Individuation: Jung’s phenomenology of psychic process
Individuation, Jung’s name for psychic process, describes the development of a human psyche over the course of a life as a person adapts to the demands of the outer world and the “internal” needs of his or her organism. In its simplest form, individuation is an idealized picture of psyche-as-process, a relatively simple model that can be complicated with setbacks, hang-ups, sidetracks and other neurotic phenomena that regularly occur in all of our lives. The individuation process can be put back on track when these very human divergences are overcome, and analysis aims to assist in the reorientation. Individuation, therefore, serves as a kind of ground plan for psychic process. It is the theoretical background against which all psychic phenomena are interpreted. In this chapter, we describe that process and in the two following chapters detail parallel events taking place in the neural substrate, the biological dimension of individuation. In Chapters 10 and 11, we consider the sorts of disturbances that may disrupt the individuation process, how Jung believes they arise, and how analytic therapy is said to work-always with an eye to the underlying brain dynamics and the central question of whether Jung’s psychology is consilient with contemporary biology and therefore built upon a sound basis.