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Wellbeing Insights

The Acorn Theory/Individuation

May 2022
— Reading Time: 2 minutes

We have Chris Mackey, principal psychologist at Chris Mackey and Associates, to thank for introducing us to the concepts of Acorn Theory and Individuation of Carl Jung. Recently, Chris was the guest speaker at the launch of my manifesto. In correspondence with us, Chris wrote: “[in my address] I’ll likely focus on Jung’s notion of the ‘Acorn Theory,’ whereby every person has the seed within them to develop optimally according to their unique set of strengths and characteristics. He [Jung] referred to this notion of individuation. Most traditional cultures have such a notion – the Romans spoke of genius, the Greeks spoke of daimon, and in our culture we might use a term like destiny. my manifesto, in aiming to assist people to gain clarity, insights and direction in life, is singing from the same song sheet as Jung in this regard.”

At my manifesto we believe that every individual knows themselves better than any other knows them. We also know that every individual may not be able to bring forth that knowledge in a way that assists them to find their place in the world, to live in ways that are meaningful to them. However, they have “the seed within them to develop optimally.” Every individual may also enjoy working with an empathic, supportive partner when bringing forth their optimal growth. Whilst this work is assuredly possible to pursue alone – and some may prefer to do it that way – others will benefit from a collaboration which ‘holds them safe,’ guides them through, recognises their inherent worth, while they do the work.

Self-actualisation, the peak of Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, also comes to mind. Meeting the requirements of the base level of the pyramid – physiological needs such as food, water, and air – are everyone’s first imperatives in order to survive. However, beyond those, the yearning of the human psyche to fulfill higher existential needs, is also a moral imperative. A life well-lived, is a life which self- actualises. Sadly, not all of us will reach the apex of our pyramid, but we all must try.

Chris also offered another insight into my manifesto’s service, “my manifesto seems like a streamlined tool to address the same interest [optimal life path]. Individuation is an ongoing life process, and my manifesto is likely to be a very helpful pointer along the way.” Indeed, we are proud to take a place in the line from Jung and Maslow. If we can assist individuals along their way to their optimal life, we will be fulfilling our purpose of ‘bringing the gift of clarity, focus and inspiration to people’s lives’.

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