Training Process vs. Individuation Process

In this paper, I am voicing the feelings of both the training analysts and trainees. We find ourselves under the pressure of the state and the insurance companies. They are beginning to control our work and almost dictate our therapy.

Arwind Vasavada, Ph.D., Dipl. Jungian Analyst (Chicago, Illinois)

Paper presented at the October 25-28, 1995, meeting of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts at Tucson, Arizona


In this paper, I am voicing the feelings of both the training analysts and trainees. We find ourselves under the pressure of the state and the insurance companies. They are beginning to control our work and almost dictate our therapy. As we assess the cost of training to trainees and as we satisfy the requirements of the state, we have to make Jung's psychology—which is a path of wisdom—into a technique. Technique has a place in training. We have to teach major concepts intellectually. But because of the pressures mentioned above, neither the training analyst nor the trainee have enough time to assimilate the important message of Jung, which is to discover the religious function within and its deeper implications. I mean to ponder over the meaning of the second half of life, i.e., discovering the eternal and immortal. I will try to make these points clear as I go along.

I believe some of us are beginning to be aware that something is not quite right somewhere.

Let us ask why we chose analytical psychology and not some other discipline to be trained in. What is found in analytical psychology which is not found elsewhere? Jung's psychology speaks to something deeper within us; it resonates with our natural, inner demand to discover undivided wholeness. Life tells us that there is something sacred, and unless we are in touch with it, life is meaningless.


By now, there are training institutes almost all over the world. They require certain qualifications from those who wish to be trained as Jungian analysts. In this country, most of the institutes require post—graduate degrees; in fact, medical degrees are preferred. They require, either a post—graduate degree, or some such degree so that a trainee can practice and be recognized by state laws. We ask candidates to have a certain number of hours of clinical experience also. Thus, we have no place for those without these qualifications. The desire to be free, to touch the sacred, is inborn in all persons. Can we ignore them?

Let us inquire, do these qualifications help us to individuate better? It is obvious that they only give us a respectable persona. Why do our institutes set such requirements of trainees? Is it not because they too wish to present a respectable persona before similar institutions? Can we not be individuated if we do not become a professional analyst? Is it imperative to be trained as a professional Jungian analyst to be individuated? Let us ask ourselves, what really inspired us to call a Jungian analyst to make our first appointment? It is a very important question which will tell us what is really driving us on this path. Was it the inner urge to be individuated, or to be a professional Jungian analyst?

One can say that being trained as a Jungian analyst will keep me in touch with my journey to individuation while working with and helping those who come to me for help. This can be true. It could sincerely be the original urge with any one of us. But we have to reflect from time to time, whether or not we are able to do that fully or whether we are enmeshed in unnecessary chores. Are we able to reflect with all the kinds of demands we make on ourselves? I am referring to the common desire to make money and name by producing papers, by participating in the administration of the institute and by any other employment we may have. I know we cannot ignore these functions we have to perform. But what is also important along with this is to be in touch with our inner journey, with our individuation. I will come back later to what this journey really means.

Jung's psychology attracts us because it opens before us the unknown depths of the psyche and makes us aware of the religious function within. As soon as we enter the training programs, we get interested in learning the technique and gathering all the information available about all the aspects of analytical psychology and the requirements for examinations. We become concerned with crossing the different stages of examinations. We have invested so much into training and we would like to finish it, so that we will be qualified to practice and start getting the return for our investment. How much time do we have to digest, to assimilate the information we are acquiring? There is so much reading to be done. Then, at a later stage, we get busy writing cases and dissertations. We, in spite of ourselves, get driven, which hardly leaves time for assimilation. We cannot make what we are learning a part of our life because of the pressure. We postpone assimilation for the future, that is, after getting our diploma and starting our practice. Our attention is fixed on examinations and finishing the training. Are we able to do all that later? Let us reflect. How these pressures force us to be smart.

We have to be careful whom to work with, who is in power. The person who walked with us all the way—the personal analyst—has no say in our examinations, etc. We are also concerned to find the right person to help us writing out cases and dreams for evaluation. We are intent on crossing the stages of the journey to get the diploma. This is the totally engaging concern.

But what does the diploma certify? Does it certify that we are on the way to individuation or that we are qualified to practice as a professional analyst? The administration sees this and tries to find ways and means to assess where a trainee is on the journey to individuation. Is it possible to asses it? Dreams may show something—by symbols and other indications—but does that say we are really individuating? Our contact with trainees is never allowed to be intimate. It is very formal. Many trainees see more than one analyst, for reasons best known to them. In some cases, even the analyst has not sufficient contact with the trainee because the trainee is flitting from one analyst to another. We see them for so many hours. Most of us avoid meeting them on a social level. An analyst cannot say how the analysand is living his life, nor does the analysand know anything about the analyst. There is hardly any contact of a deeper kind, entering into the heart-mind of each other. I do not mean this contact has to be on an emotional level. When two people meet with the intention to discover one another's depth, a sacred place is naturally created. All work happens in that place. This sacred place is created in any sincere meeting when the people are open regardless of the brand of therapy. There is a different kind of knowing when two have met on that level for sufficient time. Do we have such a contact, have we touched ourselves and the other's at that sacred spot?

I think such a contact is very necessary at least in the journey to individuation. Dreams are not helpful in telling us what we really wish to know. Although, they are the objective factors helping us to assess the trainee. The personal analyst who has traveled along with him in the pilgrimage can know. And the other real test is the person himself. Every step on the way to wholeness involves casting off veil after veil of identification. We do not care to know about a trainee at that level, nor have we any such opportunity.

We need to ask a different question here. We clearly see that something is wrong in the system. How does it happen that a trainee, who came to discover wholeness, to touch the sacred, begins instead, to be smart and clever and strays away from the path? The rot seems to be somewhere in the beginning stage, at the earlier level. Why do we not sit together, even include the trainee and correct it? We all need to sit together and find a way to keep a space for inner growth, which the pressures from the outside do not permit. I think this would fall in with the Jungian spirit.

I compare the stage of training to equipping ourselves to the first half of life. We are preparing ourselves for a profession. We wish to make a name, earn money and maintain an image in the world. We are gathering all relevant information for the profession. This is all outwardly directed activity. There is hardly any looking within, which belongs to the second half, the sunset of life, which is the heart of Jung's psychology. Looking within, which is the heart of Jung's psychology, is left to evolve by itself and is not fostered, since there is hardly any time for it.

We thought that working with clients later on and going along with them on this journey would help us to individuate. It can help, provided we have a lot of leisure time just to do nothing but to assimilate experiences with clients and our dreams, without drivenness of any kind.

Many of us get involved with administration after graduation, which is also all right. It seems that having gotten the diploma we feel that we have learned everything we needed to learn. We hardly have communion with our colleagues so that we may learn from their experiences. We do not meet with them except on committees and in administrative work. Of course, we have our conferences where we present papers showing what we have learned. A conference has its place, but what is important is dialogue among ourselves to explore more deeply into the psyche in order to lead our life in a religious spirit, and to see whether there is something even beyond what Jung has said.

When I was learning in Zurich, I came to know how many of the students of Jung, who were training analysts then, often used to visit Jung and discuss their dreams, etc. with him. Jung too was open to listen to them and often visited them on a personal level.

Let us ask, why do we need so many hours of clinical experience and knowledge of diagnostics for ourselves and also for our trainees? It is true that it is very helpful in understanding different aspects of the human mind. One important advantage is that we can lead a non-normal from his neurosis to be a productive member of the society. Further, it helps us to get licensed so that third party payments can be taken. This is also helpful to clients since they do not have to pay so much. But we are now becoming aware how much the insurance companies have started to control our work.

We also find that our requirements for trainees exclude certified Jungian analysts from becoming members of like societies. A Jungian analyst from Zurich or Chicago may not be acceptable to societies located in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

We see something else here as well. By requiring clinical experience, we have opted for a medical model. We are competing with medicine. Let us recall what happened when psychiatry was newly discovered. A physician used to take care of all kinds of patients, including neurotic ones. When psychiatry came in, the physician saw a psychiatrist as an interfering person taking away a part of his practice. There was a period of struggle between them for some time before psychiatry was recognized and respected as an independent discipline in its own right. A physician had to recognize it, since they both belonged to the common faculty. The physician studies the body and the psychiatrist the brain, but it still is the study of the body. Do we have anything in common with them? Do we at all fit in with medicine? Our care and concern is the soul of a person. It is because of this that a psychiatrist also wants to be a Jungian analyst. I think our place is more with a priest and a religious man. Let us not forget what Jung has said in the first chapter of Psychology and Alchemy. It is because the priests had not been able to deliver the goods that they came to Jung to learn his psychology. They still come to our institutions to learn what Jung has taught and to revitalize the religious function. Are we not giving up our unique place by falling into the medical model?

We may ask in retrospect, was it necessary to undergo all this kind of training to be a licensed therapist in order to individuate? The path to individuation has to be uncluttered, free of any kind of fear, with no pressure of any kind. Being in training does not permit that. The training sets a goal for us and we also set one for ourselves. The pressure of money is the first, then there is the pressure of examinations. We are under constant pressure and fear.

Now, we are all Jungian analysts, we have the experience both of our training and the training of analysts. Look at how we go on increasing demands for more qualifications from our trainees and burden them with more readings. We are seeing difficulties which the institutional setting brings. I mean the power politics, and the difficulty in assessing the growth of a trainee. We have to think deeply and find a new model of training which gives more freedom to ourselves and to those who work with us, for assimilating the experiences of life.

Murray Stein, in a personal communication, states very clearly what the training programs are like. "In our training, we emphasize the professional aspects of carrying on a practice of psychotherapy within the collective, the state's rules, the current conception of profession, etc." When we opt for training a professional analyst, we are bound by state laws. We have to accommodate our teaching according those requirements. Looking at the cost of the training to trainees, we have to accommodate training accordingly. Can we find a way to open a space to accommodate the path of wisdom along with training?

We can easily see the constraint that we have chosen to be under. We are compelled to make Jung's teaching into a technique. Can the path of wisdom be made into a technique? We have seen above the difficulties, which we, as well as our trainees, encounter all because we have opted for collective approval. The main emphasis of Jung's psychology is to be totally free of the collective - which is individuation. This statement can be misunderstood. It can mean being totally irresponsible. Individuation is not running away from the collective, but rather respecting it and also knowing its limitation. An individuated person is free of collective pressure because he lives a spontaneous and creative life. Why do we have to fall into this trap knowingly? What happens if we do not? At least let us try to imagine the situation we shall have to face if we choose not to train professional analysts.

First and foremost, we have to face our fears. Dissolution of the training institute will mean losing many important positions in our own eyes and the eyes of others. We shall lose our status among other similar institutions and lose many other advantages.

We will be left alone to fend for ourselves. We become unsure whether anyone will come for Jungian analysis simply for the sake of being individuated and thus we shall lose money and also status. The path of individuation is the path of wisdom. The drive for name and fame blind us from seeing life as a whole. It casts a veil over the sacred and the holy. It is ego-centric losing touch with the perspective of the totality. The path of wisdom precludes nothing, it includes everything. One may have fame and money if it is his part of destiny and fate. The fear of losing everything makes us of aware of our identification with status and money. Need we go further?

We have noted earlier that Jung's main contribution to Western consciousness is to let people see and experience the religious function within, that it is one's vital need which cannot be ignored too long, especially by those who have already started the pilgrimage. By the time Jung came on the scene of the Western world, psychology had lost first the soul, then the mind and was left only with body and behaviorism. It was Jung who through his untiring zeal and personal experience, let people also experience that there is more to a man than his body. He let us see the inner demand to be totally free, to discover Self. Shall we liquidate this precious gift of Jung?

Thus, we see that Jung's psychology is the psychology of the second half of life, the sunset of life. Let us examine this concept, which Jung has made very clear in an essay, "The Stages of Life" in Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Life takes a turn in the mid 40's. We begin to realize that the body cannot go along with the desires and habits of the mind. It is a complete reversal of the first half of life. Our personality type and functions start to change into their opposites. We begin to experience a split between mind and body. It is a warning signal telling us, we cannot go on the way we were going. We have to take stock of our life. We also begin to feel that this drama of life can and will end sometime. We cannot count on anything external to support us or help us against the impending end. It is time to face fear of death. We see the transience of life. We cannot and do not find anything that will help us to continue as we were before when we were young. Is there something unending, undying, and eternal? This is the awakening of the religious function within. We wish to discover something immortal and timeless. We wish to touch the sacred. I think this is the most important message of Jung.

To the extent we really begin to experience that all this drama—the actor, the acting and the stage we are acting—will disappear, we also begin to see the futility of holding on to anything external: name, fame, position and bank account, etc. Attachment to external things also begins to drop away gradually. To that extent, we begin to experience enormous energy and solidity within. I call that the supportless support of everything - we may give it any name we like after experiencing it. From that solid place within, we begin to see our interrelatedness and interdependence with all and everything. From this it becomes clear to us that we are not dependent but interdependent. The universe takes care of us all. This is called compassion by mystics and prophets.

We see that the demands of individuation are very stiff. It makes us almost totally naked. Yet to discover who we really are, we have only to give up that which will, in any case, ultimately be given up, go away, or be snatched away from us. Why not then give it up willingly and discover one's inner freedom and unity with the universe, and live creatively? The universe, of which our world is a part, is cosmos; it is not a chaos. There is order and intelligence. Can we trust in this order? I think therapy in the true sense begins only from this creative and fearless source.

Jung experienced this and has said it very clearly in Dream Seminar Vol. I: "...so always the inner experience of individuation has been appreciated as the most valuable and important thing in life. It is the only thing that brings any lasting satisfaction to a man. Power, glory, wealth mean nothing in comparison. These things are external and futile. The really important things are within. It is more important to me that I am happy than that I have the external reason for happiness. Rich people should be happy but often they are bored to death; therefore, it is ever so much better for man to work to produce an inner condition that gives him an inner happiness. Experience shows that there are certain psychological conditions in which man gets eternal results. They have something of the quality of eternity, of timelessness, they have the quality of reaching beyond man. They have a Divine quality and yield all that satisfaction which man-made things do not."

Let me summarize the issues I have raised, which many of us are aware of.

Our training programs need rethinking because they are not going well. They are really not bringing the cream of Jung's teaching home to the trainees. Jungian training is seen by a few trainees as the frosting on the cake. They are already known therapists and have offices. Jungian training make them more saleable in the marketplace.

We see that to be individuated one needs freedom from any outside pressure. Can we find an alternative process by means of which we may somehow bring home the message of Jung? We want to awaken the inborn religious function within each one of us. This is the cream of Jung's teaching.

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