Persona – Mask or More?

Persona – Mask or More?


Presenter: Grace Reid

This lecture is designed to introduce an interested lay audience to Jung’s concept of the persona.

Jung describes the persona as “a complicated system of relations between the individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand, to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual.” An appropriate persona is essential to social functioning because a society with unpredictable members would not function effectively.


While everyone who functions in society adopts a persona, usually we are unaware of this fact and operate more or less automatically under its influence. It is hoped that the audience listening to this lecture will come away with more conscious awareness of the advantages of honing one’s persona as an instrument under conscious control, as well as an increased understanding of the pitfalls of unconsciously identifying with one’s persona, or of not developing one at all. The history of the social mask will be summarized. The current phenomenon of Facebook and its influence on the evolution of persona will also be examined.

Grace Reid is a psychologist and Jungian analyst who practises psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and supervision in Kenilworth. Her training and education took place mostly in the United States, where she was in practise for five years before moving to Cape Town in 1990. She is a training analyst and past secretary of SAAJA’s Exco.