The Development of the Self in Women: A Post-Jungian Perspective

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In evolving his ideas on psychological development, CG Jung regards the archetypes of the Feminine (nurturing, interrelatedness, immersion in life, empathy) and the Masculine (autonomous, separateness, aggressiveness) as important for development and individuation. Jung argues that women instinctively have more of these Feminine qualities and live in a Feminine consciousness, while men have more of a Masculine consciousness. These ideas became obsolete (out-dated) as more research on modern women became available.

Post-Jungian thinking has led to an understanding that the Feminine and Masculine are basic archetypal principles open to both genders from birth, and that these patterns can be used to explain the developmental patterns of ego-consciousness and the Self. Post-Jungian thinking is sensitive in exploring the ways in which these modes of consciousness and archetypes are constellated in women (different from men) as a result of specific biological, gender, cultural and societal experiences.

This paper will briefly explore some aspects of post-Jungian thinking on the archetypal Masculine and Feminine. It will then use Hill’s post-Jungian understanding of the Feminine and Masculine as a model for the developmental patterns of ego-consciousness and the Self to delineate and integrate the writings of some prominent post-Jungian thinkers on the various archetypal Feminine and Masculine structures present in modern women in a patriarchal westernized society.

The paper explores further how these patterns present themselves in modern women as a result of possible personal and cultural experiences, how they impact on modes of consciousness and how these impact on the broader developmental patterns of ego-consciousness and the Self of women in a patriarchal westernized society.


Keywords: Women's Studies, Post-Jungian Psychology, Psychological Development of Women, Masculine and Feminine Archetypes, Individuation
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , , , ,


Dr. Loura Griessel

Senior lecturer, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State
Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I am a Counseling Psychologist, responsible for various courses in personal development at the School of Management, as well as the professional training of Psychometrists in the Department of Industrial Psychology. I also have a part time psychology practice. I am specifically interested in Jungian psychology and mythology.

Prof. Martina Kotzé

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State
Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I am an Industrial Psychologist, teaching Organisation Behaviour and Self Development courses at the School of Management, as well as in the Department of Industrial Psychology. I also have a part time practice, where my focus is mainly on organisation development interventions and psychometric assessment for selection and development purposes. I enjoy the outdoor life, reading and spending time with good friends and family.

Ref: I08P0562