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

To Poul Bjerre

Dear Colleague, 11 January 1935

As I have a virtually international practice and the views regarding psychotherapy1 are very different from ours especially in Anglo-Saxon

countries, I very early-that is, more than 20 years ago-found myself in the position of training people for psychotherapy who were able to work in their own countries as consulting psychologists or practical psychologists at paedagogic institutes or as free practitioners.

Then after the war a whole lot of Germans, especially teachers, came to me for training in practical psychology.

A large number of such lay psychologists work together with doctors and I must emphasize that this collaboration has generally had very favourable results.

The very fact that four eyes see more than two, and that teachers or even educated laymen often possess an understanding of practical psychology that should not be underestimated, is often of the greatest assistance to the work of the doctor.

I have therefore, as you know, several times publicly advocated that a special standing should be created for practical psychologists who supplement the doctor’s work in paedagogics and the social sciences.

From the medical side it would be an unwarrantable presumption to think that the human psyche is an object for exclusively medical influence.

Nervous patients just as often need a bit of quite ordinary education and training to learn how to cope better with their psychic complications.

Every surgeon has one or more efficient theatre nurses who work under his direction and who usually perform much better than his assistants.

Given time, we shall reach a similar situation in psychotherapy.

I find it positively irresponsible of doctors simply to ignore the tremendous spread of psychological knowledge in our day and to try to keep psychotherapy an exclusively medical preserve.

In that way they merely create a psychological movement split off from medicine in the field of general paedagogics, which is then of necessity completely outside the doctor’s control.

I therefore take every available opportunity of advocating that all pedagogically minded psychotherapists, clergymen, and educationists in the stricter sense should work together instead of against each other, but every time I meet with the highly inopportune and shortsighted resistance of the doctors.

I hope I have now fulfilled your wish to know what my position is.

With collegial regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 183-183