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Young-Eisendrath, P. (2000). Self and Transcendence: A Postmodern Approach to Analytical Psychology in Practice. Psychoanal. Dial., 10(3):427-441.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 10(3):427-441

Self and Transcendence: A Postmodern Approach to Analytical Psychology in Practice

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.

In the foreground of jung's contributions to psychodynamic theory is the idea that the unity of personality is a struggle both in the moment and over time. Although everyone strives for a coherent and continuous sense of self, this state of being is not easily sustained or ever finally secured. According to Jung, personality is structured as multiple centers of subjectivity, loosely organized around the ego complex with its core of the archetype of self. These “psychological complexes” are experienced as motivating forces with core affective and image components that are highly arousing.

In the following account, I show how Jung's theory of psychological complexes fits with contemporary research on emotions and emotional memory and how his dissociative model of personality is balanced by a theory of integration and unity through the archetype of self. Additionally, I argue that analytical psychology is consonant with postmodernism when its models and methods are understood from a nonessentialist viewpoint that is, in my view, not a revision but an extension of Jung's own thinking.


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