In his important work with psychological types, Jungian analyst John Giannini has emphasized the role of "couplings," recognizing that no function ever acts alone. The most differentiated function is always aided by at least one other function--an auxiliary. The term "couplings" could also apply to the types. As the lead and auxiliary types form a coupling, their opposites in the unconscious are also forming a coupling to hold them in check.
The lead type is home; it is always the most accessible. Even with a highly individuated life, the lead will be the old shoe that feels comfortable and natural. Early in life, it is supported by at least one other type--an auxiliary.
The auxiliary type usually fortifies the sovereign orientation. When this happy relationship occurs, as Jung postulated that it would, an individual's direction in life is more readily discerned. Type couplings are powers seeking to be lived out by the individual.
Less obvious are the powers that oppose the lead: the shadow type and its auxiliary. They are also seeking to be lived out. If the lead coupling becomes extreme, too much suppressing the shadow type and its auxiliary, neurosis is born.
Until the shadow type is made more fully conscious, a "knock-down battle" will be waged between the lead type and the shadow type. Fortunately for each, their auxiliaries will be instrumental in resolving the conflict, for they can find a less combative way to build psychic balance.
Couplings--the lead type and its auxiliary versus the shadow type and its auxiliary--create the dynamic psychic relationships that are the stuff of individuation--becoming whole.
(Note: Our research at Gifts Compass suggests that sometimes more than one auxiliary support the lead, rendering the supportive and oppositional relationships among the types richer and more complex.)
James Graham Johnston
Orienting people to their unique potential.