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Hubback, J. (1996). The archetypal senex: An exploration of old age. J. Anal. Psychol., 41(1):3-18.

(1996). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 41(1):3-18

The archetypal senex: An exploration of old age

Judith Hubback, M.A.

This paper contains three sections. The first consists of a circumambulation of some of the themes suggested by Jung's work on the last of the developmental archetypes, offering examples of descriptions culled from poetry and from contemporary Jungian writers. The second section goes into more detail about Jung himself in old age, the senex archetype and its connection with the child and the puer. It deals with losses in old age, and responses and reactions to them: wise acceptance, the stimulation of late creativity, and fury at the frustration of still remaining potentials. The paper attempts to warn against the idealization when someone in the senex stage of life is seen as only the wise old person, and argues for the healthy side of the energetic assertions frequently manifested in the late years of life, which are similar to those of infants and small children. Clinical material is included.

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