The term “dark night of the soul” derives from a poem by the sixteenth-century Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross. St. John’s poem described the efforts of the soul to find mystical union with God. In modern times, the phrase describes a time of personal development when a person undergoes a significant transition via a painful shedding of once-meaningful elements of their life, such as relationships, belief systems, or other important things. A spiritual element is not necessarily required. The process of the “dark night” marks a transition to a deeper understanding of life and your place in it, which cannot be achieved without examining the constructs that have allowed you to function thus far but which you may have outgrown.