18 Chapters
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Theoretical underpinnings and explorations

Solomon, Hester McFarland Karnac Books ePub

This Part brings together four chapters on certain core T Jungian concepts and their relation to some psychoanalytic and philosophical concepts and recent findings relating the dynamic processes evident in depth psychology and the neuro-sciences.

Chapter 2, “The transcendent function and Hegel's dialectical vision”, shows that Jung's concept of the transcendent function has an important structural parallel in the pivotal nineteenth-century philosophical idea of dialectical change expounded by Frederick Hegel. Hegel's dialectical model concerns the development of self-consciousness as it unfolds in what he describes as the World Spirit (Geist). It can be likened to Jung's theory of the self and how the transformation of the self occurs over time through the emergence of symbols which herald new patterns of order. Jung's vision of a dynamic between related and relating opposite psychological functions, for example between conscious and unconscious, can be understood to be situated intrapsychically as well as between the self and its objects (for example between infant and mother or analysand and analyst). The tension created by these two opposing states can, under the right conditions, lead to a greater integration or synthesis, a new resolution the characteristics of which depend upon and sublate, but cannot be reduced to, the elements of the original opposition. This chapter also describes the theoretical developments that took Jung away from Freud's view of the libido as purely psychosexual energy to an alternative, teleologicalunderstanding of generalized libidinal energy as the source of all human activity, both creative and, in malign conditions, destructive. It includes a view about how instinctual energy can be transformed through the processes of symbol formation, thus enhancing breadth and depth of self experience, including the capacity for coniunctio oppositorum. The models of the development of the self proposed by Fordham (primary self) and Winnicott (primary instinct for relatedness), which appear to be contradictory, can then be seen as resulting in a dialectical synthesis: the self as a union of opposites. This chapter concludes that positing a primary self developing through the dynamic process of deintegration and reintegration, and the self's relational instincts towards its objects, can be usefully elaborated by the deep structural understanding provided by the dialectical model.

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Chapter 10: Self creation in face of the void: the “as if” personality

Solomon, Hester McFarland Karnac Books ePub

In this chapter I discuss a particular state of the self, which I think of as a defence of the self, and which I have come to call the “as if” personality. This derives from work I have done with a number of patients whom I have treated or supervised in intensive, long-term analytic work. I began to notice a recognizable pattern and shape to the psychic life and personal histories in patients who, despite often very disturbed backgrounds, including physiological and/or psychological neglect and abuse, nevertheless had managed to become high and valuable achievers in the outside world; creative people making substantial and valid contributions of quality and distinction to their profession or field of work. In order to do so, they had called up extraordinary internal reserves and resources that nevertheless were limited in nature by the very fact that their internal worlds were not populated by nourishing objects, leaving the self depleted. Thus, at a certain moment, either just before or during entering analysis (and it might be their second or third analysis), they became stricken with an overwhelming sense that whatever internal resources they had been able to find to sustain them along their developmental path had now been used up. The self had finally to face a long repressed but often suspected, underlying internal reality, a hauntingly ever-present background sense of living in a void or facing a vast emptiness; an absence devoid of those resources formally used to nourish and sustain the self. Instead, a primary existential anguish or panic, a sense that life was no longer sustainable on the basis that it had been lived, would often be accompanied by areal physical illness or dysfunction that put actual survival into question.

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Clinical explorations: the self, its defences, and transformations

Solomon, Hester McFarland Karnac Books ePub

This section comprises five clinically based accounts of intensive analytical work with patients, or supervision of patients, in T long-term intensive analysis.

Chapter 6, “The not-so-silent couple in the individual”, examines the nature of the self, with its foundation in the concept of a primary self, which may achieve a sense of coherence over time, and the nature of internal objects, a concept that forms the basis of theories concerning part selves and sub-personalities. These concepts might be integrated to provide a unified model of the self, thereby integrating theoretically disparate aspects of mental structure and functioning. Through an examination of clinical material, the archetype of the coniunctio is evoked to offer an understanding of how, in the absence of a stable conjunction of (maternal) reverie and (paternal) thinking functions, a series of linked but oppositional internal couples may be created, which lends to the self either the experience of a combined and sustaining inner couple, or an internal warring couple, to the detriment of an integrated self.

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Chapter 11: The ethical self

Solomon, Hester McFarland Karnac Books ePub

The peculiarity of “conscience” is that it is a knowledge of, or certainty about, the emotional value of the ideas we have concerning the motives of our actions.

(Jung, CW 10, para. 825)

[F]or Jung … ethics [is] the action of the whole person, the self.

(Stein, 1995, p. 10)

Common usage often conflates ethics and morals. In this paper a distinction is implied throughout between morality and ethics. Morality is indicated by the adherence to a set of stated principles or rules which govern behaviour (for example, the Ten Commandments, or a professional Code of Ethics), whereas ethics implies an attitude achieved through judgment, discernment, and conscious struggle, often between conflicting rights or duties (for example, the duty of confidentiality vs. the duty of protecting a person from potential harm). In this I follow Jung who made the following useful distinction:

… in the great majority of cases conscience signifies primarily the reaction to a real or supposed deviation from the moral code, and is for the most part identical with the primitive fear of anything unusual, not customary, and hence “immoral.” As this behaviour is instinctive and, at best, only partly the result of reflection, it may be “moral” but it can raise no claim to being ethical. It deserves this qualification only when it is reflective, when it is subjected to conscious scrutiny. And this happens only when a fundamental doubt arises as between two possible modes of moral behaviour, that is to say in a conflict of duty.

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Chapter 1: The self in transformation: the analyst in transformation

Solomon, Hester McFarland Karnac Books ePub

This current volume of papers written and collected during the course of some twenty years of clinical and professional activity represents a work in progress of a Jungian analyst, trained in London, deeply identified with a Jungian approach to the psyche and its ongoing development, who at the same time is open and responsive to influences of other contemporary Jungian and psychoanalytic thinking and development. In fact, what strikes me as I reflect with hindsight on the process of gathering these papers into a format which will, I hope, convey structure as well as a view of the development of a clinical and theoretical reflection, is that it follows a path of connected points of reflection that was not envisaged as I alighted at each stage on a topic that gripped me at the time. Looking back, however, it is possible to perceive that this series of clinical and theoretical reflections represents an ongoing enquiry into the nature of psychological change, growth, and development, which is at the heart of the clinical work of depth psychologists.

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