It has been nearly nine months since the fetus has been indulging in its carefree life in its mother’s womb. Being in a symbiotic relationship with its mother, it feels as if it is in paradise. just like Adam and Eve, leading a breezy life in the garden of Eden, close to God and under his watchful eyes. But there must come a time in a person’s life when they have to leave their Garden of Eden and start real life.
Thus, birth begins. Birth is the first psychological obstacle, and the way the baby overcomes this challenge might influence its behavior and development. Some hindrances to vaginal birth can cause a birth complex that reveals itself in adulthood. For instance, when the baby’s umbilical cord is blocked at birth, its body remembers this, and in adulthood, they might get anxious while tying the tie.
“Existence precedes essence,” said Sartre, which means that humans first exist and later give themselves essence. Psychology analyzes how a particular person’s environment and perceptions determine their essence. From my point of view, complexes control people and determine their behaviors and choices in life. Complexes are emotionally charged emotions that have a history. Most complexes reside in the unconscious and reveal themselves when given power.
Psychologists use different methods to determine which complex controls a person. One of the most interesting tests that determine complexes is the Association test devised by Jung. During the test, patients are presented with stimulus words and asked to respond with the first word or phrase that comes to mind. Later, the psychoanalyst analyzes the patterns in the answers and understands repressed emotions and complexes.
To make complexes harmless, patients must undergo several stages with the help of psychologists. For the first stage, the patients must start the process of self-awareness; they should acknowledge their imperfections, deny aspects of their personalities, and have complex histories. This process is presented in Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” where Dante reaches Inferno (inner hell, part of the unconscious where restrained complexes reside) and later starts traveling in the opposite direction toward Purgatory, where Dante tries to overcome his imperfections.
This leads to the next stage, where, with conscious effort, emotional distress, and corrections made by psychologists, patients transfer complexes. The final stage is when Dante reaches heaven and meets God (the creator within us). This happens once patients accept and integrate complexes. With this, the complexes lose their power, and the symptoms start to diminish. Therefore, the patient is cured.
However, Jung noticed that despite being cured, in some of his patients, the analysis did not stop; the unconscious started sending signals through dreams that the patient was undergoing some other process, which Jung called individuation. Individuation is when, as Nietzsche said, you, “Become who you are.” After this, the person turns into the artist of their life. This journey should be taken alone, without the involvement of a psychologist, to reach the highest point of a psychological state free from all influences.
Mariam is from the Republic of Georgia. She is a student at UConn and is studying philosophy. She loves literature, psychology, and art.