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An Introduction to Jung's Psychology by Frieda Fordham


    Chapter 5: Psychotherapy
    PSYCHOTHERAPY is the treatment of the mind, or
    rather the psyche, by psychological methods.
    Psychotherapy has come to be identified in the
    public mind with 'psychoanalysis', a word which
    was coined by Freud and should strictly
    speaking be applied only to his method, which
    explains psychic symptoms in terms of repressed
    infantile sexual impulses; this implies tracing
    neuroses back to their roots in infancy.(1)
    Another widely used method - namely, that of
    Alfred Adler - explains neurosis in terms of a
    drive for power, which has arisen as an attempt
    to compensate for feelings of inferiority, and
    is known as 'Individual Psychology'.
    Jung uses the term Analytical Psychology (2) to
    describe his own approach, which is not only a
    way of healing, but also of developing the
    personality through the individuation process.
    Since, however, individuation is not the goal
    of all who seek psychological help, and in many
    cases more limited aims are indicated, he
    varies his treatment according to the age,
    state of development, and temperament of his
    patients ' and does not neglect either the
    sexual urge or the will to power, if these are
    operative factors in the neurosis.
        1. When Jung worked out his own
        approach in contrast to that of Freud
        this was correct, hence it has been
        stated in this form. More recently
        the Freudian School, and notably that
        branch of it influenced by the work
        of Melanie Klein, has come to regard
        difficulties in mastering the
        infant's aggressive impulses as the
        more important cause of neurosis.
        2. To avoid confusion with G. F.
        Stout's term 'Analytic Psychology'
        (as distinct from Analytical
        Psychology), Jung's psychology has
        recently been re-named 'Complex
        Psychology'. The term 'Analytical
        Psychology' is, however, better
        known, and is in fact current usage.
        Stout uses the word analytic in a
        different sense.
    He considers that the divergent views on the
    'right' method of psychotherapy arise, in large
    part, from the widely differing vieW.point of
    the extravert and the introvert. Seen in this
    light, Freud's psychology would be extraverted,
    for he considered that the prime cause of
    neurosis was the frustration of the infantile
    sexual impulse (using the term 'sexual' in the
    widest sense) which arose necessarily from
    outside. Adler, on the other hand, put the
    emphasis on an inner drive for power, which in
    his experience caused neurosis when it 'got out
    of hand' and interfered with the normal social
    functioning of the individual.
        It would certainly have never
        occurred to me [says Jung] to depart
        from Freud's path had I not stumbled
        upon facts which forced me into
        modifications. And the same is true
        of my relation to the Adlerian
        viewpoint ... it seems hardly
        necessary to add that I hold the
        truth of my own deviationist views to
        be equally relative, and feel myself.
        the mere exponent of another
    Jung does not neglect either the sexual urge or
    the will to power, if these are operative
    factors in the neurosis, but he finds that the
    Freudian or Adlerian points of view are usually
    most appropriate to young people. At this stage
    of life a man or woman needs to give the
    instincts the importance that is their due, and
    yet allow them to function in a way that
    society will accept; sexuality and the need for
    self-assertion are the primary urges at this
    period. Material and worldly success, and
    especially intellectual success, is often won
    at the expense of the sexual urge, and when
    this causes a neurosis, it is most likely to be
    helped by interpretation of the difficulties in
    terms of their infantile sexual sources. On the
    other hand, the unsuccessful person who
    attempts to compensate for this with
    self-assertion needs to see the fictitious
    nature of his aims.
        1. 'The Aims of Psychotherapy' (C.W.,
        16), pars. 69-70.
    At the same time Jung never loses sight of the
    constructive elements which he knows can always
    be found in a neurosis. To work only backward
    and downwards - i.e. looking for traumas in
    infancy - can have a destructive rather than a
    healing effect, and for this reason he is never
    content merely to find the causes of the
    trouble. An excellent example of this twofold
    way of regarding a neurosis is to be found in
    the case of a young man who came to Jung for
    the treatment of homosexuality, one of the
    causes of which was a too-intense relationship
    to his mother. The young man had two dreams,
    one preceding, one immediately after his first
    interview, in which there was no attempt at
    dream analysis. They were:
        (1) I am in a lofty cathedral filled
        with mysterious twilight. They tell
        me that it is the cathedral at
        Lourdes. In the centre there is a
        deep dark well, into which I have to
        descend. (2) I am in a great Gothic
        cathedral. At the altar stands a
        priest. I stand before him with my
        friend, holding in my hand a little
        Japanese ivory figure, with the
        feeling that it is going to be
        baptized. Suddenly an elderly woman
        appears, takes the fraternity ring
        from my friend's finger, and puts it
        on her own. My friend is afraid that
        this may bind him in some way. But at
        the same moment there is a sound of
        wonderful organ music.
    Of these dreams Jung says:
        They show the patient's situation in
        a highly remarkable light, and one
        that is very strange to the conscious
        mind, while at tile same time lending
        to the banal medical situation an
        aspect that is uniquely attuned to
        the mental peculiarities of the
        dreamer, and thus capable of
        stringing his aesthetic,
        intellectual, and religious interests
        to concert pitch. No better
        conditions for treatment could
        possibly be imagined.(1)
    For a detailed analysis of these dreams the
    reader is referred to Jung's own work,(2) but
    even one unskilled in dream interpretation may
    catch something of their atmosphere and
    meaning. The reference to healing, i.e.
    Lourdes, the place of healing, is unmistakable,
    and the suggestion that an ordeal is to be
    faced before a change can take place is also
    clear. It seems, too, as if the whole
    experience is to be taken in a religious
    spirit. This is in striking contrast to the
    usual sordid associations of homosexuality. In
    the second dream the young man associated the
    ivory figure with membrum virile
        1. Two Essays on Analytical
        Psychology, pars. 167, 175, 182.
        2. Ibid., pars. 165-83.
    and its baptism with the Jewish rite of
    circumcision which was he said 'a sort of
    baptism'. It seems then as if the sexual organ
    is to be baptized; in other words, dedicated to
    a new purpose, especially since a priest is
    present at tile ceremony. Jung at this point
    draws many analogies with rites of initiation,
    all of which have the purpose of leading young
    men out of a childish state into a
    participation with the adult world. Lastly the
    ring is taken from the friend (the one with
    whom he has been homosexually connected) and
    given to a woman. It is true that this elderly
    lady had a motherly aspect, and one might
    perhaps conclude that this was therefore merely
    a regression - i.e. the wish for an incestuous
    relationship with a mother - but the dream
    closed on a positive note with the beautiful
    organ music, and left the young man with a
    feeling of harmony and peace. There is
    therefore justification for thinking that the
    placing of the ring on the lady's finger
    indicated a step forward towards a heterosexual
    rather than a homosexual attitude. This, in
    fact, proved to be the case, and these dreams
    therefore showed the possibility of a
    development which might unfold in the right
    atmosphere. To have traced merely the causes of
    th's neurosis would have been to neglect,
    perhaps even to destroy unconscious forces
    working towards its cure.(1)
    When older people (say those over forty) become
    neurotic they need treating in quite a
    different manner from the young. This is
    especially true if their life has been
    reasonably successful up to the time when the
    neurosis develops. There is in addition a type
    of middle-aged patient who is not neurotic in
    the ordinary sense, but who simply finds life
    empty and meaningless. This is not a clinically
    definable neurosis, but might well be described
    as 'the general neurosis of our times'. Quite a
    third of Jung 's patients come from this class
    of person, and it is therefore natural that his
    special contribution to psychotherapy should be
    seen most clearly in relation to this type of
        1. N.B. It may be added that the
        development indicated in the dreams
        did not come about immediately, or by
        any means easily, and that without
        the positive sign they gave there
        were In Jung's view every neurosis
        has an aim; it is an attempt to
        compensate for a one-sided attitude
        to life, and a voice, as it were,
        drawing attention to a side of
        personality that has been neglected
        or repressed.
        'The symptoms of a neurosis are not
        simply the effects of long-past
        causes, whether "infantile sexuality"
        or the infantile urge to power; they
        are also attempts at a new synthesis
        of life - unsuccessful attempts, let
        it be added in the same breath, yet
        attempts nevertheless, with a core of
        value and meaning.(1) This is where
        Jung's own particular contribution to
        psychotherapy appears: firstly, his
        insistence that a neurosis should not
        be regarded as something entirely
        negative, but that if it can be
        understood, a hint of new
        possibilities of development will be
        found in it; secondly, in his view
        that there are other important drives
        in human nature besides those of
        sexuality and self-assertion, and
        that the cultural or spiritual drive
        is, in the second half of life, of
        more importance than the other two. A
        further distinction Jung makes is
        that the causes of a neurosis are to
        be found in the present as well as in
        the past (the past is significant
        only if it is clearly having an
        effect on the present) and in the
        failure of the libido to carry the
        person over some obstacle and on to a
        new stage of development. These are
        points where all rational
        explanations or conscious attempts at
        adjustment fail, and where hope lies
        only in tapping the energy of the
        unconscious, and releasing new
        sources of life. This has already
        been referred to in the chapter on
        Individuation, and will be returned
        to as it is of first importance both
        in understanding Analytical
        Psychology and in assessing the
        contribution it makes to life. In the
        meantime it is necessary to describe
        the general therapeutic process in
        more detail.
             1 . Two Essays on
             Analytical Psychology, par.
        A neurosis is a particular kind of
        psychic disturbance which interferes
        with the life, and often with the
        health, of the person suffering from
        it. In Jung's view it is caused by a
        conflict between two tendencies; one
        expressed consciously, the other by a
        complex split off from consciousness
        and leading an independent but
        unconscious existence. This complex
        may or may not have been previously
        conscious; the point is that the
        neurotic does not know that it
        exists; but it interferes, either by
        obtruding unexpectedly into
        consciousness or by attracting energy
        to itself, so that less and less is
        available for conscious and directed
        A neurosis may show itself in the
        mildest way, in fact we are all
        sufferers to some extent; most of our
        lapses of speech or of memory,
        misunderstandings of what we have
        heard or read, or of other people's
        motives, or so-called hallucinations
        of memory when we mistakenly believe
        we have done or have not done
        something, are neurotic in origin. At
        the other extreme lie the dramatic
        cases of lost memory, hysterical
        paralysis, blindness, or deafness,
        &c. - i.e. physical conditions for
        which there is no traceable physical
        cause - and in between the host of
        anxieties, fears, and obsessions from
        which the wretched sufferer is quite
        unable to free himself. Many
        apparently inexplicable illnesses,
        headaches, fevers, and so on, are
        neurotic. For example, we may cite
        the case of a man with a high
        temperature which went down
        immediately to normal after he had
        been able to make a full confession
        of a dark and forgotten secret.(1)
        Confession is, in fact, of first
        importance in any analytical
             The first beginnings of all
             analytical treatment of the
             soul [says Jung] are to be
             found in its prototype, the
             confessional. Since,
             however, the two have no
             direct causal connexion,
             but rather grow from a
             common irrational psychic
             root, it is difficult for
             an outsider to see at once
             the relation between the
             groundwork of
             psychoanalysis and the
             religious. institution of
             the confessional.
             Once the human mind had
             succeeded in inventing the
             idea of sin, man had
             recourse to psychic
             concealment; or, in
             analytical parlance,
             repression arose.(2)
             1. Two Essays on Analytical
             2. 'Problems of Modern
             Psychotherapy' (C.W., 16),
             pars. 123-4.
        This is the common psychic root - the
        fact that men conceal things, and in
        so doing alienate themselves from the
        community. What is concealed tends to
        be everything 'dark, imperfect, and
        stupid in ourselves' and so the
        secret is laden with guilt, whether
        or no it is something really wrong
        from the standpoint of ordinary
        morality. In fact one form of
        concealment, which can have a most
        damaging effect, is often practised
        as a virtue - that is the concealment
        of emotion. In both cases, however, a
        reservation must be made; some
        secrets are necessary to our
        development as individuals and
        prevent us from becoming dissolved in
        the unconsciousness of community
        life, and the control of emotion is
        necessary and desirable if carried
        out in the right way. Self-restraint
        as a merely private virtue leads to
        'the well known bad moods and
        irritability of the over-virtuous.(1)
        It also damages personal
        relationships, leading to coldness
        where there should be warmth, a false
        air of superiority, or a tepid
        harmony. Self-restraint, in fact,
        needs to be practised for social or
        religious ends, not for personal
        aggrandizement or from fear.
        A full confession - that is to say,
        'not merely the intellectual
        recognition of the facts with the
        head, but their confirmation by the
        heart, and the actual release of
        suppressed emotion' (2) - can have a
        wonderfully healing effect,
        especially with uncomplicated people.
        But unfortunately confession is not a
        simple matter, for the personality of
        the confessor plays an important part
        in obtaining the right effect. It
        also frequently happens that, though
        the patient is apparently cured,
        insofar as his symptoms have been
        removed by confession, or that he now
        understands their origin and meaning,
        he persists in continuing his
        treatment, even though there is no
        apparent necessity for this. He
        cannot do without the one who cured
             1. 'Problems of Modern
             Psychotherapy', par. 130.
             2. Ibid., par. 134.
        It has been found (and this was
        Freud's special contribution) that
        this obstinate attachment to the
        analyst is the result of the patient
        having transferred to him or her
        feelings which were once given to the
        real parents, or in psychological
        terms 'the memory-image of the father
        and mother with its accent of feeling
        is transferred to the analyst', hence
        the term 'transference' is given to
        the phenomena. The patient has become
        like a child, or rather he was like a
        child all the time, but he suppressed
        this fact; now he tries to reproduce
        with the analyst the family
        situations of childhood. Most often
        the analyst represents the parent of
        the opposite sex, ,but
        brother--sister, father-son, and
        mother-daughter relationships may
        also appear. In this phase much that
        has been repressed comes into the
        daylight, and many fantasies appear,
        especially fantasies of incest. It is
        therefore not surprising that these
        had previously remained unconscious,
        and that it is not easy to become
        conscious of' such contents or of
        other unsavoury matters which may be
        unearthed. The forces that become
        active during this stage of analysis
        are predominatingly erotic, but what
        Adler has called 'the will power' can
        also be active. The patient then uses
        his childishness to try to dominate
        the situation and exploits his
        neurosis to gain importance. The
        patient only becomes aware of these
        things through 'the interpretation of
        the transference' - i.e. an
        explanation of what is happening in
        his relationship to the analyst, and
        this explanation needs to be given
        afresh at every stage, for the
        transference naturally develops and
        'Explanation' is perhaps a misleading
        word to describe what is both a
        method and a process, for the
        emotions are deeply involved. The
        transference cannot be explained
        away; it has to be lived through with
        the analyst. Though limitations are
        imposed by the conditions of the
        consulting room and the restrictions
        of fixed hours of treatment, Jung
        insists that the analyst should meet
        the patient as a fellow human being,
        that if necessary there should be
        equal frankness between them, and
        that any suffering should be shared.
        From this relationship of two people
        spring therapeutic results which no
        mere explanation could effect.
        It is this same human relationship
        which makes the personality of the
        analyst so important in obtaining
        relief through confession. It may
        also happen that the patient becomes
        aware of a split-off part of the
        personality - an autonomous complex -
        and yet has the greatest difficulty
        in integrating it, since it expresses
        something absolutely contradictory to
        the conscious personality. At this
        point the understanding and sympathy
        of the analyst are of the utmost
        importance, helping to reinforce the
        powers of consciousness until it is
        able to assimilate the disturbing
        factor. The patient does not then
        'stand alone in his battle with these
        elemental powers, but someone whom he
        trusts reaches out a hand, lending
        him moral strength to combat the
        tyranny of uncontrolled emotion.(1)
        If, however, there is to be this
        close relationship it is of the
        greatest importance that the analyst
        himself should first have been
        analysed,(2) for he cannot help
        another person to a stage farther
        than he has reached himself. The
        analyst must know his own shadow and
        have had real experience of the
        unconscious forces which he is now
        helping his patient to face. He
        cannot evade his own difficulties by
        trying to cure other people; he must
        first cure himself. In sharing his
        patients' experiences he risks
        becoming infected by their illness
        (just as a doctor may be infected by
        physical illness), and he needs all
        the stability that sell' knowledge
        can bring.
        In all his discussions on
        Psychotherapy, Jung emphasizes the
        fact that it rests on the
        relationship between two human
        beings; this is the significant thing
        to which all theories and methods
        should be secondary. The analyst
        cannot sometimes prevent himself from
        thinking that this, that, or the
        other course would be best for the
        patient, but he has no right to
        impose his views; his business is to
        help the patient towards that state
        where he can discover for himself the
        way to live and the necessary impetus
        to put this into practice. Theories
        and methods are only aids towards
        this end.
             1. 'The Therapeutic Value
             of Abreaction' (C.W., 16),
             par. 270.
             2. It was Jung who first
             saw this clearly, and Freud
             was quick to agree.
        There are many stages at which
        psychological treatment can come to
        an end: when, for instance,
        disagreeable symptoms have
        disappeared; when there has been a
        satisfactory development from a
        childish state, or when a new and
        better adaptation to life has been
        achieved; or again when an essential
        but unconscious psychic content has
        been realized and a new impetus given
        to life. But there are some people
        who find no permanent satisfaction in
        these solutions, and who either
        continue their work with the analyst,
        or return at some later date, driven
        by the desire for further
        understanding and development. There
        are also those more or less normal
        people who, having reached the second
        half of life, are dissatisfied, and
        being unable to find comfort in the
        ordinary ,ways, turn to analysis to
        see if it can provide any solution of
        their difficulties. These are the
        people to whom the goal of
        individuation is a necessity, and the
        ordinary psychotherapeutic processes
        scarcely apply. In fact, Jung calls
        this stage of analysis a 'dialectical
        discussion between the conscious mind
        and the unconscious, a development or
        an advance towards some goal or end
        the perplexing nature of which has
        engaged my attention for many
        years'.(1) Most of the patients to
        whom this applies have led
        well-adapted and often successful
        lives; many of them have had some
        form of psychotherapeutic treatment
        'with partial or negative
        results',(2) and most of them
        complain of the emptiness or lack of
        meaning in their lives, or express
        themselves as 'being stuck', or of
        having no idea what they shall do or
        where they shall turn. They are often
        able and intelligent people to whom
        normalization means nothing; in fact
        their neurosis (if such it can be
        called) lies in their 'normality' and
        their deepest need is to be able to
        live 'abnormal lives'.
             1. Psychology and Alchemy,
             par. 3.
             2. 'The Aims of
             Psychotherapy' (C.W., 16),
             par. 83,
             To be a normal human being
             is probably the most useful
             and fitting thing of which
             we can think; but the very
             notion of a normal human
             being', like the concept of
             adaptation, implies a
             restriction to the average
             ... To be 'normal' is the
             ideal aim for the
             unsuccessful, for all those
             who are still below the
             general level of
             adaptation. But for people
             of more than average
             ability, people who never
             found it difficult to gain
             successes and to accomplish
             their share of the world's
             work - for them the moral
             compulsion to be nothing
             but normal signifies the
             bed of Procrustes - deadly
             and insupportable boredom,
             a hell of sterility and
        Both these people, and those whose
        chief difficulty Los in having come
        to a 'dead end', have often read
        widely, thought deeply, and explored
        all the possibilities offered by
        religion and philosophy; they know
        all the answers that consciousness
        can give. It is at this point that
        Jung makes his most significant
        contribution to psychotherapy.
             I have no ready-made
             philosophy of life to hand
             out. ... I do not know what
             to say to the patient when
             he asks me, 'What do you
             advise? What shall I do?' I
             don't know either. I only
             know one thing: when my
             conscious mind no longer
             sees any possible road
             ahead and consequently gets
             stuck, my unconscious
             psyche will react to the
             unbearable standstill.(2)
        This coming to a standstill is such a
        familiar human situation, and has so
        often been repeated in the history of
        mankind, that it has become the theme
        of many a fairy-tale a myth of the
        'Open Sesame' type, where the locked
        door opens to the magic words, or the
        hidden way is revealed by some
        helpful animal or strange creature.
        'Getting stuck' is one of those
        typical events 'which in the course
        of time have evoked typical reactions
        and compensations'.(3) It is quite
        likely, therefore, that when this
        psychic situation is repeated in the
        life of modern man his unconscious
        will react to it with a dream of a
        similar type.
             1. 'Problems of Modern
             Psychotherapy' (C.W., 16),
             par. 161.
             2. 'The Aims of
             Psychotherapy', par.84.
             3. Ibid., par. 85.
        The aim of therapy at this stage is
        for the patient to explore the latent
        possibilities in himself, to find out
        what kind of a person he really is,
        and to learn to live accordingly. The
        analyst must therefore set aside all
        preconceived ideas as to the way his
        patient should develop, and the
        emphasis lies not on 'treatment', but
        on the relationship between analyst
        and patient, for neither knows the
        answer or can predict the outcome.
        'By no device,' says Jung 'can the
        treatment be anything but the product
        of mutual influence, in which the
        whole being of the doctor as well as
        that of his patient plays its
             Between doctor and patient,
             therefore, there are
             imponderable factors which
             bring about a mutual
             transformation. In the
             process, the stronger and
             more stable personality
             will decide the final
             issue. I have seen many
             cases where the patient
             assimilated the doctor in
             defiance of all theory and
             of the latter's
             professional intentions.
             The stage of'
             transformation is grounded
             on these facts.(2)
        Jung has likened this meeting of two
        personalities to the contact of two
        chemical substances; if there is any
        reaction both are transformed. Nor is
        this a fanciful or vague analogy, for
        it formed part of the basis of Jung's
        researches into alchemy.(3) This
        process (i.e. that of mutual
        transformation) demands as much of
        the analyst as it does of the
        patient, the same honesty and
        perseverance, the same readiness for
        change; and it makes heavy demands on
        him, for in the last resort it is
        always his own personality rather
        than a method or technique which is
        the determining factor.
        If the patient's problem is a
        religious one, then the analyst must
        face his religious problems too, and,
        what is more, he must be able to
        discuss them frankly with his
        patient. If the patient's task is one
        of higher cultural development, then
        the analyst must also develop in this
             Psychotherapy [as Jung
             says] transcends its
             indexical origins and
             ceases to be merely a
             method for treating the
             sick. It now treats the
             healthy or such as have a
             moral right to psychic
             health, whose sickness is
             at most the suffering that
             torments us all.(4)
             1. 'Problems of Modern
             Psychotherapy', par. 163
             2. Ibid., pars. 164-5.
             3. Cf. 'The Psychology of
             the Transference' (C.W.,
             4. 'Problems of Modern
             Psychotherapy', par. 174.
        The earlier stages of analysis deal
        largely with personal problems, and
        therefore with the personal
        unconscious, but the last stage, in
        which the individual needs to find
        his place in the life of the
        generations, touches the collective
        unconscious, and it is Jung's theory
        of a collective as well as a personal
        unconscious that differentiates his
        psychology from all others.
        Donald Williams