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Richard I. Evans’ Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones: Reprint of the 1964 edition, with forward by Jodi Kearns (Center for the History of Psychology Series)

Dr. Evans: Dr. Jung, many of us who have read a great deal of your work are aware of the fact that in your early work you were in association with Dr. Sigmund Freud, and I know it would be of great interest to many of us to hear how you happened to hear of Dr. Freud and how you happened to become involved with some of his work and ideas.

Dr. Jung: Well, as a matter of fact, it was the year 1900, in December, soon after Freud’s book about dream interpretation had come out, that I was asked by my chief, Professor Bleuler, to give a review of the book.


I studied the book very attentively, and I did not understand many things in it, which were not clear to me at all; but from other parts I got the impression that this man really knew what he was talking about.

I thought “this is certainly a masterpiece—full of future.”

I had no ideas then of my own; I was just beginning. It was just when I began my career as assistant in the psychiatric clinic. And then I began with experimental psychology or psychopathology.

I applied the experimental association methods of Wundt, the same that had been applied in the psychiatric clinic in Munich, and I studied the results and had the idea that one should go once more over it.

So I made use of the association tests, and I found out that the important thing in them has been missed, because it is not interesting to see that there is a reac􀢢on—a certain reaction—to a stimulus word.

That is more or less uninteresting. But the interesting thing is why people could not react to certain stimulus words, or only react in an entirely inadequate way.

Then I began to study these places in the experiment where the attention, or the capability of this person apparently began to waver or to disappear, and I soon found out that it was a ma􀂂er of intimate personal affairs people were thinking of, or which were in them, even if they momentarily did not think of them when they were unconscious with other words; that the inhibition came from unconscious and hindered the expression in speech.

Then, in examining all these cases as carefully as possible, I saw that it was a matter of what Freud called repressions. I also saw what he meant by symbolization.

Dr. Evans: In other words, from your word association studies, some of the things in The Interpretation of Dreams began to fall into place.

Dr. Jung: Yes! And then I wrote a book about psychology of dementia praecox, as it was called then— now it is schizophrenia—and I sent the book to Freud, writing to him about my association experiments and how they confirmed his theory thus far. That is how my friendship with Freud began.

Dr. Evans: There were other individuals who also became interested in Dr. Freud’s work, and one of them was Dr. Alfred Adler.

As you remember Dr. Adler, what in your es􀢢ma􀢢on led him to become interested in Dr. Freud’s work? Dr. Jung: He belonged; he was one of the young doctors that belonged to his surroundings there.

There were about twenty young doctors who followed Freud there, who were—who had a sort of little society. Adler was one who happened to be there, and he learned— he studied Freud’s psychology in that circle.

Dr. Evans: Another individual, of course, who joined this group was Otto Rank, and he, unlike yourself, Dr. Adler, and Dr. Freud was not a physician; did not have the Doctor of Medicine degree.

Was this regarded by your group at the time as something unusual, to have someone become interested in these ideas who was not by training a physician?

Dr. Jung: Oh no! I have met many people who represented different faculties who were interested in psychology.

All people who had to do with human beings were naturally interested; theologians, lawyers, pedagogues; they all had to do with the human mind and these people were naturally interested.

Dr. Evans: Then your group, including Freud, did not feel that this was exclusively an area of interest for the physician? This was something that might appeal to many?

Dr. Jung: Oh my, yes! Mind you, every patient you have gets interested in psychology .Nearly everyone thinks he is meant to be an analyst, inevitably. Carl Jung, Conversations with Carl Jung, Page 11.