How do psychological types relate to individuation--the central premise of C. G. Jung's Analytical Psychology? In a series of seminars delivered in 1925, Jung had much to say about that question. Psychological types are also psychic oppositions. The most pronounced opposition is between dominant and inferior; they engage in a contest so dramatic that Jung termed it a "knock-down battle."
Becoming Whole: Jung's Types and Individuation
The Knock-down Battle
Psychological types has too often been mistaken as a means of putting people in categories. Though it is easy to use Jung's model for those purposes, its greater significance is understanding the oppositions at work in a person's psyche.
Jung wondered why so many people had latched on to his chapter 10, a description of the types. He said that chapters 2 and 5, dealing with oppositions and their integration, were far more important.
Well, chapter 10 is just easier to understand and apply. Many "personality type" models have been born from it.
But Jung's types are not personality types. Rather, his compass of types is a means of navigating the tension of opposites that are an essential condition for individuation.
A person born to the intuition side of Jung's compass, for example, might be considered an "intuitive type." Yet to become whole, she must engage in that "knock-down battle" with the opposite side of the compass, allowing sensation to also play a large role.
Someone born to an intuitive disposition sees possibilities everywhere--they are invisible, intangible, and imagined. At some point, she must face practical facts. She will wedge here life between some practical rock and a factual hard place.
At that stuck juncture, she will enlist her rational functions to set her free. Then the auxiliary contest begins. Thinking will find many ways to liberate her, but feeling may not approve of them. So this secondary "fight that takes place in analysis," will be the one that also liberates the dominant/inferior impasse.
Such is the course of individuation, one contest or battle after another as the individual is freed from a one-sided disposition. Her destiny is not to be an intuitive type; it is to become whole.
With Best Regards,
James Graham Johnston