**Part of this is a response to @LitheOhm 's question, but is still highly targetted towards the original question with actionable steps as well.
I couldn't fit my response into a comment so I had to post it as an answer, although it does answer the question quite well...and I'm getting my citations right now.
Correct me if I'm wrong on any of my interpretations. Also any hostility is not directed towards you, but is towards Jung and associated theories. Please keep this in mind.
1st Clarifying Your Definitions
"If it's defined as our mask, our ego, then it would be almost as simple as changing >shoes, for some people."
I'm assuming here that you mean putting on a fake persona that doesn't necessarily reflect how one feels about whatever situation they are in or task they are doing. For instance, someone who is in sales has to put on this "persona" to sell more stuff or acting happy when you are talking to someone on the phone you don't really want to - or even just being polite perhaps. You'd say this is a "mask." I'd agree with you. People's "outer" (I'll try not to throw more semantics in after that word) personalities change to adapt to whatever situation they are in. You then say this mask = the ego.
If we define it instead as the self, centered in the brain and guarded
by a great many layers of the mind, then I'd offer we cannot change
them but that they can be changed through experience.
Now you're getting a little confusing with the pronouns not to mention a bit of "poetic psychology." Who or what is we is "we"? You don't define this clearly so I'm going to see if I can get at what you're saying:
Your use of "we": Is it the ego? Is it our thoughts? Is it anything we do with our mind? I'm going to assume here (only because of prior knowledge) that when you say "we" you mean the ego, which would include our mind and the thoughts of our mind. Is this correct?
**I'm gonna skip ahead and go ahead and also assume you don't mean ALL thoughts. You'd just mean "conscious thoughts" Why? Because there are unconscious thoughts too, but are those even thoughts? - I think you'd agree with me that these are more related to the "self" if not ARE the "self"/our personalities.
I'd also assume that "the great many layers of the mind" are also the "ego." In essence, you're phrasing it as these layers (or conscious thoughts) trying to protecting the self when it feels threatened. Is this correct?
So "we," which is also the ego if my interpretation is correct, is our mask, our mind, and our conscious thoughts essentially. They are all intertwined together within the "ego." Please correct me I'm misinterpreting things.
2nd Attempting to Reconstruct Your Statement
So would you mind if I replaced the word "we" in your statement with "conscious thoughts" due to my proof using my interpretation of your words? Again, if I'm incorrect anywhere let me know.
Now your statement would be as follows - I added a bit of clarification in parenthesis:
"then I'd offer our conscious thoughts cannot change
them (our personalitie(s)/self, which we do not own) but that they can be changed through experience(s)."
Simple enough. We just have to have these experiences happen to us. But when will they? Will they ever? What if I want to fix them? Am I just screwed?
Hmmmm....Can we make choices that improve our odds of encountering these experiences which will change our personalities/self? Well, choices involve conscious thought and most likely the use of "we" at some point so technically we can't, at least according to the statement.
Since in reality "we" can make "choices" that lead to "experiences" your statement is already false, but...you could still say...
Even if we did make some choices to "try" to do this, we'd have very limited choices anyway. Right? Not to skip ahead but you say later on you say:
"We don't often get to choose what to experience."
Oh, you DON'T? Let's say someone puts a gun to your head and says "if you can list at least 150 choices in notepad you could make and or do right now instead of reading this dude's post, I'll let you go....and you get to meet Justin Beiber." Could you do it? I could, and I'm not even a fan of his.
YOU HAVE UNLIMITED CHOICES ON WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WHENEVER YOU WANT.
Some choices may be bad, some may be good, but most you probably don't know the outcome to.
You could run across the street naked which leads to you meeting your future mate.
You could go throw water balloons at people while driving your car around town.
You could read Stackexchange.
Go to the mall and try to pick up chicks.
Pay for some "hot lovin" off Craigslist.
Go to Thailand solely on your credit cards.
Join a meetup group.
Run away from home.
Punch mean kids in the face.
Choose to learn CBT.
Choose to believe you're not trapped by your ego and he is your friend, he just needs to be educated a little bit.
Choose to ask yourself why you're shy in the first place. Is there a reason?
Consider other strategies than just "trying to directly confront your shyness in the most cliche manner possible."
All of these are experiences which apparently you need to change your "self" or "personality" you'd have would of been made through purposeful conscious thought and the use of "we" - so you're statement = false assuming I did not misinterpret anything you said.
3rd Want to Change? You Can. Unless You Read Jung. Defeatist Attitude = Defeated.
"Those parts of our personalities, the self, that we do not own, take
on a sort of life of their own. The naturally shy person who makes a
headstrong decision to extravert (ego taking control) with little to
no outside stimulus is simply repressing their shyness."
1) "that we do not own"
-Why don't we own them?
-Where did they come from?
-Are they really even there?
-Does example shy person have any sort of genetic defect that would cause them to be shy?
-Can said shy person think of any counterexamples he's seen before where someone used to be shy and then they weren't?
-Does this shy person have any friends at all? Even one? If so, is he shy around them?
-What causes this person to be naturally shy? Just the fact that it's natural and that's how it's always been....any further reasoning?
-Are there different shades of naturally shy? Or is it just black and white? Maybe he's a light grey?
-If said shy person blames his parent's genetics for being shy, has he questioned the fact that maybe not EVERYONE in his entire family is also that way....I mean he has those genetics too. I bet he has a crazy uncle.
-Has he ever considered environment vs. genetics or does he just accept his natural fate? Yes, I know you mention this, don't worry - still not done.
3) "Who makes a headstrong decision to extravert (ego taking control) with little to no outside stimulus is simply repressing their shyness."
We can make conscious decisions in the short run to alter our personalities. However, it's a decision made by the ego and doesn't reflect the true self. Our shadow will correct for this and bring us back to our true selves; for better and for worse. The ego does not have complete control.**
-One big piece you're missing. What if the person actually wants to overcome this trait? I'll speak on that in a second.
-You seem to state this as a law of nature. If someone has shyness deep within as their "self," they will keep it forever. You leave no room for the potential of them overcoming it. That isn't reality. It's all or nothing thinking. And the ego (which you seem to establish as conscious thought, a horrible thing) gives them choice.
-So it's always a bad idea to make a headstrong decision to be extroverted? It doesn't matter HOW MANY TIMES you try - the shadows will ALWAYS bring you back?
-Is it possible the shadow doesn't exist?
-You state yourself that "with experience" you can change your personality...but here you state the opposite. You contradicted the original statement we were discussing here.
-Has this theory been proven?
-Do you have citations that it's been proven with clinical studies in peer reviewed journals?
-Did they get this trait from genetics? How many people have overcome genetic difficulties?
-Did they just "learn to be shy"? If so, then why can't they "learn to be outgoing?"
-I know you're trying to get to the fact that this person should just accept their shyness. Perhaps some people are content on that.
But what if they don't want to? What if instead of an ordinary life (this is purely subjective of course), they want to maximize their potential and live it out the way they intended? What about an extraordinary one? Why are they letting Jung or whomever make the choice for them to accept this trait for the rest of their lives...why?....because Jung said so?
Ok Jung bring out your clinical trials of effectiveness in treating something - because we know nowadays that social anxiety can potentially be a root cause of depression. Oh wait, there's really no therapy or application involved within...just theory...and acceptance. Thanks Jung. We appreciate your work that we built further upon and turned into practice....somewhat. However, we have some better technology and therapy in today's world. Please go back to 1875.
By the way, I did not see "Perks of Being a Wallflower" but it is not a citation of real life...it's a fictional story.
I've been a wallflower before. A lot. It's usually not fun.
But you know what? I've learned to overcome it, quite a bit....quite a bit. I've also known many other people who have overcome it. I've seen it. I'm a human, they were human, anyone else reading this is human. If I made progress, then why can't any other human?
Do you have another counterexample besides a fictional movie involving a statistical outlier (and a very strange one according to wikipedia)?
4th If This is Jung's theory...it has alot of assumptions
Instead of assimilating and digesting that
portion of the personality, the shyness becomes beaten back and called
"bad." Since it's undesirable in one's self, that will carry through
to noting it in others and still considering it undesirable. This is
what leads to the unreasonable reproach. The person does not wish to
identify themselves with the trait of shyness, it may be seen as a
sign of weakness or them not being "in total control" of their person.
Yet they are shy. Their shyness will not be seen as theirs, it'll be
launched onto others in a process known as projection. That will cause
the persons to misplace their feelings of rejection (I should not be
shy) and instead find fault with others who don't make the same
decision they did (why can they be shy? It's a weakness, not
My response: Each sentence is an assumption based on no citations besides a fictional movie (which actually doesn't even support the assumptions). There's not even an anecdote. It seems to be written as an assumption wherefor the next sentence is also an assumption built on the previous assumption, wherefor, the next sentence is also an assumption build on the previous assumption that is built on the previous assumption. Maybe this happens to a percentage of shy people? But generalizing this is also breaking laws of reality.
5th One Final Contradiction
So the initial sentence I did not like was:
"I'd offer we cannot change them but that they can be changed through
but then you say
"However, if it's personal choice then all one would need to do is make
the contrary choice and gain experiences to compound that (habit
building, neuroplasticity, etc.)."
I think the problem may just be in your definition of "we". Because "we" are certainly doing things in your ladder quotation.
6th You CAN Use Thought to Change Your Personality: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Picture from J Med Internet Res. 2013 Aug 5;15(8):e153. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2714.
The Clinical Effectiveness of Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Face-to-Face Therapist Support for Depressed Primary Care Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial. which is also cited way down below. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23916965
I think originally this is what you were trying to say you couldn't do. By saying "we" you were trying to say that the only way to change your "self" which is your "true personality" is by having experiences.
I believe in the experiences part, but I also believe, strongly, in the other part - changing the way you think - which I believe you would call the ego. I also believe that they must be used at the same time for the best effectiveness. One must have experiences and one must use those to fuel their CBT therapy, which they can just do by reading a book and writing their thoughts down, then writing a rational response next to it.
Nearly everything I said in this post was CBT based. It simply asked about all the flaws in the theories Jung made. This is exactly what you'd do with a thought like "those people don't want to talk to me because I'm so shy" if you were shy. You'd start asking yourself (usually writing it out works best and is a core component actually) questions like:
1) How do they know that I'm shy? And why does this even matter?
2) Have I, at ANY time in the past, ever been extroverted? If so, why can't I do this again?
3) Why do I really even believe that I'm shy? Do I have any sort of substantial backing for being shy...even if I was picked on in 2nd grade by all the kids - that doesn't mean anything today at all.
4) If you're shy you probably know alot of cool stuff cause you spend more time learning things than most people. This gives you more content to talk about.
5) Let's say they just blow you off after you go talk to them? How does that differ from where you were before? (Except now you actually have a bit of adreneline and serotonin coursing through your body - which you can use to have an even better conversation with the next people you may want to try to talk to.
6) Let me throw a twist in here. Why shouldn't I just accept that I'm shy and that's it? We'll because in today's job market unless you have some sort of specialized skill you need connections and you're going to need people skills sometime in order to survive. Simply put, social skills are something you probably need.
I'm going to go ahead and post this while I fetch a barrage of clinical trials showing CBT's effectiveness for almost any disorder - which can be linked to a "personality" trait one may want to get rid of. They'll be alot of em'.
7th Answer: Use CBT Synergistically with Experiences/Exposure to Change Unwanted Personality Traits Quickly, Effectively, & Chronically. It Does Require Work Though.
Try it now. Use this worksheet.
Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Aug 22.
Treatment of child anxiety disorders via guided parent-delivered cognitive-behavioural therapy: randomised controlled trial.
Thirlwall K, Cooper PJ, Karalus J, Voysey M, Willetts L, Creswell C.
Kerstin Thirlwall, DClinPsy, Winnicott Research Unit, School of
Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK;
Peter J. Cooper, DPhil, Winnicott Research Unit, School of Psychology
and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK, and
Stellenbosch University, Matieland, South Africa; Jessica Karalus,
MSc, Winnicott Research Unit, School of Psychology and Clinical
Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK; Merryn Voysey, MBiostat,
Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, UK; Lucy
Willetts, MSc, PhD, Cathy Creswell, DClinPsy, PhD, Winnicott Research
Unit, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University
of Reading, UK.
BACKGROUND: Promising evidence
has emerged of clinical gains using guided self-help
cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for child anxiety and by involving
parents in treatment; however, the efficacy of guided parent-delivered
CBT has not been systematically evaluated in UK primary and secondary
AIMS: To evaluate the efficacy of low-intensity
guided parent-delivered CBT treatments for children with anxiety
METHOD: A total of 194 children presenting with a
current anxiety disorder, whose primary carer did not meet criteria
for a current anxiety disorder, were randomly allocated to full guided
parent-delivered CBT (four face-to-face and four telephone sessions)
or brief guided parent-delivered CBT (two face-to-face and two
telephone sessions), or a wait-list control group (trial registration:
ISRCTN92977593). Presence and severity of child primary anxiety
disorder (Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV,
child/parent versions), improvement in child presentation of anxiety
(Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale), and change in child
anxiety symptoms (Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, child/parent
version and Child Anxiety Impact scale, parent version) were assessed
at post-treatment and for those in the two active treatment groups, 6
Full guided parent-delivered CBT produced superior diagnostic outcomes compared with wait-list at post-treatment, whereas brief
guided parent-delivered CBT did not: at post-treatment, 25 (50%) of
those in the full guided CBT group had recovered from their primary
diagnosis, compared with 16 (25%) of those on the wait-list (relative
risk (RR) 1.85, 95% CI 1.14-2.99); and in the brief guided CBT group,
18 participants (39%) had recovered from their primary diagnosis
post-treatment (RR = 1.56, 95% CI 0.89-2.74). Level of therapist
training and experience was unrelated to child outcome. CONCLUSIONS:
Full guided parent-delivered CBT is an effective and inexpensive first-line treatment for child anxiety.
Cogn Behav Ther. 2011;40(3):159-73. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2011.576699.
Epub 2011 Jul 20.
Guided internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy for generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized controlled trial.
Almlöv J, Dahlin M, Carlbring P, Breitholtz E, Eriksson T, Andersson
Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Swedish
Institute for Disability Research, Linköping University, Linköping,
Sweden. email@example.com Abstract
disorder (GAD) has been effectively treated with cognitive behavioural
therapy (CBT) in face-to face settings. Internet-delivered CBT could
be a way to increase the accessibility and affordability of CBT for
people suffering from GAD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the
efficacy of guided Internet-delivered CBT for GAD in a controlled
trial with a wait-list control group. A total of 89 participants were
included following online screening and a structured psychiatric
telephone interview. Participants were randomized to either an 8-week
treatment group (n = 44) or a wait-list control group (n = 45).
Treatment consisted of a self-help program based on CBT principles and
applied relaxation along with therapist guidance. The main outcome
measure was the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Ratings of clinical
improvement and symptoms were included as well as secondary outcome
measures dealing with anxiety, depression, and quality of life. Among
the treatment group participants, 13.6% did not complete the
posttreatment measures. The treatment group showed significant
improvement compared with the control group on all outcome measures.
Large effect sizes (Cohen's d > 0.8) were found both within the
treatment group and between the groups in favor of the treatment on
all outcome measures except on a measure of quality of life.
Results at 1- and 3-year follow-up indicated that treatment results improved or were maintained. The authors conclude that
Internet-delivered CBT with therapist support can reduce symptoms and
problems related to GAD.
Published last week. Actually investigates and supports CBT therapy
through PHYSIOLOGICAL research and the way it changes the brain.
JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 Aug 14. doi:
10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.234. [Epub ahead of print]
Impact of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder on the Neural Dynamics of Cognitive Reappraisal of Negative
Self-beliefs: Randomized Clinical Trial.
Goldin PR, Ziv M,
Jazaieri H, Hahn K, Heimberg R, Gross JJ.
Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California.
IMPORTANCE Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for
social anxiety disorder (SAD) is thought to enhance cognitive
reappraisal in patients with SAD. Such improvements should be
evident in cognitive reappraisal-related prefrontal cortex
OBJECTIVE To determine whether CBT for SAD modifies
cognitive reappraisal-related prefrontal cortex neural signal
magnitude and timing when implementing cognitive reappraisal with
DESIGN Randomized clinical trial of CBT
for SAD vs wait-list control group during a study that enrolled
patients from 2007 to 2010.
SETTING University psychology
PARTICIPANTS Seventy-five patients with
generalized SAD randomly assigned to CBT or wait list.
INTERVENTION Sixteen sessions of individual CBT for SAD.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Negative emotion ratings and functional
magnetic resonance imaging blood oxygen-level dependent signal when
reacting to and cognitively reappraising negative self-beliefs
embedded in autobiographical social anxiety situations. RESULTS During
reactivity trials, compared with wait list, CBT produced (1) greater
reduction in negative emotion ratings and (2) greater blood
oxygen-level dependent signal magnitude in the medial prefrontal
cortex. During cognitive reappraisal trials, compared with wait list,
CBT produced (3) greater reduction in negative emotion ratings, (4)
greater blood oxygen level-dependent signal magnitude in the
dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, (5) earlier temporal
onset of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activity, and (6) greater
dorsomedial prefrontal cortex-amygdala inverse functional
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Modulation of
cognitive reappraisal-related brain responses, timing, and functional
connectivity may be important brain changes that contribute to the
effectiveness of CBT for social anxiety. This study demonstrates that
clinically applied neuroscience investigations can elucidate
neurobiological mechanisms of change in psychiatric conditions.
TRIAL REGISTRATION clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00380731.
Ment Health Fam Med. 2010 Mar;7(1):49-57.
Feasibility of guided cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) self-help for childhood anxiety disorders in primary care.
Hentges F, Parkinson M, Sheffield P, Willetts L, Cooper P.
Clinical Research Fellow.
This study aimed to examine the
feasibility of guided CBT self-help in primary care for childhood
anxiety disorders, specifically in terms of therapist adherence,
patient and therapist satisfaction and clinical gain.Participants were
children aged between five and 12 years referred to two primary child
and adolescent mental health services (PCAMHSs) in Oxfordshire, UK,
who met diagnostic criteria for a primary anxiety disorder. Of the 52
eligible children, 41 anxious children were assessed for anxiety
severity and interference before and after receiving CBT self-help
delivered via a parent (total therapy time = five hours) by primary
mental health workers (PMHWs). Therapy sessions were rated for
treatment adherence and parents and PMHWs completed satisfaction
questionnaires after treatment completion. Over 80% of therapy
sessions were rated at a high level of treatment adherence. Parents
and PMHWs reported high satisfaction with the treatment. Sixty-one
percent of the children assessed no longer met the criteria for their
primary anxiety disorder diagnosis following treatment, and 76% were
rated as 'much'/'very much' improved on the Clinical Global
Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) scale. There were significant
reductions on parent and child report measures of anxiety symptoms,
interference and depression. Preliminary exploration indicated that
parental anxiety was associated with child treatment outcome. The
findings suggest that guided CBT self-help represents a promising
treatment for childhood anxiety in primary care.
Wish I had full text for this one which is specifically for "personality disorders." Heh, looks like it's published next month. These are so fresh.
Psychol Psychother. 2013 Sep;86(3):262-79. doi:
10.1111/j.2044-8341.2011.02060.x. Epub 2012 Feb 20.
Three-week inpatient Cognitive Evolutionary Therapy (CET) for patients with
personality disorders: Evidence of effectiveness in symptoms reduction
and improved treatment adherence.
Prunetti E, Bosio V, Bateni
M, Liotti G.
Casa di Cura Villa Margherita, Vicenza, Italy
Scuola di Psicologia Cognitiva S.r.l., Rome, Italy Associazione
Psicologia Cognitiva, Rome, Italy.
Objectives. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of
Cognitive Evolutionary Therapy (CET) in an intensive short residential
treatment of a wide range of severe personality disorders (PDs) that
resulted in a reduction of social functioning and significant personal
Design. Each patient was assessed at admission,
discharge, and 3 months later in order to determine if there was a
reduction in symptoms and an improved adherence to former outpatient
programs and to check if patients were undergoing new treatment after
Method. Fifty-one patients participated in this
study. The 20-hr weekly program consisted of two individual sessions
and various group modules. Outcome measures included: self-reported
measures of depression, anxiety, general symptoms, number and duration
of inpatient admissions after the programme, and continuation in an
outpatient treatment programme.
Results. The results show an
overall improvement in general psychopathology after the release and
in follow-up sessions, a decrease in the number of further hospital
admissions, and an increased level of attendance of outpatient
Conclusions. This study shows that intensive short
residential treatment is an effective treatment for patients with a
wide range of PDs.
© 2012 The British Psychological Society.
J Med Internet Res. 2013 Aug 5;15(8):e153. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2714.
I couldn't fit anymore text into this post. If you'd like I can make another answer post with more citations though. I had to trunicate this last one.
The Clinical Effectiveness of Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Face-to-Face Therapist Support for Depressed Primary Care
Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial.
Høifødt RS, Lillevoll
KR, Griffiths KM, Wilsgaard T, Eisemann M, Waterloo K, Kolstrup N.
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences,
University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway.
The intervention combining MoodGYM and brief therapist support can be an effective treatment of depression in a sample of primary care
patients. The intervention alleviates depressive symptoms and has a
significant positive effect on anxiety symptoms and satisfaction with
life. Moderate rates of nonadherence and predominately positive
evaluations of the treatment also indicate the acceptability of the
intervention. The intervention could potentially be used in a
stepped-care approach, but remains to be tested in regular primary