Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones

Jung on Diagnostic and Therapeutic Practices:

Dr. Evans: We American psychologists do a great deal of testing, utilizing “projective tests.” As we discussed earlier, you certainly played a major role in developing projective testing with your word association method. What led you to develop the Word Association Test?

Dr. Jung: You mean the practical use of it?

Dr. Evans: Yes.

Dr. Jung: Well you see, in the beginning when I was a young man, I was completely disoriented with patients. I didn’t know where to begin or what to say; and the association experiment has given me access to their unconscious. I learned about the things they did not tell me, and I got a deep insight into things of which they were not aware. I discovered many things.

Dr. Evans: In other words, from such association responses you discovered complexes or areas of emotional blocks in the patient? Of course, the word “complex,” which originated with you, is used very widely now.

Dr. Jung: Yes, complex—that is one of the terms which I originated.

Dr. Evans: Did you hope that from these complexes or emotional blocks which you were uncovering as you administered this word association test to get at materials in the personal unconscious or the racial unconscious?

Dr. Jung: In the beginning there was no question of collective unconscious or anything like that. It was chiefly the ordinary personal complexes.

Dr. Evans: I see. You weren’t expecting to get into such depth.

Dr. Jung: Among hundreds of complex associations, there might appear an archetypal element, but it wouldn’t stand out particularly. That is not the point. You know, it is like the Rorschach, a superficial orientation.

Dr. Evans: You knew Hermann Rorschach, I believe, did you not? Dr. Jung: No. He has circumvented me as much as possible.

Dr. Evans: But did you get to know him personally?

Dr. Jung: No. I never saw him.

Dr. Evans: In his terms, “introtensive” and “extrotensive,” of course, he is reflecting your conceptions of introversion and extroversion, in my own estimation that is.

Dr. Jung: Yes, but I was the anathema, because I was the one to first outline the concepts; and that, you know, is unforgivable. I never should have done it.

Dr. Evans: So you really didn’t have any personal contacts with Rorschach?

Dr. Jung: No personal relations at all.

Dr. Evans: Are you familiar with Rorschach’s test which uses ink-blots?

Dr. Jung: Yes, but I never applied it, because later on I didn’t even apply the Word Association Test anymore. It just wasn’t necessary. I learned what I had to learn from the exact examinations of psychic reactions; and that, I think, is a very excellent means.

Dr. Evans: But would you recommend that other psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and psychoanalysts use these projective tests, such as your Word Association Test or Rorschach’s test?

Dr. Jung: Well, perhaps. For the education of psychologists who intend to do actual work with people, I think it is an excellent means to learn how the unconscious works.

Dr. Evans: So you feel that the projective tests have a function in training psychologists?

Dr. Jung: Yes. They are exceedingly didactic. With these tests one can actually demonstrate repression or the amnesic phenomenon, the way in which people cover their emotions, etc. It takes place like an ordinary conversation, but the tests provide certain principles and criteria which serve as guides and measuring devices for what one sees and hears.

It is all so interesting. You observe all the things which you observe in a conversation with another person. For instance, in conversation when you ask a person something or begin to discuss certain things, you can observe certain things, little hesitations, mistakes in speech, etc.; all those things come to the fore. Then, what is more, in the experimental setting they are measurable.

I think I don’t over-rate the didactic value of projective tests. I think very highly of them in this capacity, that is, for educating young psychologists. And sometimes, of course, they are useful to any psychologist. If I have a case who doesn’t want to talk, I can make an experiment and find out a lot of things through the experiment. I have, for instance, discovered a murder.

Dr. Evans: Is that right? Would you like to tell us how this was done?

Dr. Jung: You see, you have that lie detector in the United States, and that’s like an association test I have worked out with the psychogalvanic phenomenon. Also, we have done a lot of work on the pneumograph which will show the decrease of volume of breathing under the influence of a complex. You know, one of the reasons for tuberculosis is the manifestation of a complex. People have very shallow breathing, don’t ventilate the apices of their lungs anymore, and get tuberculosis. Half of tuberculosis cases are psychic.

Dr. Evans: In working with a patient, would you say that it is essential for him to recapitulate his past life in order to help him deal with his present neurosis, as Freud did, or do you feel that you can deal situationally with his problem without going back and probing into things that happened to him during his early life?

Dr. Jung: There is no one-and-only system in therapy. In therapy you treat the patient as he is in the present moment, irrespective of causes and such things. That is all more or less theoretical. Sometimes I can start right away with posing the problem. There are cases who know just as much about their own neurosis as I know about it in a way.

For instance, let us take the case of a professor of philosophy, an intelligent man, who imagines that he has cancer. He shows me several dozen x-ray plates that prove there is no cancer. He says, “Of course, I have no cancer, but nevertheless, I’m afraid I could have one. I’ve consulted many surgeons and they all assure me there is none; and I know there is none but I might have one.” You see? That’s enough. Such a case can stop from one moment to the next, just as soon as the person who has the sickness stops thinking such foolish things, but that is exactly what he cannot do.

In such a case, I say, “Well, it is perfectly plain to you that it is nonsense what you believe. Now why are you forced to believe such nonsense?

What is the power that makes you think such a thing against your free will? You know it is all nonsense.” It’s like a possession. It is as though a demon were in him, making him think like that in spite of the fact that he doesn’t want to. Then I say, “Now you have no answer; I have no answer. What are we going to do?” I add, “We will see what you dream for a starting point, because a dream is a manifestation of the unconscious side.”

In this case our philosopher has never heard of the unconscious side, so I must explain to him about the existence of the unconscious; and I must explain to him that the dream is a manifestation of it. Thus, if we succeed in analyzing the dream, we may get an idea about that power, which is distorting his thinking. In such a case one can begin right away with the analysis of dreams, and the same is true for all cases that are a bit serious. Mind you, this is not a simple case, but a very difficult and serious case, in spite of the simplicity of the phenomenology of the symptomatology.

In all cases after the preliminaries such as taking down the history of the family, the whole medical analysis, etc., we come to that question, “What is it in your unconscious that makes you wrong in your thinking, that hinders you from thinking normally?” Then we can begin with the observation of the unconscious, and the day by day process of analyzing the data produced by the unconscious. Now that we have discussed the first dream, the whole problem takes on new perspective, and he will have other dreams, each of which will have something to add until we have the whole picture. Now when we have the full picture, if he has the necessary moral stamina, he can be cured. In the end it is strictly a moral question, whether a man applies what he has learned or not.

Dr. Evans: Does your type approach, based on introversion-extroversion constructs, help you in this analytical process?

Dr. Jung: Yes. I find in the study of the “type,” that it supplies a certain lead as to the personal nature of the unconscious, the personal quality of the unconscious in a given case. If you study an extrovert, you find that his unconscious has then an introverted quality. This is because all the extroverted qualities are played in consciousness, and the introverted qualities are all played in the unconscious; therefore, the unconscious has introverted qualities. The reverse composition, of course, is equally true. That knowledge gave me a lead of diagnostic value. It helped me to understand my patients. When I saw their conscious type, I got ideas as to their unconscious attitudes.

Now the neurotic is just as much controlled and influenced by the unconscious as he is by the conscious, so he may appear to be a type which actually is not a true diagnosis at all. In certain cases it is almost impossible to distinguish between conscious material and unconscious material, because you just cannot tell at first sight which is which. This has helped me to understand more the patients in terms of the Freudian emphasis (based on the past) as well as in Adlerian terms, which are more, as you say, concerned with the present situation of the patient.

In the course of years, I got quite a lot of empirical material about the peculiar way in which conscious and unconscious contents interact. I could do this by watching individuals who were actually going through analytical treatment. You see, there is a point when you try to integrate unconscious contents into consciousness; or you confront the patient who is holding a definite conscious attitude with the related unconscious attitude that is counteracting the conscious one. This process, of course, is perpetuating his neurosis; and it is just as though another personality of the opposite type were influencing him or disturbing him.

Dr. Evans: So, Professor Jung, you gradually developed through your typologies a sort of theory, a psychology of opposites, where the conscious revealed the qualities of one type and the unconscious revealed the qualities of the other type in a given individual. This would be a very important way, then, of helping you to analyze and understand the individual.

Dr. Jung: Yes, from a practical point of view, it is diagnostically quite important. The point I wanted to elucidate is that in analyzing a patient you create the expression of typical experiences during the therapeutic process. There is a sort of typical way in which the integration of consciousness takes place. The average way is that through the analysis of dreams, for instance, you become acquainted with the contents of the unconscious.

To begin with, you want to know all personal, subjective material about the individual, what sort of difficulties the individual has encountered in adapting to environmental conditions, etc. Now, it can be regularly observed that when you talk to an individual and this individual gives you insight into his inner preoccupations, interests, emotions, etc., or in other words, hands over his personal complexes, you get slowly and willy-nilly into a situation of a kind of authority. You are in possession of all the important items in a person’s development, and you become a point of reference, because you are dealing with things which are very important to the person. I remember, for instance, that I analyzed a very well-known American politician, who told me any number of the secrets of his trade. Suddenly he jumped up and said, “My God, what have I done! You could get a million dollars for what I have told you now!” I said, “Well, I’m not interested. You can sleep in peace, because I shall not betray you. I’ll forget it in a fortnight.” So you see, that shows that the things people hand out are not merely indifferent things. When it comes to something emotionally important, they are handing out themselves. They are investing in the analyst big emotional value, just as if they were handing you a large sum of money or trusting you with the administration of their estate; they are entirely in your hands. Often I hear things that could ruin these people, utterly and permanently ruin them, things which would give me, if I had any blackmailing tendencies, unlimited power over them.

You can see that this kind of a situation creates an emotional relationship to the analyst, and this is what Freud called “transference,” a central problem in analytic psychology. It is just as if these people had handed out their whole existence, and that can have very peculiar effects upon the individual. Either they hate you for it, or love you for it; but they are not indifferent. Thus, a sort of emotional relation between the patient and the doctor is fostered.

When a patient discusses such material, the content of it is associated with all the important persons in the life of that patient. Now the most important persons are usually father and mother in going back into a person’s childhood. The first troubles are with the parents as a rule. So, when a patient hands over to you his infantile memories about the father or mother, he also sees in you, the analyst, the image of that mother or father. Then it is just as if the doctor had taken the place of the father, or even of the mother. I have had quite a number of male patients that called me “Mother Jung,” because they had handed over to me the image of their respective mothers, curiously enough. But you see, that’s quite irrespective of the personality of the analyst. In this case, the personality of the analyst is simply disregarded. You now function as if you were the mother or father—the central authority. That is what one calls transference; that is projection. Now Freud doesn’t exactly call it projection. He calls it transference, which is an illusion to an old, superstitious idea that if you have a disease, you can transfer the disease to an animal; or you can transfer the sin onto a scapegoat, and the scapegoat takes it out into the desert and makes it disappear.

Thus, the patients hand over themselves in the hope that I can swallow that stuff and digest it for them. I am in loco parentis and I have a high authority. Naturally, I am also persecuted by the corresponding resistances, by all the manifold emotional reactions they have had against their parents.

Now that is the structure you have to work through first in analyzing the situation, because the patient in such a condition is not free; he is a slave. He is actually dependent upon the doctor like a patient with an open abdomen on the operating table. He is in the hands of the surgeon, for better or for worse, so the thing must be finished. This means that we have to work through that condition in the hope that we will arrive at a different condition where the patient is able to see that I am not the father, not the mother, that I am an ordinary human being. Now everybody would assume that such a thing would be possible, that the patient could arrive at such an insight when he or she is not a complete idiot, that they could see that I am just a doctor and not that emotional figure of their fantasies. However, that is very often not the case.

I had a case once which involved an intelligent young woman, a student of philosophy who had a very good mind. One would easily think that she would be able to see that I was not her parental authority, but she was utterly unable to get out of this delusion. Now in such a case, one always has recourse to the dreams. She says through the conscious, “Of course, I know you are not my father, but I just feel like that. It is like you are my father; I depend upon you.” Then I say, “Now we will see what the unconscious says.” From that point, we work very hard in analyzing her dreams, and I begin to see that the unconscious is producing dreams in which I assume a very curious role.

In her dreams she is a little infant, sitting on my knee, and I am holding her in my arms. I have become a very tender father to the little girl, you know. More and more her dreams become emphatic in this respect; namely, I am a kind of giant, and she is a very little, frail human thing, quite a little girl in the hands of an enormous being. Then the final dream occurs in the series. In that dream, I was out in the midst of nature, standing in a field of wheat, an enormous field of wheat that was ripe for harvesting. I was a giant and I held her in my arms like a baby, with the wind blowing over the field. Now as you know, when the wind is blowing over a wheat field, it waves; and with these waves I swayed, putting her to sleep. She felt as if she was in the arms of a god, of the “Godhead.” I thought, “Now the harvest is ripe, and I must tell her,” so I said, “You see, what you want and what you are projecting into me, because you are not conscious of it, is that unconsciously you are feeling the influence of a deity which does not ‘possess’ your consciousness; therefore, you are seeing it in me.”

That clicked, because she had a rather intense religious education, that enabled her to understand. Of course, it all vanished later on and something disappeared from her world. The world became merely personal to her and a matter of immediate consciousness. That religious conception of the world was to her no longer existent, apparently. This makes sense, you see, because the idea of a deity is not an intellectual idea. It is an archetype, an archetypal idea, that catches hold of your unconsciousness, and once she could understand that consciously, the archetype could no longer control her.

You find this type of archetypal image practically everywhere under this or that name. Even when it comes forth in the form of “Manna,” it has an all-powerful, extraordinary effect or quality; it doesn’t matter whether it is personal at all or not. In the case of this girl, she suddenly became aware of an entirely heathenish image, an image that comes fresh from the archetype. She had not the idea of a Christian God, or of an Old Testament Yahweh, but of a heathenish God—a God of Nature, a God of Vegetation. He was the wheat itself. He was the spirit of the wheat, the spirit of the wind; and she was in the arms of that Pneuma. Now that is the living experience of an archetype. When that girl came to understand what was happening in her, it made a tremendous impression upon her. She saw what she really was missing, that missing value which she was projecting into me, making me indispensable to her. Then she came to see that I was not indispensable, because, as the dream says, she is in the arms of that archetypal idea. That is a Pneumanous experience, you see, and that is the thing that people are looking for, an archetypal experience which is in itself an incorruptible value.

Until they have the experience and understand it, they depend upon other conditions; they depend upon their desires, their ambitions. They depend upon other people, because they have no value in themselves. They are only rational, and are not in possession of a treasure that would make them independent. Now when that girl could hold that experience, she no longer had to depend. The value became part of her. She had been liberated and was now complete. Inasmuch as she could realize such a Pneumanous experience, she was and will be able to continue her part, her own way—her individuation. The acorn can become an oak, and not a donkey. Nature will take her course. A man or woman becomes that which he or she is from the beginning. I have seen quite a number of such cases as I have just cited to you.

Dr. Evans: How do the dreams and fantasies of the patient enter into the process?

Dr. Jung: I wrote a book about such dreams, you know, an introduction to the psychology of the unconscious At that time my empirical material had been formed chiefly by observation of lunatics, cases of schizophrenia, and I had observed that there are, chiefly in the beginning of a disease, invasions of fantasies into conscious life, fantasies of an entirely unexpected sort which are most bewildering to the patient. He gets quite confused by these ideas, and he gets into a sort of panic since he never before has thought such things. They are quite strange to him and equally strange to his physician. Yet, the analyst is equally dumbfounded by the peculiar character of those fantasies.

Therefore, one says, “That man is crazy. He is crazy to think such things; nobody thinks such things,” and the patient agrees with him, which throws the patient into even more of a panic. So as an analyst I thought it to be really the task for psychiatry to elucidate that thing that broke into consciousness, the voices and the delusions. In those days, and mind you, I’m referring to over 40 or 50 years ago, I had no hope to be able to treat these cases or to be able to help them, but I had a very great scientific curiosity which made me want to know what these things really were. You see, I felt that these things had a system and that they were not merely chaotic, decayed material, because there was too much sense in those fantasies.

This led me to begin studying cases of psychogenic diseases such as hysteria, somnambulism, and others where the content that flowed from the unconscious was in readable condition and capable of being understood. Then I saw that, in contradistinction to the schizophrenics, the mental contents were elaborate, dramatic, suggestive and insinuating, enabling one to make out a second personality. Now this is not the case in schizophrenia. There the fantasies, on the contrary, are unsystematic and chaotic, so that you cannot make out a second personality. The cases are of too complicated a nature. I needed a simpler type, or a more comprehensible type, to study.

An old professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of Geneva published a case concerning an American girl, wherein he described her half poetic and half romantic fantasies. He published that material without commenting on it, giving it as an example of creative imagination. Now, when I read those fantasies, I saw this as exactly the kind of material I needed. I was always a bit afraid to tell of my personal experiences with patients because I felt that people might say that too much suggestion was involved, but since I had no hand in this case, I could not be accused of having influenced the patient. That is the reason I analyzed those particular fantasies. That case became the object of a whole book called The Psychology of the Unconscious. I have revised it after forty years, and it is now called Symbolisms of Transformation.

In The Psychology of the Unconscious (16), I tried to show that there is a sort of unconscious that clearly produces things which are historical and not personal. At that time, I simply called it “the unconscious,” not distinguishing between the two aspects involved. Using the fantasies of the American girl, I tried for the first time to produce a picture of the functioning of the unconscious, a functioning which pointed to certain conclusions as to the nature of the unconscious.

Writing that book cost me my friendship with Freud, because he couldn’t accept it. To Freud, the unconscious was a product of consciousness, and the unconscious simply contained the remnants of consciousness; I mean that he saw the unconscious as a sort of store-room where all the discarded things of consciousness were heaped up and left.To me, however, the unconscious was a matrix, a sort of basis of consciousness, possessing a creative nature and capable of autonomous acts, autonomous intrusions into the consciousness. In other words, I took the existence of the unconscious for a real fact, an autonomous factor that was capable of independent action.

To me that was a psychological problem of the very first order, and it made me think furiously, because the whole of philosophy, even up to the present day, has not recognized the fact that we have a counter-factor in our unconscious. It has not become recognized that in our psyche there are two factors, two independent factors, with consciousness representing one factor and, equally important, the unconscious representing the other factor. And the unconscious can interfere with consciousness any time it pleases. Now I say to myself, “This is very uncomfortable. I think I am the only master in my house, but in reality I must admit that there is another master, somebody in my house that
can play tricks on me.” I have to deal with the unfortunate victims of that interference every day in my patients.

I remember, for instance, one case which involved a young man, quite a rational young man. He had a lot of personal problems, but finally these enlarged and expanded until he was involved in very disagreeable relations with the whole of his surroundings. He was a member of society, but he was engaged in the poorest of relations with the other people of the society. It was really quite shocking. He began having and reporting collective dreams to me. Suddenly, he dreamed of things he had never thought of in his life before, mythological motifs, and he thought he was crazy, because he could not understand it at all. It was just as if the whole world were suddenly transformed. You see this
same process in a case of schizophrenia, but this was not a case of schizophrenia. In this case the collective dreams were expressing the
mythological patterns or motifs which were in his unconscious.

There are many examples of this in the collective dreams I have published. To make it clear, I shall tell a long story. Then you will see how the collective dream applies in cases such as the one cited above. I have already mentioned the case of that intuitive girl who suddenly came out with the statement that she had a black snake in her belly. Well now, that is an example of a collective symbol. That is not an individual fantasy; it is a collective fantasy. That fantasy is well known in India. Now right at first, I even thought she might be crazy, for she had no more connection with India by all external considerations that I did. But, of course, we are all similar in at least one respect—we are all human. This girl was just highly intuitive and oriented toward a “wholistic” manner of thinking, or thinking always within a context of totality or wholeness, a mode of thinking which is known in and characteristic of India. It is the basis of a whole philosophical system, that of Tantarism, and this system has as its symbol Kucarini, Kucarini the serpent. This is something known only to some few specialists; it generally is not known that we have a serpent in the abdomen. Well, that is a collective dream or collective fantasy.

Dr. Evans: As the individual goes through life day to day, is it possible that things that trouble him and cause tension lead to repression?

Dr. Jung: He doesn’t repress consciously always. These things disappear, and Freud explains that by active repression. But you can prove that these things never have been conscious before. They simply don’t appear, and you don’t know why they don’t appear. Of course, when they do come up later, one can give the explanation that they have not appeared before because they were in disagreement or were incompatible with the patient’s conscious views and attitudes. But that is afterwards that you can say this; you were not able to predict it. So you see, these things that have an emotional tone are partially autonomous. They can appear or not appear. They can disappear at wish, not of the subject, but of their own; and, also, you can repress them. It is just so the same as with projections. For instance, people say, “One makes projections.” That’s nonsense. One doesn’t make them; one finds them. They are already there; they are already in the unconscious.

And so, these disappearances, or the so-called repressions, are just like projections. Without you having anything to do with it, they are already part of the unconscious. There are cases, sure, where consciousness enters in, but I should say that the majority of cases are unconscious. That was my first point of difference with Freud. I saw in the association experiment that certain complexes are quite certainly not repressed. They simply won’t appear. This is because, you see, the unconscious is real; it is an entity; it works by itself; it is autonomous.

Dr. Evans: So in a sense, looking at the so-called defense mechanisms, projection, rationalization, etc., you would differ from the orthodox psychoanalytic view in that you would not sav that they are developed as a means of defending the Ego. Rather, you would say that they are already there as manifestations of patterns that are already present in the unconscious.

Dr. Jung: Yes. Take, for instance, the example of that serpent. That never had been repressed, or else it would have been conscious to her. On the contrary, it was unconscious to her and only appeared in her fantasies. It appeared spontaneously. She didn’t know how she came to it. She said, “Well, I just saw it.”

Dr. Evans: Now some of the orthodox psychoanalysts might have said, “This is a phallic symbol.”

Dr. Jung: But you can say anything, you know. One can say that a church spire is a phallic symbol, but what is it when you dream of a penis? You know what a man has said, one of the orthodox men, one of the old guard? His explanation of that question was that in this case the censor had not functioned. You call that a scientific explanation? ~Carl Jung; Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones