Denise Grobbelaar:

Psyche: a self-regulating system

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

Jung believed that the psyche operates as a self-regulating system, akin to the body, aiming to maintain internal stability amidst external influences. This equilibrium involves a balance between polarities wherein the psyche integrates unconscious elements like archetypes and complexes into conscious awareness. Through self-discovery and transformation, a process Jung termed ‘individuation’, individuals seek to manifest their unique potential and achieve inner harmony, fostering a sense of wholeness.

Jung's understands the psyche as a dynamic and autonomous system. He emphasized the psyche's capacity for change and evolution over time, believing that it responds uniquely to internal and external influences. According to Jung, the psyche gives specific answer to these influences, actively engaging with stimuli both within and outside the individual. Rather than reacting in a predetermined or automatic manner, the psyche responds in a way that is unique and specific to each individual. Jung states "The psyche does not merely react, it gives its own specific answer to the influences at work upon it" (CW 4 ¶ 665)

For Jung, the self-regulating function of the psyche involves a continual process of dynamic equilibrium, seeking balance and harmony amidst the ever-changing demands of life. The psyche possesses an innate capacity for adaptation, creativity, and self-expression. Instead of being dictated solely by external factors or predetermined instincts, the psyche actively shapes its own responses based on a complex interplay of conscious and unconscious elements, even if this may appear maladaptive to the external observer.

One key aspect of the self-regulating function is the integration of unconscious contents into conscious awareness. Jung believed that the unconscious mind harbors a wealth of symbolic and archetypal material that influences conscious experience in profound ways. Through processes such as dream analysis, active imagination, symbolic interpretation, and sand play, individuals can access and integrate these unconscious contents, leading to greater self-understanding and psychological wholeness!

Further, Jung states: “Now it is a peculiarity of psychic functioning that when the unconscious counteraction is suppressed it loses its regulating influence. It then begins to have an accelerating and intensifying effect on the conscious process. It is as though the counteraction had lost its regulating influence, and hence its energy, altogether, for a condition then arises in which not only no inhibiting counteraction takes place, but in which its energy seems to add itself to that of the conscious direction.” (CW8 ¶ 160)

Written for @jungsouthernafrica References:

  1. Jung, C. G. (1967). Some crucial points in psychoanalysis: A correspondence between Dr. Jung and Dr. Loy (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). In H. Read et al. (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 4. Freud and psychoanalysis (pp. 252-289). Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1914)
  2. Jung, C. G. (1969). On the nature of the psyche (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). In H. Read et al. (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 8. Structure and dynamics of the psyche (2nd ed., pp. 159-234). Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1954)

Image credit: Carl Jung, The Red Book

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Posted in Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey), Psyche, The Unconscious on Mar 05, 2024.