Dissertation Title:

The Journey to Wholeness: Individuation in the Highly Sensitive Person


Katherine Gillin

Date, Time & Place:

October 7, 2021 at 11:00 am


A cultural complex assesses the heritable trait of high sensitivity in negative terms, leading those who identify as highly sensitive persons with a sense of shame and guilt. This study reviews current research on the trait as it exists and furthers an examination of it with a focus on high sensitivity’s manifestations in psyche’s other realms, such as the cultural unconscious, the realm of archetype, and in the transcendent nature of the Self. The psychological community lacks studies expanding an understanding of the trait in this way, and a depth psychological approach is best suited for this type of research. This hermeneutic inquiry seeks to identify how high sensitivity appears in the unconscious and, when it does, how that appearance impacts psychological growth as viewed in light of Jung’s theory of psychological development. Utilizing a depth psychological approach, high sensitivity is explored in terms of the cultural complex, high sensitivity’s involvement with symbol and archetype, its appearance in fairy tale, how it is revealed through the process of individuation, and finally, its relationship to the Self. The research provides an understanding of the healing potential for the highly sensitive when their trait is accepted as is, without a desire to eradicate, change, or dismiss it.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Psychotherapy, T, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Allen Koehn
  • Reader: Dr. Sabine Oishi
  • External Reader: Dr. Maria Tatar
  • Keywords: Highly Sensitive Person, Archetype, Fairy Tale, Psyche, Symbol, Carl Jung, Temperament, Self, Individuation, High Sensitivity