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

Jung’s influence on the American psychiatric scene is diffuse and obscure-but not inconsiderable.

And for the most part it is unacknowledged.

Neo-Freudian schools have extensively developed two of Jung’s early concerns.

I refer to the ego-psychologists and the Sullivan school of interpersonal processes.

It has become usual for Jungians to focus on the collective unconscious-on the second half of life.

This is important in a country that identifies with youth, like America. But the collective demand has been for clarification of the problems of the first half of life.

Traditionally, the Freudians have assessed man in terms of the first five years of life.

Also, Freud tended to pass over the ego, except in terms of its defensive function.

So it is an advance that they are now concerned with its affirmative aspects.

The outstanding contributor in this increasingly prominent field is Erik Erikson, who is essentially oriented to health and growth in a way that is by no means incompatible with early Jung.

Sullivan based his approach on a concept of participant observation.

His work was greatly furthered by Frieda Fromm Reichmann, who knew how and when to express feeling for her patients. She was also notable for her quiet pride in being a woman and in being Jewish.

These qualities are more frequently found in Jungian than Freudian circles, though she always thought of herself as a psycho-analyst.

But the keystone of this school-the notion of participant-observation-was presaged by Jung before Sullivan appeared.

I am referring to Jung’s statement that the analyst Jung’s Influence on the American Scene found himself in a strange position-that he was at the same time the subject and the object of the therapeutic transaction.

Fromm Reichmam and I agreed that these formulations were equivalent.

Two groups of psychologists have been using Jung’s types as adjuncts in recent projects.

One of these has been a study on creativity by the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California.

The other group is the Educational Testing Service in Princeton.

They are investigating several colleges to find out the qualities each place thinks desirable, as compared with the qualities actually found, in the students.

The number of Jungian analysts in America is very small probably in the ratio of about I to 25, as compared with the Freudians.

There are three modest training centers located in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The latter group has about twenty members, fourteen of whom are M.D.s, five are Ph.D.s in clinical psychology, and one is an accredited lay analyst.

There are ten to twelve candidates in training.

The San Francisco group is active in medical and psychological circles, so that some of us have had a good deal of friendly and rewarding interaction with the Freudians and psychologists of other schools. Each year one or two psychiatric residents come into our program.

I have lectured on Jung at many of the psychoanalytic training centers across the country.

There has usually been a warm reception and lively discussion, and evidence of aroused curiosity.

Though we are a very small voice in the medical and psychological worlds, most of us have more patient applications than we can handle.

So there seem to be many people who need what we have to offer.

Also, they are attracted to our lack of authoritarianism and our willingness to relate to them humanly attitudes that were so characteristic of Jung.

Jung had a horror of over-organization.

He was well aware that rigidity in institutions is a constant danger and that a man who is identified with an orthodoxy is inaccessible.

One cannot communicate with an institution.

He once told me that he supposed an organization was necessary, but that he thought it should be as disorganized as possible.

I think we have followed the spirit, if not the letter, of this attitude.

It will probably keep our groups small, but most of us welcome this.

And, because of it, paradoxically, I think we shall be more effective. ~Joseph Wheelwright, Contact with Jung, Pages 210-211