As we grow older we go through transformational processes that bring us closer toward ourselves and who we are comfortable being. We eventually learn who we are in comparison to others and make sense of the world in a way that is unique to our own experience. The process of individuation helps us understand worldly patterns, behaviors and relationships so that we can use the knowledge we receive and cultivate it for growth purposes.

Individuation has to do with distinguishing the part of our psychological function so that we can further understand who we are. It is a period of time in which we start to uncover suppressed memories and attempt to eliminate any traumas that are associated with them. During individuation we become more aware of the thoughts we hold and how they cause us to feel a certain way. We grow as we gain knowledge and choose to develop our own will-power. When we come to discover who we are and who we want to become it has a healing effect on our identity and questions. Individuation in therapy can help us find calmness and harmony in who we are becoming as we promote individual ideals. It helps us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the transformation of others.

Challenges Faced by Individuation

If there has been difficulty during the individuation process you may have issues asserting yourself toward others in meaningful relationships. You might experience increasing amounts of anxiety or self esteem issues as you are engaging in new opportunities. When we choose to become ourselves it isn't as easy as we assume it can be. Some can feel like social misfits after growing up and realizing that they have less in common with family and friends. Being ourselves means expressing the characteristics that make us unique in the way that we think, understand and make decisions. The process doesn't happen quickly and when it does there may be conflict toward family members and society as we don't always want to conform to the environment that we live in. We all face conflict in wanting to be ourselves and have difficulty doing so as it isn't always accepted in our environment. Individuation can be challenging because we want to remain different yet avoid conflict with the external world. As we work with a therapist we can learn how to use strategies that help us identify with who we are without feeling pressured by others who want us to adapt or conform to an accepted identity.

How Individuation Affects the Family

Growing up can be difficult because we aren't always aware of the struggle that is attached to growing up. As we become an adult we are forced to make important decisions that revolve around who we are. There are many similarities that we all endure as we are transitioning away from childhood and going through the individuation process. When we transition away from how our family sees the world it can begin to define who we are. We might build our own perspective and attune to personal feelings. This process takes place throughout our lifetime as it is a continual development. When we are separating from our families it's normal to feel stuck between what we feel obligated to do in honor of our history and what we want to do as an individual who has been molded into someone with diverse wants and needs. Both independence and dependence is attached to adulthood and when we feel that we have to choose between the two it can be tiresome. Counseling helps us during this difficult time by teaching us how to become familiar with ourselves and incorporate that into family or community standards.

How Therapy Can Help

Therapy assists us in getting through this developmental transition by showing us how to see ourselves as an independent person who is competent enough to make personal decisions. We have our own voice and can act autonomously toward others, holding unique ideas and feelings. When this brings up worries and conflict counseling helps us understand the process so that we can learn how to make decisions responsibly yet grow into an individual. Therapy will remain a support system as we work through these conflicts and transformations. It is contributive in allowing us to understand why it's okay to separate who we are from others in order to build a desirable future. It teaches us how to tolerate feelings and thoughts of others with an open mind while also remembering that we have the freedom to assert our own voice. While working with a counselor we'll learn more about the individuation process and why it is necessary for growth. When we mature and work on these building blocks to enhance relationships we can learn to love the process and find joy in becoming who we are.

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