Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Transcendent Function

  • Ann CasementEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_705

Transcendent function is a term that first appears in a paper Jung wrote in 1916 where he states it is neither mysterious nor metaphysical but is, instead, a psychological function “comparable in its way to a mathematical function of the same name, which is a function of real and imaginary numbers. The psychological ‘transcendent function’ arises from the union of conscious and unconscious contents” (Jung 1960, p. 69). Jung goes on to state that unconscious contents behave in a compensatory or complementary manner to consciousness and vice versa. As a result, if consciousness is too one sided, unconscious contents may break through via slips of the tongue.

Jung’s further elaboration of this concept is that the transcendent function is so called because it enables the transition of contents from unconsciousness to consciousness as well as the other way round. In analysis, the analyst can mediate the transcendent function for the analysand through the transference, and in this way, the...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.British Jungian Analytic AssociationLondonUK