Review of Talk- The 5 Jungian Functions, with David Brown, September 21st, 2020


The map of the 5 Functions shows the five functions of sensing, feeling, intuition, thinking and transcendence. Sensing and thinking are opposite functions, as are intuition and sensing, with transcendence being achievement of integrating all the other four. David summarised the qualities for each function and how focus on one function, places the opposite function into the shadow.

Thinking: ‘Thinking is a mode of evaluation that is concerned with the truth or falsity of experience. It is based upon the intellectual comprehension of things and, in particular, of their conceptual interrelationships. It is a rational, systematic process that seeks to understand reality through analysis and logical inference.’

Inadequate thinking can lead to irrational judgements and too much feeling. Excessive thinking can be tactless and cruel (lacking feeling).


‘Intuition refers to a deeper perception of inherent possibilities and inner meanings. Intuitive perception ignores the details and focuses instead upon the general context or atmosphere. It perceives (without clear evidence or proof) the direction in which things are moving, the subtle inner relationships and underlying processes involved, or the latent potentialities of a situation. Intuition never directly reflects reality but actively, creatively, insightfully and imaginatively adds meaning by reading things into the situation that are not immediately apparent to a purely objective observer.’  Strong intuition Gandalf and Dumbledore

Inadequate intuition can lead to missing the bigger picture (too much sensation) and excessive intuition can lead to being lost in dreams lacking sensation/ groundedness.


‘Feeling is an affective, sentimental function. It involves judging the value of things or having an opinion about them on the basis of our likes and dislikes. Experiences are therefore evaluated in terms of good and bad, pleasant or unpleasant, acceptable or unacceptable.’  Also Empathy. Inadequate feeling can lead to a lack of empathy and liveliness (too much thinking) and excessive feeling  can lead to being lost in emotions (lacking thinking and reason.)


‘Sensation refers to our immediate experience of the objective world, a process that takes place without any kind of evaluation of the experience. Sensation perceives objects as they are – realistically and concretely. It fails to consider context, implications, meanings or alternative interpretations, but instead attempts to represent factually and in detail the information that is available to the senses.’

Inadequate sensation can lead to lack of attention to detail and impracticality  (too much intuition) and excessive sensation can lead to being bogged down in detail (lacking in intuition and wider picture)


Transcendence is the Unity of the Four.’  ‘The transcendent function does not proceed without aim and purpose, but leads to the revelation of the essential man.’ ‘By means of the transcendent function we not only gain access to the ‘One Mind’ but also come to understand why the East believes in the possibility of self-liberation. If through introspection and the conscious realisation of unconscious compensations, it is possible to transform one’s mental condition and thus arrive at a solution of painful conflicts, one would seem entitled to speak of ‘self liberation.’ Transcendence means being in a balanced state, with none of the four functions exerting unconscious compensations.

David invited us to use the “three room technique” to explore and reflect on a dilemma. He suggested taking the dilemma into a room and listening to the voice of thinking or sensing, then take it into the second room and listen to the opposite voice of feeling or intuition. Finally take the dilemma into the third room and reflect on what you heard from both voices and reach a conclusion based on the synthesis of both. David suggested that this csn be a useful technique to use with a client, to enable them to access their shadow side and experience the opposite function.

We did two break- out room activities in groups of three, exploring the concepts for ourselves and then coming together as a group to discuss.

This was an interesting talk and I was left wishing to learn more. David sent round a recommended reading list and as synchronicity would have it, I was lent a copy of Jung’s “Red Book” a few months ago, which I had not yet begun reading. I will definitely do so now.

Julie May

A short bibliography

Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Carl Jung. Routledge

Personality. Nettle Daniel. O.U.P.

Principles of Jungian Spirituality.  Vivianne Crowley. Thorsons

The Compassionate Mind. Paul Gilbert. Constable  (for the Myers Briggs free test.)