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- Cathartic method
- A confessional approach to treating neurosis, involving the abreaction of emotions associated with a trauma.
A confessional approach to treating neurosis, involving the abreaction of emotions associated with a trauma. Through confession I throw myself into the arms of humanity again, freed at last from the burden of moral exile. The goal of the cathartic method is full confession-not merely the intellectual recognition of the facts with the head, but their confirmation by the heart and the actual release of suppressed emotion.["Problems of Modern Psychotherapy," CW 16, par. 134.]
Jung acknowledged the therapeutic value of catharsis, but early in his career he recognized its limitations in the process of analysis.
The new psychology would have remained at the stage of confession had catharsis proved itself a panacea. First and foremost, however, it is not always possible to bring the patients close enough to the unconscious for them to perceive the shadows. . . . They have quite enough to confess already, they say; they do not have to turn to the unconscious for that.[Ibid., par. 137.]
- An approach to the interpretation of psychic phenomena based on cause and effect. (See also final and reductive.)
- Psychologically, an image of both the irrecoverable past and an anticipation of future development. (See also incest.)
The "child" is . . . . both beginning and end, an initial and a terminal creature. . . . the pre-conscious and the post-conscious essence of man. His pre-conscious essence is the unconscious state of earliest childhood; his post-conscious essence is an anticipation by analogy of life after death. In this idea the all-embracing nature of psychic wholeness is expressed.["The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 299.]
Feelings of alienation or abandonment can constellate the child archetype. The effects are two-fold: the "poor-me" syndrome characteristic of the regressive longing for dependence, and, paradoxically, a desperate desire to be free of the past-the positive side of the divine child archetype.
Abandonment, exposure, danger, etc., are all elaborations of the "child’s" insignificant beginnings and of its mysterious and miraculous birth. This statement describes a certain psychic experience of a creative nature, whose object is the emergence of a new and as yet unknown content. In the psychology of the individual there is always, at such moments, an agonizing situation of conflict from which there seems to be no way out-at least for the conscious mind, since as far as this is concerned, tertium non datur.[Ibid., par. 285.]
"Child" means something evolving towards independence. This it cannot do without detaching itself from its origins: abandonment is therefore a necessary condition [of consciousness], not just a concomitant symptom.[Ibid., par. 287.]
- A term used to describe the interpretation of an image by reflecting on it from different points of view. Circumambulation differs from free association in that it is circular, not linear. Where free association leads away from the original image, circumambulation stays close to it.
- Psychic contents that belong not to one individual but to a society, a people or the human race in general. (See also collective unconscious, individuation and persona.)
The conscious personality is a more or less arbitrary segment of the collective psyche. It consists in a sum of psychic factors that are felt to be personal ["The Persona as a Segment of the Collective Psyche," CW 7, par. 244.]
Identification with the collective and voluntary segregation from it are alike synonymous with disease.["The Structure of the Unconscious," ibid., par. 485]
A collective quality adheres not only to particular psychic elements or contents but to whole psychological functions.
Thus the thinking function as a whole can have a collective quality, when it possesses general validity and accords with the laws of logic. Similarly, the feeling function as a whole can be collective, when it is identical with the general feeling and accords with general expectations, the general moral consciousness, etc. In the same way, sensation and intuition are collective when they are at the same time characteristic of a large group.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 692.]
- Collective unconscious
- A structural layer of the human psyche containing inherited elements, distinct from the personal unconscious. (See also archetype and archetypal image.)
The collective unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual.["The Structure of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 342.]
Jung derived his theory of the collective unconscious from the ubiquity of psychological phenomena that could not be explained on the basis of personal experience. Unconscious fantasy activity, for instance, falls into two categories.
First, fantasies (including dreams) of a personal character, which go back unquestionably to personal experiences, things forgotten or repressed, and can thus be completely explained by individual anamnesis. Second, fantasies (including dreams) of an impersonal character, which cannot be reduced to experiences in the individual’s past, and thus cannot be explained as something individually acquired. These fantasy-images undoubtedly have their closest analogues in mythological types. . . . These cases are so numerous that we are obliged to assume the existence of a collective psychic substratum. I have called this the collective unconscious.["The Psychology of the Child Archetype," CW 9i, par. 262.]
The collective unconscious-so far as we can say anything about it at all-appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious. . . . We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual.["The Structure of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 325.]
The more one becomes aware of the contents of the personal unconscious, the more is revealed of the rich layer of images and motifs that comprise the collective unconscious. This has the effect of enlarging the personality.
In this way there arises a consciousness which is no longer imprisoned in the petty, oversensitive, personal world of the ego, but participates freely in the wider world of objective interests. This widened consciousness is no longer that touchy, egotistical bundle of personal wishes, fears, hopes, and ambitions which always has to be compensated or corrected by unconscious counter-tendencies; instead, it is a function of relationship to the world of objects, bringing the individual into absolute, binding, and indissoluble communion with the world at large.["The Function of the Unconscious," CW 7, par. 275.]
- A natural process aimed at establishing or maintaining balance within the psyche. (See also active imagination, dreams, neurosis and self-regulation of the psyche.)
The activity of consciousness is selective. Selection demands direction. But direction requires the exclusion of everything irrelevant. This is bound to make the conscious orientation one-sided. The contents that are excluded and inhibited by the chosen direction sink into the unconscious, where they form a counterweight to the conscious orientation. The strengthening of this counterposition keeps pace with the increase of conscious one-sidedness until finally . . . . the repressed unconscious contents break through in the form of dreams and spontaneous images. . . . As a rule, the unconscious compensation does not run counter to consciousness, but is rather a balancing or supplementing of the conscious orientation. In dreams, for instance, the unconscious supplies all those contents that are constellated by the conscious situation but are inhibited by conscious selection, although a knowledge of them would be indispensable for complete adaptation["Definitions," CW 6, par. 694.]
In neurosis, where consciousness is one-sided to an extreme, the aim of analytic therapy is the realization and assimilation of unconscious contents so that compensation may be reestablished. This can often be accomplished by paying close attention to dreams, emotions and behavior patterns, and through active imagination.
- An emotionally charged group of ideas or images. (See also Word Association Experiment.)
[A complex] is the image of a certain psychic situation which is strongly accentuated emotionally and is, moreover, incompatible with the habitual attitude of consciousness.["A Review of the Complex Theory," CW 8, par. 201.]
The via regia to the unconscious . . . is not the dream, as [Freud] thought, but the complex, which is the architect of dreams and of symptoms. Nor is this via so very Z"royal," either, since the way pointed out by the complex is more like a rough and uncommonly devious footpath.[ Ibid., par. 210.]
Formally, complexes are "feeling-toned ideas" that over the years accumulate around certain archetypes, for instance "mother" and "father." When complexes are constellated, they are invariably accompanied by affect. They are always relatively autonomous.
Complexes interfere with the intentions of the will and disturb the conscious performance; they produce disturbances of memory and blockages in the flow of associations; they appear and disappear according to their own laws; they can temporarily obsess consciousness, or influence speech and action in an unconscious way. In a word, complexes behave like independent beings.["Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour," ibid., par. 253.]
Complexes are in fact "splinter psyches." The aetiology of their origin is frequently a so-called trauma, an emotional shock or some such thing, that splits off a bit of the psyche. Certainly one of the commonest causes is a moral conflict, which ultimately derives from the apparent impossibility of affirming the whole of one’s nature.["A Review of the Complex Theory," ibid., par. 204.]
Everyone knows nowadays that people "have complexes." What is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us.[Ibid., par. 200.]
Jung stressed that complexes in themselves are not negative; only their effects often are. In the same way that atoms and molecules are the invisible components of physical objects, complexes are the building blocks of the psyche and the source of all human emotions.
Complexes are focal or nodal points of psychic life which we would not wish to do without; indeed, they should not be missing, for otherwise psychic activity would come to a fatal standstill.["A Psychological Theory of Types," CW 6, par. 925.]
Complexes obviously represent a kind of inferiority in the broadest sense . . . [but] to have complexes does not necessarily indicate inferiority. It only means that something discordant, unassimilated, and antagonistic exists, perhaps as an obstacle, but also as an incentive to greater effort, and so, perhaps, to new possibilities of achievement.[Ibid., par. 925.]
Some degree of one-sidedness is unavoidable, and, in the same measure, complexes are unavoidable too.["Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour," CW 8, par. 255.]
The negative effect of a complex is commonly experienced as a distortion in one or other of the psychological functions (feeling, thinking, intuition and sensation). In place of sound judgment and an appropriate feeling response, for instance, one reacts according to what the complex dictates. As long as one is unconscious of the complexes, one is liable to be driven by them.
The possession of complexes does not in itself signify neurosis . . . and the fact that they are painful is no proof of pathological disturbance. Suffering is not an illness; it is the normal counterpole to happiness. A complex becomes pathological only when we think we have not got it.["Psychotherapy and a Philosophy of Life," CW 16, par. 179.]
Identification with a complex, particularly the anima/animus and the shadow, is a frequent source of neurosis. The aim of analysis in such cases is not to get rid of the complexes-as if that were possible-but to minimize their negative effects by understanding the part they play in behavior patterns and emotional reactions.
A complex can be really overcome only if it is lived out to the full. In other words, if we are to develop further we have to draw to us and drink down to the very dregs what, because of our complexes, we have held at a distance.["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 184.]
- A way of thinking or feeling that is archaic and undifferentiated, based entirely on perception through sensation. (Compare abstraction.)
Concretism as a way of mental functioning is closely related to the more general concept of participation mystique. Concrete thinking and feeling are attuned to and bound by physiological stimuli and material facts. Such an orientation is valuable in the recognition of outer reality, but deficient in how it is interpreted.
Concretism results in a projection of . . . inner factors into the objective data and produces an almost superstitious veneration of mere facts.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 699.]
[Concrete thinking] has no detached independence but clings to material phenomena. It rises at most to the level of analogy. Primitive feeling is equally bound to material phenomena. Both of them depend on sensation and are only slight differentiated from it. Concret-ism, therefore, is an archaism. The magical influence of the fetish is not experienced as a subjective state of feeling, but sensed as a magical effect. That is concretistic feeling. The primitive does not experience the idea of the divinity as a subjective content; for him the sacred tree is the abode of the god, or even the god himself. That is concretistic thinking. In civilized man, concretistic thinking consists in the inability to conceive of anything except immediately obvious facts transmitted by the senses, or in the inability to discriminate between subjective feeling and the sensed object.[Ibid., par. 697.]
- A state of indecision, accompanied by inner tension. (See also opposites and transcendent function.)
The apparently unendurable conflict is proof of the rightness of your life. A life without inner contradiction is either only half a life or else a life in the Beyond, which is destined only for angels. But God loves human beings more than the angels.[C.G. Jung Letters, vol. 1, p. 375.]
The self is made manifest in the opposites and in the conflict between them; it is a coincidentia oppositorum [coincidence of opposites]. Hence the way to the self begins with conflict.["Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy," CW 12, par. 259.]
Conflict is a hallmark of neurosis, but conflict is not invariably neurotic. Some degree of conflict is even desirable since without some tension between opposites the developmental process is inhibited. Conflict only becomes neurotic when it interferes with the normal functioning of consciousness.
The stirring up of conflict is a Luciferian virtue in the true sense of the word. Conflict engenders fire, the fire of affects and emotions, and like every other fire it has two aspects, that of combustion and that of creating light.["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 179.]
When a conflict is unconscious, tension manifests as physical symptoms, particularly in the stomach, the back and the neck. Conscious conflict is experienced as moral or ethical tension. Serious conflicts, especially those involving love or duty, generally involve a disparity between the functions of thinking and feeling. If one or the other is not a conscious participant in the conflict, it needs to be introduced.
The objection [may be] advanced that many conflicts are intrinsically insoluble. People sometimes take this view because they think only of external solutions-which at bottom are not solutions at all. . . . A real solution comes only from within, and then only because the patient has been brought to a different attitude.["Some Crucial Points in Psychoanalysis," CW 4, par. 606.]
Jung’s major contribution to the psychology of conflict was his belief that it had a purpose in terms of the self-regulation of the psyche. If the tension between the opposites can be held in consciousness, then something will happen internally to resolve the conflict. The solution, essentially irrational and unforeseeable, generally appears as a new attitude toward oneself and the outer situation, together with a sense of peace; energy previously locked up in indecision is released and the progression of libido becomes possible. Jung called this the tertium non datur or transcendent function, because what happens transcends the opposites.
Holding the tension between opposites requires patience and a strong ego, otherwise a decision will be made out of desperation. Then the opposite will be constellated even more strongly and the conflict will continue with renewed force.
Jung’s basic hypothesis in working with neurotic conflict was that separate personalities in oneself-complexes-were involved. As long as these are not made conscious they are acted out externally, through projection. Conflicts with other people are thus essentially externalizations of an unconscious conflict within oneself.
- Literally, "conjunction," used in alchemy to refer to chemical combinations; psychologically, it points to the union of opposites and the birth of new possibilities.
The coniunctio is an a priori image that occupies a prominent place in the history of man’s mental development. If we trace this idea back we find it has two sources in alchemy, one Christian, the other pagan. The Christian source is unmistakably the doctrine of Christ and the Church, sponsus and sponsa, where Christ takes the role of Sol and the Church that of Luna. The pagan source is on the one hand the hieros-gamos, on the other the marital union of the mystic with God.["The Psychology of the Transference," CW 16, par. 355.]
Other alchemical terms used by Jung with a near-equivalent psychological meaning include unio mystica (mystic or sacred marriage), coincidentia oppositorum (coincidence of opposites), complexio oppositorum (the opposites embodied in a single image) unus mundus (one world) and Philosophers’ Stone.
- The function or activity which maintains the relation of psychic contents to the ego; distinguished conceptually from the psyche, which encompasses both consciousness and the unconscious. (See also opposites.)
There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites.["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 178.]
There are two distinct ways in which consciousness arises. The one is a moment of high emotional tension, comparable to the scene in Parsifal where the hero, at the very moment of greatest temptation, suddenly realizes the meaning of Amfortas’ wound. The other is a state of contemplation, in which ideas pass before the mind like dream-images. Suddenly there is a flash of association between two apparently disconnected and widely separated ideas, and this has the effect of releasing a latent tension. Such a moment often works like a revelation. In every case it seems to be the discharge of energy-tension, whether external or internal, which produces consciousness.["Analytical Psychology and Education," CW 17, par. 207.]
In Jung’s view of the psyche, individual consciousness is a superstructure based on, and arising out of, the unconscious.
Consciousness does not create itself-it wells up from unknown depths. In childhood it awakens gradually, and all through life it wakes each morning out of the depths of sleep from an unconscious condition. It is like a child that is born daily out of the primordial womb of the unconscious. . . . It is not only influenced by the unconscious but continually emerges out of it in the form of numberless spontaneous ideas and sudden flashes of thought.["The Psychology of Eastern Meditation," CW 11, par. 935.]
- To activate, usually used with reference to a complex and an accompanying pattern of emotional reactions.
This term simply expresses the fact that the outward situation releases a psychic process in which certain contents gather together and prepare for action. When we say that a person is "constellated" we mean that he has taken up a position from which he can be expected to react in a quite definite way. . . . The constellated contents are definite complexes possessing their own specific energy.["A Review of the Complex Theory," CW 8, par. 198.]
- An approach to the interpretation of psychic activity based on its goal or purpose rather than its cause or source. (See also final; compare reductive.)
I use constructive and synthetic to designate a method that is the antithesis of reductive. The constructive method is concerned with the elaboration of the products of the unconscious (dreams, fantasies, etc.). It takes the unconscious product as a symbolic expression which anticipates a coming phase of psychological development["Definitions," CW 6, par. 701.]
The constructive or synthetic method of treatment presupposes insights which are at least potentially present in the patient and can therefore be made conscious.["The Transcendent Function," CW 8, par. 145.]
The constructive method involves both the amplification of symbols and their interpretation on the subjective level. Its use in dream interpretation aims at understanding how the conscious orientation may be modified in light of the dream’s symbolic message. This is in line with Jung’s belief that the psyche is a self-regulating system.
In the treatment of neurosis, Jung saw the constructive method as complementary, not in opposition, to the reductive approach of classical psychoanalysis.
We apply a largely reductive point of view in all cases where it is a question of illusions, fictions, and exaggerated attitudes. On the other hand, a constructive point of view must be considered for all cases where the conscious attitude is more or less normal, but capable of greater development and refinement, or where unconscious tendencies, also capable of development, are being misunderstood and kept under by the conscious mind.["Analytical Psychology and Education," CW 17, par. 195.]
- A particular case of projection, used to describe the unconscious emotional response of the analyst to the analysand in a therapeutic relationship. (See also transference.)
A transference is answered by a counter-transference from the analyst when it projects a content of which he is unconscious but which nevertheless exists in him. The counter-transference is then just as useful and meaningful, or as much of a hindrance, as the transference of the patient, according to whether or not it seeks to establish that better rapport which is essential for the realization of certain unconscious contents. Like the transference, the counter-transference is compulsive, a forcible tie, because it creates a "mystical" or unconscious identity with the object["General Aspects of Dream Psychology," CW 8, par. 519.]
A workable analytic relationship is predicated on the assumption that the analyst is not as neurotic as the analysand. Although a lengthy personal analysis is the major requirement in the training of analysts, this is no guarantee against projection.
Even if the analyst has no neurosis, but only a rather more extensive area of unconsciousness than usual, this is sufficient to produce a sphere of mutual unconsciousness, i.e., a counter-transference. This phenomenon is one of the chief occupational hazards of psychotherapy. It causes psychic infections in both analyst and patient and brings the therapeutic process to a standstill. This state of unconscious identity is also the reason why an analyst can help his patient just so far as he himself has gone and not a step further.["Appendix," CW 16, par. 545.]
- An archetypal motif associated with conflict and the problem of the opposites
Nobody who finds himself on the road to wholeness can escape that characteristic suspension which is the meaning of crucifixion. For he will infallibly run into things that thwart and "cross" him: first, the thing he has no wish to be (the shadow); second, the thing he is not (the "other," the individual reality of the "You"); and third, his psychic non-ego (the collective unconscious).["The Psychology of the Transference," ibid., par. 470.]