Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group

Symbolic Life

Having read his book with lively interest and undivided agreement, I am all the more ready to comply with the author’s request that I say a few words by way of introduction.

He has successfully undertaken to treat a case from the field of psychosomatic medicine psychologically, in collaboration with an internal specialist, and to describe the whole course of the treatment up to the cure in all its details.

The clinical description of the case is impeccable and thorough, and it seems to me that its psychological elucidation and interpretation is equally satisfactory.

Nowhere does the author betray any theoretical bias; all his conclusions are amply documented with noteworthy care and circumspection.

The clinical history concerns one of those frequent cases of cardiac disorder, a disease that is associated with the lesion of feeling so characteristic of our time.

The author deserves particular”” credit” for fearlessly pointing out the deeper reasons for a neurosis and for setting it in a broader context.

A neurosis is an expression of the “affections” of the whole man, and it is impossible to treat the whole man solely within the framework of a medical specialism.

Psychogenic causes have to do with the psyche, and this, by its very nature, not only extends beyond the medical horizon but also, as the matrix of all psychic events, transcends the bounds of scientific understanding.

Certainly the aetiological details have to be worked out within the limits of a specialist method, but the psychology and therapy of the neurosis demand an Archimedean point outside, without which they merely turn in a circle.

Indeed, medicine itself is a science that has been able to make such great progress only because it borrowed lavishly from the other sciences.

It necessarily had to draw physics, chemistry, and biology into its orbit, and if this was true of somatic medicine, then the psychology of the neuroses will not be able to get along without borrowing from the humanities.

Of decisive importance for the aetiology and therapy of the neuroses is the individual’s own attitude.

If this is subjected to careful analysis, one finds that it rests on personal and collective premises which can be pathogenic as well as curative in their effects.

Just as modern medicine is no longer content to establish that a patient has infected himself with typhoid fever, but must also worry about the water supply responsible for the infection, so the psychology of the neuroses cannot possibly be content with an aetiology that makes do with traumata and infantile fantasies.

We have known for a long time that children’s neuroses depend on the psychic situation of the parents.

We also know to our cost how much these “psychic situations” are due not merely to personal defects but to collective psychic conditions.

That would be reason enough for the specialist to take heed of these general conditions—one cannot combat an epidemic of typhoid even with the most careful diagnosis and treatment of individual cases.

The older medicine had to be satisfied with handing out any philtre provided only that it helped.

Thanks to the auxiliary sciences, modern medicine is in a position to find out the true nature of its nostrums.

But what cures a neurosis? In order to find the real answer to this question, the psychology of the neuroses must go far beyond its purely medical confines.

There are a few doctors who already have inklings of this. In this respect, too, the author has dared to fling open one or two windows. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 357-358