Archetypal pedagogy /ˈpɛdəɡɒi/ is a theory of education which was developed by Clifford Mayes. It is in the Jungian tradition and directly related to analytical psychology.


Clifford Mayes, professor in the Brigham Young University McKay School of Education, has developed what he has termed archetypal pedagogy. Mayes' work also aims at promoting what he calls archetypal reflectivity in teachers; this is a means of encouraging teachers to examine and work with psychodynamic issues, images, and assumptions as those factors affect their pedagogical practices. Archetypal reflectivity, which draws not only upon Jungian psychology but transpersonal psychology generally, offers an avenue for teachers to probe the spiritual dimensions of teaching and learning in non-dogmatic terms.

Mayes' two most recent works, Inside Education: Depth Psychology in Teaching and Learning (2007) and The Archetypal Hero's Journey in Teaching and Learning: A Study in Jungian Pedagogy (2008), incorporate the psychoanalytic theories of Heinz Kohut (particularly Kohut's notion of the selfobject) and the object relations theory of Ronald Fairbairn and D.W. Winnicott. Some of Mayes' work in curriculum theory, especially Seven Curricular Landscapes: An Approach to the Holistic Curriculum (2003) and Understanding the Whole Student: Holistic Multicultural Education (2007), is concerned with holistic education.

Archetypes and pedagogy

Archetypes are, according to Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge. Being universal and innate, their influence can be detected in the form of myths, symbols, rituals and instincts of human beings. Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct and inform human thought and behaviour.

According to Jung, archetypes heavily influence the human life cycle, propelling a neurologically hard-wired sequence which he called the stages of life. Each stage is mediated through a new set of archetypal imperatives which seek fulfillment in action. These may include being parented, initiation, courtship, marriage and preparation for death.[1]

Pedagogy, or paedagogy, is the art or science of being a teacher. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction.[2] Pedagogy is also sometimes referred to as the correct use of teaching strategies (see instructional theory). Pedagogy comes from ancient greek παιδαγωγία, of παιδός ([paiˈdos]) "child" and ἄγω ([ˈaɡɔː) "to drive, to raise, to take the way".

Archetypal pedagogy is the discovery of self and knowledge by means of the archetypes.

The archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations. A group of memories and interpretations associated with an archetype is a complex, e.g. a mother complex associated with the mother archetype. Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological constructs that arose through evolution.[3]

Individuation and self-realization

Individuation is a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. "In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology." (C.G. Jung. Psychological Types. Collected Works Vol.6., par. 757)

An innate need for self-realization leads people to explore and integrate these rejected materials. This natural process is called individuation, or the process of becoming an individual.

According to Jung, self-realization can be divided into two distinct tiers. In the first half of our lives we separate from humanity. We attempt to create our own identities (I, myself). This is why there is such a need for young men to be destructive, and can be expressed as animosity from teens directed at their parents. Jung also said we have a sort of “second puberty” that occurs between 35-40- outlook shifts from emphasis on materialism, sexuality, and having children to concerns about community and spirituality.

In the second half of our lives, humans reunite with the human race. They become part of the collective once again. This is when adults start to contribute to humanity (volunteer time, build, garden, create art, etc.) rather than destroy. They are also more likely to pay attention to their unconscious and conscious feelings. Young men rarely say "I feel angry." or "I feel sad.” This is because they have not yet rejoined the human collective experience, commonly reestablished in their older, wiser years, according to Jung. A common theme is for young rebels to "search" for their true selves and realize that a contribution to humanity is essentially a necessity for a whole self.

Jung proposes that the ultimate goal of the collective unconscious and self-realization is to pull us to the highest experience. This, of course, is spiritual.

See also


  1. Stevens, Anthony in 'The archetypes'(Chapter 3.) Papadopoulos, Renos ed.(2006)The Handbook of Jungian Psychology
  2. [from NSF]
  3. Boeree, C. George. "Carl Jung". Archived from the original on 6 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-09. 

Further reading

Selected books

Selected articles

  • Template:Cite doi
  • Merritt, Dennis L. (1996–1997). "Jung and the Greening of Psychology and Education". Oregon Friends of C.G. Jung Newsletter 6 (1): 9, 12, 13. 
  • Henderson, James L. (1956). "Jung's analytical psychology and its significance for education in the light of recent literature". International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale de l'Education 2 (3): 368–372. doi:10.1007/BF01416640. Bibcode1956IREdu...2..368H. 

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