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Vocation as psyche’s call: a depth psychological perspective on the emergence of calling through symptoms at midlife

  • Suzanne Nanette CremenEmail author
Article

Abstract

Vocation, as distinct from career, is not something one chooses but something to which one is called. Bringing a depth psychological perspective to debates around calling, I argue that surrendering the ego or personal will into a relationship with the unconscious psyche allows one’s calling to emerge. Using a hybrid qualitative approach drawing on hermeneutics and incorporating interviews with midlife adults, the research shows how calling can arise through darkness, disruption and trouble, paralleling a process of initiation in traditional cultures. Applications of Jungian concepts including psyche, shadow, persona and individuation are discussed. Vocational research and practice implications are raised.

Keywords

Vocation Midlife Jungian psychology 

Resumé

La vocation en tant qu’appel de la psyché: Une perspective de la psychologie des profondeurs appliquée à l’émergence de la vocation à travers des symptômes apparaissant au mitan de la vie La vocation, contrairement à la carrière, n’est pas quelque chose que l’on choisit mais par laquelle on se sent appelé. En appliquant au concept de vocation une perspective basée sur la psychologie des profondeurs, je soutiens que l’abandon du Moi ou de la volonté personnelle dans une relation avec le psychisme inconscient permet à la vocation d’émerger. En utilisant une approche qualitative hybride basée sur l’herméneutique et incorporant des entretiens avec des adultes dans la quarantaine, cette recherche montre comment la vocation peut surgir à travers l’obscurité, la perturbation et le trouble, de façon similaire à un processus d’initiation dans les cultures traditionnelles. Les applications de concepts jungiens tels que la psyché, l’ombre, la persona et l’individuation sont discutées. Les implications sur la recherche et la pratique en psychologie de l’orientation sont également abordées.

Zusammenfassung

Berufung als Ruf der Psyche: Eine tiefenpsychologische Perspektive auf die Entstehung von Calling durch Symptome in der Lebensmitte Berufung ist im Unterschied zur Karriere nicht etwas, das man wählt, sondern etwas, zu dem man berufen ist. Ich bringe eine tiefenpsychologische Perspektive in die Debatte ein und argumentiere, dass die Hingabe des Egos oder des persönlichen Willens in eine Beziehung mit der unbewussten Psyche es ermöglicht, dass die Berufung entsteht. Unter Verwendung eines hybriden qualitativen Ansatzes, der auf Hermeneutik basiert und Interviews mit Erwachsenen im mittleren Lebensalter beinhaltet, zeigt die Forschung, wie Berufung durch Dunkelheit, Brüche und Schwierigkeiten entstehen kann, analog zu Initiationsprozess in traditionellen Kulturen. Die Anwendung von Jungschen Konzepten wie Psyche, Schatten, Persona und Individuation werden diskutiert. Implikationen für die Laufbahnforschung sowie für die Praxis werden besprochen.

Resumen

La vocación como llamada de lapsique: Una perspectiva psicológica profunda sobre la emergencia de la vocación a través de los síntomas en la mediana edad La vocación, a diferencia de la carrera, no es algo que uno elige, sino algo a lo que se es llamado. Desde una perspectiva psicológica profunda, sostengo que dejar que el ego o la voluntad personal entre en una relación con la psique inconsciente permite que surja la llamada. Utilizando un enfoque cualitativo híbrido basado en la hermenéutica e incorporando entrevistas con adultos de mediana edad, la investigación muestra cómo la llamada puede surgir a través de la oscuridad, la disrupción y los problemas, en paralelo a un proceso de iniciación en las culturas tradicionales. Se discuten las aplicaciones de los conceptos de Jung, incluyendo la psique, la sombra, la persona y la individuación. Se plantean las implicaciones para la práctica y de la investigación vocacional.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. The funding source had no involvement in the research design, analysis or interpretation, or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

I have no personal, professional or institutional conflict of interest to declare regarding the research.

Ethical approval

The interview research pertaining to the lived experiences of individuals was reviewed by a faculty sub-committee of La Trobe University Human Ethics Committee and assessed as compliant with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

Informed consent

All research participants received and acknowledged forms including a Participant Information Statement, Consent Form, and Withdrawal of Consent Form (available on request). Participant consent extended to the inclusion of interview content in any journal articles published from the research.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacifica Graduate InstituteCarpinteriaUSA
  2. 2.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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