Friday, April 20, 2012

Jungian Psychology: Individuation

On the process of becoming a person.

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The goal of Jungian therapy is to achieve “wholeness of the personality”, or the apotheosis of man: Jung’s term is individuation.

This is done by linking the unconscious and conscious, and it is necessary in order to differentiate from the masses. On this path, there are specific parts of the unconscious that must be confronted.

The shadow is the repressed side of the psyche, in darkness, which develops from the ego’s rejects; it can also be called the “alter ego”. As with much in Jungian psychology, there are individual and collective forms. It is often projected onto others.

Confronting the shadow is accepting the darkness inside; however, the shadow is not all bad.

Next is the anima or animus, which is the contrasexual “soul image”. There are individual and collective forms. Internally, the anima/us is experienced through dreams, etc.; externally, it is experienced as a projection onto someone else, which can cause disappointment as the real person rarely matches up with the projection.

It is the opposite of the persona because it connects the ego with the inner world, rather than the outer, and personifies the “fourth function.” Confronting the anima/us leads to withdrawal of the projection.

The patient must come to terms with archetypes, keeping in mind that the unconscious has goalless purpose.

Returning to the patient’s own gender, s/he confronts the “wise old man” or “magna mater” archetype, exploring his/her gender back to the primordial image which has both good and bad.

These archetypes are what Jung calls mana personalities, images of great power. As such, unless the self is distinguished from the archetype, hubris results.

If the conscious can assimilate unconscious contents, then the psyche will achieve a new balance. Crucial in this path is the self, which is the midpoint between the unconscious and conscious and, ineffably, encompasses both.

When it is found, issues with outer and inner reality are resolved; however, finding it is difficult because that shifts the center of the psyche.

The patient must endure tension between normal life and the uncovering of the unconscious. As the personal unconscious is lessened, the patient is freed from the ego’s petty little world.

Self-realization is the path to meaning, or Weltanschauung (philosophy of life). The uniting symbol is the synthesis of opposites on a higher level, a balance when inner and outer realities are equal in trueness.

Jungian psychology can be related to religious initiation rites, except that the individual chooses his Weltanschauung. It is also comparable to alchemy, because it leads to self-realization and the transmutation of the base into the noble.

Yoga also has parallels to Jung’s method, because it demands psychic power and concentration, the detachment of the conscious, and a need to see into the inner world to achieve spiritual unity and mastery of the spirit over the body. Jungian concepts are related to other Eastern concepts, such as mandalas and the Tao.

Self-realization is an ethical choice. It offers the collective an individual who cannot help but be responsible and tolerant of others, because his experiences have had him confront inner darkness.

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