Jungian analysis means hope rather than “bad news” by Ester Haumann
A true story from Betsy Cohen’s paper Tangled up in Blue (2013, pp. 127-128):
The author describes how, before she joined the Jungian “camp” she spent many years “in consultation with a Freudian psychoanalyst. On his left shoulder was his constant companion, a pet parrot. ‘What does a patient learn after a lengthy analysis?’ I asked naively. ‘Bad news’, replied the doctor. ‘Yup, bad news,’ squawked the parrot. As the parrot parroted his master so might the therapist have been parroting his original master, Freud, who said:
If a crystal is thrown to the ground it will break into pieces, not in a random way, but according to specific fault- lines which, although invisible, have been predetermined by the structure of the crystal. This broken structure is the structure of people with psychological illness…
I remained puzzled by the doctor’s and his parrot’s parting wisdom and often asked myself, ‘are my patients really learning bad news?’
After the author became a Jungian, she discovered that the answer was “no”:
“What make crystals beautiful are faults and inclusions that add colour; the light shining through enhances the space around them. In his song Anthem, Leonard Cohen reminds us that light shines through our imperfections, our cracks.”
The causal-reductive approach of psychoanalysis is necessary and valuable, but if only that is used, the result may go no further than “bad news”. In contrast, “Jung’s approach was hermeneutic and teleological. He took the view that the search for meaning and wholeness was an inherent feature of the human psyche … In the synthetic method, there is thus felt to be a purposive element at work in the patient, and the analyst seeks to create the conditions where this can come into being” (Colman, 2010, p. 287).
Analytical psychology is inclusive and encompasses diverse approaches. This may present challenging choices for the analyst, especially where the transference-countertransference dimension of therapeutic work is concerned. But rather than foreclosing the therapeutic space, this could also open it up in a manner generative of the emergence of new meanings for both analyst and client.
Analytical Psychology offers the possibility of individuation by John Gosling
The principles of analytical psychology have provided me with a framework to contextualize and understand from a depth perspective my own and others’ psyches. It also has allowed me to appreciate and embrace the mystery of the human psyche and has encouraged me to live the mystery without needing to solve it. It provides a container that allows me to accept my flawed humanity while encouraging me to live my life as meaningfully as possible and to become the unique individual I am meant to be – the process Jung called “individuation” – a lifelong unfolding endeavour.
Jung and neuroscience by Marita de Wet
To me, it is uncanny how Jung’s intuition is now validated by Neuroscience and most rewarding to uncover the many examples of how he accurately he “predicted” the scientific findings of our day. The new view of hemispherical differences as detailed by Iain McGilchrist (The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2009)) notes that the focus has shifted from “what” a hemisphere does, to “how” a hemisphere goes about it.
Compare this to Jung’s description of “two kinds of thinking” in Symbols of Transformation: “We have, therefore, two kinds of thinking: directed thinking, and dreaming or fantasy-thinking. The former operates with speech elements for the purpose of communication and is difficult and exhausting; the latter is effortless, working as it were spontaneously, with the contents ready to hand, and guided by unconscious motives. The one produces innovations and adaptation, copies reality, and tries to act upon it; the other turns away from reality, sets free subjective tendencies, and, as regards adaptation, is unproductive” (CW5:20).
He describes quite accurately the very different approaches of the two hemispheres. The directed thinking is exactly the approach of the left hemisphere: focused, linear, sequential, detailed, discriminating, abstract, scientific thinking. The right hemisphere’s approach is a broad, vigilant attention, open to what may be, grounded (embodied), circular, synthesizing.
“How else could it have occurred to man to divide the cosmos, on the analogy of day and night, summer and winter, into a bright day-world and a dark-night world peopled with fabulous monsters, unless he had the prototype of such a division in himself, in the polarity between the conscious and the invisible and unknowable unconscious?” (CW 9i:187)
What is unique about SAAJA’s training programme? (by Renee Ramsden)
- Vera Buhrmann has incorporated into our training teaching modules on African Traditional Healing and worldview.
- Ian Player has introduced into our training the psyche’s relationship to ecology and an appreciation of the spiritual and healing value of nature.
What is unique about Jung?
- Jung’s psychology includes the whole person, from birth, through all the developmental stages of adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, old age and death.
- Jung’s understanding of the archetypal world opens up the reality of the spiritual realm, through his concept of the religious function.
- His understanding of the archetypal underpinning of complexes opens up the necessity to understand our history, the history of other cultures and religious viewpoints.
- An understanding of mythology and fairytales of diverse cultures is therefore also required. This knowledge and understanding develops the capacity to be objective to the relative value of one’s own culture.
- An informed critique of culture results from this, in particular of the dominant culture of patriarchy, the repression of the feminine and how this contributes to abuse of women and children on an individual level. Exploring and supporting the repressed (shadow) aspects of human nature assists in healing self-esteem in both women and men, strengthening the personality to develop a more balanced outlook. (Renee Ramsden)
Outreach programme: Expressive Sandwork Project (by John Gosling)
John Gosling briefly outlined how the principles of analytical psychology are being applied to improve the lives of children in vulnerable communities. Since 2015, in collaboration with Eva Pattis-Zoya, the founder of the Expressive Sandwork method and the International Association of Expressive Sandwork (IAES), Philippa Colinese and John, with the help of Community Action towards a Safe Environment (CASE), have implemented several expressive sandwork programs in a school in Hanover Park to benefit children traumatised by their environment.