Adaption & Restoration, III: Stages

My previous post outlined four elements commonly associated with the process of adaption and restoration. These four elements (projection, quest, unity in multiplicity, and the persona) move through three stages (differentiation, confrontation, and reunion) in order to help an individual gradually separate her-/himself from the persona, confront the depths of unconscious activity, and reconcile the multiplicity of conflicting elements within the psyche to create psychological balance.[1] This post describes the three stages of differentiation, confrontation, and reunion.



The first stage of differentiation consists of an initial crisis presented as a conflict of opposites (multiplicity). Although not usually perceived as such by the individual, this initial crisis represents the psyche’s call to adaption and restoration, and initiates an internal quest that leads to a period of introversion and introspection.[2] Differentiation aims to break up the substance of the personality, to separate it, and all residual elements, from the persona.[3] Dealing with a wounded and suffering the personality,[4] differentiation isolates the personality from the organizational aspects of the psyche (i.e., the self and the ego) to evaluate the compatibility of current features of consciousness with newly revealed unconscious information in an effort to facilitate incorporation of this new unconscious material into consciousness.[5] The only remedy to this crisis that presents itself during differentiation is for an individual to confront the cause of her/his inner conflict, and learn its purpose within the psyche.[6]



During the second stage of confrontation, the conscious gains awareness of the inner working of the psyche.[7] Until this point, the individual’s psychic energy has been focused on external activity. During confrontation, that energy turns inward to “nourish […] the creative and spiritualized part” of the individual.[8] To complete this next level of interior activity, confrontation requires the further differentiation[9] of any as yet undifferentiated elements through direct encounter with, and assessment of problems within, the psyche.[10] Jung stressed the importance of encountering and reconciling psychic conflict, since balance and self-regulation depend on uniting psychic opposites.[11]To complete this continued differentiation, the stage confrontation includes a metaphorical death to the world[12] that destroys the identity[13] in preparation for a “birth of inner consciousness”[14] through which reunion is made possible.[15]



The final stage of individuation, the coniunctio (conjunction) or reunion, involves widening an individual’s conscious experience to create a more comprehensive psychological outlook.[16] Reunion resolves the conflict of opposites within the psyche and brings harmony, creating conditions for psychological wholeness.[17] Through this inner resolution of conflict, an individual may regain her/his role in the world with a heightened level of awareness.[18] The reunion of previously separated and conflicting elements (i.e., multiplicity) does not occur on its own. The process requires an archetypal mediator, which appears in the form of the shadow.[19]


Combined with the previously mentioned elements of adaption and restoration, these three stages aim to integrate the traumatic experience, and the unconscious material it reveals, into the individual’s consciousness.


Next time: The Goal of the Elements and Stages of Adaption and Restoration: Integration of Unconscious Material



[1] James Gollnick, “A Jungian Perspective on Religion and the Ideal Individual,” Dialogue and Alliance 10, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 1996):74-6.

[2] M.-L.von Franz, “The Process of Individuation,” in Man and His Symbols, ed. C. G. Jung (New York: Dell, 1968), 169-70.

[3] Bettina L. Knapp, Theatre and Alchemy (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1980), 32.

[4] von Franz, “The Process of Individuation,” 169.

[5] Murray Stein, Practicing Wholeness: Analytical Psychology and Jungian Thought (New York: Continuum, 1996), 68.

[6] von Franz, “The Process of Individuation,” 170.

[7] Murray Stein, Practicing Wholeness: Analytical Psychology and Jungian Thought (New York: Continuum, 1996), 70.

[8] Knapp, Theatre and Alchemy, 88.

[9] C. G. Jung, Collected Works: Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy, trans. R. F. C. Hull, 2nd ed., Vol. 14 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), par. 671.

[10] Knapp, Theatre and Alchemy, 11.

[11 C. G. Jung, Collected Works: Practice of Psychotherapy, trans. R. F. C. Hull, Vol. 16 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), par. 212. See also: C.G.Jung, The Portable Jung, ed. Joseph Campbell, trans. R. F. C. Hull. (New York: Penguin Books, 1976); C. G. Jung, Collected Works: Psychological Types, trans. R. F. C. Hull, Vol. 6 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), par.1921.

[12] Jung, CW 14:670.

[13] Stein, Practicing Wholeness, 70

[14] Knapp, Theatre and Alchemy, 88.

[15] Jung, CW 14:670.

[16] Stein, Practicing Wholeness, 74.

[17] Knapp, Theatre and Alchemy, 13.

[18] Stein, Practicing Wholeness, 72. According to Jung, the shadow archetype is the initial form in which the unconscious introduces itself, and is usually the first psychic aspect an individual encounters. Jung describes the shadow as, an aspect of the psyche which “personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about [her- or] himself”( C. G. Jung, Collected Works: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, trans. R. F. C. Hull, 2nd ed., Vol. 9.1 [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990], par.513).

[19] Jung, CW 14:658.

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