Depth psychology and career

My blog is about depth psychology and career development. Sounds, well, deep doesn’t it? Like you might need special equipment and tools or something.


And perhaps years of experience and special training?


The truth is, you might. But it’s also much simpler than that. Career development at depth is about understanding the whole person. Carl Jung, one of the founders of depth psychology, wrote:

‘Discovering yourself provides you with all you are, were meant to be, and all you are living from and for’
(Jung 1977: 448)

Wow. A beautiful statement.

What does it mean? Is it navel-gazing?

Yes and no. Self-discovery is about giving time to ourselves but it’s also a kind of adventure into culture. Both contemporary and historical. Archetypes are one way of understanding this.

Eh? I was hanging in there until you said that funny word beginning with ‘A’.

Archetypes are powerful cultural stories about what to do and how to be. Here are two simplified examples.

The hero archetype is decisive, courageous and strong


…But there is a flipside. The hero can also be misguided and controlling

The Cinderella archetype is thoughtful and kind


But it can also be unassertive and a bit of a martyr

You get the idea?

Archetypal stories surround us and indeed constitute our identities. There is an upside and a downside. Some people strongly identify with one or more aspects. Usually the upside. You might have met someone who does this. You might be such a person. So could I.

I’ll be developing some of the ideas in a workshop at the Career Development Institute Student Conference taking place at the University of Derby on Wednesday 28 March. The conference is for people who are training to become career development professionals.

I’ll discuss the relationship between depth psychology and career development. We’ll go into the history and background together with contributions from the present day. I’m hoping people will go away with some simple tools and techniques for helping ourselves and other with this fascinating and rewarding area of work.

About the blogger

Dr Phil McCash is the director of Graduate Studies, course director for Career Education, Information and Guidance in HE and joint course director for Career Development and Coaching Studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning.


Jung, C. G. (1977). C.G. Jung speaking: interviews and encounters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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