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The Handbook of Knowledge-Based Coaching: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE by Diane Brennan, Leni Wildflower

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THE MIDLIFE EXPERIENCE AND CARL JUNG

Jung was the first theorist and practitioner to write extensively on the experience of midlife (1961). Although Jung didn’t coin the term midlife crisis, his contribution to this concept cannot be underestimated. He described his own midlife experience as an “inner journey” and, in a phrase borrowed from the sixteenth-century mystic John of the Cross, a “dark night of the soul.” According to later researchers and therapists, the age at which people go through this experience varies widely—from late thirties to midfifties. In Jungian terms, “finding one’s soul” or “self” involves confronting the unconscious and integrating its elements into one’s consciousness. For Jung, this was a spiritual journey. He conceptualized ...

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