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Storr, A. (1983). Individuation and the Creative Process. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(4):329-343.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(4):329-343

Individuation and the Creative Process

Anthony Storr, F.R.C.P., F.R.C.Psych.

It is the Purpose of this paper to affirm that, although Jung seems to have denied it, the individuation process and the creative process are closely analogous. Both artists and scientists are concerned with bringing about new syntheses, and with integrating opposites; and the state of mind which artists and scientists describe as conducive to new discovery is the same as that which Jung advocated for active imagination. In order to demonstrate this, it is necessary to recall some of Jung's fundamental hypotheses about mental health, mental illness, and the development of personality.

At the time when Jung was writing his doctoral dissertation, ‘On the psychology of so-called occult phenomena’, psychiatrists were fascinated by the observations of Morton Prince and Pierre Janet on cases of so-called ‘multiple personality’; and it will be recalled that the subject of Jung's dissertation was his fifteen-year-old cousin, Hélène Preiswerk, who claimed to be a medium, controlled by a variety of personalities who spoke through her. Before Freud's concept of repression became widely employed, the term used to describe such phenomena was ‘dissociation’; and Jung, who had studied under Pierre Janet in Paris, continued to think of personality as being capable of dissociation into a number of subsidiary personalities, any of which could temporarily take over the executive rôle. Although Jung later accepted the idea of repression in the Freudian sense of making the unacceptable unconscious, and indeed provided experimental proof of repression with his word-association tests, he continued to think and write in terms of dissociation.

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