The hereditary and the environmental

The hereditary and the environmental
The hereditary and the environmental

The discussion between the participation of the hereditary vs. The influences of the environment have been present for a long time in the field of he alth. Regarding Mental He alth, research over the years aimed to discern or record the impact of each one.

Today we know that it is not about establishing a fight or competition between the two. Advocates of one or the other were frequently heard. Those who argued that the influence of genetics and heredity was decisive, and, on the other hand, who considered that practically everything was attributable to the environment, as if we came into the world as a "clean slate".


The human spectrum is complex and, as such, multifactorial. Hereditary and environmental factors are integrated constituting a plurality of influences. The concept of predisposition then becomes relevant in the field of mental he alth, referring to certain potential inherited conditions that may or may not be triggered by certain environmental stimuli. Currently we can consider the dynamics of certain behaviors and, above all, pathologies supported by both causal factors.

The hereditary and the environmental, we can think, practically constitute the two sides of the same coin. Es unthinkable that the entire path of evolution leaves us without inheritance, both biological and psychic. At the same time,It is equally unthinkable that the environmental factor does not occupy a preponderant place in the development and constitution of an individual. For this reason, we must take both into consideration.

Some time ago and, when DNA and genetic inheritance were discovered, it was believed that the possibility of change from what was inherited was minimal. There are still those who hold this.

But in recent times, and especially since the discovery of neuroplasticity, there is an increasing belief in our ability to change, beyond the inherited patterns that we carry.

Regardless of the perspective adopted, we cannot fail to recognize the important influence of both factors, thus failing to attribute all the weight to just one of them.

C arl G. Jung argued that we not only inherit biological issues, but also psychic ones, as a species that has evolved and that preserves its course within itself. He attributed the name of A rchetypes to inherited psychic categories that, precisely, are activated from experiences or environmental issues. The concept of the Jungian archetype together with that of the Collective Unconscious help us to understand the psychological heritage that we bring as humanity, thus being able to identify issues that are not specific to an individual but to the collective. Aspects of the whole that we bring and that somehow become present in the singular life.

Jung's ideas in this regard emphasize the position that there is nowe come to the world as a "blank slate" but we bring a priori patterns that allow us to respond in one way or another to the situations that arise. This does not mean that the environment does not occupy a place of importance. The environment is fundamental in the psychic constitution, especially in the first years of life. Subsequently, the environmental factor is one that allows us to take actions to work on or modify aspects that we bring, with a great capacity for transformation.

In short, there is no versus when it comes to heredity and environment. Both must be thought of in a complementary way and with a very important role in the development and constitution of the individual.

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