The Practice of Psychotherapy CW 16
The needs and necessities of mankind are manifold.
What sets one man free is another man’s prison.
So also with normality and adaptation.
Even if it be a biological axiom that man is a herd animal who only finds optimum health in living as a social being, the very next case may quite possibly invert this axiom and show us that he is completely healthy only when leading an abnormal and unsocial life.
It is enough to drive one to despair that in practical psychology there are no universally valid recipes and rules.
There are only individual cases with the most heterogeneous needs and demands—so heterogeneous that we can virtually never know in advance what course a given case will take, for which reason it is better for the doctor to abandon all preconceived opinions.
This does not mean that he should throw them overboard, but that in any given case he should use them merely as hypotheses for a possible explanation.
Not, however, in order to instruct or convince his patient, but rather to show how the doctor reacts to that particular individual.
For, twist and turn the matter as we may, the relation between doctor and patient remains a personal one within the impersonal framework of professional treatment.
By no device can the treatment be anything but the product of mutual influence, in which the whole being of the doctor as well as that of his patient plays its part.
In the treatment there is an encounter between two irrational factors, that is to say, between two persons who are not fixed and determinable quantities but who bring with them, besides their more or less clearly defined fields of consciousness, an indefinitely extended sphere of non-consciousness.
Hence the personalities of doctor and patient are often infinitely more important for the outcome of the treatment than what the doctor says and thinks (although what he says and thinks may be a disturbing or a healing factor not to be underestimated).
For two personalities to meet is like mixing two different chemical substances: if there is any combination at all, both are transformed.
In any effective psychological treatment the doctor is bound to influence the patient; but this influence can only take place if the patient has a reciprocal influence on the doctor.
You can exert no influence if you are not susceptible to influence.
It is futile for the doctor to shield himself from the influence of the patient and to surround himself with a smoke-screen of fatherly and professional authority.
By so doing he only denies himself the use of a highly important organ of information.
The patient influences him unconsciously none the less, and brings about changes in the doctor’s unconscious which are well known to many psychotherapists: psychic disturbances or even injuries peculiar to the profession, a striking illustration of the patient’s almost “chemical” action.
One of the best known symptoms of this kind is the counter-transference evoked by the transference.
But the effects are often much more subtle, and their nature can best be conveyed by the old idea of the demon of to a healthy person whose powers then subdue the demon—but not without impairing the well-being of the subduer. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 163