Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group

Phanes Volume 2 -2019

Toni Wolff’s name does not appear in Memories, although Jung stressed the vital importance of her help during his crisis years, as evidenced in the ‘Protocols of Aniela Jaffé’s interviews with Jung for Memories, Dreams, Reflections’.

This ‘omission’ is by no means insignificant. As Jung told Aniela Jaffé in these interviews, and as notably Barbara Hannah, Tina Keller and Liliane Frey explained, without Toni Wolff’s help, Jung would undoubtedly not have been able to throw himself in the experience he began in 1913, or maybe he would not have come out unscathed (Healy 2017:127 and Swan 2006:503).

For many, Toni Wolff, with her extraordinary intuition (which was one of her main gifts as an analyst), was able to accompany her patients in the world of the unconscious like no other, and thus for Jung she played the role of the Anima, of the Soror Mystica, so that some scholars consider her, in some sense, to have been Jung’s analyst during this time (see Swan 2006:503, 506; Hannah 1976:118; Wehr 1985:171; for references regarding this discussion, see Healy 2017:349, n.78).

And indeed, Jung explains in the Protocols that with the beginning of the relationship with Toni Wolff, he entered the great chaos of the unconscious.

He also states there, contrarily as earlier certified by Barbara Hannah and Tina Keller, who reckoned that Wolff never had the ability to practice the method of active imagination and had ‘difficulty to let her own images emerge’ (Swan 2006:506; Hannah 1976:118f.), that Wolff entered a similar stream of images, which he thought he himself unintentionally triggered, and that both their interior experiences were in such a ‘participation mystique’, that it was a common stream and a common task.

One understands thus the importance of the relationship and the level of intimacy he had with his former patient. Jung declared in this same interview that nobody could help him, and that he could speak of this experience with nobody else (not even with his wife, Emma) but Wolff, who also found herself completely disoriented in the same chaos as him.

Toni Wolff seems however to have also been a further help in this crisis. Jung explained the importance of the rational interpretation within the symbolic experience, which enables one to emerge from the chaos of images and not to allow oneself to be possessed by this chaos (Jung 1962b:192, 1929:§64).

In this process of understanding, the young woman’s help and skills were precious: she understood the depth of what he was going through and was ‘recognizing and identifying elements in his visions that C.G. himself may have not seen’ (Healy 2017:124).

According to Jaffé, she helped him with the ‘intellectual penetration of the world of psychic images’ (Jaffé 1971:174; Healy 2017:124).

Another valuable testimony concerning Jung’s therapeutic practice during this time of crisis comes from Tina Keller who was his patient between 1915 and 1924 (Swan 2006:493).

She reported that her analysis began during Jung’s confrontation with the unconscious––the year Jung began the drawings of Liber Novus––and therefore the book was often placed on an easel during the sessions, within sight of the patients (Swan 2006:501) and it helped him to explain his introspective method to his patients (Swan 2006:497).

While the therapeutic work Tina Keller did with Toni Wolff (who served as her analyst between 1924 and 1928) was based upon the confrontation with the unconscious, the work she did with Jung prior to this aimed at reinforcing the ego (Swan 2006:498, 506) to ‘withstand the impact of unconscious images’, a psychological condition required for the exploration of the unconscious, of which Jung was aware at least from 1915. ~ Quentin Schaller, Jung’s Alleged  Madness: From Mythopoeia to Mythogisation, Page 20-21