Individuation: finding oneself in analysis – taking risks and making sacrifices



Abstract:  This paper looks at some of the processes that are at work in finding oneself in analysis. It explores Jung's unique contribution to our thinking about the self and its dynamic of individuation. The author attempts to show how the Self, in its quest for consciousness, requires the surrendering of ego inflation—the narcissistic delusion that the ego is the self. A case is made for seeing analysis as an individuation process which offers the opportunity for experiences of a more authentic sense of oneself. Jung stated that individuation requires the ego to enter into service of the Self. For this to happen, the author argues that both patient and analyst must be prepared to make sacrifices and take risks. Using clinical examples, he illustrates that, although purposive, the Self can be experienced as violent and destructive if the ego is unable to facilitate its expression. This may result in an individuation crisis for both analyst and patient. The paper demonstrates how impasse in analysis can evoke the transcendent function, which also requires sacrifices to be made and risks to be taken for analysis to proceed.