May 12-13, 2006: Valerie Hone

"Private and public cannot be separated." – James Hillman


According to Jung, personal complexes are "splinter psyches." One implication of this is that as individuals we disavow parts of ourselves when a complex is activated within our psyches. This is a common occurrence for all of us, as complexes express themselves in powerful moods, affects, repetitive behaviors and tones of voice and body language.The disavowed part of ourselves is typically projected onto others. Jung frequently asserted that a complex is a natural, essential ingredient of psychological life. But we often suffer with our complexes as they cause intrapsychic and interpersonal unrest in our lives. Consciously reclaiming, integrating, and healing our personal complexes is a curious and demanding life task, but one necessary for our individuation process. 

The dictionary defines a culture as "the way of life of a people," and Jung frequently asserted that a complex is a natural, essential ingredient of psychological life. San Francisco analysts, Kimbles and Singer, have formulated the concept of the cultural complex. Their new perspective asserts that a group or culture has a psyche, similar to the individual psyche, and that within the collective psyche complexes can manifest. These manifestations can cause chaos and danger, but this modern development of Jung’s complex theory also holds the hope that we may eventually understand the forces of conflict, acknowledge and own our group participation in the complex, and transform the complex into a collaborative and peaceful resolution. While this hope may seem idealistic, a new vision of how groups relate with one another is imperative for an individuation process to occur within cultures.Without this vision we will continue to operate within the age-old perils. In this lecture and workshop, Dr Hone will identify and illustrate with slides the nature of personal and cultural complexes and how they are enacted in our everyday lives as well as in the global arena. She will explore how we project the disowned parts of ourselves onto our spouses, children, bosses and onto other races, religions and genders. In dialogue with the participants in the workshop, Dr Hone will demonstrate how it is possible to reclaim the disavowed parts of our psyches and she will demonstrate how differentiation of complexes can clarify and give meaning to the individual and collective confusion in our psyches and lives.


VALERIE HONE, Ph.D. is an Analyst and faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where she is also on the training committees. She lectures and teaches nationally and maintains a private practice in Lafayette, California.

Personal and Cultural Complexes