What is Ego Psychology?

Introduction

Ego psychology is a school of psychoanalysis rooted in Sigmund Freud’s structural id-ego-superego model of the mind.

An individual interacts with the external world as well as responds to internal forces. Many psychoanalysts use a theoretical construct called the ego to explain how that is done through various ego functions. Adherents of ego psychology focus on the ego’s normal and pathological development, its management of libidinal and aggressive impulses, and its adaptation to reality.

Brief History

Early Conceptions of the Ego

Sigmund Freud initially considered the ego to be a sense organ for perception of both external and internal stimuli. He thought of the ego as synonymous with consciousness and contrasted it with the repressed unconscious. In 1910, Freud emphasized the attention to detail when referencing psychoanalytical matters, while predicting his theory to become essential in regards to everyday tasks with the Swiss psychoanalyst, Oscar Pfister. By 1911, he referenced ego instincts for the first time in Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning and contrasted them with sexual instincts: ego instincts responded to the reality principle while sexual instincts obeyed the pleasure principle. He also introduced attention and memory as ego functions.

Freud’s Ego Psychology

Freud later argued that not all unconscious phenomena can be attributed to the id, and that the ego has unconscious aspects as well. This posed a significant problem for his topographic theory, which he resolved in The Ego and the Id (1923).

In what came to be called the structural theory, the ego was now a formal component of a three-way system that also included the id and superego. The ego was still organised around conscious perceptual capacities, yet it now had unconscious features responsible for repression and other defensive operations. Freud’s ego at this stage was relatively passive and weak; he described it as the helpless rider on the id’s horse, more or less obliged to go where the id wished to go.

In Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety (1926), Freud revised his theory of anxiety as well as delineated a more robust ego. Freud argued that instinctual drives (id), moral and value judgments (superego), and requirements of external reality all make demands upon an individual. The ego mediates among conflicting pressures and creates the best compromise. Instead of being passive and reactive to the id, the ego was now a formidable counterweight to it, responsible for regulating id impulses, as well as integrating an individual’s functioning into a coherent whole. The modifications made by Freud in Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety formed the basis of a psychoanalytic psychology interested in the nature and functions of the ego. This marked the transition of psychoanalysis from being primarily an id psychology, focused on the vicissitudes of the libidinal and aggressive drives as the determinants of both normal and psychopathological functioning, to a period in which the ego was accorded equal importance and was regarded as the prime shaper and modulator of behaviour.

Systematisation

Following Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalysts most responsible for the development of ego psychology, and its systematization as a formal school of psychoanalytic thought, were Anna Freud, Heinz Hartmann, and David Rapaport. Other important contributors included Ernst Kris, Rudolph Loewenstein, René Spitz, Margaret Mahler, Edith Jacobson, Paul Federn, and Erik Erikson.

Anna Freud

Anna Freud focused her attention on the ego’s unconscious, defensive operations and introduced many important theoretical and clinical considerations. In The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1936), Anna Freud argued the ego was predisposed to supervise, regulate, and oppose the id through a variety of defences. She described the defences available to the ego, linked them to the stages of psychosexual development during which they originated, and identified various psychopathological compromise formations in which they were prominent. Clinically, Anna Freud emphasized that the psychoanalyst’s attention should always be on the defensive functions of the ego, which could be observed in the manifest presentation of the patient’s associations. The analyst needed to be attuned to the moment-by-moment process of what the patient talked about in order to identify, label, and explore defences as they appeared. For Anna Freud, direct interpretation of repressed content was less important than understanding the ego’s methods by which it kept things out of consciousness. Her work provided a bridge between Freud’s structural theory and ego psychology.

Heinz Hartmann

Heinz Hartmann (1939/1958) believed the ego included innate capacities that facilitated an individual’s ability to adapt to his or her environment. These included perception, attention, memory, concentration, motor coordination, and language. Under normal conditions, which Hartmann called “an average expectable environment,” these capacities developed into ego functions with autonomy from the libidinal and aggressive drives; that is, they were not products of frustration and conflict as Freud (1911) believed. Hartmann recognised, however, that conflicts were part of the human condition and that certain ego functions may become conflicted by aggressive and libidinal impulses, as witnessed by conversion disorders (e.g., glove paralysis), speech impediments, eating disorders, and attention-deficit disorder.

A focus on ego functions and how an individual adapts to his or her environment led Hartmann to create both a general psychology and a clinical instrument with which an analyst could evaluate an individual’s functioning and formulate appropriate therapeutic interventions. Hartmann’s propositions imply that the task of the ego psychologist was to neutralize conflicted impulses and expand the conflict-free spheres of ego functions. Through such effects, Hartmann believed, psychoanalysis facilitated an individual’s adaptation to his or her environment. He claimed, however, that his aim was to understand the mutual regulation of the ego and environment rather than to promote adjustment of the ego to the environment; additionally, he proposed that diminishing conflict in an individual’s ego would help him or her to respond actively to, and shape rather than passively react to, the environment. Mitchell and Black (p.35) stated:

“Hartmann powerfully affected the course of psychoanalysis, opening up a crucial investigation of the key processes and vicissitudes of normal development. Hartmann’s contributions broadened the scope of psychoanalytic concerns, from psychopathology to general human development, and from an isolated, self-contained treatment method to a sweeping intellectual discipline among other disciplines”

David Rapaport

David Rapaport played a prominent role in the development of ego psychology, and his work likely represented its apex. In the influential monograph The Structure of Psychoanalytic Theory (1960), Rappaport organized ego psychology into an integrated, systematic, and hierarchical theory capable of generating empirically testable hypotheses. He proposed that psychoanalytic theory – as expressed through the principles of ego psychology – was a biologically based general psychology that could explain the entire range of human behaviour. For Rapaport, this endeavour was fully consistent with Freud’s attempts to do the same (e.g. Freud’s studies of dreams, jokes, and the “psychopathology of everyday life”).

Other Contributors

While Hartmann was the principal architect of ego psychology, he collaborated closely with Ernst Kris and Rudolph Loewenstein.

Subsequent psychoanalysts interested in ego psychology emphasized the importance of early-childhood experiences and socio-cultural influences on ego development. René Spitz (1965), Margaret Mahler (1968), Edith Jacobson (1964), and Erik Erikson studied infant and child behaviour, and their observations were integrated into ego psychology. Their observational and empirical research described and explained early attachment issues, successful and faulty ego development, and psychological development through interpersonal interactions.

Spitz identified the importance of mother-infant nonverbal emotional reciprocity; Mahler refined the traditional psychosexual developmental phases by adding the separation-individuation process; and Jacobson emphasized how libidinal and aggressive impulses unfolded within the context of early relationships and environmental factors. Finally, Erik Erikson provided a bold reformulation of Freud’s biologic, epigenetic psychosexual theory through his explorations of socio-cultural influences on ego development. For Erikson, an individual was pushed by his or her own biological urges and pulled by socio-cultural forces.

Decline

In the United States, ego psychology was the predominant psychoanalytic approach from the 1940s through the 1960s. Initially, this was due to the influx of European psychoanalysts, including prominent ego psychologists like Hartmann, Kris, and Loewenstein, during and after World War II. These European analysts settled throughout the United States and trained the next generation of American psychoanalysts.

By the 1970s, several challenges to the philosophical, theoretical, and clinical tenets of ego psychology emerged. The most prominent of which were: a “rebellion” led by Rapaport’s protégés (George Klein, Robert Holt, Roy Schafer, and Merton Gill); object relations theory; and self psychology.

Contemporary

Modern Conflict Theory

Charles Brenner (1982) attempted to revive ego psychology with a concise and incisive articulation of the fundamental focus of psychoanalysis: intrapsychic conflict and the resulting compromise formations. Over time, Brenner (2002) tried to develop a more clinically based theory, what came to be called “modern conflict theory.” He distanced himself from the formal components of the structural theory and its metapsychological assumptions, and focused entirely on compromise formations.

Heinz Kohut developed self psychology, a theoretical and therapeutic model related to ego psychology, in the late 1960s. Self psychology focuses on the mental model of the self as important in pathologies.

Ego Functions

FunctionDescription
Reality Testing1. The ego’s capacity to distinguish what is occurring in one’s own mind from what is occurring in the external world.
2. It is perhaps the single most important ego function because negotiating with the outside world requires accurately perceiving and understanding stimuli.
3. Reality testing is often subject to temporary, mild distortion or deterioration under stressful conditions.
4. Such impairment can result in temporary delusions and hallucination and is generally selective, clustering along specific, psychodynamic lines.
5. Chronic deficiencies suggest either psychotic or organic interference.
Impulse Control1. The ability to manage aggressive and/or libidinal wishes without immediate discharge through behaviour or symptoms.
2. Problems with impulse control are common; for example: road rage; sexual promiscuity; excessive drug and alcohol use; and binge eating.
Affect Regulation1. The ability to modulate feelings without being overwhelmed.
Judgement1. The capacity to act responsibly.
2. This process includes identifying possible courses of action, anticipating and evaluating likely consequences, and making decisions as to what is appropriate in certain circumstances.
Object Relations1. The capacity for mutually satisfying relationship.
2. The individual can perceive himself and others as whole objects with three dimensional qualities.
Thought Processes1. The ability to have logical, coherent, and abstract thoughts.
2. In stressful situations, thought processes can become disorganised.
3. The presence of chronic or severe problems in conceptual thinking is frequently associated with schizophrenia and manic episodes.
Defensive Functioning1. A defence is an unconscious attempt to protect the individual from some powerful, identity-threatening feeling.
2. Initial defences develop in infancy and involve the boundary between the self and the outer world; they are considered primitive defences and include projection, denial, and splitting.
3. As the child grows up, more sophisticated defences that deal with internal boundaries such as those between ego and super ego or the id develop; these defences include repression, regression, displacement, and reaction formation.
4. All adults have, and use, primitive defences, but most people also have more mature ways of coping with reality and anxiety.
Synthesis1. The synthetic function is the ego’s capacity to organize and unify other functions within the personality.
2. It enables the individual to think, feel, and act in a coherent manner.
3. It includes the capacity to integrate potentially contradictory experiences, ideas, and feelings; for example, a child loves his or her mother yet also has angry feelings toward her at times.
4. The ability to synthesize these feelings is a pivotal developmental achievement.

Reality testing involves the individual’s capacity to understand and accept both physical and social reality as it is consensually defined within a given culture or cultural subgroup. In large measure, the function hinges on the individual’s capacity to distinguish between her own wishes or fears (internal reality) and events that occur in the real world (external reality). The ability to make distinctions that are consensually validated determines the ego’s capacity to distinguish and mediate between personal expectations, on the one hand, and social expectations or laws of nature on the other. Individuals vary considerably in how they manage this function. When the function is seriously compromised, individuals may withdraw from contact with reality for extended periods of time. This degree of withdrawal is most frequently seen in psychotic conditions. Most times, however, the function is mildly or moderately compromised for a limited period of time, with far less drastic consequences’ (Berzoff, 2011).

Judgment involves the capacity to reach “reasonable” conclusions about what is and what is not “appropriate” behaviour. Typically, arriving at a “reasonable” conclusion involves the following steps: (1) correlating wishes, feeling states, and memories about prior life experiences with current circumstances; (2) evaluating current circumstances in the context of social expectations and laws of nature (e.g. it is not possible to transport oneself instantly out of an embarrassing situation, no matter how much one wishes to do so); and (3) drawing realistic conclusions about the likely consequences of different possible courses of action. As the definition suggests, judgment is closely related to reality testing, and the two functions are usually evaluated in tandem (Berzoff, 2011).

Modulating and controlling impulses is based on the capacity to hold sexual and aggressive feelings in check with out acting on them until the ego has evaluated whether they meet the individual’s own moral standards and are acceptable in terms of social norms. Adequate functioning in this area depends on the individual’s capacity to tolerate frustration, to delay gratification, and to tolerate anxiety without immediately acting to ameliorate it. Impulse control also depends on the ability to exercise appropriate judgment in situations where the individual is strongly motivated to seek relief from psychological tension and/or to pursue some pleasurable activity (sex, power, fame, money, etc.). Problems in modulation may involve either too little or too much control over impulses (Berzoff, 2011).

Modulation of affect The ego performs this function by preventing painful or unacceptable emotional reactions from entering conscious awareness, or by managing the expression of such feelings in ways that do not disrupt either emotional equilibrium or social relationships. To adequately perform this function, the ego constantly monitors the source, intensity, and direction of feeling states, as well as the people toward whom feelings will be directed. Monitoring determines whether such states will be acknowledged or expressed and, if so, in what form. The basic principle to remember in evaluating how well the ego manages this function is that affect modulation may be problematic because of too much or too little expression. As an integral part of the monitoring process, the ego evaluates the type of expression that is most congruent with established social norms. For example, in white American culture it is assumed that individuals will contain themselves and maintain a high level of personal/vocational functioning except in extremely traumatic situations such as death of a family member, very serious illness or terrible accident. This standard is not necessarily the norm in other cultures (Berzhoff, Flanagan, & Hertz, 2011).

Object relations involves the ability to form and maintain coherent representations of others and of the self. The concept refers not only to the people one interacts with in the external world but also to significant others who are remembered and represented within the mind. Adequate functioning implies the ability to maintain a basically positive view of the other, even when one feels disappointed, frustrated, or angered by the other’s behaviour. Disturbances in object relations may manifest themselves through an inability to fall in love, emotional coldness, lack of interest in or withdrawal from interactions with others, intense dependency, and/or an excessive need to control relationships (Berzhoff, Flanagan, & Hertz, 2011).

Self-esteem regulation involves the capacity to maintain a steady and reasonable level of positive self-regard in the face of distressing or frustrating external events. Painful affective states, including anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt, as well as exhilarating emotions such as triumph, glee, and ecstasy may also undermine self-esteem. Generally speaking, in dominant American culture a measured expression of both pain and pleasure is expressed; excess in either direction is a cause for concern. White Western culture tends to assume that individuals will maintain a consistent and steadily level of self-esteem, regardless of external events or internally generated feeling states (Berzhoff, Flanagan, & Hertz, 2011).

Mastery when conceptualized as an ego function, mastery reflects the epigenetic view that individuals achieve more advanced levels of ego organization by mastering successive developmental challenges. Each stage of psychosexual development (oral, anal, phallic, genital) presents a particular challenge that must be adequately addressed before the individual can move on to the next higher stage. By mastering stage-specific challenges, the ego gains strength in relations to the other structures of the mind and thereby becomes more effective in organizing and synthesizing mental processes. Freud expressed this principle in his statement, “Where id was, shall ego be.” An undeveloped capacity for mastery can be seen, for example, in infants who have not been adequately nourished, stimulated, and protected during the first year of life, in the oral stage of development. When they enter the anal stage, such infants are not well prepared to learn socially acceptable behaviour or to control the pleasure they derive from defecating at will. As a result, some of them will experience delays in achieving bowel control and will have difficulty in controlling temper tantrums, while others will sink into a passive, joyless compliance with parental demands that compromises their ability to explore, learn, and become physically competent. Conversely, infants who have been well gratified and adequately stimulated during the oral stage enter the anal stage feeling relatively secure and confident. For the most part, they cooperate in curbing their anal desires, and are eager to win parental approval for doing so. In addition, they are physically active, free to learn and eager to explore. As they gain confidence in their increasingly autonomous physical and mental abilities, they also learn to follow the rules their parents establish and, in doing so, with parental approval. As they master the specific tasks related to the anal stage, they are well prepared to move on to the next stage of development and the next set of challenges. When adults have problems with mastery, they usually enact them in derivative or symbolic ways (Berzhoff, Flanagan, & Hertz, 2011).

Conflict, Defence and Resistance Analysis

According to Freud’s structural theory, an individual’s libidinal and aggressive impulses are continuously in conflict with his or her own conscience as well as with the limits imposed by reality. In certain circumstances, these conflicts may lead to neurotic symptoms. Thus, the goal of psychoanalytic treatment is to establish a balance between bodily needs, psychological wants, one’s own conscience, and social constraints. Ego psychologists argue that the conflict is best addressed by the psychological agency that has the closest relationship to consciousness, unconsciousness, and reality: the ego.

The clinical technique most commonly associated with ego psychology is defence analysis. Through clarifying, confronting, and interpreting the typical defence mechanisms a patient uses, ego psychologists hope to help the patient gain control over these mechanisms.

Cultural Influences

  • The classical scholar E. R. Dodds used ego psychology as the framework for his influential study The Greeks and the Irrational (1951).
  • The Sterbas relied on Hartmann’s conflict-free sphere to help explain the contradictions they found in Beethoven’s character in Beethoven and His Nephew (1954).

Criticisms

A number of authors have criticised Hartmann’s conception of a conflict-free sphere of ego functioning as both incoherent and inconsistent with Freud’s vision of psychoanalysis as a science of mental conflict. Freud believed that the ego itself takes shape as a result of the conflict between the id and the external world. The ego, therefore, is inherently a conflicting formation in the mind. To state, as Hartmann did, that the ego contains a conflict-free sphere may not be consistent with key propositions of Freud’s structural theory.

Ego psychology, and ‘Anna-Freudianism’, were together seen by Kleinians as maintaining a conformist, adaptative version of psychoanalysis inconsistent with Freud’s own views. Hartmann claimed, however, that his aim was to understand the mutual regulation of the ego and environment rather than to promote adjustment of the ego to the environment. Furthermore, an individual with a less-conflicted ego would be better able to actively respond and shape, rather than passively react to, his or her environment.

Jacques Lacan was if anything still more opposed to ego psychology, using his concept of the Imaginary to stress the role of identifications in building up the ego in the first place. Lacan saw in the “non-conflictual sphere…a down-at-heel mirage that had already been rejected as untenable by the most academic psychology of introspection’.

References

Berzoff, J., Flanagan, L.M. & Hertz, P (2011). Inside out and outside in: Psychodynamic clinical theory and psychopathology in contemporary multicultural contexts. (3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Mitchell, S.A. & Black, M.J. (1995). Freud and beyond: A history of modern psychoanalytic thought. New York: Basic Books.

What is Logotherapy?

Introduction

Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, on a concept based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life.

Frankl describes it as “the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” along with Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s individual psychology. Logotherapy is based on an existential analysis focusing on Kierkegaard’s will to meaning as opposed to Alfred Adler’s Nietzschean doctrine of will to power or Freud’s will to pleasure. Rather than power or pleasure, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that striving to find meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.

A short introduction to this system is given in Frankl’s most famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he outlines how his theories helped him to survive his Holocaust experience and how that experience further developed and reinforced his theories. Presently, there are a number of logotherapy institutes around the world.

Basic Principles

The notion of Logotherapy was created with the Greek word logos (“reason”). Frankl’s concept is based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. The following list of tenets represents basic principles of logotherapy:

  • Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  • Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
  • We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

The human spirit is referred to in several of the assumptions of logotherapy, but the use of the term spirit is not “spiritual” or “religious”. In Frankl’s view, the spirit is the will of the human being. The emphasis, therefore, is on the search for meaning, which is not necessarily the search for God or any other supernatural being. Frankl also noted the barriers to humanity’s quest for meaning in life. He warns against “…affluence, hedonism, [and] materialism…” in the search for meaning.

Purpose in life and meaning in life constructs appeared in Frankl’s logotherapy writings with relation to existential vacuum and will to meaning, as well as others who have theorised about and defined positive psychological functioning. Frankl observed that it may be psychologically damaging when a person’s search for meaning is blocked. Positive life purpose and meaning was associated with strong religious beliefs, membership in groups, dedication to a cause, life values, and clear goals. Adult development and maturity theories include the purpose in life concept. Maturity emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, directedness, and intentionality which contributes to the feeling that life is meaningful.

Frankl’s ideas were operationalized by Crumbaugh and Maholick’s Purpose in Life (PIL) test, which measures an individual’s meaning and purpose in life. With the test, investigators found that meaning in life mediated the relationships between religiosity and well-being; uncontrollable stress and substance use; depression and self-derogation. Crumbaugh found that the Seeking of Noetic Goals Test (SONG) is a complementary measure of the PIL. While the PIL measures the presence of meaning, the SONG measures orientation towards meaning. A low score in the PIL but a high score in the SONG, would predict a better outcome in the application of Logotherapy.

Discovering Meaning

According to Frankl, “We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering” and that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”. On the meaning of suffering, Frankl gives the following example:

“Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now how could I help him? What should I tell him? I refrained from telling him anything, but instead confronted him with a question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive without you?:” “Oh,” he said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!” Whereupon I replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving and mourning her.” He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left the office.

Frankl emphasized that realising the value of suffering is meaningful only when the first two creative possibilities are not available (for example, in a concentration camp) and only when such suffering is inevitable – he was not proposing that people suffer unnecessarily.

Philosophical Basis of Logotherapy

Frankl described the meta-clinical implications of logotherapy in his book The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy. He believed that there is no psychotherapy apart from the theory of the individual. As an existential psychologist, he inherently disagreed with the “machine model” or “rat model”, as it undermines the human quality of humans. As a neurologist and psychiatrist, Frankl developed a unique view of determinism to coexist with the three basic pillars of logotherapy (the freedom of will). Though Frankl admitted that a person can never be free from every condition, such as, biological, sociological, or psychological determinants; based on his experience during his life in the Nazi concentration camps, he believed that a person is “capable of resisting and braving even the worst conditions”. In doing such, a person can detach from situations and themselves, choose an attitude about themselves, and determine their own determinants, thus shaping their own character and becoming responsible for themselves.

Logotherapeutic Views and Treatment

Overcoming Anxiety

By recognising the purpose of our circumstances, one can master anxiety. Anecdotes about this use of logotherapy are given by New York Times writer Tim Sanders, who explained how he uses its concept to relieve the stress of fellow airline travellers by asking them the purpose of their journey. When he does this, no matter how miserable they are, their whole demeanour changes, and they remain happy throughout the flight. Overall, Frankl believed that the anxious individual does not understand that their anxiety is the result of dealing with a sense of “unfulfilled responsibility” and ultimately a lack of meaning.

Treatment of Neurosis

Frankl cites two neurotic pathogens: hyper-intention, a forced intention toward some end which makes that end unattainable; and hyper-reflection, an excessive attention to oneself which stifles attempts to avoid the neurosis to which one thinks oneself predisposed. Frankl identified anticipatory anxiety, a fear of a given outcome which makes that outcome more likely. To relieve the anticipatory anxiety and treat the resulting neuroses, logotherapy offers paradoxical intention, wherein the patient intends to do the opposite of their hyper-intended goal.

A person, then, who fears (i.e. experiences anticipatory anxiety over) not getting a good night’s sleep may try too hard (that is, hyper-intend) to fall asleep, and this would hinder their ability to do so. A logotherapist would recommend, then, that the person go to bed and intentionally try not to fall asleep. This would relieve the anticipatory anxiety which kept the person awake in the first place, thus allowing them to fall asleep in an acceptable amount of time.

Depression

Viktor Frankl believed depression occurred at the psychological, physiological, and spiritual levels. At the psychological level, he believed that feelings of inadequacy stem from undertaking tasks beyond our abilities. At the physiological level, he recognised a “vital low”, which he defined as a “diminishment of physical energy”. Finally, Frankl believed that at the spiritual level, the depressed individual faces tension between who they actually are in relation to what they should be. Frankl refers to this as the gaping abyss. Finally Frankl suggests that if goals seem unreachable, an individual loses a sense of future and thus meaning resulting in depression. Thus logotherapy aims “to change the patient’s attitude toward their disease as well as toward their life as a task”.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Frankl believed that those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder lack the sense of completion that most other individuals possess. Instead of fighting the tendencies to repeat thoughts or actions, or focusing on changing the individual symptoms of the disease, the therapist should focus on “transform[ing] the neurotic’s attitude toward their neurosis”. Therefore, it is important to recognise that the patient is “not responsible for his obsessional ideas”, but that “he is certainly responsible for his attitude toward these ideas”. Frankl suggested that it is important for the patient to recognise their inclinations toward perfection as fate, and therefore, must learn to accept some degrees of uncertainty. Ultimately, following the premise of logotherapy, the patient must eventually ignore their obsessional thoughts and find meaning in their life despite such thoughts.

Schizophrenia

Though logotherapy was not intended to deal with severe disorders, Frankl believed that logotherapy could benefit even those suffering from schizophrenia. He recognised the roots of schizophrenia in physiological dysfunction. In this dysfunction, the person with schizophrenia “experiences himself as an object” rather than as a subject. Frankl suggested that a person with schizophrenia could be helped by logotherapy by first being taught to ignore voices and to end persistent self-observation. Then, during this same period, the person with schizophrenia must be led toward meaningful activity, as “even for the schizophrenic there remains that residue of freedom toward fate and toward the disease which man always possesses, no matter how ill he may be, in all situations and at every moment of life, to the very last”.

Terminally Ill Patients

In 1977, Terry Zuehlke and John Watkins conducted a study analysing the effectiveness of logotherapy in treating terminally ill patients. The study’s design used 20 male Veterans Administration volunteers who were randomly assigned to one of two possible treatments – (1) group that received 8 45-minute sessions over a 2-week period and (2) group used as control that received delayed treatment. Each group was tested on 5 scales – the MMPI K Scale, MMPI L Scale, Death Anxiety Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and the Purpose of Life Test. The results showed an overall significant difference between the control and treatment groups. While the univariate analyses showed that there were significant group differences in 3/5 of the dependent measures. These results confirm the idea that terminally ill patients can benefit from logotherapy in coping with death.

Forms of Treatment

Ecce Homo is a method used in logotherapy. It requires of the therapist to note the innate strengths that people have and how they have dealt with adversity and suffering in life. Despite everything a person may have gone through, they made the best of their suffering! Hence, Ecce Homo – Behold the Man!

Controversy

Authoritarianism

In 1969 Rollo May argued that logotherapy is, in essence, authoritarian. He suggested that Frankl’s therapy presents a plain solution to all of life’s problems, an assertion that would seem to undermine the complexity of human life itself. May contended that if a patient could not find their own meaning, Frankl would provide a goal for his patient. In effect, this would negate the patient’s personal responsibility, thus “diminish[ing] the patient as a person”. Frankl explicitly replied to May’s arguments through a written dialogue, sparked by Rabbi Reuven Bulka’s article “Is Logotherapy Authoritarian?”. Frankl responded that he combined the prescription of medication, if necessary, with logotherapy, to deal with the person’s psychological and emotional reaction to the illness, and highlighted areas of freedom and responsibility, where the person is free to search and to find meaning.

Religiousness

Critical views of the life of logotherapy’s founder and his work assume that Frankl’s religious background and experience of suffering guided his conception of meaning within the boundaries of the person and therefore that logotherapy is founded on Viktor Frankl’s worldview. Many researchers argue that logotherapy is not a “scientific” psychotherapeutic school in the traditional sense but a philosophy of life, a system of values, a secular religion which is not fully coherent and is based on questionable metaphysical premises.

Frankl openly spoke and wrote on religion and psychiatry, throughout his life, and specifically in his last book, Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning (1997). He asserted that every person has a spiritual unconscious, independently of religious views or beliefs, yet Frankl’s conception of the spiritual unconscious does not necessarily entail religiosity. In Frankl’s words: “It is true, Logotherapy, deals with the Logos; it deals with Meaning. Specifically, I see Logotherapy in helping others to see meaning in life. But we cannot “give” meaning to the life of others. And if this is true of meaning per se, how much does it hold for Ultimate Meaning?” The American Psychiatric Association awarded Viktor Frankl the 1985 Oskar Pfister Award (for important contributions to religion and psychiatry).

Recent Developments

Since the 1990s, the number of institutes providing education and training in logotherapy continues to increase worldwide. Numerous logotherapeutic concepts have been integrated and applied in different fields, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and burnout prevention. The logotherapeutic concepts of noogenic neurosis and existential crisis were added to the ICD 11 under the name demoralisation crisis, i.e. a construct that features hopelessness, meaninglessness, and existential distress as first described by Frankl in the 1950s. Logotherapy has also been associated with psychosomatic and physiological health benefits. Besides Logotherapy, other meaning-centred psychotherapeutic approaches such as positive psychology and meaning therapy have emerged. Paul Wong’s meaning therapy attempts to translate logotherapy into psychological mechanisms, integrating CBT, positive psychotherapy and the positive psychology research on meaning. Logotherapy is also being applied in the field of oncology and palliative care (William Breitbart). These recent developments introduce Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy to a new generation and extend its impact to new areas of research.

On This Day … 15 June

People (Births)

  • 1902 – Erik Erikson, German-American psychologist and psychoanalyst (d. 1994).
  • 1924 – Hédi Fried, Swedish author and psychologist.

Erik Erikson

Erik Homburger Erikson (born Erik Salomonsen; 15 June 1902 to 12 May 1994) was a German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychological development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis. His son, Kai T. Erikson, is a noted American sociologist.

Despite lacking a bachelor’s degree, Erikson served as a professor at prominent institutions, including Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, and Yale. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Erikson as the 12th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Hedi Fried

Hédi Fried (born 15 June 1924) is a Swedish-Romanian author and psychologist. A Holocaust survivor, she passed through Auschwitz as well as Bergen-Belsen, coming to Sweden in July 1945 with the boat M/S Rönnskär.

What is the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis?

Introduction

The National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP) is an institution established in New York City by Theodore Reik in 1948, in response to the controversy over lay analysis and the question of the training of psychoanalysts in the States.

Following the lead established by Sigmund Freud, the NPAP offered training to the three core disciplines of medicine, social work and psychology, as well as to graduates from the humanities.

Brief History

Over the following decades, inevitably dissensions emerged in the organisation, and other non-medical training institutions were set up in the United States.

Current Ideology

The organisation currently sees itself as a vibrant professional association of analysts representing a diversity of theories that comprise contemporary psychoanalytic inquiry. The NPAP’s diverse membership is active in research, publication, legislation, public education, and cultural affairs, thus ensuring a psychoanalytic contribution to the community at large. The NPAP also publishes the highly respected and internationally recognised journal The Psychoanalytic Review, the oldest continuously published psychoanalytic journal in the United States.

Mindful of a legacy reaching directly back to Freud, the Institute today offers comprehensive psychoanalytic training grounded in the classical tradition, expanded by contemporary insights, and designed to prepare candidates for the professional practice of psychoanalysis.

What is the Psychoanalytic Quarterly?

Introduction

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly is a quarterly academic journal of psychoanalysis established in 1932 and, since 2018, published by Taylor and Francis.

The journal describes itself as “the oldest free-standing psychoanalytic journal in America”.

Brief History

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly was established by Dorian Feigenbaum, Bertram D. Lewin, Frankwood Williams, and Gregory Zilboorg. In the opening issue they described the journal’s aims:

This Quarterly will be devoted to theoretical, clinical and applied psychoanalysis. It has been established to fill the need for a strictly psychoanalytic organ in America…A close collaboration with associates abroad will be maintained. At the same time, a prime objective of the magazine is to stimulate American work and provide an outlet for it.

The first issue’s lead article was Libidinal Types by Freud, one of three articles by Freud translated by Edith B. Jackson and published in the journal in its first year. However, the new journal upset Ernest Jones in England, who saw it as a competitor to The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, which he edited. The new journal was also watched carefully by Smith Ely Jelliffe and William Alanson White of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP), which published Psychoanalytic Review:

the Quarterly […] is very excellent and I wish they would get on with it. I suspect that Lewin and his crows would get into hot water if someone read his paper and was after pornographic stuff; they could make it very hot. I do not know if I should warn Feigenbaum about it, as it might also include others, as you know the R. C. gentry are not asleep. The Quarterly has no special prospects. They will have to dig into their jeans or find an angel…

What was the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society?

Introduction

The Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (German: Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung, WPV), formerly known as the Wednesday Psychological Society, is the oldest psychoanalysis society in the world.

In 1908, reflecting its growing institutional status as the international psychoanalytic authority of the time, the Wednesday group was reconstituted under its new name with Sigmund Freud as President, a position he relinquished in 1910 in favour of Alfred Adler.

During its 36-year history, between 1902 and 1938, the Society had a total of 150 members.

First Meetings

In November 1902, Sigmund Freud wrote to Alfred Adler, “A small circle of colleagues and supporters afford me the great pleasure of coming to my house in the evening (8:30 PM after dinner) to discuss interesting topics in psychology and neuropathology… Would you be so kind as to join us?” The group included Wilhelm Stekel, Max Kahane and Rudolf Reitler, soon joined by Adler. Stekel, a Viennese physician who had been in analysis with Freud, provided the initial impetus for the meetings. Freud made sure that each participant would contribute to the discussion by drawing names from an urn and asking each to address the chosen topic.

New members were invited only with the consent of the entire group, and only a few dropped out. By 1906, the group, then called the Wednesday Psychological Society, included 17 doctors, analysts and laymen. Otto Rank was hired that year to collect dues and keep written records of the increasingly complex discussions. Each meeting included the presentation of a paper or case history with discussion and a final summary by Freud. Some of the members presented detailed histories of their own psychological and sexual development.

Active Years

As the meetings grew to include more of the original contributors to psychoanalysis, analytic frankness sometimes became an excuse for personal attacks. In 1908 Max Graf, whose five-year-old son had been an early topic of discussion as Freud’s famous “Little Hans” case, deplored the disappearance of congeniality. There were still discussions from which important insights could be gleaned, but many became acrimonious. Many members wanted to abolish the tradition that new ideas discussed at the meetings were credited to the group as a whole, not the original contributor of the idea. Freud proposed that each member should have a choice, to have his comments regarded as his own intellectual property, or to put them in the public domain.

In an attempt to resolve some of the disputes, Freud officially dissolved the informal group and formed a new group under the name Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. On the suggestion of Alfred Adler, the election of new members was based on secret ballot rather than Freud’s invitation. Although the structure of the group became more democratic, the discussions lost some of their original eclectic character as the identity of the group developed. The psychosexual theories of Freud became the primary focus of the participants.

After the end of World War I, the membership became more homogeneous, and the proportion of members identifying as Jewish increased. Over the course of the 36 years of its existence (until 1938), the Society registered a total of 150 members. Most members were Jewish, and 50 were (like Freud himself) children of Jewish immigrants from other Habsburg states.

Prominent Members

  • Sigmund Freud.
  • Alfred Adler.
  • Wilhelm Reich.
  • Otto Rank.
  • Karl Abraham.
  • Carl Jung.
  • Sándor Ferenczi.
  • Guido Holzknecht.
  • Isidor Isaak Sadger.
  • Victor Tausk.
  • Hanns Sachs.
  • Ludwig Binswanger.
  • Carl Alfred Meier.
  • Sabina Spielrein.
  • Margarete Hilferding.
  • Herbert Silberer.
  • Paul Schilder.

What is Analytical Psychology?

Introduction

Analytical psychology (German: Analytische Psychologie, sometimes translated as analytic psychology and referred to as Jungian analysis) is a term coined by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, to describe research into his new “empirical science” of the psyche.

It was designed to distinguish it from Freud’s psychoanalytic theories as their seven-year collaboration on psychoanalysis was drawing to an end between 1912 and 1913. The evolution of his science is contained in his monumental opus, the Collected Works, written over sixty years of his lifetime.

The history of analytical psychology is intimately linked with the biography of Jung. At the start, it was known as the “Zurich school”, whose chief figures were Eugen Bleuler, Franz Riklin, Alphonse Maeder and Jung, all centred in the Burghölzli hospital in Zurich. It was initially a theory concerning psychological complexes until Jung, upon breaking with Sigmund Freud, turned it into a generalised method of investigating archetypes and the unconscious, as well as into a specialised psychotherapy.

Analytical psychology, or “complex psychology”, from the German: Komplexe Psychologie, is the foundation of many developments in the study and practice of Psychology as of other disciplines. The followers of Jung are many, and some of them are members of national societies in diverse countries around the world. They collaborate professionally on an international level through the International Association of Analytical Psychologists (IAAP) and the International Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS). Jung’s propositions have given rise to a rich and multidisciplinary literature in numerous languages.

Among widely used concepts owed specifically to Analytical psychology are: anima and animus, archetypes, the collective unconscious, complexes, extraversion and introversion, individuation, the Self, the shadow and synchronicity. The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based on another of Jung’s theories on psychological types. A lesser known idea was Jung’s notion of the Psychoid to denote a hypothesised immanent plane beyond consciousness, distinct from the collective unconscious, and a potential locus of synchronicity.

The approximately “three schools” of post-Jungian analytical psychology that are current, the classical, archetypal and developmental, can be said to correspond to the developing yet overlapping aspects of Jung’s lifelong explorations, even if he expressly did not want to start a school of “Jungians”. Hence as Jung proceeded from a clinical practice which was mainly traditionally science-based and steeped in rationalist philosophy, anthropology and ethnography, his enquiring mind simultaneously took him into more esoteric spheres such as alchemy, astrology, gnosticism, metaphysics, myth and the paranormal, without ever abandoning his allegiance to science as his long-lasting collaboration with Wolfgang Pauli attests. His wide-ranging progression suggests to some commentators that, over time, his analytical psychotherapy, informed by his intuition and teleological investigations, became more of an “art”.

The findings of Jungian analysis and the application of analytical psychology to contemporary preoccupations such as social and family relationships, dreams and nightmares, work-life balance, architecture and urban planning, politics and economics, conflict and warfare, and climate change are illustrated in a growing number of publications and films.

Background

Jung began his career as a psychiatrist in Zürich, Switzerland. Already employed at the Burghölzli hospital in 1901, in his academic dissertation for the medical faculty of the University of Zurich he took the risk of using his experiments on somnambulism and the visions of his mediumistic cousin, Helly Preiswerk. The work was entitled, “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena”. It was accepted but caused great upset among his mother’s family. Under the direction of psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, he also conducted research with his colleagues using a galvanometer to evaluate the emotional sensitivities of patients to lists of words during word association. Jung has left a description of his use of the device in treatment. His research earned him a worldwide reputation and numerous honours, including Honorary Doctorates from Clark and Fordham Universities in 1909 and 1910 respectively. Other honours followed later.

Although they began corresponding a year earlier, in 1907 Jung travelled to meet Sigmund Freud in Vienna, Austria. At that stage, Jung, aged thirty-two, had a much greater international renown than the forty-nine year old neurologist. For a further six years, the two scholars worked and travelled to the United States together. In 1911, they founded the International Psychoanalytical Association, of which Jung was the first president. However, early in the collaboration, Jung had already observed that Freud would not tolerate ideas that were different from his own.

Unlike most modern psychologists, Jung did not believe in restricting himself to the scientific method as a means to understanding the human psyche. He saw dreams, myths, coincidence and folklore as empirical evidence to further understanding and meaning. So although the unconscious cannot be studied by using direct methods, it acts as a useful working hypothesis, according to Jung. As he said, “The beauty about the unconscious is that it is really unconscious.” Hence, the unconscious is ‘untouchable’ by experimental researches, or indeed any possible kind of scientific or philosophical reach, precisely because it is unconscious.

The Break with Freud

It was the publication of a book by Jung which provoked the break with psychoanalysis and led to the founding of analytical psychology. In 1912 Jung met “Miss Miller”, brought to his notice by the work of Théodore Flournoy and whose case gave further substance to his theory of the collective unconscious. The study of her visions supplied the material which would go on to furnish his reasoning which he developed in Psychology of the Unconscious (Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido) (re-published as Symbols of Transformation in 1952) (C.W. Vol. 5). At this, Freud muttered about “heresy”. It was the second part of the work that brought the divergence to light. Freud mentioned to Ernest Jones that it was on page 174 of the original German edition, that Jung, according to him, had “lost his way”. It is the extract where Jung enlarged on his conception of the libido. The sanction was immediate: Jung was officially banned from the Vienna psychoanalytic circle from August 1912. From that date the psychoanalytic movement split into two obediences, with Freud’s partisans on one side, Karl Abraham being delegated to write a critical notice about Jung, and with Ernest Jones as defender of Freudian orthodoxy; while on the other side, were Jung’s partisans, including Leonhard Seif, Franz Riklin, Johan van Ophuijsen and Alphonse Maeder.

Jung’s innovative ideas with a new formulation of psychology and lack of contrition sealed the end of the Jung-Freud friendship in 1913. From then, the two scholars worked independently on personality development: Jung had already termed his approach analytical psychology (1912), while the approach Freud had founded is referred to as the Psychoanalytic School, (psychoanalytische Schule).

Jung’s postulated unconscious was quite different from the model proposed by Freud, despite the great influence that the founder of psychoanalysis had had on him. In particular, tensions manifested between him and Freud because of various disagreements, including those concerning the nature of the libido. Jung de-emphasized the importance of sexual development as an instinctual drive and focused on the collective unconscious: the part of the unconscious that contains memories and ideas which Jung believed were inherited from generations of ancestors. While he accepted that libido was an important source for personal growth, unlike Freud, Jung did not consider that libido alone was responsible for the formation of the core personality. Due to the particular hardships Jung had endured growing up, he believed his personal development and that of everyone was influenced by factors unrelated to sexuality.

The overarching aim in life, according to Jungian psychology, is the fullest possible actualisation of the “Self” through individuation. Jung defines the “self” as “not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of the conscious mind”. Central to this process of individuation is the individual’s continual encounter with the elements of the psyche by bringing them into consciousness. People experience the unconscious through symbols encountered in all aspects of life: in dreams, art, religion, and the symbolic dramas enacted in relationships and life pursuits. Essential to the process is the merging of the individual’s consciousness with the collective unconscious through a huge range of symbols. By bringing conscious awareness to bear on what is unconscious, such elements can be integrated with consciousness when they “surface”. To proceed with the individuation process, individuals need to be open to the parts of themselves beyond their own ego, which is the “organ” of consciousness. In a famous dictum, Jung said, “the Self, like the unconscious is an a priori existent out of which the ego evolves. It is … an unconscious prefiguration of the ego. It is not I who create myself, rather I happen to myself’.

It follows that the aim of (Jungian) psychotherapy is to assist the individual to establish a healthy relationship with the unconscious so that it is neither excessively out of balance in relation to it, as in neurosis, a state that can result in depression, anxiety, and personality disorders or so flooded by it that it risks psychosis resulting in mental breakdown. One method Jung applied to his patients between 1913 and 1916 was active imagination, a way of encouraging them to give themselves over to a form of meditation to release apparently random images from the mind in order to bridge unconscious contents into awareness.

“Neurosis” in Jung’s view results from the build up of psychological defences the individual unconsciously musters in an effort to cope with perceived attacks from the outside world, a process he called a “complex”, although complexes are not merely defensive in character. The psyche is a self-regulating adaptive system. People are energetic systems, and if the energy is blocked, the psyche becomes sick. If adaptation is thwarted, the psychic energy stops flowing and becomes rigid. This process manifests in neurosis and psychosis. Jung proposed that this occurs through maladaptation of one’s internal realities to external ones. The principles of adaptation, projection, and compensation are central processes in Jung’s view of psyche’s attempts to adapt.

Innovations of Jungian Analysis

Philosophical and Epistemological Foundations

Philosophy

Jung was an adept principally of the American philosopher William James, founder of pragmatism, whom he met during his trip to the United States in 1909. He also encountered other figures associated with James, such as John Dewey and the anthropologist, Franz Boas. Pragmatism was Jung’s favoured route to base his psychology on a sound scientific basis according to historian Sonu Shamdasani. His theories consist of observations of phenomena, and according to Jung it is phenomenology. In his view psychologism was suspect.

Displacement into the conceptual deprives experience of its substance and the possibility of being simply named.

Throughout his writings, Jung sees in empirical observation not only a precondition of an objective method but also respect for an ethical code which should guide the psychologist, as he stated in a letter to Joseph Goldbrunner:

I consider it a moral obligation not to make assertions about things one cannot see or whose existence cannot be proved, and I consider it an abuse of epistemological power to do so regardless. These rules apply to all experimental science. Other rules apply to metaphysics. I regard myself as answerable to the rules of experimental science. As a result nowhere in my work are there any metaphysical assertions nor – nota bene – any negations of a metaphysical nature.

According to the Italo-French psychoanalyst Luigi Aurigemma, Jung’s reasoning is also marked by Immanuel Kant, and more generally by German rationalist philosophy. His lectures are evidence of his assimilation of Kantian thought, especially the Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason. Aurigemma caracterises Jung’s thinking as “epistemological relativism” because it does not postulate any belief in the metaphysical. In fact, Jung uses Kant’s teleology to bridle his thinking and to guard himself from straying into any metaphysical excursions. On the other hand, for French historian of psychology, Françoise Parot, contrary to the alleged rationalist vein, Jung is “heir” to mystics, (Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, or Augustine of Hippo) and to the romantics be they scientists, such as Carl Gustav Carus or Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert in particular, or to philosophers and writers, along the lines of Nietzsche, Goethe, and Schopenhauer, in the way he conceptualised the unconscious in particular. Whereas his typology is profoundly dependent on Carl Spitteler.

Scientific Heritage

As a trained psychiatrist, Jung had a grounding in the state of science in his day. He regularly refers to the experimental psychology of Wilhelm Wundt. His Word Association Test designed with Franz Riklin is actually the direct application of Wundt’s theory. Notwithstanding the great debt of analytical psychology to Sigmund Freud, Jung borrowed concepts from other theories of his time. For instance, the expression “abaissement du niveau mental” comes directly from the French psychologist Pierre Janet whose courses Jung attended during his studies in France, during 1901. Jung had always acknowledged how much Janet had influenced his career.

Jung’s use of the concept of “participation mystique” is owed to the French ethnologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl:

What Rousseau describes is nothing other than the primitive collective mentality which Lucien Lévy-Bruhl has brilliantly called “participation mystique”

which he uses to illustrate the surprising fact, to him, that some native peoples can experience relations that defy logic, as for instance in the case of the South American tribe, whom he met during his travels, where the men pretended they were scarlet aras birds. Finally, his use of the English expression, “pattern of behaviour”, which is synonymous with the term archetype, is drawn from British studies in ethology.

The principal contribution to analytical psychology, nevertheless, remains that of Freud’s psychoanalysis, from which Jung took a number of concepts, especially the method of inquiring into the unconscious through free association. Individual analysts’ thinking was also integrated into his project, among whom are Sándor Ferenczi (Jung refers to his notion of “affect”) or Ludwig Binswanger and his Daseinsanalyse [de], (Daseinsanalysis). Jung affirms also Freud’s contribution to our knowledge of the psyche as being, without doubt, of the highest importance. It reveals penetrating information about the dark corners of the soul and of the human personality, which is of the same order as Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality (1887). In this context, Freud was, according to Jung, one of the great cultural critics of the XIXth century.

Divergences from Psychoanalysis

Jungian Analysis, as is psychoanalysis, is a method to access, experience and integrate unconscious material into awareness. It is a search for the meaning of behaviours, feelings and events. Many are the channels to extend knowledge of the self: the analysis of dreams is one important avenue. Others may include expressing feelings about and through art, poetry or other expressions of creativity, the examination of conflicts and repeating patterns in a person’s life. A comprehensive description of the process of dream interpretation is complex, in that it is highly specific to the person who undertakes it. Most succinctly it relies on the associations which the particular dream symbols suggest to the dreamer, which at times may be deemed “archetypal” in so far as they are supposed common to many people throughout history. Examples could be a hero, an old man or woman, situations of pursuit, flying or falling.

Whereas (Freudian) psychoanalysis relies entirely on the development of the transference in the analysand (the person under treatment) to the analyst, Jung initially used the transference and later concentrated more on a dialectical and didactic approach to the symbolic and archetypal material presented by the patient. Moreover his attitude towards patients departed from what he had observed in Freud’s method. Anthony Stevens has explained it thus:

Though [Jung’s] initial formulations arose mainly out of his own creative illness, they were also a conscious reaction against the stereotype of the classical Freudian analyst, sitting silent and aloof behind the couch, occasionally emitting ex cathedra pronouncements and interpretations, while remaining totally uninvolved in the patient’s guilt, anguish, and need for reassurance and support. Instead, Jung offered the radical proposal that analysis is a dialectical procedure, a two-way exchange between two people, who are equally involved. Although it was a revolutionary idea when he first suggested it, it is a model which has influenced psychotherapists of most schools, though many seem not to realise that it originated with Jung.

In place of Freud’s “surgical detachment”, Jung demonstrated a more relaxed and warmer welcome in the consulting room. He remained aware nonetheless that exposure to a patient’s unconscious contents always posed a certain risk of contagion (he calls it “psychic infection”) to the analyst, as experienced in the countertransference. The process of contemporary Jungian analysis depends on the type of “school of analytical psychology” to which the therapist adheres, (see below). The “Zurich School” would reflect the approach Jung himself taught, while those influenced by Michael Fordham and associates in London, would be significantly closer to a Kleinian approach and therefore, concerned with analysis of the transference and countertransference as indicators of repressed material along with the attendant symbols and patterns.

Dream Work

Jung’s preoccupation with dreams can be dated from 1902. It was only after the break with Freud that he published in 1916 his “Psychology of the Unconscious” where he elaborated his view of dreams, which contrasts sharply with Freud’s conceptualisation. While he agrees that dreams are a highway into the unconscious, he enlarges on their functions further than psychoanalysis did. One of the salient differences is the compensatory function they perform by reinstating psychic equilibrium in respect of judgements made during waking life: thus a man consumed by ambition and arrogance may, for example, dream about himself as small and vulnerable person.

According to Jung, this demonstrates that the man’s attitude is excessively self-assured and thereby refuses to integrate the inferior aspects of his personality, which are denied by his defensive arrogance. Jung calls this a compensation mechanism, necessary for the maintenance of a healthy mental balance. Shortly before his death in 1961, he wrote:

In order to secure mental and even physiological stability, it is necessary that the conscious and unconscious should be integrated one with the other. This is so that they evolve in parallel. (Pour sauvegarder la stabilité mentale, et même physiologique, il faut que la conscience et l’inconscient soient intégralement reliés, afin d’évoluer parallèlement).

Unconscious material is expressed in images through the deployment of symbolism which, in Jungian terms, means it has an affective role (in that it can sometimes give rise to a numinous feeling, when associated with an archetypal force) and an intellectual role. Some dreams are personal to the dreamer, others may be collective in origin or “transpersonal” in so far as they relate to existential events. They can be taken to express phases of the individuation process (see below) and may be inspired by literature, art, alchemy or mythology. Analytical psychology is recognised for its historical and geographical study of myths as a means to deconstruct, with the aid of symbols, the unconscious manifestations of the psyche. Myths are said to represent directly the elements and phenomena arising from the collective unconscious and though they may be subject to alteration in their detail through time, their significance remains similar. While Jung relies predominantly on christian or on Western pagan mythology (Ancient Greece and Rome), he holds that the unconscious is driven by mythologies derived from all cultures. He evinced an interest in Hinduism, in Zoroastrianism and Taoism, which all share fundamental images reflected in the psyche. Thus analytical psychology focusses on meaning, based on the hypothesis that human beings are potentially in constant touch with universal and symbolic aspects common to humankind. In the words of André Nataf:

Jung opens psychoanalysis to a dimension currently obscured by the prevailing scientism: spirituality. His contribution, though questionable in certain respects, remains unique. His explorations of the unconscious carried out both as a scientist and a poet, indicate that it is structured as a language but one which is in a mythical mode. (Jung ouvre la psychanalyse à une dimension cachée par le scientisme ambiant : la spiritualité. Son apport, quoique contestable sur certains points, reste unique. Explorant l’inconscient en scientifique et poète, il montre que celui-ci se structure non comme une langue mais sur le mode du mythe).

Principal Concepts

In analytical psychology two distinct types of psychological process may be identified: that deriving from the individual, characterised as “personal”, belonging to a subjective psyche, and that deriving from the collective, linked to the structure of an objective psyche, which may be termed “transpersonal”. These processes are both said to be archetypal. Some of these processes are regarded as specifically linked to consciousness, such as the animus or anima, the persona or the shadow. Others pertain more to the collective sphere. Jung tended to personify the anima and animus as they are, according to him, always attached to a person and represent an aspect of his or her psyche.

Anima and Animus

Jung identified the archetypal anima as being the unconscious feminine component of men and the archetypal animus as the unconscious masculine component in women. These are shaped by the contents of the collective unconscious, by others, and by the larger society. However, many modern-day Jungian practitioners do not ascribe to a literal definition, citing that the Jungian concept points to every person having both an anima and an animus. Jung considered, for instance, an “animus of the anima” in men, in his work Aion and in an interview in which he says:

“Yes, if a man realizes the animus of his anima, then the animus is a substitute for the old wise man. You see, his ego is in relation to the unconscious, and the unconscious is personified by a female figure, the anima. But in the unconscious is also a masculine figure, the wise old man. And that figure is in connection with the anima as her animus, because she is a woman. So, one could say the wise old man was in exactly the same position as the animus to a woman.”

Jung stated that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth. Jung reported that he identified his anima as she spoke to him, as an inner voice, unexpectedly one day.

In cases where the anima or animus complexes are ignored, they vie for attention by projecting itself on others. This explains, according to Jung, why we are sometimes immediately attracted to certain strangers: we see our anima or animus in them. Love at first sight is an example of anima and animus projection. Moreover, people who strongly identify with their gender role (e.g. a man who acts aggressively and never cries) have not actively recognised or engaged their anima or animus.

Jung attributes human rational thought to be the male nature, while the irrational aspect is considered to be natural female (rational being defined as involving judgment, irrational being defined as involving perceptions). Consequently, irrational moods are the progenies of the male anima shadow and irrational opinions of the female animus shadow.

Archetypes

The use of archetypes in psychology was advanced by Jung in an essay entitled “Instinct and the Unconscious” in 1919. The first element in Greek ‘arche’ signifies ‘beginning, origin, cause, primal source principle’, by extension it can signify ‘position of a leader, supreme rule and government’. The second element ‘type’ means ‘blow or what is produced by a blow, the imprint of a coin …form, image, prototype, model, order, and norm’, …in the figurative, modern sense, ‘pattern underlying form, primordial form’. In his psychological framework, archetypes are innate, universal or personal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations. The method he favoured was hermeneutics which was central in his practice of psychology from the start. He made explicit references to hermeneutics in the Collected Works and during his theoretical development of the notion of archetypes. Although he lacks consistency in his formulations, his theoretical development of archetypes is rich in hermeneutic implications. As noted by Smythe and Baydala (2012):

his notion of the archetype as such can be understood hermeneutically as a form of non-conceptual background understanding.

A group of memories and attitudes associated with an archetype can become a complex, e.g. a mother complex may be associated with a particular mother archetype. Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological givens which probably arose through evolution.

Archetypes have been regarded as collective as well as individual, and identifiable in a variety of creative ways. As an example, in his book Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung states that he began to see and talk to a manifestation of anima and that she taught him how to interpret dreams. As soon as he could interpret on his own, Jung said that she ceased talking to him because she was no longer needed. However, the essentialism inherent in archetypal theory in general and concerning the anima, in particular, has called for a re‐evaluation of Jung’s theory in terms of emergence theory. This would emphasise the role of symbols in the construction of affect in the midst of collective human action. In such a reconfiguration, the visceral energy of a numinous experience can be retained while the problematic theory of archetypes has outlived its usefulness.

Collective Unconscious

Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious has undergone re-interpretation over time. The term “collective unconscious” first appeared in Jung’s 1916 essay, “The Structure of the Unconscious”. This essay distinguishes between the “personal”, Freudian unconscious, filled with fantasies (e.g. sexual) and repressed images, and the “collective” unconscious encompassing the soul of humanity at large.

In “The Significance of Constitution and Heredity in Psychology” (November 1929), Jung wrote:

And the essential thing, psychologically, is that in dreams, fantasies, and other exceptional states of mind the most far-fetched mythological motifs and symbols can appear autochthonously at any time, often, apparently, as the result of particular influences, traditions, and excitations working on the individual, but more often without any sign of them. These “primordial images” or “archetypes,” as I have called them, belong to the basic stock of the unconscious psyche and cannot be explained as personal acquisitions. Together they make up that psychic stratum which has been called the collective unconscious. The existence of the collective unconscious means that individual consciousness is anything but a tabula rasa and is not immune to predetermining influences. On the contrary, it is in the highest degree influenced by inherited presuppositions, quite apart from the unavoidable influences exerted upon it by the environment. The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences, and hence it exerts an influence that compromises the freedom of consciousness in the highest degree, since it is continually striving to lead all conscious processes back into the old paths.

Given that in his day he lacked the advances of complexity theory and especially complex adaptive systems (CAS), it has been argued that his vision of archetypes as a stratum in the collective unconscious, corresponds to nodal patterns in the collective unconscious which go on to shape the characteristic patterns of human imagination and experience and in that sense, “seems a remarkable, intuitive articulation of the CAS model”.

Individuation

Individuation is a complex process that involves going through different stages of growing awareness through the progressive confrontation and integration of personal unconscious elements. This is the central concept of analytical psychology first introduced in 1916. It is the objective of Jungian psychotherapy to the extent that it enables the realisation of the Self. As Jung stated:

The aim of individuation is nothing less than to divest the self of the false wrappings of the persona, on the one hand and the suggestive power of primordial images on the other.

Jung started experimenting with individuation after his split with Freud as he confronted what was described as eruptions from the collective unconscious driven by a contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. According to Jung, individuation means becoming an individual and implies becoming one’s own self. Unlike individuality, which emphasizes some supposed peculiarity, Jung described individuation as a better and more complete fulfilment of the collective qualities of the human being. In his experience, Jung explained that individuation helped him, “from the therapeutic point of view, to find the particular images that lie behind emotions”.

Individuation is from the first what the analysand must undergo, in order to integrate the other elements of the psyche. This pursuit of wholeness aims to establish the Self, which include both the rational conscious mind of the ego and the irrational contents of the unconscious, as the new personality centre. Prior to individuation, the analysand is carefully assessed to determine if the ego is strong enough to take the intensity of this process. The elements to be integrated include the persona which acts as the representative of the person in her/his role in society, the shadow which contains all that is personally unknown and what the person considers morally reprehensible and, the anima or the animus, which respectively carry their feminine and masculine values. For Jung many unconscious conflicts at the root of neurosis are caused by the difficulty to accept that such a dynamic can unbalance the subject from his habitual position and confronts her/him with aspects of the self they were accustomed to ignore. Once individuation is completed the ego is no longer at the centre of the personality. The process, however, does not lead to a complete self-realisation and that individuation can never be a fixed state due to the unfathomable nature of the depths of the collective unconscious.

Shadow

The shadow is an unconscious complex defined as the repressed, suppressed or disowned qualities of the conscious self. According to Jung, the human being deals with the reality of the shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation. Jung himself asserted that “the result of the Freudian method of elucidation is a minute elaboration of man’s shadow-side unexampled in any previous age.” According to analytical psychology, a person’s shadow may have both constructive and destructive aspects. In its more destructive aspects, the shadow can represent those things people do not accept about themselves. For instance, the shadow of someone who identifies as being kind may be harsh or unkind. Conversely, the shadow of a person who perceives himself to be brutal may be gentle. In its more constructive aspects, a person’s shadow may represent hidden positive qualities. This has been referred to as the “gold in the shadow”. Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness in order to avoid projecting shadow qualities on others.

The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.

The shadow may also concern great figures in the history of human thought or even spiritual masters, who became great because of their shadows or because of their ability to live their shadows (namely, their unconscious faults) in full without repressing them.

Persona

Just like the anima and animus, the persona (derived from the Greek term for a mask, as would have been worn by actors) is another key concept in analytical psychology. It is the part of the personality which manages an individual’s relations with society in the outside world and works the same way for both sexes.

The persona … is the individual’s system of adaptation to, or the manner assumed in dealing with the world. Every calling or profession, for example, has its own characteristic persona […] Only the danger is that (people) become identical with their personas: thus the professor with his textbook, the tenor with his voice. One could say with little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.

The persona, which is at the heart of the psyche, is contrary to the shadow which is actually the true personality but denied by the self. The conscious self identifies primarily with the persona during development in childhood as the individual develops a psychological framework for dealing with others. Identifications with diplomas, social roles, with honours and awards, with a career, all contribute to the apparent constitution of the persona and which do not lead to knowledge of the self. For Jung, the persona has nothing real about it. It can only be a compromise between the individual and society, yielding an illusion of individuality. Individuation consists, in the first instance, of discarding the individual’s mask, but not too quickly as often, it is all the patient has as a means of identification. The persona is implicated in a number symptoms such as compulsive disorders, phobias, shifting moods, and addictions, among others.

Psychological Types

Analytical psychology distinguishes several psychological types or temperaments.

  • Extravert.
  • Introvert.

According to Jung, the psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distinguishes four basic functions:

  • Sensation: Perception by means of the sense organs.
  • Intuition: Perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents.
  • Thinking: Function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions.
  • Feeling: Function of subjective estimation.

Thinking and feeling functions are rational, while the sensation and intuition functions are irrational.

Note: There is ambiguity in the term ‘rational’ that Carl Jung ascribed to the thinking/feeling functions. Both thinking and feeling irrespective of orientation (i.e. introverted/extroverted) employ/utilise/are directed by in loose terminology an underlying ‘logical’ IF-THEN construct/process (as in IF X THEN Y) in order to form judgements. This underlying construct/process is not directly observable in normal states of consciousness especially when engaged in thoughts/feelings. It can be cognised merely as a concept/abstraction during thoughtful reflection. Sensation and intuition are ‘irrational’ functions simply because they do not employ the above-mentioned underlying logical construct/process.

Complexes

Early in Jung’s career he coined the term and described the concept of the “complex”. Jung claims to have discovered the concept during his free association and galvanic skin response experiments. Freud obviously took up this concept in his Oedipus complex amongst others. Jung seemed to see complexes as quite autonomous parts of psychological life. It is almost as if Jung were describing separate personalities within what is considered a single individual, but to equate Jung’s use of complexes with something along the lines of multiple personality disorder would be a step out of bounds.

Jung saw an archetype as always being the central organising structure of a complex. For instance, in a “negative mother complex,” the archetype of the “negative mother” would be seen to be central to the identity of that complex. This is to say, our psychological lives are patterned on common human experiences. Jung saw the Ego (which Freud wrote about in German literally as the “I”, one’s conscious experience of oneself) as a complex. If the “I” is a complex, what might be the archetype that structures it? Jung, and many Jungians, might say “the hero,” one who separates from the community to ultimately carry the community further.

Synchronicity

Carl Jung first officially used the term synchronicity during a conference held in memory of his sinologist friend, Richard Wilhelm in 1930. It was part of his explanation of the modus operandi of the I Ching. The second reference was made in 1935 in his Tavistock Lectures. For an overview of the origins of the concept, see Joseph Cambray: “Synchronicity as emergence”. It was used to denote the simultaneous occurrence of two events with no causal physical connection, but whose association evokes a meaning for the person experiencing or observing it. The often cited example of the phenomenon is Jung’s own account of a beetle (the common rose-chafer, Cetonia aurata) flying into his consulting room directly following on from his patient telling him a dream featuring a golden scarab. The concept only makes sense psychologically and cannot be reduced to a verified or scientific fact. For Jung it constitutes a working hypothesis which has subsequently given rise to many ambiguities.

I chose this term because the simultaneous occurrence of two meaningfully but not causally connected events seemed to me an essential criterion. I am therefore using the general concept of synchronicity in the special sense of a coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or a similar meaning, in contrast to synchronism, which simply means the simultaneous occurrence of two events. Synchronicity therefore means the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state -and, in certain cases, vice versa.

According to Jung, an archetype which has been constellated in the psyche can, under certain circumstances, transgress the boundary between substance and psyche.

Jung had studied such phenomena with the physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Wolfgang Pauli, who did not always agree with Jung, and with whom he carried on an extensive correspondence, enriched by the contributions of both specialists in their own fields. Pauli had given a series of lectures to the C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich whose member and patron he had been since 1947. It gave rise to a joint essay: Synchronicity, an a-causal principle (1952) The two men saw in the idea of synchronicity a potential way of explaining a particular relationship between “incontrovertible facts”, whose occurrence is tied to unconscious and archetypal manifestations:

The psyche and matter are ordered according to principles which are common, neutral, and incontrovertible.

Borrowing the notion from Arthur Schopenhauer, Jung calls it Unus mundus, a state where neither matter nor the psyche are distinguishable. whereas for Pauli it was a limiting concept, in two senses, in that it is at once scientific and symbolic. According to him, the phenomenon is dependent on the observer. Nevertheless, both men were in accord that there existed the possibility of a conjunction between physics and psychology. Jung wrote in a letter to Pauli:

These researches (Jung’s research into alchemy), have shown me that modern physics can symbolically represent psychological processes down to the minutest detail.

Marie-Louise von Franz also had a lengthy exchange of letters with Wolfgang Pauli. On Pauli’s death in 1958, his widow, Franca, deliberately destroyed all the letters von Franz had sent to her husband, and which he had kept locked inside his writing desk. However, the letters from Pauli to von Franz were all saved and were later made available to researchers and published.

Synchronicity has been is among the most developed ideas by Jung’s followers, notably by Michel Cazenave, James Hillman, Roderick Main, Carl Alfred Meier and by the British developmental clinician, George Bright. It has been explored also in a range of spiritual currents who have sought in it a scientific rigour.

Although Synchronicity as conceived by Jung within the bounds of the science available in his day, has been categorised as pseudoscience, recent developments in complex adaptive systems argue for a revision of such a view. Critics cite that Jung’s experiments that sought to provide statistical proof for this theory did not yield satisfactory result. His experiment was also faulted for not using a true random sampling method as well as for the use of dubious statistics and astrological material.

Post-Jungian Approaches

Andrew Samuels (1985) has distinguished three distinct traditions or approaches of “post-Jungian” psychology – classical, developmental and archetypal. Today there are more developments.

Classical

The classical approach tries to remain faithful to Jung’s proposed model, his teachings and the substance of his 20 volume Collected Works, together with recently published works, such as the Liber Novus, and the Black Books. Prominent advocates of this approach, according to Samuels (1985), include Emma Jung, Jung’s wife, an analyst in her own right, Marie-Louise von Franz, Joseph L. Henderson, Aniela Jaffé, Erich Neumann, Gerhard Adler and Jolande Jacobi. Jung credited Neumann, author of “Origins of Conscious” and “Origins of the Child”, as his principal student to advance his (Jung’s) theory into a mythology-based approach. He is associated with developing the symbolism and archetypal significance of several myths: the Child, Creation, the Hero, the Great Mother and Transcendence.

Archetypal

One archetypal approach, sometimes called “the imaginal school” by James Hillman, was written about by him in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its adherents, according to Samuels (1985), include Gerhard Adler, Irene Claremont de Castillejo, Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig, Murray Stein, Rafael López-Pedraza and Wolfgang Giegerich. Thomas Moore also was influenced by some of Hillman’s work. Developed independently, other psychoanalysts have created strong approaches to archetypal psychology. Mythopoeticists and psychoanalysts such as Clarissa Pinkola Estés who believes that ethnic and aboriginal people are the originators of archetypal psychology and have long carried the maps for the journey of the soul in their songs, tales, dream-telling, art and rituals; Marion Woodman who proposes a feminist viewpoint regarding archetypal psychology. Some of the mythopoetic/archetypal psychology creators either imagine the Self not to be the main archetype of the collective unconscious as Jung thought, but rather assign each archetype equal value.[citation needed] Others, who are modern progenitors of archetypal psychology (such as Estés), think of the Self as the thing that contains and yet is suffused by all other archetypes, each giving life to the other.

Robert L. Moore has explored the archetypal level of the human psyche in a series of five books co-authored with Douglas Gillette, which have played an important role in the men’s movement in the United States. Moore studies computerese so he uses a computer’s hard wiring (its fixed physical components) as a metaphor for the archetypal level of the human psyche. Personal experiences influence the access to the archetypal level of the human psyche, but personalized ego consciousness can be likened to computer software.

Developmental

A major expansion of Jungian theory is credited to Michael Fordham and his wife, Frieda Fordham. It can be considered a bridge between traditional Jungian analysis and Melanie Klein’s object relations theory. Judith Hubback and William Goodheart MD are also included in this group. Andrew Samuels (1985) considers J.W.T. Redfearn, Richard Carvalho and himself as representatives of the developmental approach. Samuels notes how this approach differs from the classical by giving less emphasis to the Self and more emphasis to the development of personality; he also notes how, in terms of practice in therapy, it gives more attention to transference and counter-transference than either the classical or the archetypal approaches.

Sandplay Therapy

Sandplay is a non-directive, creative form of therapy using the imagination, originally used with children and adolescents, later also with adults. Jung had stressed the importance of finding the image behind the emotion. The use of sand in a suitable tray with figurines and other small toys, farm animals, trees, fences and cars enables a narrative to develop through a series of scenarios. This is said to express an ongoing dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the psyche, which in turn activates a healing process whereby the patient and therapist can together view the evolving sense of self.

Jungian Sandplay started as a therapeutic method in the 1950s. Although its origin has been credited to a Swiss Jungian analyst, Dora Kalff it was in fact, her mentor and trainer, Dr. Margaret Lowenfeld, a British paediatrician, who had developed the Lowenfeld World Technique inspired by the writer H.G. Wells in her work with children, using a sand tray and figurines in the 1930s. Jung had witnessed a demonstration of the technique while on a visit to the UK in 1937. Kalff saw in it potential as a further application of analytical psychology. Encouraged by Jung, Kalff developed the new application over a number of years and called it Sandplay. From 1962 she began to train Jungian Analysts in the method including in the United States, Europe and Japan. Both Kalff and Jung believed an image can offer greater therapeutic engagement and insight than words alone. Through the sensory experience of working with sand and objects, and their symbolic resonance new areas of awareness can be brought into consciousness, as in dreams, which through their frames and storyline can bring material into consciousness as part of an integrating and healing process. The historian of psychology, Sonu Shamdasani has commented:

Historical reflection suggests the spirit of Jung’s practice of the image, his engagement with his own figures, is indeed more alive in Sandplay than in other Jungian conclaves.

One of Dora Kalff’s trainees was the American concert pianist, Joel Ryce-Menuhin, whose music career was ended by illness and who retrained as a Jungian analyst and exponent of sandplay.

Process-Oriented Psychology

Process-oriented psychology (also called Process work) is associated with the Zurich-trained Jungian analyst Arnold Mindell. Process work developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was originally identified as a “daughter of Jungian psychology”. Process work stresses awareness of the “unconscious” as an ongoing flow of experience. This approach expands Jung’s work beyond verbal individual therapy to include body experience, altered and comatose states as well as multicultural group work.

The Analytic Attitude

Formally Jungian analysis differs little from psychoanalysis. However, variants of each school have developed overlaps and specific divergences through the century, or more, of their existence. They share a “frame” consisting of regular spatio-temporal meetings, one or more times a week, focusing on patient material, using dialogue which may consist of elaboration, amplification and abreaction and which may last on average three years (sometimes more briefly or far longer). The spatial arrangement between analyst and analysand may differ: seated face to face or the patient may use the couch with the analyst seated behind.

In some approaches alternative elements of expression can take place, such as active imagination, sandplay, drawing or painting, even music. The session may at times become semi-directed (in contrast to psychoanalytic treatment which is essentially a non-directive encounter). The patient is at the heart of the therapy, as Marie Louise von Franz has it in her work, “Psychotherapy: the practitioner’s experience”, where she recounts Jung’s thinking on that point. The transference is sought out (contrary to psychoanalytic treatment which distinguishes positive and negative transferences) and, the interpretation of dreams is one of the central pillars of Jungian psychotherapy. In all other respects, the rules correspond to those of classical psychoanalysis: the analyst examines free associations and tries to be objective and ethical, meaning respectful of the patient’s pace and rhythm of unfolding progress. In fact, the task of Jungian analysis is not merely to explore the patient’s past, but to connect conscious awareness with the unconscious such that a better adaptation to their emotional and social life may ensue.

Neurosis is not a symptom of the re-emergence of a repressed past, but is regarded as the functional, sometimes somatic, incapacity to face certain aspects of lived reality. In Jungian analysis the unconscious is the motivator whose task it is to bring into awareness the patient’s shadow, in alliance with the analyst, the more so since unconscious processes enacted in the transference provoke a dependent relationship by the analysand on the analyst, leading to a falling away of the usual defences and references. This requires that the analyst guarantee the safety of the transference. The responsibilities and accountability of individual analysts and their membership organisations, matters of clinical confidentiality and codes of ethics and professional relations with the public sphere are explored in a volume edited by Solomon and Twyman, with contributions from Jungian analysts and psychoanalysts. Solomon has characterised the nature of the patient – analyst relationship as one where the analytic attitude is an ethical attitude since:

The ethical attitude presupposes special responsibilities that we choose to adopt in relation to another. Thus, a parallel situation pertains between caregiver and child and between analyst and patient: they are not equal partners, but nevertheless are in a situation of mutuality, shared subjectivity, and reciprocal influence.

Jungian Social, Literary and Art Criticism

Analytical psychology has inspired a number of contemporary academic researchers to revisit some of Jung’s own preoccupations with the role of women in society, with philosophy and with literary and art criticism. Leading figures to explore these fields include the British-American, Susan Rowland, who produced the first feminist revision of Jung and the fundamental contributions made to his work by the creative women who surrounded him. She has continued to mine his work by evaluating his influence on modern literary criticism and as a writer. Leslie Gardner has devoted a series of volumes to analytical psychology in 21st century life, one of which concentrates on the “Feminine Self”. Paul Bishop, a British German scholar, has placed analytical psychology in the context of precursors such as, Goethe, Schiller and Nietzsche.

The Franco-Swiss art historian and analytical psychologist, Christian Gaillard, has examined Jung’s place as an artist and art critic in his series of Fay lectures at the Texas A&M University. These scholars draw from Jung’s works that apply analytical psychology to literature such as the lecture “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry”. In this presentation, which was delivered in 1922, Jung stated that the psychologist cannot replace the art critic. He rejected the Freudian art criticism for reducing complex works of art to Oedipal fantasies of their creators, stressing the danger of simplifying literature to causes found outside of the actual work.

Criticism

Since its inception, analytical psychology has been the object of criticism, emanating from the psychoanalytic sphere. Freud himself characterised Jung as a “mystic and a snob”. In his introduction to the 2011 edition of Jung’s “Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis”, given in New York in 1912, Sonu Shamdasani contends that Freud orchestrated a round of critical reviews of Jung’s writings from Karl Abraham, Jung’s former colleague at the Burghölzli hospital, and from the early Welsh Freudian, Ernest Jones. Such criticisms multiplied during the 20th century, focusing primarily on the “mysticism” in Jung’s writings. Other psychoanalysts, including Jungian analysts, objected to the cult of personality around the Swiss psychiatrist. It reached a crescendo with Jung’s perceived collusion with Nazism in the build up and during World War II and is still a recurrent theme. Thomas Kirsch writes: “Successive generations of Jungian analysts and analysands have wrestled with the question of Jung’s complex relations to Germany.” Other considered evaluations come from Andrew Samuels and from Robert Withers.

The French philosopher, Yvon Brès, considers that the concept of the collective unconscious, “shows also how easily one can slip from the psychological unconscious into perspectives from a universe of thought, quite alien from traditional philosophy and science, where this idea arose.” (“Le concept jungien d’inconscient collectif “témoigne également de la facilité avec laquelle on peut glisser du concept d’inconscient psychologique vers des perspectives relevant d’un univers de pensée étranger à la tradition philosophique et scientifique dans laquelle ce concept est né'”).

In his Le Livre Rouge de la psychanalyse (“Red Book of psychoanalysis”), the French psychoanalyst, Alain Amselek, criticises Jung’s tendency to be fascinated by the image and to reduce the human to an archetype. He contends that Jung dwells in a world of ideas and abstractions, in a world of books and old secrets lost in ancient books of spells (fr: grimoires). While claiming to be an empiricist, Amselek finds Jung to be an idealist, a pure thinker who has unquestionably demonstrated his intellectual talent for speculation and the invention of ideas. While he considers his epistemology to be in advance of that of Freud, Jung remains stuck in his intellectualism and in his narrow provincial outlook.[clarification needed] In fact, his hypotheses are determined by the concept of his postulated pre-existing world and he has constantly sought to find confirmations of it in the old traditions of Western Medieval Europe.

More problematic has been, at times, the ad hominem criticism of academics outside the field of analytical psychology. One, a Catholic historian of psychiatry, Richard Noll, wrote three volumes but was able to publish only the first two in 1994 and 1997. Nolls argued that analytical psychology is based on a neo-pagan Hellenistic cult. These attacks on Jung and his work prompted the French psychoanalyst, Élisabeth Roudinesco, to state in a review: “Even if Noll’s theses are based on a solid familiarity with the Jungian corpus […], they deserve to be re-examined, such is the detestation of the author for the object of his study that it diminishes the credibility of the arguments.” (“Même si les thèses de Noll sont étayées par une solide connaissance du corpus jungien […], elles méritent être réexaminées, tant la détestation de l’auteur vis-à-vis de son objet d’étude diminue la crédibilité de l’argumentation.”). Another, a French ethnographer and anthropologist, Jean-Loïc Le Quellec, criticised Jung over his alleged misuse of the term archetype and his “suspect motives” in dealings with some of his colleagues.

What was the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute?

Introduction

The Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute (later the Göring Institute) was founded in 1920 to further the science of psychoanalysis in Berlin.

Its founding members included Karl Abraham and Max Eitingon. The scientists at the institute furthered Sigmund Freud’s work but also challenged many of his ideas.

Brief History

The Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute grew from the Psychoanalytic Polyclinic (psychoanalytische Poliklinik) founded in February 1920. The Polyclinic allowed access to psychoanalysis by low-income patients. Only some 10% of its income came from patients’ fees; the rest was provided personally by Max Eitingon. It introduced the three-column, or “Eitingon”, model for the training of analysts (theoretical courses, personal analysis, first patients under supervision), which was later adopted by most other training centres. In 1925, Eitingon became chair of the new International Training Committee of the International Psychoanalytic Association. The Eitingon model remains standard today.

The Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute itself was founded in 1923. Ernst Simmel, Hanns Sachs, Franz Alexander, Sándor Radó, Karen Horney, Siegfried Bernfeld, Otto Fenichel, Theodor Reik, Wilhelm Reich and Melanie Klein were among the many psychoanalysts who worked at the Institute.

As a Jew, Eitingon’s position became precarious after the Nazi ascent to power in 1933. Freud’s books were burned in Berlin. By then, some members had already left Berlin for the United States. Eitingon resigned in August 1933; he later moved to Palestine and founded the Palestine Psychoanalytic Association in 1934 in Jerusalem. The Palestine Association saw itself as the heir of the Berlin Institute; even the furniture from the Berlin Institute ended up in Jerusalem.

On 23 August 1933, Sigmund Freud wrote to Ernest Jones, “Berlin is lost”. Edith Jacobson was arrested by the Nazis in 1935; one of her patients was a known Communist. Felix Boehm, who with fellow non-Jew Carl Müller-Braunschweig [de] had taken control of the Institute after Eitingon’s departure, refused to intervene on Jacobson’s behalf, on the grounds that by associating herself with Communism she had endangered the Institute’s survival. In 1936 the Institute was annexed to the “Deutsches Institut für psychologische Forschung und Psychotherapie e.v.” (the so-called Göring Institute). Its director Matthias Göring was a cousin of Field Marshal Hermann Göring. Göring, Boehm and Müller-Braunschweig collaborated for a number of years; fourteen non-Jewish German psychoanalysts continued to operate within the new Institute. The one remaining copy of Freud’s works was kept in a locked cupboard referred to as the “poison cabinet”.

John Rittmeister, a physician and psychoanalyst associated with the Institute, as well as resistance fighter against Nazism, was sentenced to death and executed in May 1943.

What is Child Psychoanalysis?

Introduction

Child psychoanalysis is a sub-field of psychoanalysis which was founded by Anna Freud.

Freud used the work of her father Sigmund Freud with certain modifications directed towards the needs of children. Since its inception, child psychoanalysis has grown into a well-known therapeutic technique for children and adolescents.

Brief History

For many years, the work of Sigmund Freud was considered revolutionary in his creation of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and his theories regarding childhood experiences affecting a person later in life. His legacy was continued by his daughter Anna Freud in her pursuit of psychotherapy and her fathers theories as applied to children and adolescents.

In 1941, Anna help found the Hampstead Nursery in London and there she treated children for several years until it was shut down in 1945. Anna, with the help of Kate Friedlaender, soon opened the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic to continue her work and to continue sheltering homeless children. Anna was the director of the clinic from 1952 until her death in 1982. The clinic was renamed the Anna Freud Centre following her death as a memorial for the care and support she provided to hundreds of children over the decades.

Much of Anna’s published papers and books reference her work at the Hampstead Nursery and Clinic. Some of her more famous books are “The Ego and Defense Mechanisms”, which explored what defence mechanisms are and how they are used by adolescents, and “Normality and Pathology in Childhood” (1965), which directly summarizes her work at the Hampstead Clinic and other facilities. In fact, it was her work at the Nursery and the Clinic which allowed Anna to perfect her techniques and establish a therapy specifically designed for improving child and adolescent mental health.

Techniques

Anna’s first task in developing a successful therapy for children was to take Sigmund’s original theory regarding the psycho-social stages of development and create a timeline by which to grade normal growth and development. Using this line, a therapist would be able to observe a child and know whether they were progressing as other children or not. If a certain aspect of development lagged, such as personal hygiene or eating habits, the therapist could then assume that some trauma had occurred and could then address it directly through therapy.

Once a child was in therapy, techniques had to continue to change. Foremost, Anna knew that she could not expect to create situations of transference with the children as her father had done with his adult patients. The parents of a child in psychotherapy are typically still very active in their lives. Even when children were being housed at the Clinic, Anna encouraged mothers to visit frequently to ensure a stable attachment was formed between parent and child. In fact, one of the most important features of child psychotherapy is the active role parents play in their child’s therapy, knowing exactly what the therapist is doing, and their lives outside of therapy by helping the child implement the techniques taught by the therapist. So, to avoid becoming a replacement parent and avoid having the child view her as an authoritative adult, Anna did her best to take on the role of a caring and understanding adult figure. To this day, child psychotherapists aim to be viewed by the patient as a person analogous to a teacher.

The goal of any psychotherapist is for the patient to find comfort in their stable presence and eventually have no issue with speaking whatever comes to their mind. With children, this involves a high frequency of visits with the child, possibly even daily sessions. Anna also saw child’s play as their way of adapting to reality and confronting problems they faced in their real lives. For this reason, therapy sessions are intended to suspend the rules of reality and allow the child to play and speak whatever they want. This play allows therapists to see where the child’s traumas lie and help the child overcome these traumas. However, Anna also realised that children’s play does not reveal some unconscious revelation. Children, unlike adults, have not yet repressed events or learned how to cover up their true emotions. Often, in therapy what a child says is what a child means. This differed greatly from the original practices of psychotherapy that often had to decode meaning out of the patient’s words.

Newest Developments

In recent years there has been a shift in analytic technique for severely disturbed or traumatised children from a conflict- and insight-oriented approach to a focused, mentalisation-oriented therapy. Furthermore, the importance of parent work in the context of child psychoanalysis has been emphasized. Short-term psychoanalytic therapy which combines focus oriented techniques in the psychoanalytic work with the child with focused parent work has been shown to be effective especially in children with anxiety disorders and depressive comorbidity.

What is Neuropsychoanalysis?

Introduction

Neuropsychoanalysis integrates both neuroscience and psychoanalysis, to create a balanced and equal study of the human mind.

This overarching approach began as advances in neuroscience lead to breakthroughs which held pertinent information for the field of psychoanalysis. Despite advantages for these fields to interconnect, there is some concern that too much emphasis on neurobiological physiology of the brain will undermine the importance of dialogue and exploration that is foundational to the field of psychoanalysis. Critics will also point to the qualitative and subjective nature of the field of psychoanalysis, claiming it cannot be fully reconciled with the quantitative and objective nature of neuroscientific research.

However, despite this critique, proponents of the field of neuropsychoanalysis remind critics that the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud himself, began his career as a neuroanatomist, further arguing that research in this category proves that the psychodynamic effects of the mind are inextricably linked to neural activity in the brain. Indeed, neuroscientific progress has created a shared study of many of the same cognitive phenomenon, and proponents for a distinct field under the heading of neuropsychoanalysis point to the ability for observation of both the subjective mind and empirical evidence in neurobiology to provide greater understanding and greater curative methods.

Therefore, neurospsychoanalysis aims to bring a field, often viewed as belonging more to the humanities than the sciences, into the scientific realm and under the umbrella of neuroscience, distinct from psychoanalysis, and yet adding to the plethora of insight garnered from it.

Brief History

Neuropsychoanalysis as a discipline can be traced as far back as Sigmund Freud’s manuscript, “Project for a Scientific Psychology”. Written in 1895, but only published posthumously, Freud developed his theories of the neurobiological function of the storage of memory in this work. His statement, based on his theory that memory is biologically stored in the brain by, “a permanent alteration following an event”, had a prophetic insight into the empirical discoveries that would corroborate these theories close to 100 years later. Freud speculated that psychodynamics and neurobiology would eventually reunite as one field of study. While time would eventually prove him correct to some degree, the latter half of the 20th century only saw a very gradual movement in this direction with only a few individuals championing this line of thought.

Significant advances in neuroscience throughout the 20th century created a clearer understanding of the functionality of the brain, which have vastly enhanced the way we view the mind. This began in the 1930s with the invention of electroencephalography, which enabled imaging of the brain as never seen before. A decade later the use of dynamic localisation, or the lesion method, further shed light onto the interaction of systems in the brain. Computerised tomography (CT) lead to even greater understanding of the interaction within the brain, and finally the invention of multiple scan technologies in the 1990s, the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and the single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) gave researchers empirical evidence of neurobiological processes.

It was in 1999, just before the turn of the century, that the term “neuropsychoanalysis” was used in a new journal entitled with the same name. This term once was hyphenated to indicate that the conjoining of the two fields of study did not suggest that they had been fully integrated, but rather that this new line of scientific inquiry was interdisciplinary. With repeated use, the hyphen was lost, and the name appears as we see it today.

Theoretical Base

Dual-Aspect Monism

Neuropsychoanalysis is best described as a marriage between neuroscience and psychoanalysis. However, its relationship to the broader field of neuropsychology – which relates the biological brain to psychological functions and behaviour – cannot be denied. Indeed, neuropsychoanalysis further seeks to remedy classical neurology’s exclusion of the subjective mind.

The subjective mind, that is, sensations, thoughts, feelings and consciousness, can seem antithetical to the cellular matter that makes up the neurobiology of the brain. Indeed, while Freud is most often credited with being the seminal creator of the study of the mind in modern terms, it was Descartes who concluded that mind and brain were two entirely different kinds of stuff. Accordingly, he invented the “dualism” of the mind, the mind-body dichotomy. Body is one kind of thing, and mind (or spirit or soul) is another. But since this second kind of stuff does not lend itself to scientific inquiry, many of today’s psychologists and neuroscientists have seemingly rejected Cartesian dualism.

Neuropsychoanalysis meets this challenge via dual-aspect monism, sometimes referred to as perspectivism. That is, we are monistic. Our brains, including mind, are made of one kind of stuff, cells, but we perceive this stuff in two different ways.

Psychoanalysis as a Foundation

Perhaps because Freud himself began his career as a neurologist, psychoanalysis has given the field of neuroscience the platform upon which many of its scientific hypotheses were founded. With the field of psychoanalysis suffering from what many see as a decline in innovation and popularity, a call for new approaches and a more scientific methodology is long overdue. The history of neuropsychoanalysis therefore, goes some way in explaining why some consider it the logical conclusion, and representative of an evolution that psychoanalysis was in need of. Since the mind itself is viewed as purely ontological, our appreciation of reality is dependent on neurobiological functions of the brain, which we can use to observe “subjectively,” from inside, how we feel and what we think. Freud refined this kind of observation into free association. He claimed and that this is the best technique that we have for perceiving complex mental functions that simple introspection will not reveal. Through psychoanalysis, we can discover mind’s unconscious functioning.

Neuroscience as a Foundation

Due to the very nature of neuropsychoanalysis, those working in this burgeoning field have been able to draw useful insights from a number of distinguished neuroscientists, indeed many of these now serve on the editorial board of the journal Neuropsychoanalysis. Some of these more notable names foundational to the development of neuropsychoanalysis include:

  • Antonio Damasio.
  • Eric Kandel.
  • Joseph LeDoux.
  • Helen Mayberg.
  • Jaak Panksepp.
  • VS Ramachandran.
  • Oliver Sacks.
  • Mark Solms.

Neuroscientists, often studying the same cognitive functions of the brain as psychoanalysts, do so in quantitative methods such as dissection post mortem, small lesions administered to create certain curative effects, or with the visual and objective aid of brain imaging, all of which enable researchers to trace neurochemical pathways and build a more accurate understanding of the physical functioning of the brain. Another branch of neuroscience also observes the “mind” from outside, that is, by means of neurological examination. This is often done in the form of physical tests, such as questionnaires, the Boston Naming test or Wisconsin Sorting, creating bisecting lines, acting out how one performs daily tasks such as a screwdriver, just to name a few. Neurologists can compare the changes in psychological function that the neurological examination shows with the associated changes in the brain, either post mortem or by means of modern imaging technology. Much of neuroscience aims to break down and tease out the cognitive and biological functions behind both conscious and unconscious actions within the brain. In this way it is no different than psychoanalysis, which has had similar goals since its inception. Therefore, to ignore the additional insight neuroscience can offer psychoanalysis would be to limit a huge source of knowledge that can only enhance psychoanalysis as a whole.

Models of Pathologies

Depression

Heinz Böker and Rainer Krähenman proposed a model depression as dysregulation of the relationship between the self and the other. This psychodynamic model, is related to the neurobiological model of the default mode network, DMN, and the executive network, EN, of the brain, noting experimentally the DMN seemed to be more active in depressed patients. The psychological construct of rumination is conceptualised which is experimentally more common in depressed patients, is viewed as equivalent to the cognitive processing of the self, and therefore the activation of the DMN. Similarly, experimentally measurable constructs of attribution bias are viewed as being related to this “cognitive processing of self”. It has been shown that forms of psychodynamic therapy for depression have effects on the activation of several areas of the brain.

Research Directions

Neuropsychoanalytic relate unconscious (and sometimes conscious) functioning discovered through the techniques of psychoanalysis or experimental psychology to underlying brain processes. Among the ideas explored in recent research are the following:

  • “Consciousness” is limited (5-9 bits of information) compared to emotional and unconscious thinking based in the limbic system.
    • Note: Solm’s book showed as reference in the footnote does not provide such an information.
    • It may be confused with the capacity of short-term memory.
  • Secondary-process, reality-oriented thinking can be understood as frontal lobe executive control systems.
  • Dreams, confabulations, and other expressions of primary-process thinking are meaningful, wish-fulfilling manifestations of the loss of frontal executive control of mesocortical and mesolimbic “seeking” systems.
  • Freud’s “libido” corresponds to a dopaminergic seeking system.
  • Drives can be understood as a series of basic emotions (prompts to action) anchored in pontine regions, specifically the periaqueductal gray, and projecting to cortex: play; seeking; caring; fear; anger; sadness. Seeking is constantly active; the others seek appropriate consummations (corresponding to Freud’s “dynamic” unconscious).
  • Seemingly rational and conscious decisions are driven from the limbic system by emotions which are unconscious.
  • Infantile amnesia (the absence of memory for the first years of life) occurs because the verbal left hemisphere becomes activated later, in the second or third year of life, after the non-verbal right hemisphere.
    • But infants can and do have procedural and emotional memories.
  • Infants’ first-year experiences of attachment and second-year (approximately) experiences of disapproval lay down pathways that regulate emotions and profoundly affect adult personality.
  • Oedipal behaviors (observable in primates) can be understood as the effort to integrate lust systems (testosterone-driven), romantic love (dopamine-driven), and attachment (oxytocin-driven) in relation to key persons in the environment.
  • Differences between the sexes are more biologically-based and less environmentally-driven than Freud believed.