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Marvin Spiegelman: Analytical Psychology in Los Angeles

1 Marvin

Contact with Jung: Essays on the influence of his work and personality

A study of the genius loci of Los Angeles has yet to be written.

When it is, there will have to be included an explanation of the remarkable fact that the city, now one of the largest in the world, is still made up ( as it was among the original Indians who inhabited this paradisiacal desert) of a series of interlocking communities with no real center. Host to a large variety of prehistoric fauna for aeons, settled by the most primitive Indians to be found in America, this area received civilization relatively late.

The city itself, though founded nearly two hundred years ago, outgrew its original pueblo character only within the last hundred years.

Even now, in spite of a huge population, a ‘native son’ is a relative rarity.

One might not have expected that such a place would be receptive to depth psychology in general, and analytical psychology in particular, which is usually thought of as taking root in just those places where culture is old and the requisite leisure for introspection is accepted.

But such is the case.

The telephone directory of the city of Beverly Hills, for example-one of the independent communities in the large complex-alone lists over 350 psychiatrists and psychologists in private practice.

The explanation is perhaps to be found in the fact of the diversity of elements which go to make up the population.

The city lies as an outpost of European civilization and faces the Orient.

It has been very much enriched in both psycho-analysis and analytical psychology by becoming the home of a considerable number of analysts who were victims of Nazi persecution.

One must not forget, of course, the influence of Hollywood and the elevation of fantasy into a world-wide business, and the notorious presence in this area of every conceivable sect, religious and otherwise.

Both the glamour of Hollywood and the peculiar notoriety of the sects have been tending toward decline of late-as the city becomes more respectable-but the number of individuals involved in depth psychology shows little sign of reduction-indeed, seems to be increasing.

Along with all this, Los Angeles does not enjoy a good reputation among artists and intellectuals.

There is a persistent idea that artists somehow ‘sell out’ their integrity here for more material gain, and that neither creative people nor performers do their best work in such a setting, whose qualities smack of Babylon.

This carries over among analysts, most of whom feel that they are doing pioneer work in a spiritual desert, and are content to find a more or less satisfactory niche in the arid and unnourishing surroundings.

There is a story told of Jung that, when he visited America, he was asked why he did not come to Los Angeles.

He is said to have responded to the effect that ‘I don’t need to go there, since so many of my patients come from there’.

Whether it is true or not hardly matters, since it is the implied attitude that counts in our connection.

The city is named after the Madonna (‘The Town of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels’), but her reputation is rather more ambiguous than that would suggest, and one would think that Ishtar had a role in it, too.

In line with this nature, the beginnings of analytical psychology in Los Angeles are also somewhat hazy.

Though the first qualified analysts arrived in 1940, a Jungian-oriented analyst was practisingin Los Angeles as early as 1918.

Mrs. Mary Wilshire (after whose husband one of the main streets in Los Angeles was named) was the therapist in question.

She was invited to speak to the second meeting of the Analytical Psychology Club in 1944 and appeared, according to someone present, as a lady in her Sos, looking something like an Indian in her dress.

She had undergone analysis withboth Freud and Jung in the years of amity and was actually present at the time of the break, having seen Freud pace up and down the room and say, ‘It is nothing but the Father.’ She worked again with Jung in 1917 and settled in Los Angeles in independent practice in 1918.

She said that she was neither Freudian nor Jungian, but much appreciated and accepted Jung’s viewpoint.

She seems to have gone her own way, and what her influence might have been on the development of analytical psychology in Los Angeles is unknown.

Analytical psychology proper may be said to have begun in Los Angeles with the arrival of James and Hilde Kirsch.

These well-known analysts had worked in Germany, Switzerland, Israel, England, and New York, and settled in Los Angeles in the fall of 1940.

Pioneers of analytical psychology in this area, they served as nucleus and inspiration for the group which slowly formed around them.

They were joined and aided in their work in the spring of 1941 by Max and Lore Zeller, who had also gone an exodus route of Germany, England, New York, to Los Angeles.

In the spring of 1944 there were a sufficient number of people intimately connected with analytical psychology to form the Analytical Psychology Club.

As is customary wherever Jungian psychology takes root, a club was formed first, out of which, only later, there emerged the professional organization.

On 21 May 1944 the Club was inaugurated, with founding members (professionals) including James and Hilde Kirsch, Max Zeller, Sherry Peticolas, and Fritz Kunkel. Peticolas served only briefly as an analyst, but played a significant role in the Club.

Kunkel, who already had a reputation in his own right as originator of ‘We’ psychology, remained fairly briefly with the group, but found that, for him, individuation needed to be supplemented by more emphasis on group _activity.

He resigned, though he maintained a friendly attitude towards the group and, indeed, helped to keep it alive by his referrals.

The Charter (non-professional) members included Gwynne Peticolas, Lore Zeller, Mary Crile, Nettie Ziff, Renee Nell, Muriel Main.

Only Mrs. Zeller remains as an active member of this original group.

In the following years, the Club enjoyed a slow and harmonious development until about 1950, when some changes Lore Zeller, though never succumbing to the temptation to become an analyst, has played a very significant role in the development of analytical psychology in this area.

A Charter member of the Club, she has served in various of its offices, is the only active member of the original non-professional group, and is noted as the reliable, efficient member of it.

I am very glad to acknowledge that it is from her and Dr. Zeller’s secretarial records that I drew the information necessary to prepare this article began to take place.

A professional group was formed within the Club, which subsequently led to the formation of the Society of Analytical Psychology in 1953.

The problems and difficulties of this separation were very similar to those described by Michael Fordham in his interesting paper on the formation of the London Society in 1944 (see ‘A Suggested Centre for Analytical Psychology’ in The Objective Psyche, 1958).

The London pattern was followed in Los Angeles, in making a total separation of the two groups, but the fact that all the Society members are active in the Club has been helpful in avoiding the danger that Fordham voiced:

‘The danger of forming exclusively professional groups is that too much stress gets laid on analytical techniques, and the wider scientific impetus which gave birth to analytical psychology becomes lost’ (op. cit., p. 180).

On II January 1953 the Society was founded with eight members: Jay Drum, Malcolm Dana, Kieffer Frantz, James andHilde Kirsch, Kate Marcus, Margaret McClean, and Max Zeller.

Parallel with the founding of the Society was the inauguration of a clinic.

The C. G. Jung Clinic of Los Angeles offered analysis to appropriate analysands at considerably reduced fees.

Each analyst undertook one or two such cases, waiving his own fees, and the analysts-in-training drew their control cases from the same source.

The usual clinic activities were undertaken, including social service, psychological and psychiatric work-ups on all new patients, monthly clinic meetings, etc. Kieff er Frantz, as original director of the Clinic, and the late Verda Lerrigo and Virginia MacGregor, as social workers, contributed especially in this development.

The Clinic continues as a viable and useful institution, now under the directorship of Jay DUlill.

Concomitant with the preceding developments have been two other trends.

Since 1952 the Los Angeles Society has been meeting annually with the San Francisco Society in convention, where papers are presented and problems discussed.

Although the groups began the relationship with mutual suspicion, amity has grownover the years to the point where analytic candidates are regularly examined by both Societies, and there has even been some discussion of building a ‘tent’ organization to encompass both.

The other development was the inauguration of the Club’s Educational Fund in 1951, for the express purpose of inviting speakers from abroad to give seminars in Los Angeles.

In the earlier years, guests included Margaret Ostrowski, Barbara Hannah, Marie-Louise von Franz, C. A. Meier, Jolande Jacobi, and Michael Fordham.

Later expansion has included other speakers from the United States and abroad, and the project has been a significant stimulus to the vitality of local analytical psychology.

Since 1953, the Club has grown to fifty members, and the Society to sixteen.

The nine additions to the Society are: William Alex, Alice Jacobsen, Bruno Klopfer, Rivkah Schaerf-Kluger, Harold Kluger, Marvin Spiegelman, Robert Stein, Harold Stone, and Edward Tenney.

Especially noteworthy in these additions are the contributions of Bruno Klopfer, in establishing a connection with academic psychological circles (i.e. in attracting clinical psychologists to the Jungian viewpoint, and establishing a biannual Workshop in Analytical Psychology for psychiatrists and psychologists), and Rivkah Schaerf-Kluger, who has brought the special competence of a Zurich training-analyst to our local work.

The increase in Society membership is due to additions of people trained partly in Los Angeles and partly elsewhere.

Although the training program has been in operation for several years, 1961 saw the addition to the Society of the first wholly Los Angeles-trained analyst, in the person of Harold Stone.

Several others are expected to join him within a year or two, and it is now hoped that the training program will be more active in the future.

The foregoing facts, however necessary in any description of an historical development, contribute little to the picture of the spirit of analytical psychology in Los Angeles.

This, naturally, is more difficult to characterize, but perhaps a clue to it is given by the statement that Los Angeles has always been Zurich-oriented.

Almost every analyst has spent at least a semester in Zurich, undergoing analysis and study, with many residing there a good deal longer than that.

There are four local graduates of the C. G. Jung Institute (Alex, H. !Guger, Spiegelman, and Stein)-a remarkably large number, considering the total number of graduates of the Institute to be only twenty-eight.

Dr. Alex, as current president of the Los Angeles Society, is the first graduate to be elected to such an office.

When we add to this that many Club members also make journeys to Zurich for study and analysis, and that an early interest in bringing Zurich analysts to Los Angeles for lectures continues unabated, we can see this spirit clearly.

Whether the cause of this lies in the aforementioned spiritual aridity of Los Angeles, or in the fact that so many of the members have been Continental, and specifically German-Jewish, in origin, is not clear.

I can only add my own experience in this regard.

As one of those rare ‘native sons’ mentioned earlier, I can recall beginning my own analytical work in 1950 (first with Dr. Zeller, and later with Dr. McClean), and attending seminars, which indeed provided a gentle rain which was soaked up by my dry academic mind and parched soul.

In those days, there was frequent mock seriousness about ‘going to Zurich’, as if it were Mecca, but it was clearly the thing to do.

Some years later, when I went myself for an extended stay, I must say that analysis, study, and the connection with Jung and his work were all that was promised, and more.

Such personal and collective bonds, as Jung has taught us, are quite double-edged, so it may come as no surprise that the death of Jung finds the Los Angeles Society in a rather fluid state.

The outcome of the internal changes which it is at present undergoing is, of course, unknown, but I am quite certain that I speak for our entire group when I say that, in the individual search for the spiritual sustenance to quench parched souls, Jung ‘was not disappomting. ~J. Marvin Spiegelman, Contact With Jung, Pages 151-156