A Guide To Achieving Individuation

In Jungian psychology, self-realization – the ultimate ideal – is achieved through individuation. According to Jung, the “self” archetype is the regulating core of one’s psyche. Instabilities and abnormalities within this center are what causes disorders or illness. An individual experiences the self through subconscious symbolism, usually in the form of dreams and religious attachment. Psychology, thus, becomes a tool that brings the subconscious to consciousness. It is only through the integration of these two concepts can self-realization be found.

Many analytic psychologists say that the process of self-realization is not difficult, only requiring diligence, patience, and practice. The first recommendation is starting a dream diary. As mentioned earlier, dreams carry hidden messages and meanings. These symbols project unknown fears and desires – fundamental concepts that need to be known. However, most people forget their dreams within a few minutes of waking. There is difficulty in keeping an accurate record of one’s dreams. The journal becomes a way for people to record their dreams accurately. From this, patterns can be found. These can be dissected and discussed with one’s psychologist. Effective therapy plans are now designed.

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Another good practice is to question one’s beliefs constantly. Again, beliefs are said to be the conclusion of subconscious feelings. By questioning these beliefs, people actively force introspection. This process though is met with success in various forms. Some patients find it to be beneficial, others not so much. Still, it is important for patients to try their hand at it for at least two weeks to see how much introspection can move forward conscious-subconscious awareness.

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Paul Gabrinetti is a Jungian-trained clinical psychologist. For more information on Jungian psychology, follow this Twitter account.


The Breaks Between Freud And Jung

Carl Gustav Jung had a strictly psychoanalytic phase between 1909 and 1913, and during these years, he corresponded with Sigmund Freud with an alacrity that would have assumed the identical nature of their theories. But the theories of these two most renowned psychoanalysts would later diverge, and Jung himself would define the body of his work under the rubric of analytical psychology.

Image source: http://www.aceshowbiz.com
Image source: http://www.aceshowbiz.com

The so-called “intellectual break” between the two actually succeeded their common interest in the unconscious psyche. At some point in 1910, Jung was even president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, which he had formed with Freud. A bit after, they were disputing theoretical points such as:

  1. Sexuality as a primary motivator of behavior: Freud’s study and interpretation of the unconscious led to a focus on childhood experience, notably the sexual desires repressed during this phase of life. Jung, meanwhile, in a significant break from this line of thinking, stressed the concept of the “collective unconscious,” a sort of personal imprint of humanity’s memories. Thus, behavior for Jung would tend to have a more social motivation.
  2. Religion as either illusion or nature: Given Jung’s collective take on the unconscious, he understood religion as an inherent feature of humanity’s solidarity with each other. For Freud, meanwhile, religion had a personal flavor, and it took the form of illusion, or a repression of instincts or unsanctioned sexual desires. Religion, in the Freudian sense, is a form of hysteria.
  3. What dreams signify: In line with his reductive reasoning, Freud thought that dreams reflected suppressed desires. Jung, meanwhile, was more expansive in his interpretation of dreams, refusing to limit these to a predefined set of symbols and experiences, such as sexuality.

Whatever the scholarly leanings of psychologists, however, these two had

Image source: http://www.carl-g-jung.de
Image source: http://www.carl-g-jung.de

contributed greatly to the development of psychology as it is today.

Paul Gabrinetti, Ph.D is a Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist on the faculty of C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles’ analyst training program. For more articles on Jungian psychology, visit this blog.