“One does not become enlightened by imagine figures of light, but by making darkness conscious.”
About Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) developed ideas and a method of inquiry called analytical psychology that has had profound impact on diverse fields including psychology, philosophy, anthropology, theology, mythology, and nearly all of the arts. Born on the shore of Lake Constance as the son of a Swiss country parson, Jung initially collaborated with Freud in founding modern psychoanalysis, but after several years Jung developed his own psychiatric methods.
Terms to describe inner experiences and psychological life such as introvert and extravert, complexes, the shadow, psychological types, archetypes, and the collective unconscious were developed or elaborated by Jung. His understanding of mental life is more encompassing than the personal, ego-identified sense of mind, and he utilized the term psyche (or soul) to describe the whole person, not simply a collection of neural processes or observable behaviors. Who we are cannot be understood apart from our shared life in community, but we are more than our roles and the expectations others have for us.
Central to Jung’s insights about human psychology is the observation that most of who we are and how we navigate the world happens below the level of our awareness. Psychologists of his era used the term “unconscious” to refer to this reality, which continues to be affirmed in the most current neuroscientific research. Jung believed that accepting the reality of the unconscious and beginning to perceive its processes is essential for healthy growth and a meaningful life. We can engage the unconscious by paying attention to our dreams and imaginings, the inner meaning of symptoms, as well as patterns of thought and behavior in daily life. More successful relationships, transformational creative experiences, and a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, and wholeness emerge from this encounter.
Jung proposed that our deepest psychological structures are shared by all of humanity, our inheritance of millions of years of human experience that is grounded in our biology in complex ways. We are not born blank slates. Across history and culture, this foundation of human experience appears in recurrent symbols and themes—mother and child, angels and demons, the journey of the hero, the descent to the underworld, and many others. We cannot listen to a concert, or watch politicians debate, or hold a newborn child without our very perceptions being organized by archetypal patterns that order experience and shape our ideas and emotions.
To Jung, a central part of the human journey is spirituality, understood as a felt connection to something greater than ourselves and a sense of humility and awe before the mystery of existence. His psychology, however, is also compatible with a secular perspective and fosters individual growth and responsibility to community.
“If you can’t be there in person, online classes are the next best thing! There’s an opportunity to ask questions, and as always, get the instructor’s wise and insightful answers.”
Jung Center History
The Jung Center of Houston was founded in 1958 by a group of students dedicated to understanding the human psyche through the theory and methods of the psychiatrist Dr. C. G. Jung.
Ruth Thacker Fry began lecturing in Houston on Jung’s depth psychology after completing three years of study at the Jung Institute in Zurich.
After four years of study, a group of Ruth Thacker Fry’s students founded The Jung Center. They asked Dr. C. G. Jung for permission to use his name in the new center’s title, and he readily agreed. Carolyn Grant Fay, Ethel Carradine Kurth, Alma Owen Lloyd, and Ella Rice Winston chartered the C. G. Jung Educational Center of Houston, Texas, Inc. as a nonprofit educational institution. With a rich and diverse program dedicated to self-discovery, community outreach, and spiritual growth, to this day it is the one Jungian organization primarily devoted to serving the general public and remains unique in America.
The Jung Center moved to its current location at 5200 Montrose, in the heart of Houston’s Museum District.
1985 to present
Carolyn Grant Fay generously donated the building to The Center, and Ella Rice Winston gave many of the furnishings. The Alma Owen Lloyd Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Cora Conner Spear Memorial Scholarship Fund provide financial aid to students. The Ethel Carradine Kurth Library and Bookstore contains the largest collection of books on Jungian subjects in the Southwest.
The Jung Center celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and honored Carolyn Grant Fay, who created this center for the continuing education of the human spirit in the middle of her long, productive, and remarkable life.
Today and Beyond
Thanks to regional, national and international collaborations and the extraordinary gifts of technology, The Center’s reach extends far beyond Houston.
As The Jung Center has grown, many highly trained professionals in the disciplines of psychology, religion, education, and the arts have been added to the faculty to conduct classes, lectures, seminars, and workshops—all aimed at the development of the individual in the context of the family, community and culture. More than 100 faculty teach on our behalf every year and include internationally known presenters from the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America.
Each year, The Jung Center is proud to offer:
More than two hundred public classes, programs, and workshops rooted in analytical psychology, the expressive arts, and the humanities to more than three thousand new and returning students. Increasingly these events happen online as well as onsite and throughout the Houston region. Art exhibits viewed by thousands of visitors featuring noted artists in an ideal venue that is an integral part of the vibrant Houston Museum District.
Community service programs developed for under-resourced children and adults, direct human service providers (social workers, healthcare professionals, case managers, clergy, and many others caring for the needs of others), and others, in collaboration with well-respected organizations throughout Houston such as Harris County Public Health, the Network of Behavioral Health Providers, The Nehemiah Center, Houston Coalition Against Hate, the University of St. Thomas, and SHAPE Community Center.