Use in Today’s Society
    • Everyone in society has at least one Persona. They are required for most social interactions. Think of the façade you put on when you go for a job interview—this is a very strong example of a Persona.
  • Symbols that Represent This Type
    • The mask represents the Persona. It may be depicted as both a light and a dark mask, or as traditional theater masks.

2. Shadow


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  • Definition
    • Although the term “Shadow” may sound negative—and some of it definitely is—the Shadow is really about what is unknown in an individual. There are parts of every human being that that person wants to avoid, ignore, or pretend away. However, those parts are generally unavoidable and will eventually come into play within a person’s life. When this happens, the Shadow has become the strongest archetype of the psyche.
  • Positive Traits
    • Recognizing the Shadow and understanding what it represents within yourself can help you identify fears and work through them so as not to suffer from them any longer.
    • Those who have depression or anxiety may be able to deal with their mental health struggles by working with the Shadow.
    • Every so often, a part of the Shadow may become a positive aspect of the Self that helps to identify an individual, with much effort.
  • Negative Traits
    • The Shadow may cause us to become afraid or anxious of situations without a good reason, which can in turn lead to mental health problems down the line.
    • Shadows make us afraid others will notice them, which could lead to societal rejection, familial rejection, or friendships breaking apart.
    • When the Shadow is too strong, it drives decisions and leads to poorly planned choices.
  • Use in Today’s Society
    • The Shadow is unfortunately very strong in many individuals around the world. Those who have too much of their Shadow present in their overarching Self are negative, unhappy, and unable to find meaning in life. However, by working along with the Shadow—as well as with the other parts of the psyche—the same people may be able to emerge victorious on the other side of the battle.
  • Symbols that Represent This Type
    • Darkness is the strongest symbol related to the Shadow. However, it may also be represented by a beast, an abyss, or anything else that fits into the concept of the “unknown.” Sometimes, it’s depicted along with a source of light, so the Shadow can be seen even more strongly.

3. Anima/Animus

  • Definition
    • The Anima or Animus is all about balance. Men have a feminine unconscious element known as the Anima, while women have a masculine unconscious element known as the Animus. Basically, these are personifications of differences hidden within the psyche of an individual.
  • Positive Traits
    • A strong Anima in a man can help him express love, compassion, and caring.
    • A strong Animus in a woman can help her become more assertive and can help with decisions.
    • Both Anima and Animus are the perfect balance for the individual.
  • Negative Traits
    • A weak Anima in a man can cause him to become negative, clingy, and distrusting.
    • A weak Animus in a woman can cause her to become aggressive, angry, and cold.
    • A weakness in either Anima or Animus may prevent the Self from being realized.
  • Use in Today’s Society
    • Today, gender roles are challenged around the world. Some may argue that this is because more and more people are getting in touch with their Anima or Animus and working toward a balance of the Self.
  • Symbols that Represent This Type
    • The Anima is represented by female figures and the Animus is represented by male figures.

4. Self


  • Definition
    • When the unconscious and conscious parts of an individual come together, the Self is born. Becoming self-aware is a key element in discovering the Self and identifying who and what it is. Integration of all four archetypes leads to the Self becoming stronger and more pronounced.
  • Positive Traits
    • The Self is wise and provides guidance and clarity to the rest of the psyche.
    • The Self can assist an individual with healing in a holistic and spiritual sense.
    • The Self is capable of keeping a person balanced and on track in life.
  • Negative Traits
    • A lack of strength in the Self causes one of the other archetypes to take over, which can make a person unbalanced in various ways.
    • The Self can be challenging to discover and speak to.
    • The Self may become so deeply hidden that it takes years to find it.
  • Use in Today’s Society
    • Today, many people strive to “find themselves” and, in this way, to find their own sense of Self. Identifying strongly with defining characteristics and surrounding themselves with people who allow them to behave true to their own nature can assist individuals in sharing the Self.
  • Symbols that Represent This Type
    • The wise man or wise woman represent the Self.


Can one person have more than one of these archetypes? Absolutely! In fact, everyone has all four of these archetypes present within their psyche. However, some feel certain archetypes much more strongly than others, and achieving a good balance between all four can be challenging.

Why is it important to understand these archetypes? How can they help people gain a stronger sense of self? When you better understand which of these archetypes are strong within your psyche and which need some work to improve, you’ll become a more balanced and well-rounded person with a stronger understanding of your Self.

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