Analysis, Repair and Individuation

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An exposition on individuation including 'Archetypes, Individuation and Internal Objects' and 'The Individuation Process'

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1. Individuation and the mutual influence of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology

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I have written this book as one of the first trainees of the Society of Analytical Psychology, having become an Associate Professional Member in 1950. For me, membership of that society, together with participation for over thirty years in the general analytical scene in London, has provided sustained stimulus and support. In addition, I have enjoyed, from its beginning in 1964, membership of the Freud-Jung group, convened by Dr William Kraemer in London, where analytical psychologists and psychoanalysts meet regularly to discuss clinical problems. The whole period has been one in which considerable advances have been made towards finding ways of integrating the two main strands of analytical theory and practice, which had, earlier, during the second to fourth decades of this century, developed either in isolation from or very much in polar opposition to each other. The division into opposite camps afforded, in the earlier years, breathing space wherein each could grow and develop from within. Later on, however, what with the pressure of patients’ needs on the one hand and natural curiosity on the other, analysts could be found peeping into each other’s gardens—rather more obviously in the case of the London Jungians, rather more quietly, and more by private admission, on the part of the Freudians.

 

2. Personal psychology and the choice of analytic school

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My reference to imagination has made me think that, in view of the very personal and individual aspects of analytical psychology, I should acknowledge the personal aspect of my interest, first, in analytical psychology and then, later, in the marriage of Jungian analysis with the disciplines arising out of psychoanalysis. It is traditionally thought that the language of imagination, phantasy and imagery was particularly meaningful to the early analytical psychologists by contrast with the more intellectualistic if not rationalistic style of the early psychoanalysts. I think this probably appealed to me when I was young. Being Anglo-Irish I was torn unknowingly by some such dichotomy both from within and, to an extent, from the environment. The latter was an English one, in which I was exposed to a fairly traditional mode of education, attitude and manners.

That attitude has sometimes been designated as dominated by extraverted sensation-thinking and not very imaginative. It has been, probably wrongly, used by some critics to explain the special slants of the Society of Analytical Psychology in England. Of course, such issues are always open to generalization and to becoming stereotyped. I well remember an interesting example of it when, in 1950, I was able, as a nervous young man, to spend some hours in conversation with Jung, who incidentally used a good deal of imaginative imagery in his conversation. He asked me my nationality. I replied that I was Anglo-Irish. He seized on the Irish side and exclaimed “Ah! Irish. That is good. The Irish, they have the imagination. You will make an analyst!” I hardly knew my reactions at that time. I was respectful. I naturally half liked what he said and yet felt slightly guilty and affronted. However, it was in fact true that I had always felt, both throughout my education in England and in the company of my wellliked English relations, slightly in collision with what I probably wrongly understood as their practical common-sense approach to life, the correctness of their behaviour and perhaps, above all, as it so happened, their somewhat puritan and evangelical views. The puritanism was felt by me, at that time, to impose a cramp upon imaginative religious and moral experiences, while the common sense, with its successful aim-directed activity, recommended to me as it was in my education, was something I to some extent admired and yet could not quite emulate. Those positive virtues seemed to me, wrongly as I now think, to have become unconsciously entangled with fear and distrust of spontaneity, imagination and humour, for which latter capacity I managed to get into trouble at school sufficiently often to end up quite inhibited. I now think that my Irish mother suffered in the same way, through not quite understanding the English people she lived with.

 

3. Individuation and the personality of the analyst

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A study of the process of analysis, repair and individuation will almost inevitably focus, as a matter of prime importance, upon a consideration of the quality and function of the analyst’s personality. In history, his forebears are the doctor and the priest, whose actions and personality-functions are defined, for instance, in two classical documents respectively: the Hippocratic Oath and St Paul’s concept of agape. For centuries, this kind of work has been understood to depend upon a certain specificity of personal relationship entered into by the doctor with his patient and the priest with those under his care. That the work is full of possible pitfalls and draws upon profound levels of emotion, being (ontos), and outlook is illustrated by the stringency of requirement and the severity of prohibition imposed by the documents in question. Indeed, any disregard or flouting of them is said to render the work worthless and nugatory, whatever the skill or knowledge involved. Furthermore, the naive public shock aroused by the possible misuse of medical or pastoral power suggests deeply rooted attitudes based upon long-term, and often repeated, experiences of what works best in this field.

 

4. Resistance and counter-resistance

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We have considered some of the qualities of the analyst’s personality that make for successful treatment and suggested what his function mainly is. It seems appropriate now to investigate aspects of the patient’s response, and in this chapter I shall first of all examine this response in terms of the meaning, mode and indeed therapeutic function of his resistance. Equal in significance, though not always recognized as such, are both resistance and counter-resistance phenomena on the part of the analyst.

I therefore propose to cover the following topics in this chapter, In Part One I shall sketch out topics like the paradox and problematic aspects of resistance, together with an etymological note. I shall then trace the history of the concept both in psychoanalysis and in analytical psychology. In Part Two I shall try to cover a number of topics subsumed under the notion of the patient’s resistance to involvement in anything like a personal response to his analyst as a person. This will be considered in terms of primary and secondary resistance and will include a study of envy of the analyst, fear of penetration by and fear of damage by the analyst, together with a note on the therapeutic failure to resolve resistance. In Part Three, I shall describe the phenomenon of resistance on the part of the analyst, to be discussed under five headings: non-neurotic resistance, neurotic resistance, reactive counter-resistance, complementary counter-resistance, and concordant counter-resistance. I shall conclude the chapter by attempting to compress into a short statement the story of the vicissitudes, even revolutions, that have occurred in the history of the struggle of both analysts and patients with the challenging phenomena of resistance and counter-resistance. In doing this I hope that the connection between this subject and that of individuation will be clearly shown.

 

5. Archetypes, object-relations and internal objects

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To consider the part played by the analyst’s personality and the significance of the many forms of resistance that emerge in the patient - analyst relationship leads me next to the study of the conditions that make possible the formation of object-relations and internal objects. In analytical psychology this can with profit be related to archetypal theory which, I shall argue, has a special contribution to make to the subject. The practical problem is that of a person being able to link the experienced objects of the personal and non-personal environment on the one hand with the appropriate internal, though objective, processes of the self on the other. There is a gain if this can be done in such a way that their reality in their own right can become a true psychological experience for the subject and hence can be appropriately related to by him because thereby greater objectivity and a fuller and deeper relationship can be attained.

Psychoanalytic theory, through the work of Klein, Fairbairn, Winnicott, Kohut and Kernberg and others has shifted part of its emphasis from the study of instinctual drives and their satisfactions as such to that of the human need to establish relations with other persons in the non-self world: mother, father, siblings, relations, friends and colleagues and so on. The ingredients of this study are centred round topics like the establishment of self-representations and object-representations and damage that can be suffered in the process.

 

6. Reconstruction

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My description of the basic elements involved in the process of analysis, repair and individuation has so far sketched out topics such as the personality of the analyst, some responses of the patient and particularly those connected with resistance and counter-resistance, and the establishment by the patient of object relationships and internal objects and the dependence of this upon the presence of the therapist under the special conditions of the therapeutic set-up.

Sound object relating, however, involves an appropriate feeling and cognitive response on the part of the subject to the reality of the object in the here and now and at this particular moment of time rather than to an over-subjectivized image of it that has been heavily influenced by the experiences of the past. Such a relatively simple-sounding phrase covers a multitude of analytic problems such as: (1) the tendency of the patient to respond to present situations with a degree of emotional intensity that is grossly and exaggeratedly inappropriate by any objective standard of judgement; (2) a distorted and one-sided characterological development, fixated at some earlier point in his history, and crippling the patient’s handling of the day-to-day problems of adult life; (3) difficulties about living in an appropriate span of “present time”. A patient may be “frightened out of his life” by traumatic experiences in the past and “overwhelmed by anticipatory fears of horror” in the future. As a result he cannot live in the present either. There is little libido available for a real experience of the living moment in a continuum comprised of the immediate past, the present and the proximate future. The experience of time for him loses significance, datability, expansiveness and its public character (Boss, 1979). The result is a hold-up of the growth that arises out of the past or might be inaugurated in the present.

 

7. Transference, counter-transference and interpersonal relations

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It is a commonplace today to emphasize the importance of the patient-therapist relationship whether in the realm of medicine or that of the social worker. It is a field in which problems abound, especially in psychotherapy, which, however, is happily and unusually well-advantaged for their observation and study. Some of them are as follows:

(1) The problem of being able to interact with and trust a stranger over the intimate difficulties and sufferings of the psyche in the long term—not that, for some people, enlightening introductions to their psychology may not be effected in a once-only meeting with a stranger. To achieve greater depth, however, the normal problems of unfamiliarity with new persons demand recognition and attention. Neurosis or psychosis apart, these resolve themselves in time into a positive and/or negative attitude as knowledge of and about the new person is acquired.

(2) The problem of distortions of perception, if not indeed of illusion and delusion, which can extend far beyond the normal problems of unfamiliarity and do interfere with the relationship potential that arises between patient and therapist as they seek to experience each other as real persons.

 

8. Dreams and dreaming

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No book on analysis, repair and individuation can avoid a consideration of the way in which analysts can use their patients’ communication to them of their dreams and dreaming to increase their understanding of the dynamic process involved. They will be told dreams whether they ask for them or not, although the patients’ motives for telling them are likely to be extremely varied. Indeed, considerable advances in the understanding of dreaming and the use made of it in their patients’ communications are being made by analysts of all schools. Furthermore, outside the field of analysis, light is being shed by the sleep laboratory experimenters and by brain neurophysiologists on the nature and purpose of dreams and their possible function in the maintenance of psychological health, whether interpreted or not.

This chapter will sketch out changes in psychoanalytic thought about dreams and then try to bring out whatever seems relevant to analysts from the two sets of experimenters already mentioned. It will then describe the contribution of classical analytical psychology to the subject and show how more recent analytical psychology has modified and reslanted its earlier views and reconsidered ways of making use of dreams and dreaming in the analytical interpretation of their patients’ situation. Two case-histories are presented to illustrate these new developments.

 

9. The individuation process

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The title of this book suggests the view that individuation, considered as process or end-product, is, for all its spontaneity, by no means free from hazard and potential damage. Furthermore, Jung’s descriptions of it are not without complications and unsolved questions. Thus, while most analysts tend to find their patients to be very individual people, unusual indeed, perhaps complicated, even outstanding, in ways that are striking or quiet or deeply hidden, this does not mean that they are necessarily thereby individuated in Jung’s sense of the term.

Jung’s concept is a wide one and it can be conveniently considered under three main topics: the differentiation of the individual from the collective, the relationship of the individual to the collective, and the nature and conditions of the development of individuation as such.

First, Jung focuses on individuation as the process of forming and specializing the individual nature in a way that differentiates it from general collective psychology. This process he describes as a “natural necessity”, but open to damage as much in the sphere of the psychological as of the physical or physiological. Because this individual aspect is not specially sought but has its a priori foundations in the psyche, he uses strong language about any frustrations it may encounter. Any levelling down to collective standards, he writes, can be “injurious to the vital activity of the individual” and “an artificial stunting” (Jung, 1921, p.448). On the other hand, although the collective may sometimes seem to pose a threat to the individual, the latter is much more concerned to differentiate from it rather than to oppose it—perhaps an optimistically stated aim when considered in the light of subsequent events in Europe.

 

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