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THE INDIVIDUATION PROCESS The Structure of the Process of Psychic Maturation At the beginning of his essay “Man and His Symbols,” C. G. Jung presented the concept of the unconscious, with its personal and collective structures and the ways in which it manifests in symbols. Once we have recognized the profound meaning of the symbols of the unconscious, the problem of their interpretation still remains. In this regard Jung showed that a great deal depends on whether or not a dream interpretation rings true for the dreamer, since dreams can only really perform their meaningful function within the framework of conscious reactions. In Jung’s consideration of the unconscious, however, this led to the further question of what meaning a person’s dream life might have as a whole, that is: what is the significance of dreams, not just in terms of the immediate regulation of our psychic equilibrium, but for our life as a whole? In the course of observing the dreams of a great number of people (it has been estimated that he himself worked on at least eighty thousand dreams), Jung discovered that dreams are of significance not only for the life of an individual but that, taken as a totality, they represent parts of an immense “web of destiny,” which seems to exhibit a dynamic structure that applies to humanity altogether. Jung called the development of this existential pattern the process of individuation. Since night after night our dreams produce new scenes and images, many dreamers might tend to overlook this large-scale pattern; but when we interpret our dreams over a long period of time, we see that many themes appear repeatedly, then disappear and reappear again. In fact many people dream frequently about the same figures, landscapes, and situations, and these pass through a gradual process of change. Moreover, this process of change can be considerably accelerated by effective interpretation of the dreams. Thus our dream life actually resembles a woven pattern in which individual threads are visible at one moment, disappear the next, and then unexpectedly appear again.1 As this process goes on, it gradually becomes clear that a hidden goal-orientation is at work in it, which is bringing about a slow psychic growth. This is a process of self-realization, of becoming

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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