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Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group


999 shadow

Practice of Psychotherapy

We may well take this saying as a motto for the first stage in psychotherapeutic treatment.

The beginnings of psychoanalysis are in fact nothing else than the scientific rediscovery of an ancient truth; even the name that was given to the earliest method—catharsis, or cleansing—is a familiar term in the classical rites of initiation.

The early cathartic method consisted in putting the patient, with or without the paraphernalia of hypnosis, in touch with the hinterland of his mind, hence into that state which the yoga systems of the East describe as meditation or contemplation. In contrast to yoga, however, the aim here is to observe the sporadic emergence, whether in the form of images or of feelings, of those dim representations which detach themselves in the darkness from the invisible realm of the unconscious and move as shadows before the inturned gaze. In this way things repressed and forgotten come back again.

This is a gain in itself, though often a painful one, for the inferior and even the worthless belongs to me as my shadow and gives me substance and mass.

How can I be substantial without casting a shadow?

I must have a dark side too if I am to be whole; and by becoming conscious of my shadow I remember once more that I am a human being like any other.

At any rate, if this rediscovery of my own wholeness remains private, it will only restore the earlier condition from which the neurosis, i.e., the split-off complex, sprang.

Privacy prolongs my isolation and the damage is only partially mended.

But through confession I throw myself into the arms of humanity again, freed at last from the burden of moral exile. The goal of the cathartic method is full confession—not merely the intellectual recognition of the facts with the head, but their confirmation by the heart and the actual release of suppressed emotion.  ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 134