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Jacobi, J. (1958). The Process of Individuation: A Study in Developmental Psychology. J. Anal. Psychol., 3(2):95-114.

(1958). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 3(2):95-114

The Process of Individuation: A Study in Developmental Psychology

Jolande Jacobi

The true scientific knowledge now consists not only of answers to the question, What? Knowledge is only complete when the Whither has also been discovered and linked with a kindred Whence. Science is only brought to the level of understanding when it embraces origin, progress and end.

J. J. Bachofen (1861), “Introduction” to Das Mutterrecht

If we wish to look closely at Jung's position and at his answer to the questions raised by the problems of developmental psychology, we cannot do better than study his exposition of that psychic process which he has called the process of individuation. The nature, phenomenology, and laws of this process form the cornerstone of his teaching.

The word itself, and the concept of the process of individuation, appear first in Jung's Psychological Types, written in 1921, but the idea itself had already been implied in 1902 as a leading idea in his doctoral thesis, “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena”. [There he says (1957, Coll. Wks., p. 79), “It is therefore inevitable that the phenomena of double consciousness are simply new character formations or attempts of the future personality to break through…. The somnambulisms sometimes have an eminently teleological significance, in that they give the individual, who would otherwise inevitably succumb, the means of victory.”] The theme was to remain with him all his life, culminating in his recently published two-volume work, Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955-6). In his early paper he came to the conclusion that the “spirits” which appeared in the course of the séance with a medium revealed the breaking through of autonomous part-personalities which, hidden together with the unseen components of a more extensive personality, were at an unconscious level of the medium's psyche.

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