Psychology for Lawyers

transcendent function



"The transcendent function is the core of Carl Jung's theory of psychological growth and the heart of what he called 'individuation,' the process by which one is guided . . . toward the person he or she is meant to be.

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Jung believed that psychological growth and individuation were only possible through an ongoing conversation between consciousness and the unconscious. He felt that every idea, attitude, or image in consciousness was opposed or compensated [or complementary] for by another in the unconscious and that the two struggled with each other in a kind of polarized ance. If these opposites were held in swaying tension, he posited, a new, third thing would emerge that was not a mixture of the two but qualitatively different. This mechanism he called the 'transcendent function." It was key to his thinking because only through a process of engaging in the transcendent function can a person foster the psychological growth that leads to individuation.

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At the heart of the transcendent function is transformation, a shift in consciousness."

--Jeffrey C. Miller, The Transcendent Function: Jung's Model of Psychological Growth through Dialogue with the Unconscious xi, 4 (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2004)

Basic Videos

The Transcendent Function, Reading of Carl Jung's Work
[53:17 mins.]

Spirit and Structure
[9:27 mins.] [Roberto Mangabeira Unger] [possible end of presentation at 2:40 mins.]

Web Resources

James Hillman Preface to Jung's 1916 Essay
James Hillman

The Centrality and Mechanics of the Transcendent Function in Analytical Psychology
Camilo Gallardo

The Application and Development of C.G. Jung’s Transcendent Function in the Therapeutic Treatment of Neurotic/Hysterical Behaviour and Applied in the Treatment of Attempted Suicide Stephen Flynn, Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy

Transcendent Function
Frith Luton, Australia

Jung’s “Transcendent Function”: Detachment, Symbols, & the Type Problem
A.J. Drenth, Personality Junkie

Transcendent Function
Vladislav Solc

Philosophy In Jung's Transcendent Function
Matthew Clapp


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