Transformation: Jung's Legacy and Clinical Work Today

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The book offers a challenging reading of the legacy of C.G. Jung, who offered fascinating insights into the psyche but did not provide a theoretical framework for clinical work. Thus, clinicians are faced with both the richness and lacunae of Jung's legacy and how to work with it. This challenge is taken up by distinguished post-Jungian thinkers from Britain, Europe and the US who, in fertile contact with psychoanalysis, reassess Jung's work and propose new tools for clinical practice. By looking anew at concepts such as maternal containment, affect, ego formation and ego strength, infantile loss, envy and friendship they find ways of working that integrate Jung's thought with Post-Jungian developments and a psychoanalytic approach. By bringing together contemporary clinicians who approach their work from the lived experience in the consulting room, rather than adherence to particular theories, the book is intended for clinicians of different schools who are interested in a deeper understanding of the relationship between patient and analyst and in integrating ideas that might be useful. Transformation will be essential reading for all those interested in exploring various approaches to clinical work and the application of Jung's ideas, including experienced clinicians in work with adults and children as well as students of psychotherapy and counselling.

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Chapter One - On Revisiting the Opening Chapters of Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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William Meredith-Owen

Introduction

The most vivid impression of my first encounter with Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung, 1963), during my student years, was its aesthetic impact. In those opening passages one stunning image of the natural world succeeds another: the sunlight through the leaves, the sunset on the Alps, the sand and pebbles on the lake shore lapped by the seemingly infinite expanse of calm water. By contrast, when I returned to it in the early days of my analytic training, I was much more struck by the frequent referencing of the childhood Jung to his alienation from the human world, albeit set alongside this profound sense of connectedness to nature. Thus, we read,

Dim intimations of trouble in my parents’ marriage hovered around me. My illness, severe eczema, must have been connected with a temporary separation of my parents. My mother spent several months in a hospital in Basle, and presumably her illness had something to do with the difficulty in the marriage. I was deeply troubled by my mother being away. From then on, I always felt mistrustful when the word ‘love’ was spoken. (Jung, 1963, p. 23)

 

Chapter Two - A Vindication of Jung's Unconscious and its Archetypal Expression: Jung, Bion, and Matte Blanco

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Richard Carvalho

Introduction

In this chapter, I want to take up one aspect of Jung's legacy that is in danger of being assimilated seamlessly and without acknowledgement into psychoanalysis as the latter has developed, particularly with the thinking of Bion in the 1960s. This legacy is that of an unrepressed unconscious which could only find expression through symbols. These symbols, rather than expressing contents already known and rejected by an experiencing ego, were the only means available of communication between two aspects of the psyche which, in Jung's conception, were utterly alien to one another, and otherwise incapable of traffic.

This intuition was the result of Jung's exposure to psychotic and dissociative phenomenology and, arguably, of his own dissociative psychology, which arose from a very troubled development (Meredith-Owen (2011), which Freud, according to Winnicott (1964) was probably not equipped to understand. It is, however, a phenomenon that is hard to validate theoretically, especially against Freud's more positivistic psychology; accordingly, perhaps, psychoanalysis found it hard to engage for some decades with psychotic and borderline states with which analytical psychology had an easier tradition. Several psychoanalytic thinkers of the late twentieth century offer obvious bridges between the two traditions of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology, the most obvious being Bion (especially in conjunction with attachment theory and neuroscientists such as Panksepp (1998), and Schore (2001)), Matte Blanco (1975), and Ferrari (1992), as well as various forms of intersubjectivism. Bion offers a way of thinking about how it is that infantile affective states that do not meet adequate and consistent attunement should remain dissociated and beyond mental operation, while Matte Blanco provides a logical explanation derived from Freud's phenomenology of the unconscious as to why this should be, and why it should be that the unconscious should be unconscious for structural reasons in the first place. Matte Blanco also explains how it is that affect is indistinguishable on logical grounds from emotion, and why it is, therefore, that uncontained affective states, whether in infants or adults, but especially in the former, are potentially disabling because they are dysregulating (Schore, 2001).

 

Chapter Three - Reversal and Recovery in Trauma: Unrepresentability in Bion, Jung, and Fordham

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Geraldine Godsil

“It is not I who create myself, rather I happen to myself”

(Jung, 1958)

“The primary self…[is]…indestructible”

(Fordham, 1995)

My aim in this chapter is first to locate Wilfred Bion in the context of his history as a war veteran and to explore whether the theory of thinking that emerges from this history offers a way of better understanding the impact of trauma at the micro level of process. Second, and much more tentatively, I want to explore through three clinical examples whether his concept of reversal of alpha function might be relevant in thinking about the consequences of the particular kind of trauma experienced under totalitarian systems, where attacks on the mind are aimed at distortion of the truth. My hypothesis is that a double environmental deprivation might then exist, in the state itself and in its intrusions into, and consequences for, the family culture. This exploration is motivated by a sense of something missing in Jung's and Fordham's theories of representation as they currently stand.

 

Chapter Four - Jung's Concept of Psychoid Unconsciousness: A Clinician's View

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George Bright

Introduction

Jung's use of the term “psychoid” in his published work dates, with one outlying exception, to the late period, 1947 to 1958. In these eleven years, there are barely a dozen references, mostly in passing, half of which are in published letters to a variety of correspondents. Jung makes neologistic use of a word imported from Hans Driesch via Eugen Bleuler, and his concept of psychoid unconsciousness amounts, in my view, to an original and clinically important conceptual statement. Addison (2009) has recently set out the historical evolution of the term. Not unusually, Jung introduces a concept for which no contemporary word suffices. He borrows a word from a similar field, gives it a meaning of his own, but nowhere in his published work provides us with a full treatment to define, discuss, or clarify his conceptual neologism. Shamdasani (2012, p. 375) has suggested that Jung cannot be regarded primarily as a theoretician, but rather as a “psychological essayist”, and he proposes that Jung's theories are “simply an approximation by which he is trying to translate his insights into a language for a scientific and medical audience”. This leaves the contemporary analytical psychologist with a number of possible tasks in developing or commenting on Jung's thought. Some have tried to create a unified and consistent set of theories from Jung's published work. This seems to me neither realistically possible nor consistent with Jung's own approach.

 

Chapter Five - The World through Blunted Sight: Money Matters and their Impact on the Transference

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Jan Wiener

And who, when it comes to the crunch, can live with a heart of gold?

(Duffy, 1999, from “Mrs Midas”)

Introduction

The paucity of literature about the role of money in analysis is startling, particularly since the exchange of money through analytic fees is a central aspect of the frame in which an analytic relationship may develop. Shortly after qualifying at the end of the 1980s, a colleague and I wrote a paper titled “The analyst in the counting-house: money as symbol and reality in analysis” (Haynes & Wiener, 1996). The paper explored the neglect of any serious study of the role and meaning of money, reflecting with some puzzlement on the absence of due attention to fees and the meaning of money during training. The situation now, almost twenty years later, has not altered significantly, suggesting that, for analysts, money continues to be “the last taboo” (Dimen, 1994), and more difficult to contemplate even than the emotional subjects of sex or death. There is a remarkable lack of interest in the subject of money, or, more likely, that thinking about money continues to represent an area full of conflicts and unresolved complexes for analysts who, it may be said, tend to suffer from “moneyblindness” (Lieberman & Lindner, 1987). Jacoby (1993), in a paper titled “Is the analytic situation shame-producing?”, highlighted the shame-inducing nature of the analytic relationship because of its artificial inequality, but without any reference at all to the part that the fee could play.

 

Chapter Six - Defences of the Core Self: Borderline Functioning, Trauma, and Complex

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Marcus West

“The via regia to the unconscious, however, is not the dream, as [Freud] thought, but the complex, which is the architect of dreams and symptoms. Nor is this via so very ‘royal’, either, since the way pointed out by the complex is more like a rough and uncommonly devious footpath that often loses itself in the undergrowth and generally leads not into the heart of the unconscious but past it”

(Jung, 1934, par. 210)

This chapter outlines a contemporary Jungian approach to working with patients with a borderline psychology, acknowledging that early developmental trauma underlies borderline modes of functioning but describing how Jung's underused concept of the complex still brilliantly accounts for many of the associated phenomena. Such traumas disrupt ego functioning, so that the vulnerable core is exposed and imperative “defences of the core self” are called up. The chapter extends and elaborates the concept of the complex, looking in detail at the “dual aspect” of its functioning. It also acknowledges the difficulty in reconciling and integrating early trauma-related internal working models (in both direct and reversed modes); these are consequently constellated and reconstructed in the analytic relationship. This is a co-construction, involving both patient and analyst, and a particular analytic attitude and perspective is called for in order to work safely and effectively in this area. This work in the transference–countertransference allows the traumatic complex to be detoxified and integrated, freeing the individual to develop further and to function effectively and in a more fulfilling way.

 

Chapter Seven - Beneath the Skin: Archetypal Activity in Psychosis

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Maggie McAlister

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

(Yeats, 1919)

My interest in writing this chapter has emerged from my longstanding involvement in working with patients with severe and enduring mental health problems, particularly psychosis. I have been employed in an inpatient secure psychiatric hospital within the National Health Service for the past sixteen years, where the Forensic Psychotherapy Department offers group and individual treatment to mentally disordered offenders, as well as running Reflective Practice groups for staff members on the wards. We are working with patients who have a diagnosis of severe and enduring mental illness, largely paranoid schizophrenia, and who have committed grave offences. They come into contact with our service via the Criminal Justice System and their offences are often violent, and carried out largely as a result of their psychotic beliefs. They are, therefore, deemed to need treatment within a medium-security hospital setting in order to modify and risk assess their dangerousness. One can say of this client group that their symbolic mental functioning has broken down, leading to very concrete states of mind, as seen in their psychosis as well as in the enactment of their offences (Cordess & Cox, 1996). The offending behaviour also can be thought of as a wish to evacuate, through action, overwhelmingly intolerable states of mind (Morgan & Ruszczynski, 2007).

 

Chapter Eight - Creating a Skin for Imagination, Reflection, and Desire

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Brian Feldman

Introduction

The creation of a secure internal space for the experience of thought, imagination and reflection occurs within the intersubjective matrix of the relationship between baby and (m)other (Ainsworth, 1978; Stern et al., 1998; Tronick, 2007). The development of this secure internal space depends both upon the innate capacities of the infant, the quality of the infant–(m)other attachment, and the ability of the infant–(m)other couple to co-create meaningful experiences that can be generated, integrated, and assimilated and that, over time and through the repeated experience of meaningful interaction, form the scaffolding and structure of the infantile psyche. Interactions between baby and (m)other that involve the surface of the body, the skin, are critical in the evolution of the infant's sense of a bounded internal space that is separated from the external world through a boundary experienced as the skin (Bick, 1968). When the experience of the skin as a boundary between the internal and external realms has evolved, the individual is able to experience living within their own individual skin, separate but interconnected with significant others. Secure attachment (Ainsworth, 1978) is facilitated through the evolution of a primary skin function (Feldman, 2004) that can serve as a container of psychological and emotional experience, and this primary skin function evolves through the sensitive interactions, both bodily and emotional, between the baby and the mothering figure. Bick emphasises the importance of the capacity of the (m)other to physically hold the baby in whatever physical or emotional state the infant is in. The mother's capacity to both tolerate, mediate, soothe, and transform the often terrifying mental states of the baby into more manageable and digestible experiences (Bion, 1962) is another significant factor in the evolution of a secure attachment relationship and in the development of a primary skin function. Infant observation using the Bick (1964) method has been helpful in being able to understand the importance of the skin in infancy, and has helped to provide evidence that the evolution of a healthy primary skin function promotes containment, reflection, and thought. The emergence of a secondary skin function involves bodily defences such as repetitive movement, freezing (Fraiberg, 1987), and addictive and auto-sensuous behaviours to help contain unbearable affects often stimulated by separation and abandonment (Tustin, 1990). In this chapter, I shall try to show how both primary and secondary skin functions develop within the context of two observations of infants from different cultural backgrounds, one from North America and the other from Latin America. I will also explore the importance of the primary and secondary skin functions for contemporary analytical work.

 

Chapter Nine - From not Knowing to Knowing: On Early Infantile Trauma Involving Separation

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Alessandra Cavalli

One of the main reasons that brought Jung to separate from Freud was Freud's belief that infantile experience is paramount and profoundly influences the person that each of us becomes. Jung felt this approach was deterministic and, convinced that there must be more (Jung, 1961; Kerr, 1994; McGuire, 1974), he plunged into the scholarly study of our written heritage: philosophy, physics, and metaphysics, anthropology, astrology, and mythology. In his search for this unknown “more”, Bion's O (1970), Jung sought guidance from the experience of those who had lived before. By finding other ways of understanding the psyche, he hoped to prove that Freud was wrong.

Ironically, separating from Freud was problematic for Jung precisely because it evoked his own unknown and unresolved infantile trauma of separation. Writers including Winnicott (1964), Jackson (1963), Satinover (1985), Fordham (1985), Feldman (1992) and Meredith-Owen (2010, 2011) have discussed the mental crisis Jung suffered as a result, elaborating on this early trauma and how it informed his personality, and how analytical psychology is founded on Jung's attempt to make sense of what he was experiencing and his internal working through.

 

Chapter Ten - Friendship: Beyond Oedipus

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Stefano Carta

In this chapter, I will explore the theme of friendship as a transformation of that libidinal love that characterises the Oedipal complex with its implicit themes of betrayal and narcissism. My aim is twofold. First, to show how these issues describe a harmonic dialectic formation which, starting from the original force of libidinal love, may, or may not, evolve and mature during a person's life or a patient's analysis. I believe that friendship, if defined in a certain way, is truly the highest and most mature form of human relationship—one of the deepest embodiments that the elixir of individuation may take.

In my view, the relationship between libidinal love—as a sort of prima materia and the lapis of friendship—is deeply bound and rooted within the very essence of the “analytical situation”, so much so that its history and vicissitudes may be traced back to the birth of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology as a direct product of the original relationship between Freud and Jung. As I will try to show, the transformation of Oedipal love into friendship is neither easy nor obvious. Neither has it been sufficiently analysed, or been given the role that I believe it should have.

 

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