C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950

To Richard Otto Preiswerk

Dear Cousin, 21 April 1947

Many thanks for your interesting letter, in which you confirm all my forebodings about the Near East.

I have recovered pretty well from my recent illness but must still take care not to overwork.

I was very pleased to hear that you are taking an interest in my ideas.

I am sending you through my publisher a small book, which is a short introduction to the psychology of the unconscious.

It is a remarkable thing about psychotherapy: you cannot learn any recipes by heart and then apply them more or less suitably, but can cure only from one central point; and that consists in understanding the patient as a psychological whole and approaching him as a human being, leaving aside all theory and listening attentively to whatever he has to say.

Even a thorough discussion can work wonders.

It is of course essential for the psychotherapist to have a fair knowledge of himself, for anyone who does not understand himself cannot understand others and can never be psychotherapeutically effective unless he has first treated himself with the same medicine.

Otherwise he never knows what he is doing.

You don’t get anywhere with such facile, general doctrines as that neurosis consists of repressed sexuality and the like.

The psychotherapist must be a philosopher in the old sense of the word.

Classical philosophy was a certain view of the world as well as of conduct.

For the oldest authorities of the Church even Christianity was a sort of philosophical system with a code of conduct to match.

There were philosophical systems for a satisfying or happy way of living.

Psychotherapy means something of the sort too.

It must always deal with the whole man and not merely with organs.

So it must also proceed from the whole of the doctor.

I think that if you immerse yourself in my thought-processes without regarding them as a new gospel, a light will gradually go up for you about the nature of psychotherapy.

There is, by the way, a Frenchman in your vicinity who seems to be au courant: Godel in Ismailia, Suez Canal Hospital.

Recently he invited me to spend the spring holiday there.

Unfortunately the invitation came too late, and the travel difficulties lamented by you plus my still far too shaky health decided me to choose the quieter part.

One is no longer so young that one can afford to go a-venturing.

Previously anything like that would have had definite attractions.

It is sad that you can’t come over this year.

But I can understand that under the present difficult conditions a journey would be as disagreeable for you as it would for me.

It is a shame everything has to go to the devil, but human beings are such fools that they obviously deserve no better fate.

With best greetings and wishes,

Yours, [Carl] ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 455-456.