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Carl Jung: Foreword to Adler:  “Studies to Analytical Psychology”

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Symbolic Life

Carl Jung: Foreword to Adler:  “Studies to Analytical Psychology”

it gave me particular pleasure to hear that Dr. Gerhard Adler’s admirable book Studies in Analytical Psychology is now to appear in German.

The author is a skilled psychotherapist and therefore in a position to handle his theme on the basis of practical experience.

This advantage can hardly be overrated, for therapeutic work means not only the daily application of psychological views and methods to living people and to sick people in particular, but also a daily criticism which success or failure brings to bear upon the therapy and its underlying assumptions.

We may therefore expect from the author a well-pondered judgment amply backed by experience.

In this expectation we are not disappointed.

Everywhere in these essays we come across nicely balanced opinions and never upon prejudices, bigotries, or forced interpretations.

With a happy choice the author has picked out a number of problems which must inevitably engage the attention of every thinking psychotherapist.

First and foremost he has been concerned-very understandably—to stress the peculiarity of analytical psychology as compared with the materialistic and rationalistic tendencies of the Freudian school—an undertaking which, in view of the latter’s delight in sectarian seclusion, has still lost nothing of its topicality.


This is by no means a matter of specialist or merely captious differences that would not interest a wider public; it is more a matter of principle.


A psychology that wants to be scientific can no longer afford to base itself on so-called philosophical premises such as materialism or rationalism.


If it is not to overstep its competence irresponsibly, it can only proceed phenomenologically and abandon preconceived opinions.


But the opinion that we can pass transcendental judgments, even when faced with highly complicated material like that presented by psychological experience, is so ingrown that philosophical statements are still imputed to analytical psychology, although this is completely to misunderstand its

phenomenological standpoint.


A major interest of psychotherapy is, for practical reasons, the psychology of dreams, a field where theoretical assumptions have not only suffered the greatest defeats but are applied at their most odious.


The dream analysis in the third essay is exemplary.


It is much to be welcomed that the author pays due attention to the important role of the ego.


He thus counters the common prejudice that analytical psychology is only interested in the unconscious, and at the same time he gives instructive examples of the relations between the unconscious and the ego in general.


The controversial question of whether, and if so how, the raising to consciousness of unconscious contents is therapeutically effective meets with adequate treatment.


Although their conscious realization is a curative factor of prime importance, it is by no means the only one.


Besides the initial “confession” and the emotional “abreaction” we have also to consider transference and symbolization.


The present volume gives excellent illustrations of the latter two from case histories.


It’s much to the credit of the author that he has also turned to the religious aspect of psychic phenomena.


This question is not only delicate—it is particularly apt to irritate philosophical susceptibilities.


But, provided that people are able to read and to give up their prepossessions, I truly have no idea how anybody could feel himself affronted by the author’s remarks—provided, again, that the reader is able to understand the phenomenological viewpoint of science.


Unhappily this understanding, as I often had occasion to know, does not appear to be particularly widespread—least of all, it would seem, in professional medical circles.


The theory of knowledge does not of course figure in the medical curriculum, but is indispensable to the study of psychology.


Not only on account of the lucidity of its exposition, but also because of its wealth of illustrative case histories, this book fills a gap in psychological literature.


It gives both the professional and the psychologically minded layman a welcome set of bearings in territory which—at any rate to begin with—most people find rather hard of access.


But the examples drawn direct from life offer an equally direct approach, and this is an aid to understanding.


I would therefore like to recommend this book most cordially to the reading public. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 523-524