The word “self” is used in different ways by many authors…However, Jung gives the term a very specific meaning and consequently does not use it loosely…

He regards people who ordinarily come to him for treatment as being very much centered in their outer consciousness, with the center of awareness in the middle of an area which would be comparable to the ego in the psychological sense of the word. If analysis is successful, this center shifts. Instead of being located mainly in consciousness, the center becomes located between the conscious and unconscious, which permits a free interchange between the two, and creativity, which is regarded by all psychoanalysts as part of the unconscious, is always available to consciousness.


In Jung’s own words:

“This would be the point of a new equilibrium, a new centering of the total personality, a position which, on account of its focal position between conscious and unconscious, insures for the personality a new and more solid foundation….. Speaking as a psychologist with a scientific conscience, I must say at once that these things are psychic factors of undeniable power; …definite psychic events obeying definite laws and having their legitimate causes and effects…(Two_ Essays on Analytical Psychology, p. 234)

“I have called this center the self. Intellectually the self is no more than a psychological concept, a construct that serves to express an unknowable essence which we cannot grasp as such, since by definition it transcends our powers of comprehension. It might equally well be called ,the God within us.’ The beginnings of our whole psychic life seem to be inextricably rooted in this point, and all our highest and ultimate purpose seems to be striving toward it. …

…”If the unconscious can be recognized as a co¬determining quantity along with the conscious, and if it can be lived in such a way that conscious and unconscious (in a narrower sense instinctive) demands are given recog¬nition as far as possible, the center of gravity of the total personality shifts its position. It ceases to be in the ego, which is merely the center of consciousness, and is located instead in what might be called a virtual point between the conscious and the unconscious. This new center might be called the self.”

“At a point in psychoanalysis when unconscious material is being dealt with, particularly parental images and the transference, there is a re¬lease of energy which is not without its dangers. “But at this point a healthful, compensatory operation comes into play which each time seems to me like a miracle. Struggling against that dangerous trend towards disintegration, there arises out of this same collective unconscious a counteraction, characterized by symbols which point unmistakably to a process of centering. This process creates nothing less than a new center of personality, which the symbols show from the first to be superordinate to the ego and which later proves its superiority empirically.. Nor can we continue to give it the name of ‘ego,’ for which reason I have called it the ‘self.’ To experience and realize this self is the ultimate…  The center cannot therefore be classed with the ego, but must be accorded a higher value.”