Podcast Review: John Betts on Jung – Episode 2

The featured podcast is the 2nd in John Betts series on Jungian Psychology. Betts narrates clearly and through his explanations, the concepts are easy to understand. Betts tells that we need to learn 100 new words in order to be able to talk comfortably about Jungian Psychology. The topographical model of the psyche is then discussed in which the consciousness, personal unconsciousness and collective unconsciousness occupy progressively lower levels on a triangle which in turn is encompassed by the body. I do have some reservations about the term ‘body’ although it is used very briefly here. Bodily feelings are also referred to as interoceptive and discussed by Craig in his excellent article on interoception reviewed earlier. Their representation in the brain particularly in areas which have close interconnections with those subserving the suggested functions of the ego mean that the term ‘body’ is in need of a tighter definition.

Betts then discusses the ego, the psychological structure which imposes order on our conscious experiences. The ego is described by Betts as having five functions in Jungian psychology

1. Stability of Personality

2. Stability of Identity

3. Cognition

4. Executive functioning

5. Reality testing

Interestingly it could be argued that these are functions of the frontal cortex although it would be necessary to see how these functions have been arrived at – in other words were these Jung’s original intentions or were they subsequent developments influenced by cognitive neuroscience. Regardless of how it is arrived at, Betts offers us some interesting insights using this conceptualisation. For instance, personality disorders are considered and discussed in terms of an instability and it is this instability that causes other people to have difficulty in relating to that person. Betts then discussed structures at the unconscious level – complexes which are  associations of theme-based feelings which can occasionally enter consciousness resulting in a ‘complexing out’. Betts then considers structures at the level of the collective unconscious with archetypes, looking particularly at their manifestation through symbols. This episode offers some valuable structure around which to build other elements of the theory and it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into making this accessible.


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


  1. As far as podcasts go in the world of Psychology and Psychiatry, John Betts’s product doesn’t stand alone and I would recommend you to look at: My Three Shrinks, Shrink Rap Radio and Wise Counsel – to name but a few.
    All of these have also been reviewed at my Podcast Review blog, Anne is a Man – podcast reviews, under the labels psychology and/or psychiatry.
    for example: http://anneisaman.blogspot.com/search/label/psychology

    Thought you might like to know…


  2. Dear Anne,

    Many thanks for your tips – I’ll be sure to check Wise Counsel and have already been impressed by the other two podcasts. I’ve also had a quick look at your blog which also looks like an excellent resource




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