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Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 309326

Working with dissociative dynamics and the
longing for excess in binge eating disorders1
Sue Austin, Sydney, Australia
Abstract: In this paper the author describes her work with a woman who, in her mid 20s,
sought analysis for her non-vomiting binge eating disorder. The paper explores how two
aspects of Jungs view of the psyche as healthily dissociable were used to think about the
potential for change contained within the explosive, aggressive energies in this patients
bingeing. The resultant approach takes the patients splitting defences, dissociations and
self-destructive behaviour as a point of access to her unconscious. Seen in this way, these
behaviours contain the seeds of recovery and are the starting point for analysis rather than
defences against it. The paper also brings a number of Jungian and post-Jungian ideas into
conversation with aspects of contemporary thinking about subjectivity, identity and the
longing for excess developed by Leo Bersani and Judith Butler.
Key words: bulimia, Butler, dissociability, excess, non-vomiting binge eating disorder,
Redfearn, self-destructive behaviour, selfhood

This is the second paper in a series in which I explore how Jungs understanding
of the psyche as healthily dissociable can be used to work with people with
eating disorders. In the rst paper (Austin 2009a) I used this aspect of Jungs
work to think about how the self-hateful, aggressive energies in anorexia
nervosa can be recycled to form the basis of recovery. Similarly, here I am
using the same model to explore the psychological possibilities contained in
binge eating disorder, and in the following paper in this journal, I will discuss
the use of this model in my work with an obese patient.
This paper also builds on a previous publication in which I offered a model of
the self focused on our fantasies, longings and terrors about coming undone and
bringing others undone (Austin 2009b). Drawing on Butlers work (2004, p. 24)

This article was originally published as Sehnsucht nach ExzessArbeiten mit dissoziativen Krften bei
Essstrungen mit Fressanfllen in Analytische Psychologie: Zeitschrift fr Psychotherapie und Psychoanalyse, 2013:44, 171 (Frankfurt/Main: Brandes & Apsel). Reprinted in English by courtesy of the editorial board of Analytische Psychologie and the publisher, Brandes & Apsel, Frankfurt/Main.


2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12009


Sue Austin

I referred to this as an ec-static model of the self. Here the self is understood to
be an emergent phenomenon consisting of an assemblage of the alien pockets of
inner otherness that make up our experience of interiority. This is the dimension
of experience that Stephen Frosh is pointing to when he asks how our ideas of
selfhood based on psychic integrity can be maintained when I have the feeling,
always and everywhere, that something else is speaking within mesomething
over which I have no control (the dening feature of the unconscious), and
the voice of which I cannot even hear properly (Frosh 2002, p. 397). It is also
what Jacqueline Rose is pointing to when she observes that the core of the
psychoanalytic endeavour is the realization that resistance to identity is the
heart of psychic life (Rose 1990, p. 232).
Jungs willingness to take the patients symptoms and defences seriously and to
explore the worlds contained within them on their own terms (Papadopoulos
2006, p. 7) offers a number of powerful clinical tools for applying this ec-static model
of the self. Joseph Refearn illustrates how this can be done when he writes that:
It seems to be a fundamental law of analysis, perhaps of parenting and of human
relationships in general, that the individual (patient, infant etc.) can only yield up his
pertinent bit of unconsciousness when this bit is given (or maybe feels it is given)
enough recognition, value, sympathy (exactly which and what varies of course) by
the analyst, parent etc. This is the essence of the effective countertransference attitude
which has to be worked on by the analyst in connection with unconscious aspects of
himself as well as of his patient.
(Redfearn 1985, p. 111)

Underpinning this Jungian / post-Jungian approach is an assumption that the

patients symptoms and defences contain unconscious pockets of insight and intelligence that bring with them their own possibilities. Indeed, Redfearn suggests that
some of these unconscious pockets may transcend the I and are subjectively
superior, even vastly superior, to the conscious I (Redfearn 1985, p. 117).
In clinical practice accessing these split-off alivenesses is far from simple
because, as Bion realized, the ego experiences all thought (i.e., all truly original,
creative thought) as catastrophic (Souter 2009, p. 805). Consequently, while the
exploration of the split-off worlds contained within the patients symptoms and
defences can reveal previously unconscious creative possibilities which are much
needed for mental and emotional health, the ego is likely to experience the process
of opening up to these realms (which include our core resistance to identity) as
catastrophic. If so, analysis is about becoming more accustomed to the fact that
change at depth is profoundly challenging to the conscious sense of I and is often
associated with feelings of going mad or coming apart irreparably.2
But how does one come to accept ones own destruction in the service
of glimpsing that which lives one? And why would one bother? I suggest that
My reason for not using Fordhams distinction between de- and dis-integration here is that, like
Redfearn, I do not nd it experiencenear (Redfearn 1985, p. xiv).

Working with dissociative dynamics


Jungs view of the psyche is that our need to pursue these processes often takes
the form of our neurotic and psychotic fragmentations and crazings which, in
turn, drive us to try to see something of who we are and how we relate to the
world around us.
Consequently I sometimes imagine the analytic space as offering the patient a
container within which they can try to come to terms with the shock of realizing
that, if they are to know something of their own mind, aliveness and relationships, that insight will come through the exploration of their symptoms and
the madnesses around which they are arranged at depth. From this perspective
the analyst needs to reect constantly on the emerging indications of how much
of this process of coming undone the patient might be able to come to bear, and
what costs it might carry for them. These costs may take many forms, such as
the loss of the fantasy of who they thought they were, or were going to be, or
it may mean letting go of important relationships and waiting to see whether
those relationships can survive and re-generate.

Excess and the longing to come undone and/or bring others undone
Clearly a crucial aspect of this work is the need to support and develop
cohesiveness and exibility in the patients internal psychic structures, along
with the patients capacity to be open to, and able to draw on relationships
within themselves and with others. I imagine these processes as supporting the
centripetal dynamics in the patients psyche: i.e., processes which contain and
draw together the patients experiences of interiority. These dynamics and the
needs which underlie them are the focus of object relations.
Here, however, I am interested in the centrifugal needs of the psyche: in other
words, our need to come undone or come apart. Philosopher and queer theorist
Judith Butler speaks of these unravelling needs when she writes: Lets face it.
Were undone by each other. And if were not, were missing something (Butler
2004, p. 23).
Butlers comment resonates with Leo Bersanis understanding of excess as
that which shatters psychic structures and is actively sought in order to enable
new ones to evolve. Ruth Stein summarizes Bersanis view thus:
for psychic structure to evolve it would need not only more evolved structures but a
positive striving towards an excessive other who is mystifying, whose effect can be
overwhelming, even potentially shattering. The attraction to an excessive other, the
need to make sense of his/her imposition, practically amounts to the formation of
subjecthood. On this view sexual excitement may offer an opportunity for undoing
existing ego structures in anticipation of more advanced, more integrated ones.
(Stein 2008, p. 53; italics added)

I suggest that Bersanis (Freudian) equation of this longed-for experience of the

mystifying, potentially shattering, excessive other with sexuality can be given a


Sue Austin

broader reading as a longing which arises from unconscious, intergenerational,

unsettling and fascinating questions and fantasies about how pieces of peoples
minds, lives and bodies do (and do not) get into each other and what may
follow from such interpenetrations (Austin 2009b, p. 588).
This reading maintains Bersanis point that we need overwhelming, potentially
shattering experiences of the excessive other in order to undo our existing
ego structures, thus making psychological growth possible. It also maintains
Bersanis observation that we actively (though usually unconsciously) seek out
such experiences.3
My suggested re-framing of Bersanis position is, however, intended to make
space for the way in which our longing for the excessive outer other is inextricably
entwined with our longing for the excessive inner other. Thus, from a clinicians
point of view I would re-word Butlers comment as Lets face it. Were undone
by our inner and outer others. And if were not, were missing something. To
me, a central element of psychoanalysis is its recognition that there is a constant
slippage between these inner and outer others (each is always experienced through
the lens of the other and it is not possible to resolve this in favour of some objective
reality). Finding ways of slowing things down enough in sessions to try to catch
glimpses of these slippages is an important aspect of how I work clinically.
A clinical vignette: Jenny
About a year into analysis Jenny described her swings between periods of food
restriction and non-vomiting bingeing as follows:
Its as if I live in a glass room. While things are good with food, in other words, while I
only eat fruit and yogurt, and not very much of those either, the glass walls hold, and I
am safe. It may last hours, or days. It feels clean, ordered, sane. I am clean inside,
acceptable. I can look people in the eye. I am not crippled with disgust at myself and
what I do [with food]. Then, with no warning, I see a hair-line crack appear in one
of the walls. Frantically, I try to tape it back together, hoping that I will be able to
somehow make it unhappen. But I know I cant stop what happens next. Its only a
matter of time before it all falls apart and I am eating whole loaves of bread, and all
the food my at mate has left in the fridge. I am awash with food madness. It is
chaotic. And I have no idea if it will ever stop again. So far it always has, but I have
no way of telling how or when it will happen. Maybe I will walk out of my front door
and the sky will be just the right colour, and the wind touch me in some way. Maybe I
will be on a bus and see an advert which somehow clicks me back. Maybe I will wake
up one morning and the glass room is back. Until next time.
(Austin 2005, pp. 19495)4

I sometimes think of this as a kind of sex, drugs, rocknroll and extreme meditation impulse: a
longing for epiphany which all too often ends up expressing itself as a search for anaesthetic relief
from the longing itself.
In a previous exploration of my work with Jenny I focused on the aggressive energies in her
eating disorder (Austin 2005, pp.194-97). Here my interest is in thinking in more detail about the
centrifugal energies and longings contained within her bingeing.

Working with dissociative dynamics


Initial reections
My sense of Jenny was that she desperately wanted to create a safe, clean zone,
where all desire was held in check by her glassy, fragile will, and where she felt
she had a right to be a member of the human race. The only other place she
could live from was somewhere where her will-power had failed, shattering
her liveable sense of herself. That, in turn, dumped her into a tormenting state
of chaos, desperation, shame and self-hatred. In sessions Jenny was often
extremely distressed: she cried or sobbed and was desperate to stop bingeing.
I frequently experienced a near-paralysing level of tension in the room and
was often unable to feel or think very much at all. Arising as it did in the midst
of this, Jennys glass room image felt like an important breakthrough to a more
reective space and a different level of communication.
Thinking about clinical priorities
A number of responses to Jennys image were possible, one of which would have
been to read her glass room image as an expression of her need for a robust and
enduring analytic container within which she could rework her early patterns of
object relations. The focus of such a response would be what might be described
as Jennys need to encounter the centripetal (inner and / or outer) other5in other
words, her need for an other who could gather together her fragmented experience
of herself. This centripetally-focused reading of Jennys image speaks to my sense
of her need for a well-held analytic frame and an analytically-minded other who
could hold her in mind, and, in particular, her interiority and any unconscious
communications which might emerge from it. Jenny also needed a centripetal
other / frame who could survive and contain whatever explosive or chaotic
dynamics and situations might arise from this engagement with her inner life.
However, I also sensed that Jenny needed an analytic other who saw the
importance of her longing for experiences of the excessive, centrifugal
(inner and / or outer) other. These are the experiences that Butler and Bersani
are pointing to, and in what follows I will discuss:
a) how Jungs French Dissociationist-based understanding of the psyche as
healthily dissociable formed the foundation of how I responded to the
centrifugal dynamics and longings in Jennys glass room image and
subsequent images, and also,
b) how Jungs use of the Dissociationist model of the psyche to understand
the psychodynamics that underlay the supposed mediumistic talents of
his 15 year old cousin (Hlne Preiswerk) shaped my thinking about
a subsequent image of Jennys.

This draws on Susan Rowlands reading of Jungs work which takes up Bakhtins distinction
between centripetal and centrifugal dynamics in texts (Rowland 2005, p. 100101).


Sue Austin

Like Renos Papadopoulos, I see these elements of Jungs work as central to his
epistemological development and to his clinical methodology (Papadopoulos
2006, pp. 753).

Jung and the French dissociationists

Freud was aware of the dissociative split in libido (in other words, its tendency
to fragment into seemingly disconnected parts), but saw it as pathological and
pathogenic. In contrast to this, Jung saw the dissociability of the psyche as
normal and as a natural prerequisite for the movement of psychic energy
(Hartman 1994). An important factor in this difference of opinions was, as
Haule points out, Freuds choice to stay away from the ideas of the dissociationist movement of the late nineteenth century (with its links to spiritualism)
because he wanted psychoanalysis to be regarded as a science with its own
independent credibility (Haule 1992, p. 247).
One of the elements of the dissociationist view which strongly inuenced
Jung was the observation that
every aggregation of ideas and images [in the psyche] possessed, in some measure or
other, its own personality. The guiding image for this was the phenomenon of
multiple personality, for which there was already a hundred-year-old therapeutic
tradition, going back to Mesmer, Puysgur, Despine, Azaam [and others].
(Haule 1992, pp. 23940; original italics)

Jungs use of the dissociationist tradition gives rise to his theory of complexes, a
word whose use originates with Eugene Bleuler (Meir 1992, p. 202) and refers
to clusters of ego-dystonic impressions which form centres of not-I-ness or
inner otherness in the psyche.
The evidence for the existence of complexes comes from Jungs work on the
word association test, which he was experimenting with between 1901 and
1904 at the Burghlzli Psychiatric Hospital in Zurich (Bair 2003, p. 66). Earlier
scientists such as Kraeplin, Sommer and Ziehen had expected these kinds of tests
to show up differences in intelligence, but Jung realized that they showed up
differences in emotional terrain as the subjects consciousness was moved around
their eld of interiority by the impact of stimulus words (Leys 1992, p. 151).
What Jung found was that words whose associations took the subject
into unconscious, emotionally charged internal spaces generated delays
(whose duration correlated to the intensity of the affect encountered), nonresponses, perseverations, rhymes, self-references and so on. He argued that
these interference phenomena occurred when the subject encountered within
themselves a feeling-toned complex, and the key idea here is that of
variations in the tone or affective charge between different regions of the
psychic landscape.

Working with dissociative dynamics


Based on this research and on the dissociationist thinkers he drew on, Jung came
to see the psyche as inherently and healthily dissociable. Again, this view contrasted
sharply with Freuds model (see Shamdasani 1998 for a full discussion of this difference and its history). Andrew Samuels describes the clinical implications of
Jungs view when he says that Jung offered a way of working with the psyche
which personies its internal elements and dynamics (Samuels 1989, p. 2) and
Gary Hartman summarizes Jungs way of achieving this personication thus:
First, he tried to recognize and attend to the aspects of the patients personality which
were Not-I and,
Second, he allowed the time necessary for the characteristics and personality of the
Not-I to emerge.
(Hartman 1994)

Some contemporary views of psychological dissociability

Relational analyst Philip Bromberg comments that Freud was, for the most
part, openly contemptuous about the possible usefulness of theorizing about
dissociation, hypnoid phenomena, or states of consciousness . . . leaving the
future of its analytic viability mainly in the hands of Ferenczi . . .. He goes on
to point out that subsequent contributions were made by Balint, Fairbairn,
Laing, Searles, Sullivan and Winnicott, all of whom placed the phenomenon
of multiplicity of self at the centre of their thinking (Bromberg 1996, p. 513).
Other recent work in the eld includes that of Elizabeth Howell who,
working from a strongly object-relations / attachment theory base, suggests that
the dissociative psyche is relationally structured (Howell 2005, p. 2). By this she
means that [d]issociation is one way that the psyche modies its own structure
to accommodate interaction with a frightening but needed, and usually loved,
attachment gure (ibid., p. 3).
While this is an important perspective, it does not offer the clinical possibility
of drawing on the pockets or shards of intelligence and experience which are
distributed throughout the psyche that is understood to be healthily dissociable.
Redfearn makes this point while discussing the operation and experience of
dissociated sub-personalities which the ego may experience as threats to be
defended against. He writes:
The psychoanalysts have enumerated the various ways in which the I defends against
these shadow aspects of the Self, but they do not emphasize the positive aspects of
what is trying to come through.
(Redfearn 1985, p. 90)

The contemporary view which most closely resembles what Redfearn is pointing to here is that of Bromberg who, like Jung, argues that the healthy psyche is
uidly dissociable. Health, as Bromberg understands it, is the ability to stand
in the spaces between realities without losing any of themthe capacity to feel
like one self while being many (Bromberg 1996, p. 516).


Sue Austin

In what follows however, I will be building on Redfearns post-Jungian

development of the idea of the psyche as healthily dissociable because, based
(as it is) on Jungs work on the word association test, I nd it more visceral
and eshy, and thus particularly well suited to working with people who
somatize their psychological distress, for example, through eating disorders.
Jennys goblin
Drawing on these ideas I had, for some time, been wondering about the kinds of
inner othernesses or Not-I elements of Jennys personality which might be trying
to express themselves through her bingeing. At this early point in our work
together however, Jenny found any attempt to approach her own interiority very
painful indeed. I imagined her predicament as like that of a turtle which, halfway
through crawling up a beach, has had its shell ripped off, leaving all its insides
exposed to any passing predator. Given this degree of vulnerability I saw my task
as that of holding in mind the possibilities for greater psychological differentiation
and growth contained in whatever part of Jenny was smashing up her glassroom
world and which she currently experienced as catastrophic. Again, what would
emerge over time was how much conscious contact and engagement with these
possibilities Jenny might (or might not) come to be able to bear.
Nonetheless, Jennys glass room image depicted a powerful and potentially
important aspect of that which was other inside her and so when, eventually,
her distress at talking about this image eased a little I asked her if she had any
sense of what caused the crack in the wall of her glass room to start. Jenny,
sobbing desperately, described a cruel, mocking, jeering goblin who hated her
and tried to destroy her by smashing her glass room.
Jungs doctoral thesis and the inner Other
From the perspective of Jennys centripetal needs, this goblin might represent her
own dissociated self-hateful, self-destructiveness, or an internalized object which
hated her and was attacking her. Or it might represent her destructive, envious,
hateful feelings towards her mother, and her desire to shatter or break her
mother (and in the transference, me) open. Again however, my focus here is on
the centrifugal dynamics and needs which were expressing themselves through
Jennys eating disorder and a second element of Jungs early researches offers a
means of exploring these aspects of her inner world. This element of Jungs work
was his psychiatry doctoral dissertation in which he examined the supposed
mediumistic talents of his young cousin, Hlne.
Jungs cousin Hlne had a reputation as a medium who could hold sances in
which spirits seemed to speak through her. In his 1902 dissertation Jung built on
the work of one of his mentors, Thodore Flournoy, to argue that Hlnes
apparently mediumistic gifts were the product of the oodlight of her ego being
switched off in her trance state (i.e., she entered a self-induced, hypnotic state).

Working with dissociative dynamics


Without her ego dominating, previously unconscious pockets of Hlnes

personality would emerge seeming to speak through her. These unconscious
pockets included Ivenes, an older woman who was more worldly and sexually
experienced than the young Hlne and whose reports of her sexual liaisons
were highly incongruous when voiced by a young, bourgeois Swiss girl.6
John Haule summarizes Jungs reading of Hlnes behaviour saying that her
mediumistic fantasies played an important function in [her] adolescent development. The
semisomnabulistic gure of Ivenes appeared to be her healthy personality. . ., a kind of
trial project for what she might become in twenty years time. One cannot say that
[Hlne] deludes herself into the higher state, rather that she dreams herself into it. This
recognition of a teleological component in fantasy, while foreign to Freud, had indeed
been recognized by Paulham, Janet and Flournoy.
(Haule 1992, p. 249, quoting from Jungs thesis)

H.F. Ellenberger adds to this with the comment that

Whatever criticisms could be made of Jungs dissertation, one major point is clear. He
implied that [Hlnes] psychic growth was impeded by psychological and social
obstacles and that her mediumistic utterances were a means resorted to by the unconscious
to overcome these obstacles.
(Ellenberger 1992, p. 150)

Applying Jungs reading of his young cousins behaviour to Jennys eating

disorder suggested the following:
Jennys bingeing could be thought of as a manifestation of split off
psychological energies (inner othernesses) which were expressing
themselves as a centre of intelligence (represented by her goblin) which
acted independently of her ego;
these split off energies might contain the seeds of her future possible psychological growth;
social pressures played a signicant factor in the formation of Jennys psychopathology, and that this apparent pathology could also be seen as an unconscious attempt to keep important parts of her psyche alive, even though those
parts of her might currently be unacceptable to her and / or her key others.7
Linking this perspective back to Butler and Bersanis ideas, Jennys goblin could be
seen as an unconscious embodiment of centrifugal energies and longings which
were essential to her longer term wellbeing. However, as indicated by Jungs
cousin Hlnes situation, these inner othernesses will have been split off from

The fascination with multiple personality disorder, mediumship and sances was strong in the
psychological professions at this time (Haule 1992, p. 247) and, as indicated earlier, especially with
the Dissociationists. Hence Freuds comment to Jung that the sexual doctrine was to be a bulwark
against the black tide of occultism (ibid.).
See also Padapolouloss informative discussion of the important role of Jungs interpretation of
Hlnes behaviour in the development of his epistemology and in the development of his clinical
technique (Papadopoulos 2006, see especially pp. 1719).


Sue Austin

consciousness for good reason and the patient is likely to feel enormous anxiety as
they become aware of them since they also represent the potential destruction of
their liveable sense of I.
Images of sitting with unbearable inner Othernesses
As Jenny described the goblins shattering attacks I got a sense of her world
as lurching between an agonizingly anxious glass room conguration and a state
of terrifying, devastated chaos. An image which conveys my experience of sitting
with these dynamics is taken from a description I once heard BBC war correspondent Kate Adie give of covering the war in the former Yugoslavia.
Adie was trying to gain insight into what ordinary life was like in one of the cities
caught in the conict and had arranged to interview a civilian woman in her home.
Adie climbed the stairs of an apartment block and knocked on her interviewees
door. The woman let her in and asked her to take a seat, apologizing for needing
to nish the vacuum cleaning: she would then make them both a cup of tea and they
could start the interview. All this made perfect sense, provided one ignored the fact
that a whole wall of the apartment was missing, having been taken out by a bomb.
In practical terms, the conversation I am having with my patient may well be the
equivalent of (for example) Adie discussing with her interviewee what it is like to
live in a world where essential services like water and power are only available
intermittently and unpredictably. It is whatever conversation is possible in a place
where thinking and feeling about the immediate situation are, at this stage,
intolerably overwhelming.
Such a conversation can be thought of as a response to the patients need for a
centripetal other. Over time, it can offer a container within which the patients
distress and fragmentation may be held well enough for elements of ego strength
and exibility to start to return or develop for the rst time. Reading Adies image
intra-psychically, this approach can, in time, support the patients attempts to draw
closer to her own experiences of having had structures and connections destroyed
upon which she wholeheartedly depended, leaving her nowhere else to go.
Crucially, it can also offer the possibility (which is the focus of this paper) of the
patient being able to approach the parts of herself that need to explode and destroy
structures upon which she depends.8 Jennys glass room and goblin images seemed
to offer long-term possibilities for developing a vocabulary for exploring these
needs, but meanwhile they also gave language to my own sense that this stage
of our work was akin to sieving through the debris of her shattered glass room
more and more slowly and carefully. My sense was that this enabled us to rerun the collapses of Jennys glass room in slow-motion (as it were) until, at times,

This imagery parallels the 9/11 imagery discussed in relation to working with a chronically and
severely anorexic patient in a previous paper (Austin 2009a). My use of images of explosions /
war is deliberate and reects my underlying interest in the question of how energies previously
expressed as self- and other- destructive fantasies and actions can form the basis of a sense of agency,
and the kinds of struggles that eating disordered women in particular have with these energies.

Working with dissociative dynamics


this became a still-by-still exploration. Again, I am drawing here on Hartmans

observation that Jung allowed the time necessary for the characteristics and personality of the patients Not-I to emerge (Hartman 1994).
Slowing down and focusing on the detail of the worlds of the inner Othernesses
In these stills incongruent details began to become visiblefor example, the
way in which (prior to her last binge) Jennys boss had ripped her off by not
paying her at the end of her shift because business had been a bit slow. She
simply assumed that it was her responsibility to accept her bosss behaviour,
rather than negotiate with him about it and question whether she should be
loyal to a man who could afford the luxuries that mattered to him, while not
paying her properly. Jenny was determined not to be petty or disloyal, and
thought her anger at her bosss behaviour mean.
Sometimes the trigger was much more subtle, and only very close examination
of the stills gave us any clues about it. Often it had to do with something
incoherent and deep down inside Jenny starting to scream with rage at what
was happening to her. That scream and rage would terrify her, forcing her to
identify with the dont make a fuss, dont put people out, Im sure s/he didnt
mean it position, as she tried to cauterize her own response. Bingeing was the
one place where Jenny could let rip with the raw, explosively aggressive
energies that could not be experienced within her liveable sense of self.9
From this perspective Jennys goblin was actually a part of her which
(in addition to demanding that she learn how to use her own aggressive
energies in clear ways) insisted that she start to learn about the experiences of
coming undone which, as indicated earlier through Butlers work, are an essential
part of drawing close to inner and outer others. Seen in this light Jennys bingeing
becomes an expression of a healthy inner otherness which refused to lie down
and die inside her glass, good-girl psychological cofn just as Jungs cousin
Hlnes sances expressed a healthy inner otherness that refused to accept the
deadening limits of bourgeois Swiss girlhood / womanhood.10

See also Redfearns The Exploding Self (1992).

This is why Hlnes sexuality had to be split off access to it might have put her in touch with
experiences which would have shattered her ego / sense of self, offering the possibility of her developing her own sense of personhood / selfhood. Such a possibility was unthinkable in the society in
which she lived, hence the massive pressure on her to keep translating her experience of these aspects
of her inner life in the ways they had been translated by previous generations of bourgeois women.
In Laplanches terms (1999) Ivenes can be thought of as Hlnes longing to work with the sharp
goad of an enigmatic signier around which she was organized. Ivenes was a doorway that beckoned, but through which Hlne could not walk if she was to maintain a liveable life.Tragically Jung
failed to disguise Hlne adequately in his thesis and Bair suggests that, as a result of this, rumours
spread that Hlnes entire family were tainted with varying degrees of madness. Bair also comments
that [l]ater generations held Jungs dissertation directly responsible for the fact that many of the
younger Preiswerk daughters in Hellys [Hlnes] generation did not marry (Bair 2003, p. 64). This
included Hlne.


Sue Austin

The problem was that Jennys good-girl cofn was also her psychological
container / skin, hence the need to proceed very slowly, concentrating primarily
on Jennys more overt needs for an experience of a centripetal other so that she
could move beyond (what I imagined) as her shell-less turtle predicament and
eventually start to approach the fascinating, longed for shatterings associated
with her own creativity and expressed by her inner goblin.
The Others who haunt how we are undone and open to becoming unbounded
Butler offers further insight into these longed for and unconsciously sought out
experiences of coming undone when she writes:
we cannot represent ourselves as merely bounded beings, for the primary others who
are past for me not only live on in the ber of the boundary that contains me (one
meaning of incorporation) but they also haunt the way I am, as it were,
periodically undone and open to becoming unbounded.
(Butler 2004, p. 28; italics added)

Thus, in addition to haunting our internal experiences of containment and the

mind / thinking breast of the other, our primary others (our object relations)
are also evident in how we are periodically undone and open to becoming
unbounded. In other words, the ghosts of our primary others are evident in
the terrors, madnesses and pleasures which we experience as we approach these
points of potentially unravelling radical growth and creativity. Likewise our
fantasies, longings and terrors about coming undone and bringing others
undone can offer insights into how our primary others were organized around
their own longings to be brought undone by an excessive inner or outer other
(including us as babies), and their longings to be experienced as that excessive
other in intimate relationships (again, including by us, as babies).
These longings of our primary others can evoke powerful, complex and often
primitive responses including disgust, arousal and deep loyalty and again, these
are matters upon which the analyst can reectit is often too confronting and
overwhelming for the patient to explore such realms directly for quite a long
time into analysis. Nonetheless, the analyst can try to develop a sense of the
kind of affective landscape which the patient enters as they start to come
undone in the service of change and the formation of interiority. Using images
from both Jung and Butler, the clinician can try to get a sense of the (often
multi-generational) feeling-toned complexes which haunt how the patient is
periodically undone and open to becoming unbounded.

Moods, edges, black holes and paying attention to the worlds of the patients inner
As Jung realized, these complexes or haunting inner othernesses often emerge as
background moods or background feeling tones in the patients life, dreams

Working with dissociative dynamics


and interactions in analysis. Jungs response was to recommend that the patient
needs to get his mood to speak to him; his mood must tell him all about
itself. . . (Jung 1953, para. 348).11
Moods which are expressions of the psychological landscapes associated with
our longings to come undone and / or bring others undone are often accompanied by powerful affective tones and can provoke strong somatic reactions in
the patient and / or analyst. Again, just as it was essential that Kate Adie not
refer to the missing wall of her interviewees apartment, it is likely to take a
lot of work before experiences and insights contained within these moods,
dreams and interactions can emerge into the patients consciousness. It is,
however, crucial that, at some unconscious level, the patient knows that the
analyst can see that there is (as it were) a wall missing. It is also crucial that
the patient knows that the analyst will sit with them in the resultant space, even
if it is unstable, and that when the patient can face it, the analyst will do their
best to think with them about this unstable inner world and the parts of
themselves which, as Butlers work indicates, may be repeatedly blowing it up
in the service of growth.
By way of illustration a colleagues patient described the kind of inner
landscape she sometimes found herself in prior to a bulimic binge as follows:
Think about the times when the wind direction is such that it charges everything up
electrostatically. Usually the weather is very dryultra-low humidity, and it is cold,
perhaps frosty. Touching a car or another person gives you a shock. You feel edgy.
Imagine that you are a cat in these climatic conditions and your fur has picked up
the static charge too. Each hair of your fur is repelling each other hair such that your
fur bristles and your skin is crawling with dry static.
It is already unbearable and getting worse (be it quickly or slowly). It is no longer a
question of trying to nd an orderly, sensible way of releasing some of this tension
in order to earth yourself and make yourself more comfortable. It is now a driving,
compulsive matter of survival that means you will do whatever is necessary to
discharge this super-intense state.
You simply must nd a way back to some sort of ground-state. Normal thinking has
stopped, just as it does for anyone in a crisis, and some other part of you is running
your actions. The autopilot mechanism cuts in and you nd yourself hurtling along
train-tracks until the process is over and all the food has been cooked, wolfed down
and vomited up, perhaps repeating the process several times until temporary relief
nally comes.
(Austin 2005, p. 194)12

Again, there are many ways of thinking about this description of a massive
build-up of intolerable energies and their explosion into bingeing and vomiting.
Here, however, I want to consider the possibility that the patients bulimia may have
been serving as a vehicle which (in the absence of having any other psychological

My thanks to Jean Knox for pointing out this comment of Jungs to me.
My thanks to Jill Welbourne and her patient for this image.


Sue Austin

means) allowed her to approach the edges of her own psyche in search of some kind
of breakthrough. This is not to minimize the feelings of loneliness, desperation,
helplessness and futility associated with this kind of bingeingmy aim is simply
not to lose sight of the longing to be brought undone by the experience of an
excessive other which it may also be expressing.
The eerie, edgy tone of this patients description of her pre-binge state also resonates with Hintons discussion of the black hole as a potent signier. He writes:
[The] psychological image [of a black hole] seems to reect an ontologicalor pre-ontologicalcondition that is fundamental to human experience, not merely an aspect of
psychotic or borderline conditions (Barnard 2002). If endured over time and contained
in the analysis, the traumatic impact of such black holes can provoke a basic rearrangement of our personal narratives. This enduring gives us an expanded base, though still
on the edge of the abyss, that can allow such changes to occur. A light grasp on the part
of the analysta kind of non-directive openness, a hovering attention, and a state of
reverieis a necessary condition for the emergence of novel signifying elements
(Hinton 2007, p. 438)

Hintons view of the kind of change offered by nding ways of living at the edges of
these massive, unravelling but highly potent energies resonates with my work with
Jenny and with my reading of my colleagues patients description of her build up to
a binge-purge. I imagine people with these kinds of eating disorders as unconsciously,
intuitively knowing that they need access to the kind of basic re-arrangement of
narratives which Hinton indicates is possible if one can learn to live on the edge
of the abyss / black hole / zone of massive tension / big bang. Returning to Bions
insight that the ego experiences all truly new or creative thought as catastrophic
(Souter 2009, p. 805), the edges of black holes or the pre-binge zone of supercharged, unbearably intense desire are, potentially, places of extraordinary
creativity. Perhaps they are the only places where real creativity is possible.

Grief as a means of coming undone

Again, one of the reasons why these edges of our liveable sense of identity are so
creative and why we are drawn to them is that they are populated by the ghosts
of our primary others which, as Butler puts it, live on in the ber of the boundary
that contains me, . . . [haunting] . . . the way I am, as it were, periodically undone
and open to becoming unbounded (Butler 2004, p. 28). By implication, as we
come undone or become unbounded it may be possible to glimpse the ways in
which these primary others are entwined with the mechanisms that police our
performance of identity.
For Jenny an important insight into these dynamics came through that fact that,
in spite of strenuous efforts, she cried in most sessions. She hated this, saying that it
was pointless and that she needed to focus on stopping bingeing, or on a positive
project in her life. Eventually however, some time after her glass room and goblin
images had emerged, Jenny was able to describe a moment which offered a

Working with dissociative dynamics


glimpse of some of the ghosts that shaped her experience of coming undone and
kept her trapped within the performance of a self that was recognizable to herself
and her key others. This moment occurred between herself and her mother amidst
some very painful domestic circumstances during Jennys adolescence. While her
mum was driving her somewhere, Jenny found herself crying quietly. Her mum
asked her what was the matter, and Jenny replied (truthfully) that she didnt
knowat the time she had not realized that her tears were associated with what
was happening in her family. Jennys mums response was to suggest that Jenny
make something up, like having seen a dead animal by the side of the road. In
the light of Butlers comment that grief contains the possibility of apprehending
a mode of dispossession that is fundamental to who I am (Butler 2003, p. 17)
I heard this (and other interactions which Jenny related over time) as indicating
that in her family there were powerful unconscious anxieties about coming
undone or bringing others undone.
My sense was that Jenny had internalized these anxieties as a belief that
just feeling sad or lost for no apparent reason was unacceptableshe thought it
self-indulgent and selsh, hence her distress at how much she cried in sessions
(and, I suggest, hence also the intensity of her need to cry). These anxieties meant
that the modes of dispossession fundamental to Jennys familys individual and
collective lives were never even glimpsed and, consequently, Jenny could not
get anywhere near her desires to be brought undone by experiences of excessive
inner or outer othernesses through which she might encounter radical (but deeply
unsettling) states of intimacy and creativity.
Building on these understandings, I came to think of Jennys tears and inner
goblin as expressions of her need to explore what haunted the way she was, as
it were, periodically undone and open to becoming unbounded (Butler 2004,
p. 28). Jennys dilemma was, however, that, like Jungs cousin Hlne, recovery
(i.e., living the parts of her which had been split off and caused her symptoms)
might bring with it costs and losses that were felt to be intolerable. Working with
Jenny was very much about exploring these edges and the edgy question of how
much recovery she could bear to unravel into while retaining a liveable sense of
herself, i.e., a self that included her need to remain recognizable to her key others.

Conclusion: unravelling, fragmentation and working with the ec-static self

In this paper I have described a way of combining clinical techniques based on
Jungs early work on the dissociability of the psyche with aspects of
contemporary thinking about subjectivity, identity and the longing for excess. I
have also described how the resultant analytic position can be used to access the
seeds of recovery that can be found in the split-off, seemingly self-destructive
energies which expressed themselves as a patients binge eating disorder.
Based on the kind of clinical work described here, I suggest that this approach
can be particularly useful when working with patients who suffer from symptoms


Sue Austin

that drive them to explore the possible lives contained within their apparent
madnesses. This group often includes patients who somatize their distress and
especially those who have eating disorders.
Dans cet article, lauteur dcrit son travail avec une femme qui, lorsquelle avait 20 ans,
commena une analyse en raison de son trouble boulimique sans vomissement. Larticle
explore comment deux aspects de la psych, selon Jung, comme sainement dissociables
sont utiliss pour rchir sur le potentiel de changement contenu dans les nergies agressives, explosives, de cette patiente boulimique. Lapproche qui en a rsult considre les
clivages dfensifs, les dissociations et lattitude autodestructrice de la patiente, comme
une voie daccs son inconscient. Vues de cette faon, ces attitudes contiennent les
germes de gurison et sont le point de dpart de lanalyse plutt que des dfenses contre
elle. Larticle aborde aussi de nombreuses ides jungiennes et post-jungiennes et les met
en perspective avec des aspects de la pense contemporaine sur la subjectivit, lidentit
et le besoin compulsif dvelopp par Leo Bersani et Judith Butler.

In diesem Beitrag beschreibt die Autorin ihre Arbeit mit einer Frau, die, mit Mitte 20,
wegen ihrer Ess-Sucht (ohne Erbrechen) einen Analyseplatz sucht. Der Aufsatz untersucht, wie zwei Aspekte der Jungschen Sicht auf das Seelische als in gesundem Sinne
Trennbares herangezogen wurden, um ber das Vernderungspotential nachzudenken,
welches in den explosiven und aggressiven Energien des Essverhaltens der Patientin
enthalten war. Der hieraus resultierende Ansatz versteht die Spaltungstendenzen der
Patientin, ihre Dissoziationen sowie ihr autodestruktives Verhalten als Zugangsweg zu
ihrem Unbewuten. So betrachtet beinhalten diese Verhaltensweisen die Saat der Heilung
und den Ausgangspunkt fr Analyse und nicht den Widerstand dagegen. Auch thematisiert der Beitrag eine Anzahl jungianischer und post-jungianischer Ideen mit Aspekten
des gegenwrtigen Denkens ber Subjektivitt, Identitt und dem Streben nach Exze,
wie sie von Leo Bersani und Judith Butler entwickelt wurden.

In questo articolo lautrice descrive il suo lavoro con una donna che, nel mezzo dei suoi 20
anni si rivolse allanalisi per i suoi disordini alimentari senza freno non accompagnati da
vomito. Nellarticolo si esamina come due aspetti della modalit junghiana di vedere la
psiche come sanamente dissociabile possano far pensare al potenziale per un cambiamento
contenuto nellenergie esplosive e aggressive nella frenesia di questa paziente. Lapproccio
che ne risulta il prendere in considerazione le difese di scissione, le dissociazioni e il comportamento autodistruttivo della paziente come un punto di accesso al suo inconscio..
Visto in questo modo tali comportamenti contengono i semi della guarigione e per lanalisi
sono un punto di forza piuttosto che una difesa. Questo articolo inoltre fa dialogare un
certo numero di idee di junghiani e post-junghiani con aspetti del pensiero contemporaneo
che riguardano la soggettivit, lidentit e il desiderio di eccesso sviluppati da Leo Bersani e
Judith Butler.

Working with dissociative dynamics


, , . ,
, ,
, ,
. , .
, , .
- ,
, , .

En este trabajo la autora describe su trabajo con una mujer quien, en sus medianos 20.
Busc anlisis para un trastorno alimentario tipo Pica sin vmito. Este trabajo explora
como dos aspectos de la visin de Jung de la psique como saludablemente disociable fueron
usados para explorar la potencialidad para cambiar contenidos en las energas explosivas y
agresivas propias de la pica de esta paciente. La aproximacin resultante toma las defensas
de ruptura, las disociaciones y las conductas autodestructivas como punto de acceso a su
inconsciente. Vistas de esta manera, estas conductas contienen la semilla para la recuperacin
y son el punto de partida para el anlisis en lugar de defensas en contra del mismo. Este escrito
trae a colacin un nmero importante de ideas junguianas y post-junguianas para la discusin
con aspectos del pensamiento contemporneo sobre subjetividad, identidad y el anhelo por
excesos desarrollado por Leo Bersani y Judith Butler.

Austin, S. (2005). Womens Aggressive Fantasies: A Post-Jungian Exploration of SelfHatred, Love and Agency. London & New York: Routledge.
(2009a). A perspective on the patterns of loss, lack, disappointment and shame
encountered in the treatment of six women with severe and chronic anorexia nervosa.
Journal of Analytical Psychology, 54, 1.
(2009b). Jungs dissociable psyche and the ec-static self. Journal of Analytical
Psychology, 54, 5.
Bair, D. (2003). Jung: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
Barnard, S. (2002). Diachrony, Tuch, and the ethical subject in Levinas and Lacan. In
Psychology for the Other, eds. E. Gantt & R. N. Williams. Pittsburgh: Duquesne
University Press.
Bromberg, P. (1996). Standing in the spaces: the multiplicity of self and the psychoanalytic
relationship. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32, 50935.
Butler, J. (2003). Violence, Mourning, Politics. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4, 1.
______ (2004). Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso.
Ellenberger, H. F. (1992). Carl Gustav Jung: His Historical Setting. In Carl
Gustav Jung: Critical Assessments, Vol. 1, ed. R. Papadopoulos. London: Routledge.
Frosh, S. (2002). The Other. American Imago, 59, 4.
Jung, C. G. (1953). The technique of differentiation between the ego and the gures of
the unconscious. CW 7.


Sue Austin

Laplanche, J. (1999). Essays on Otherness. London: Routledge.

Leys, R. (1992). Meyer, Jung, and the limits of association. In Carl Gustav Jung:
Critical Assessments, Vol. 1, ed. R. Papadopoulos. London & New York: Routledge.
Hartman, G. (1994). The Franco Prussian War or Jung as a Dissociationist. Online at
The Jung Page
id=139 (accessed 26th August 2012).
Haule, J. (1992). From somnambulism to the archetypes: the French roots of Jungs split
with Freud. In Carl Gustav Jung: Critical Assessments, Vol. 1, ed. R. Papadopoulos.
London: Routledge.
Hinton, L. (2007). Black holes, uncanny spaces and radical shifts in awareness. Journal
of Analytical Psychology, 52, 4.
Howell, E (2005). The Dissociative Mind. London & New York: Routledge.
Meir, C. (1992). The theory of complexes. In Carl Gustav Jung: Critical Assessments,
Vol. 2, ed. R. Papadopoulos. London & New York: Routledge.
Papadopoulos, R. K. (2006). Jungs epistemology and methodology. In The Handbook
of Jungian Psychology: Theory Practice and Applications, ed. Renos K. Papadopoulos. London & New York: Routledge.
Redfearn, J. (1985). My Self, My Many Selves. London: Karnac Books.
(1992). The Exploding Self. Illinois: Chiron Publications.
Rose, J. (1990). Femininity and its discontents. In British Feminist Thought: A Reader,
ed. T. Lovell. Oxford: Blackwell.
Rowland, S. (2005). Jung as a Writer. London & New York: Routledge.
Samuels, A. (1989). The Plural Psyche. London & New York: Routledge.
Shamdasani, S. (1998). From Geneva to Zurch: Jung and French Switzerland. Journal
of Analytical Psychology, 43, 1.
Souter, K. (2009). The war memoirs: some origins of the thought of W. R. Bion.
International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 90, 5380.
Stein, R. (2008). The otherness of sexuality: excess. Journal of the American
Psychoanalytic Association, 56, 43.

I would like to thank Giles Clark, Jill Welbourne, Peter Fullerton, Ladson Hinton
(particularly for his work on psychic black holes and introducing me to Ruth
Steins paper on excess), Michael Lindner, Andrew Samuels and Michael Horne
for their input into this paper. I would also like to thank the North Pacic Institute
for Analytical Psychology in Seattle and the Sydney Chapter of the International
Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy for opportunities
to air earlier versions of this paper in 2010. My thanks also to Michael Lindner
and Elisabeth Adametz for their invitation to give a re-written version of it at
the Berlin Jung Institute in 2011, and to the attendees of that seminar for their
input. Additionally, I would like to express my appreciation to the New South
Wales Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for a similar opportunity in
2012. Finally, I would like to thank Warren Colman for questioning my use of
Butlers image of coming undone in my 2009 JAP paper on the ec-static self: that
question led to my writing this paper.
[MS rst received August 2012; nal version November 2012]

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 327346

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication:
the embodiment of multigenerational
experiences of helplessness and futility in an
obese patient
Abstract: This paper explores the analysis of an obese woman who came to experience
her esh as a bodying forth of personal and multigenerational family and cultural
experiences of helplessness. The paper discusses the ideas and images that formed the
basis of how I engaged with these themes as they presented countertransferentially.
My thesis is that clinical approaches which draw on spatial metaphors for the psyche
offer valuable tools for working with people whose inner world expresses itself
somatically because such metaphors can be used to engage simultaneously with the
personal, cultural, and ancestral dimensions of these unconscious communications.
The paper builds on Jungs view of the psyche as comprised of pockets of inner otherness
(complexes), on Redfearns image of psyche as landscape-like and on Samuels thinking
on embodied countertransference and on the political psyche. It also draws on Butlers
work on the body as a social phenomenon and on the theme of being a helpless non-person
or nobody as explored in Tom Stoppards play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
which retells Shakespeares Hamlet from the perspective of two of the plays bit characters.
Key words: Butler, complex, countertransference, depression, Jung, metaphor, obesity,
Redfearn, Samuels, spatial, Stoppard

Introduction: temporal and spatial metaphors for the unconscious

In his paper Theory as metaphor: clinical knowledge and its communication,
Warren Colman observes that all analytic thinking is metaphorical in nature
(2009, p. 200). Likewise, Mary Midgley points out the power of metaphor
citing the extent to which competitive, survival of the ttest images have come
to dominate our thinking about evolution. She observes that
the trouble with metaphors is that they dont just mirror . . . beliefs, they also shape
them. Our imagery is never just surface paint, it expresses, advertises and strengthens
our preferred interpretations. It also carries unconscious bias from the age we live in.
(Midgley 2011, p. 26)


2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12017


Sue Austin

Similarly, I am interested in the strengths and weaknesses which arise from how
different analytic theories build on temporal and spatial metaphors for the psyche.
Freud: from spatial to temporal metaphor
In From somnambulism to the archetypes: the French roots of Jungs split with
Freud John Haule argues that an important aspect of Freuds use of spatial and
temporal metaphors was his relationship to the work of the late 19th century
French dissociationists who believed that their patients neurotic, hysterical,
obsessive or other disorders were organized around an underlying xed idea or
image.1 These xed ideas were understood to be the result of a constitutional
mental weakness which only developed into a neurosis when the individual
became exhausted through overwork, emotional shocks or illness. This exhaustion
led to a weakening of mental synthesis which can be thought of as a weakening
of conscious ego integrity (Haule 1992, p. 244).
Between 1885 and 1886 Freud spent some months attending Charcots
lectures in Paris at the Salptrire but was subsequently rebuffed in Vienna for
giving a too enthusiastic report of Charcots work. By 1895 Freud was moving
away from the views of the dissociationists and in Studies in Hysteria he argued
that the patients xed idea was a reminiscence of a traumatic event which was the
initial cause of their dissociation (ibid., pp. 24546). As Freuds thinking
developed he could no longer maintain this trauma theory and proposed, instead,
a theory of sexual stages of development. This move retained the xed idea as
denitive of the patients neurosis, but Freuds emerging emphasis on it as
causative is a crucial step in the development of psychoanalysis. As Haule says, at
this point, Freud replaced a spatial metaphor [for the psyche] (the co-conscious
sub-personalities of dissociationism) with a temporal metaphor (the sexual stages)
(ibid., pp. 24748).
Temporal metaphors also prevail over spatial metaphors in other aspects
of Freuds work: while his model of the unconscious comprised of the id,
ego and superego is spatial (insofar as it is structural) the tone of this
structure is strongly developmental / temporal since the ego is understood to
have developed out of the much older, instinctual, constitutional id. Likewise,
the super-ego is thought of as a sub-element of the ego which is an
incorporation of wider parental and social values absorbed while growing
up (again, a developmental process). The structural, xed relationship
between id, ego and superego which develops out of the temporal
metaphor that underlies this model is the very opposite of the open-ended,
exible relationship between elements of interiority offered by spatial
metaphors for the psyche.

The focus of Haules paper is how, through his concept of the archetype, Jung walked (what Haule
refers to as) the narrow ridge between Freuds and Janets thinking (Haule 1992, p. 256). Here,
however, I am interested in the signicance of the tension between temporal and spatial metaphors
for interiority, a theme which emerges in Haules account of the context of Jungs early work.

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


Beyond Freudspatial metaphors in object relations and in Butlers

re-reading of Freud
Temporal, stage-based metaphors for the psyche play an important role
in much post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought, especially in models which
focus on infant development such as Object Relations. Within that tradition
however, some writers have, at times, combined spatial and temporal
metaphors to powerful effect. For example, in Thrills and Regressions Balint
(1959) describes two defensive personality styles which he identies as
philobats and ocnophils. Balint imagines the inner worlds of these defensive
styles in physical, landscape-like terms: [w]hereas the ocnophilic world is
structured by physical proximity and touch, the philobatic world is structured
by safe distance and sight (ibid., p. 34) and the philobatic world consists
of friendly expanses dotted more or less densely with potentially dangerous
and unpredictable objects. . . (ibid.). Similarly, Winnicotts list of unthinkable
anxieties or primitive agonies (going to pieces, falling forever, having no
relation to the body or having no orientation) are very eshy and spatial in tone
(1962, p. 58).
There are also spatial metaphors at work in the deeper layers of Freuds own
writings and post-structuralist feminist philosopher and queer theorist Judith
Butler brings them out most effectively. In a post 9/11 essay in which she argues
that Freuds understanding of mourning can be used to re-think community
and international relations Butler draws on Walter Benjamins work (1977,
pp. 9297) to suggest that Freud saw melancholia as trying to reverse or
suspend time, and that in doing so it produces internal landscapes as its
signature effect (1997, p.174). Building on this she writes that [o]ne might
protably read the Freudian topography that melancholy occasions as . . . a
spatialised landscape of the mind (ibid., p. 174). Elsewhere, she also remarks
that [w]hat Freud here calls the character of the ego appears to be the
sedimentation of objects loved and lost, the archaeological remainder, as it
were, of unresolved grief (ibid., p. 133).
Clearly, as Butlers comments indicate, Freud did, in fact, draw on
spatial metaphors for interiority as well as temporal ones. But as Haule points
out, Freuds move away from the French dissociationists involved the
replacement of a central spatial metaphor for the psyche with a temporal one
(ibid., p. 247). What Butler is doing is breathing life back into Freuds
spatially-based insights which were largely lost in that move.

Jung, complexes, spatial metaphors and inner landscapes

Like Freud, Jung too was inuenced by the work of the French dissociationists
and Haule suggests that Jungs concept of the unconscious as comprised of
feeling-toned complexes grew out of this and his experiments with the word


Sue Austin

association test at the Burghlzli Psychiatric Hospital in Zurich between 1901

and 1904 (see Austin 2009, p. 585 for further details). Haule summarizes the
comments Jung makes on the complex in his Tavistock Lectures (1935, paras.
14853) as follows:
1) it has a sort of body with its own physiology so that it can upset the
stomach, breathing, heart;
2) it has its own will power and intentions so that it can disturb a train of
thought or a course of action just as another human being can do;
3) it is in principle no different from the ego which is itself a complex;
4) it becomes dramatized in our dreams, poetry and drama;
5) it becomes visible and audible in hallucinations;
6) it completely victimizes the personality in insanity (Haule 1992, p. 252).
What emerges in these Lectures and in Jungs other descriptions of
complexes is the spatial and visceral quality of Jungs thinking about the
unconscious. Complexes are understood to be feeling-toned pockets of interiority
with signicant variations in tone, mood or affective charge between them.
Interiority is envisaged as a three dimensional space which contains numerous
complexes, any of which (when active) can affect the subjects experience
of their mind, body and emotions and, through those, the subjects experience
of the world within and around them. Complexes can also interact with each
other while the subject remains unconscious of them.

Spatial / Landscape metaphors and the foreignness at the heart of psychic life
Given Midgleys comments above on the structuring role that metaphors play
in our thinking, it is important to consider the biases and weaknesses inherent
in these uses of temporal and spatial metaphors for the psyche. For example,
the exclusive use of temporal metaphors can lead to an over-focusing on
getting things (back?) on the developmental track and on too much attention
being paid to culturally recognizable / normalized desires and forms of identity.
Likewise, used exclusively, spatial metaphors for the psyche can lead to an
endless, narcissistic wandering about in the patients inner world. Redfearn
offers a way of working with this latter risk when he writes:
If all ones sub-personalities were spread out like a map or landscape, or a vast world
of happenings and relationships, there would be places or scenes which were often
visited by the conscious I, and others which would never have been visited, or have
even been avoided.
(Redfearn 1985, p. 117)

Through this highly embodied articulation of Jungs model of the psyche

Redfearn offers us a powerful clinical tool for imagining the patients inner

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


world as a landscape which, in addition to including familiar, frequently

visited places, is likely to include other places which lie on a spectrum between
aware of, but avoided through to unthinkable, unfeelable and (possibly)
unbearable. Seen in this way the therapeutic process involves more than
visiting or making alliances with these alien inner realms. It is, instead, a
process of accepting that the centre of gravity of who we are lies forever
beyond us, constantly emerging from amongst the pockets of alien otherness
that constitute us.2
The most ego-alien ends of this spectrum make their presence felt in sessions
as highly charged elds which can have an almost psychotic tone of intensity
and the clinician may experience intense countertransference effects when
close to them. Such pockets can also make their presence felt as no-go zones
in sessions where thinking and / or feeling are impossible for the analyst, and
often for the patient as well. These regions of the psyche are, by denition,
extremely difcult to approach and play a powerful role in shaping where
the analytic interaction can and cannot go. Being highly affectively and
energetically charged however, they also often contain raw, life-and-death
energies which can hold the possibility of change at depth, hence their crucial
clinical importance.

Temporality as an inherent fourth dimension of spatial metaphors for the psyche

Another important strength of images of the psyche as landscape-like is
that temporality is an inherent dimension of geology and archaeology. Thus a
detailed exploration of the landscape of interiority will inevitably unearth
developmental processes without having to pursue them directly.3
Gary Hartman summarizes how Jung undertook this task of exploration
as follows:
First, he tried to recognize and attend to the aspects of the patients personality which
were Not-I and, second, he allowed the time necessary for the characteristics and
personality of the Not-I to emerge.
(Hartman 1994)

Here I am interweaving Jungs concept of the complex and Butlers idea of the self as an ec-static
phenomenon, i.e., the self is, of necessity, outside itself, such that there is no nal moment in which
my return to myself takes place (Butler 2001, pp. 14748). For further discussion see also Austin
Clearly this question of the role of temporality and spatiality in the psyche is complex. As
Ladson Hinton points out, experiences of being out of the ow of time, being frozen in time,
seem [to be] at the core of the experience of the victims of trauma (personal communication 27th
April 2011). I suggest, however, that trauma can also leave a person outside of the ow of
context as well, so that they remain frozen in place, compulsively scanning their inner and outer
landscapes for threats in a hypervigilant manner.


Sue Austin

The key to these techniques is that they assume that the authority in the analytic
process resides in the patients unconscious. It does not rest in the analysts
knowledge of symbols and/or myths, or their capacity to make interpretations.
Indeed Jung wrote [t]he concept of the unconscious posits nothing, it
designates only my unknowing (1992, p. 411; italics in original).4

Laplanche and enigmatic inner othernesses

Before moving on to a clinical illustration I would like to touch on the work of
contemporary French Freudian Jean Laplanche who, like Jung, draws strongly
on spatial metaphors for the psyche. Laplanche places an unresolvable,
non-pathological foreignness or otherness at the heart of psychic life and
as Allyson Stack comments, for Laplanche:
those aspects of the adult message that the infant cannot translate, metabolize, or
assimilate are repressed in the form of an internal foreign body or psychical other . . .
Thus the unconscious is an alien inside me, and even one put inside me by an alien . . .
(Stack 2005, p. 65 quoting Laplanche 1999, pp. 6465; italics in original)

Laplanche refers to these messages as enigmatic since they are not puzzles or
riddles that can one day be solved by learning and applying the proper codes
(linguistic or otherwise) (Stack 2005, p. 65). Crucially, such messages harbour
an irreducible, interrogative kernela question neither sender nor receiver can
ever completely answer (ibid., p. 66). For Laplanche, individual development
arises from the need to master, to translate these enigmatic, traumatizing
messages, a process which continues for as long as a person lives (ibid., p. 66).
My own image for how Laplanche is interweaving spatial and temporal
metaphors comes from Einsteins model of General Relativity where an apple
falls to the ground not because of gravity but because it responds to the
curvature of space-time near the earths surface. This curvature of space-time
is caused by the Earths mass. Likewise, I imagine the presence of the inner
othernesses around which we are unconsciously organized as shaping our eld
of interiority. These complexes are so powerful that they affect the trajectories
of all our thoughts and feelings in the same way that the paths of movement of all
objects are shaped by what we think of as gravity but is actually the curvature of
In other words, the presence of the inner othernesses / complexes / enigmatic
signiers around which we are unconsciously organized can be detected by the
way they affect the paths of our thoughts and feelings. Seen in this light,
Laplanches model resonates strongly with Jungs view of the inner world of
complexes or inner othernesses which shape our interiority. Again: crucially

Jung made this comment in a letter to Pastor Max Frischknecht dated 8th February 1946.

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


Jungs idea of the complex offers a way of placing this unresolvable

unknowingness which lies at the core of psychic life at the very centre of the
analytic interaction.
In what follows I will explore the use of these ideas in clinical practice by
describing my work with a woman (Jo) who, during the course of her analysis,
came to experience her esh as a bodying forth of multigenerational
experiences which were associated with belonging to a class of non-persons
in her culture of origin. Although these experiences occupied a central
(unconscious) role in her family and related to wider patterns in her cultural
background, none of this material was accessible to thought or feeling in
analysis for many yearsit expressed itself solely through Jos body, her
transference and my countertransference.
Clinical vignette: Jo
In her initial telephone message Jo, a woman in her mid-50s, said that she
wanted to see me because she was concerned that she was getting depressed
and she did not want to take the medication that her general practitioner was
suggesting. In our rst meeting Jo explained that although she had no personal
history of depressive illness, she had seen it take a debilitating hold on several
members of her extended family and she was frightened that she was sliding
towards a very dark place inside herself.
Jo lived alone and had, for a number of years, worked in a professional role in a
technical eld which she quite liked. However, over the last 34 years this role had
become increasingly problematic owing to extensive restructuring in her workplace.
Jo described her contact with her family (who lived in another State) as intermittent
but not problematic and she described herself as having had a number of boyfriends
as a younger woman, but none of them had, as she put it, worked out.
Over time Jo began to talk about her body, which was obese (i.e., a Body
Mass Index greater than 30)5 explaining that she had tried Cognitive
Behavioural Therapy, various weight loss programmes, self-help groups, personal
trainers and gyms all to no avail. At this early stage of our work Jo had no
access to her dreams, although she did speak of recurrent, half-waking feelings
of confusion and disorientation. She also used extremely harsh, self-hating
language when talking about her body, indicating that she felt a great deal of
shame and despair about her obesity: she described feeling trapped in the
wrong body, a body which would not take any notice of her will, wishes or
efforts to change it. She also described a number of deeply humiliating incidents which had occurred (especially as a child and as an adolescent) which
related to her overweight body.

BMI is a ratio of body mass (in kilograms) divided by height in metres squared. Normal weight
range is considered to be a BMI of between 18.5 and 25, overweight is between 25 and 30, and
obese over 30.


Sue Austin

Countertransference: a landscape of helplessness and futility

Redfearns image of the psyche as a landscape of sub-personalities (1985,
p. 117) led me to try to get a more eshed out, embodied sense of my
countertransference towards Jo by trying to imagine what kind of landscape
and climate she and I might be in in sessions, where we could and could not
go in that landscape, and the feeling tone of any resistances or obstacles we
encountered. As I did so, I got an image of a small, fogged in, rather bare
island with no distinct landscape features and, because of the fog, no visible
external reference points. Most conspicuous, however, was the feeling tone
associated with this image, which was that there was no point in trying to think
about this island or make anything of the experience of being there, and there
was no point in trying to leave. Nothing would make any difference.

Samuels idea of embodied countertransference

Naturally I wondered whether this image and these feelings might simply be a
reection of Jos conscious anxiety that analysis would not work and that her
slide into depression and medication was inevitable. However, Andrew
Samuels offers another perspective when he builds on Jungs understanding of
the analytic relationship to describe what he calls embodied countertransference.
In order to illustrate this form of countertransference Samuels uses the example
of a clinician who feels depressed after a session with a particular patient. On
examination of themselves the clinician decides that this depression does not
feel as if it originates from them and wonders if it might be a result of their close
contact with their patient who is depressed at the moment but unaware of it.
Samuels writes:
I call this (my depression) reective countertransference. In time, I may be able to
make use of this knowledge.
But there is another possibility. My experience of becoming a depressed person
may stem from the presence and operation of such a person in the patients psyche.
The patient may have experienced a parent as depressed, and my reaction precisely
embodies the patients emotionally experienced parent. I have also become part of
the patients inner world. I emphasize inner world because I am not attempting
any kind of factual reconstruction that would discover a depressed parent. Indeed,
the depressed parent may himself or herself be symbolic of a depressive theme
active in the patients psyche rather than literal or causative of anything (parent
as symbolic image). This entire state of affairs I have come to call embodied
countertransference, and I distinguish it from reective countertransference.
Sometimes, there is no person, and what is embodied is a theme that is active in the
patients psyche.
(Samuels 2000, p. 411)

In the light of these ideas I wondered if my sense of futility and absence around
Jo might also reect a deeper, unconscious theme that was active in her mind

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


and body. As well as providing an overall metaphor for the psyche, Redfearns
image of the psyche as landscape-like offered a way of thinking about this
possibility further by, as it were, trying to map its moment-to-moment effects in
The value of this approach is that it enables the clinician to work with
patterns, shapes and dynamics in sessions without having to understand them,
interpret them or try to name them or their contents when to do so would be
premature or intrusive. It also respects the enigmatic, unknowable nature of
the heart of our inner lives. Working this way translated into paying close
attention to small changes in texture and tone between different areas of Jos
interiority as they emerged in sessions. As I did this, I noticed that although
the amount of thinking and feeling space Jo had to move around in during
sessions was never great, it did seem to vary slightly. Occasionally I wondered
aloud how Jo experienced these pockets of her inner world and the variations
between them. The aim of this was:
1) to support her to build her own images and vocabulary for her physical
experience of internal states and
2) to help her develop an increasing capacity to stay present in her own
mind and body as she moved towards places in her internal landscape
which she had previously visited rarely or not at all.
Over time, Jo began to comment on (for example) how easy or hard
she found it to breathe, feel or think at various points in sessions. On other
occasions she described herself as breaking up, or the ground starting to give
way as she moved towards a particular area of her inner landscape (i.e., as she
tried to be present to pockets of her own thoughts or feelings).
This work had to be done very slowly: in previous therapies and self-help
groups Jo had, on numerous occasions, been told that she needed to get in
touch with her body or love her body. Feeling that she had no capacity to
do either of these things, such comments hit the very core of her sense of
helplessness and shame, leaving her feeling humiliated and full of despair.
Based on these experiences, she felt that she was bad at body stuff (i.e., she
had not been able to produce the feelings and responses required by the other)
and that she would be bad at this kind of work in our sessions as well.
Therefore it took a long time for Jo to accept that the aim of noticing what
it was like to move around (or stay still) in her inner world in sessions
was not to try to change anything: it was simply to try to map her inner world
as it emerged and wait to see what, if anything, her attention was drawn
towards in that process. Naturally, she was sceptical of the value of this
approach for quite a whileit was not focused on the change she was desperate
(but felt completely unable) to produce. Nonetheless, over time, she did
recognize that her slide towards depression had stopped, and that mattered a
great deal to her.


Sue Austin

Physical tension and competition between sub-personalities

Redfearns highly embodied articulation of Jungs view of interiority provided
another valuable point of reference when he observes that:
competition between sub-personalities is often, perhaps always, reected in zones or
areas of tension, inhibition, or in the blocking off of radiating feelings in the body
image or in the actual body . . .
(Redfearn 1985, p. 84)

If the ego is thought of as a complex (albeit the one we think of as home)

and the body is thought of as containing numerous other complexes,
Redfearns comments imply that areas of bodily tension and inhibition can
be thought of as points of contact between the ego and these somatic pockets
of inner otherness (complexes), or as points of contact between the complexes
Combining this with Jungs way of engaging with the inner othernesses
around which the psyche is shaped invites the analyst to work with the patient
to try to slow down their experience around these contact zones and see what, if
anything, emerges. Therefore I was especially interested when Jo noticed that as
she started to talk about a particular relationship at work, her chest became
tight and (although not asthmatic) she found it hard to breathe. Naturally I also
thought about the transference aspects of these phenomena. At this point,
however, I chose to stay with Redfearns image and wondered whether Jos
tight chest might be an expression of a conict between her ego and one or more
bodily-based sub-personalities. I also wondered whether this conict might
be linked in some way to the sense of helplessness which I experienced as a
constant, powerful, but unapproachable presence in sessions.
In order to explore these possibilities I invited Jo to free-associate around her
physical sensations. As she did so she recalled a meditation course which she
had attended some years earlier in which the teacher had asked the group to
pay attention to the still point where the body changes from breathing out to
breathing in, and to note that there was a space between breaths in which
one could rest. Jo had found this to be a place of great tightness and, as she
talked about it, I got a sense of the room around us slipping or melting
slightly, which I took to be an indication that we might be near a pocket of
Jos unconscious emotional terrain that was so highly charged that it could
distort my perceptions, feelings and thoughts when in its vicinity.
Jo described feeling sad and lonely in this place between breaths and that it
contained no traces of her. On further reection she said that it was also very
painful because it contained no traces of her people, by which she meant
members of her family or cultural group. This was the rst time Jo had spoken
of her cultural background and she said that the gap between her breaths was
somehow a place that was not a place because none of her people had been
there. A few days later, she brought a dream which was as follows:

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


I am in a dimly lit room just wearing a loose cloth. This is some kind of sex party.
No one wants sex with me: I am there to make sex better between others. Between
doing this I can move around but I cant leave the party or refuse to do what people
want me to.
Then Im standing back and can see my body as part of something like a printed circuit.
The camera focus is pulled back and I can see that other members of my family are
elements in the same circuit. The camera pulls back more and I can see that this circuit
joins up with other circuits which are families from the community I grew up in. The
camera pulls back even wider and I can see that my communitys part of the circuit
links to a number of other circuits. The people who live in these other circuits can move
around and do different jobs, but my family and community are wired in place in their

Thinking about Jos dream

Thinking initially in temporal/developmental terms I wondered whether the rst
part of Jos dream might be expressing her experience of relationship (and by
implication, analysis) as a process in which she was used as a thing in a game
played by self-absorbed others who were utterly indifferent to her existence,
let alone her desires. I also wondered about possible infancy and childhood
experiences of ruthless inclusion and exclusion in the minds of her objects
(possibly linked to her repeated experiences of body-based shame) and about
possible experiences of being positioned as a voyeur/passive participant in
relation to her early emotional objects desires and sexuality.
Linking these speculations to my countertransferential feelings of helplessness
led me to wonder whether living in an inner world in which others could use her
mind and body according to their own imaginings and desires and with no
reference to her might account for some of my experience of Jo as simultaneously
present and very absent in sessions. I also wondered if the second part of her
dream might depict splitting, dissociative defences through which she had left
her body and, in a series of steps, moved further and further away in order to
distance herself from it as a source of distress. If so, the different elements of Jos
circuit image could be seen as ways in which she had tried to defend against her
experience, for example, through pockets which were wired in place, while other
aspects of herself were able to move about.
As we talked about her dream, Jo said that (to her surprise) she felt that she
knew her role at the sex party well: it felt both extremely uncomfortable and
very right to her. Clearly there are many ways of thinking about and working with
this comment but based on my sense of how unthinkable states of vulnerability
were for Jo, I decided to stay with the idea that landscapes contain archaeological
and geological information. Again, my working hypothesis was that if we explored
Jos inner landscape thoroughly enough, temporal, developmental and relational dimensions of her inner world would emerge over time, expressing themselves in ways
that were much closer to her own experience (and thus more bearable) than any interpretations I might make.


Sue Austin

Redfearn offers a way of working with dreams which supports this kind of
exploration based on Jungs idea that each dream element (human, non-human
or inanimate) represents an aspect of the patients inner world, and that a dream
offers the possibility of starting to engage with these inner othernesses and with
the relationships between them. Building on this Redfearn suggests that when
thinking about a dream:
A glowering landscape, a pastoral idyll, a blasted heath, a limitless sea, a rock in
the sea, a ship, a motor car or a house, all would come under the heading of
(Redfearn 1985, p. 116)

Over a period of some months Jo and I repeatedly returned to her dream and,
staying with this emphasis on the physicality of the mood or tone associated
with each pocket of inner landscape (and the relationships between them) I
encouraged her to esh out her visceral experience of each of the elements in
her dream as fully as possible. For example, we spent a lot of time exploring
what it felt like to be the other people and objects in each scene of her dream
(e.g., the cloth she was wearing) and what it felt like to see the world and
interactions in the dream from that person or objects perspective. This approach
builds on Jungs realization that the complexes or haunting inner othernesses
around which we are organized often emerge as background moods or
background feeling tones in our life, dreams and interactions in analysis. Jungs
response was to recommend that the patient needs to get his mood to speak to
him; his mood must tell him all about itself. . . (Jung 1928, para. 348).6
As Jo and I did this, we repeatedly encountered pockets of wordlessness and
mindlessness, and on numerous occasions we both found it almost impossible
to stay awake. By now however, Jo had developed a signicant capacity for
staying open to these kinds of no-go zones and pockets of thought- and
perception-distorting affect. We had also evolved a way of talking towards
these wordless places when they arose between us. For example, Jo might say
that she had hit a weird place or was nding it hard to think, without being able
to give any further details. Similarly, I might comment on how I felt the space
between us had changed (for example, in a silence, or when Jo had been talking
about a particular subject). Again, these comments were part of a joint attempt to
map the psychological terrain we found ourselves in on a moment-to-moment
basis in sessions. Over time we became able to do this more and more slowly,
noticing and exploring elements of that psychological and emotional landscape
in increasing detail.
Tracking my countertransference reactions alongside this I noticed that I
often felt a faint wave of nausea when we returned to Jos dream and on further
reection I realized that this was also associated with a shaky feeling. At rst I

My thanks to Jean Knox for bringing this comment of Jungs to my attention.

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


wondered if I was feeling something like grief or panic, but over time I realized
that it was closer to a state of shock following a physical or psychological
blow in which the raw physical sensations have not yet had time to form into
coherent experiences. This was more like a pixelated, broken up world in
which fragments of mind registered shards of imagery and thoughts, and
fragments of body registered irreconcilable sensations.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
On further reection I associated this particular experience of shock with
the rst time I saw Tom Stoppards play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Are Dead in which the author retells Shakespeares Hamlet from the
perspective of two bit characters who are called into existence solely
to support Hamlets world. Thinking about this play formed an
important part of how I worked with Jos dream and so I will now summarize
its plot.
At the start of Stoppards play, Guildenstern tosses a coin which comes
down heads seventy-six times in a row. Not knowing that they exist solely
to support the world of Hamlet and the Danish Royal Court, he and
Rosencrantz cannot make sense of this. They do not realize that as props,
they were never intended to have agency or inner lives of their own.
Consequently, as the play progresses, their attempts to make sense of what
is happening to them are eroded by a rising sense that the world they nd
themselves in is crazy, making it futile to try to make choices which might
reect their own interests. When, at the end of the play, they are put to
death as a result of a letter of introduction which they are carrying (which
has been swapped by Hamlet), they passively accept their fate, almost with
a sense of relief at nally bringing the insane world they inhabit to a close
(Stoppard 1967).
From the point of view of my thinking about my countertransference
responses to Jo, what matters is that Stoppard invites his audience to feel what
it is like to be a helpless bit player and to experience the confusion and futility
associated with that role. As he does so, he also offers the audience an
opportunity to feel what it might be like to be someone who, like Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern, was never meant to be a person (i.e., have an interiority)
and consider that the only form of identity available to those positioned in this
way may be based on taking:
an existential choice to follow through with their mission, knowing that it will end in
death. . . . [Doing so. . .] does not make tragic heroes of them, for their deaths are still
meaningless, but it does give them, at last, a kind of identity.
(Fleming 2002, p. 64, quoting Felicia Londr)

In other words, by taking a course of action which results in their own

meaningless deaths Rosencrantz and Guildenstern make helplessness, futility,


Sue Austin

absence and lack the basis of their identity. In doing so they break with what
Derrida calls the metaphysics of presence around which Western identity is
structured. By this Derrida means that only identities which privilege the centre
over its margins and the marginalized are recognized as identities (Fuery 1995,
pp. 4647). In choosing an identity which is (as it were) based on a metaphysics
of absence Rosencrantz and Guildenstern choose a form of anti-identity which,
although unlivable, is at least true to their positions as nobodies.
On this basis I understand Stoppard to be presenting us with an opportunity
to reect on the violences involved in the formation and maintenance of
identity. Donna Haraway expresses this clearly when she describes how having
a self and a perspective are positions of immense privilege which rely on (and
make unacknowledged use of) the lives and bodies of others who live the lives
of non-persons. She writes:
Vision is always a question of the power to seeand perhaps of the violence implicit in
our visualizing practices. With whose blood were my eyes crafted? These points also
apply to testimony from the position of oneself. We are not immediately present to
ourselves. Self-knowledge requires a semiotic-material technology to link meanings
and bodies.
(Haraway 1997, pp. 28788; italics in original)

My sense was that Jos dream, her recurrent difculties with thinking, feeling
and breathing in relation to what she referred to as her people, and some of
our mutual experiences of pockets of slippage and no-go zones in sessions might
be gesturing towards these kinds of violences and abject realms.
By now Jo and I had been working together for quite a long time and I felt
that she would be able to hold on to herself if I occasionally went beyond
amplications which focused on aspects of our here-and-now discussions
(or silences) and introduced material intended to amplify the bigger themes
which were emerging in our work. On this basis I made a link between her
position as a bit player at the sex party in her dream and the positions of
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Stoppards play.
Jo did not know the play but was familiar with Hamlet and she took up
Stoppards question of what the world of the Danish Royal Court might feel
like to a couple of nobodies. I described the coin tossing opening to Stoppards
play and Jo associated it with a thought that the rst part of her dream showed
her as having grown up in a world where she (somehow) knew what was
expected of her, and how to perform within that role, but, at some deep,
somatic / unconscious level, knew it to be crazy.
She also linked Rosencrantz and Guildensterns dispensable status with her
feeling of concern about what would happen to her at the end of the party in
her dream: since she existed solely to enable the pleasure of others, what kind
of a life might she go back to after the party ended? She had an uneasy sense
that she (as a nobody) might not survive the dream directors call of cut. As
Jo said this I wondered about the space between her breaths where there were

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


none of her people. I also thought about my earlier countertransference image

of her inner landscape as a bare island where there was no point in trying to
make anything of the experience of being there, and no point in trying to leave
since nothing would make any difference.
Over time what emerged from these discussions was Jos sense that she
came from a cultural group who unconsciously knew that they were never
meant to be peoplethey were bit players in a world where someone else
was entitled to an interiority and to the drama of being a person. At both
individual and collective levels the members of her cultural group had no past
and no future.

Body and mind as social phenomena

As we talked about these themes Jo wondered about the second part of her
dream in which she found herself outside her body looking at herself as part
of something like a printed circuit. Another comment from Butler came to my
mind in which she says Constituted as a social phenomenon in the public
sphere, my body is and is not mine. Given over from the start to the world
of others, it bears their imprint, is formed within the crucible of social life
(Butler 2004, p. 26).
This comment can be read as pointing to the level at which we are physically
dependant on others as babies and infants, and that our bodies bear the imprint
of these others care. But it can also be read as suggesting that our bodies are
elements of a kind of unconscious social circuit to which we are given over
from the start, and whose use of us is imprinted upon us, expressing itself
through our bodies. This image challenges the Western fantasy of us each as
sovereign masters of our own body implying, instead, that the warp and weft
of our bodies (and, by implication, our minds) is cultural. Here I am drawing on
Jungs recognition of the social, collective dimensions of the psyche which are
unconscious and also on Samuels development of this idea in his work on the
political psyche (see Samuels 1993, especially pp. 2450 & Samuels 2001,
especially pp. 15973).
Amplications based on this way of thinking about Jos dream resonated
with her, and she used them to explore the possibility that the second part of
her dream represented her community (and its place in wider society) as a
network of bodies, each with a role to play in that network.
Previously Jo had also commented that a number of elements in the family
part of the circuit in her dream looked burnt out. After further reection she
speculated that these elements might represent the depressed members of her
family. Jo contrasted these people / circuit elements with other members of
her family and community whom she called the hard, shiny ones who had
(as she put it) opted for successful lives, having put all that cultural stuff behind
them. These thoughts lead to questions about Jos role in her family, community


Sue Austin

and wider cultural circuit, and (specically) what her bodys job might be in
the fullment of that role. What follows is a brief summary of the way Jo
came to see her bodys role in her struggle with being from a cultural group
of nobodies / no-bodys.

Jos body as the wiser person inside

Over time, Jo began to wonder whether the desperate attempts she had made to
lose weight as a younger woman had been expressions of her frantic need to
erase some awful message which she felt was written on (and spoke through)
her body. She envied the hard, shiny ones who, unlike her, had no messy folds
of esh in which painful, shameful memories and stories could hide.
In analysis however, Jo also became aware of a sense that, had she succeeded
in permanently losing weight through the various diets and exercise regimes she
had pushed herself through she would have, in her words, lost her soul. She
came to see herself as someone who could not do the violence to her family
and cultural history that she felt it would have taken for her to have made
herself thin in this way. Her body seemed to have stubbornly held on to the role
of acting (for herself and for others) as a window into a world where willpower
and effort were to no avail. Seemingly paradoxically, solidarity with a sense of
helplessness was the most precious thing Jo had.
Again, drawing on Jung, Redfearn offers a way of thinking about this
when he writes that some sub-personalities transcend the I and are
subjectively superior, even vastly superior, to the conscious I (Redfearn
1985, p. 117).
As this understanding of her inner world developed, Jos relationship with
food began to change and she moved from being (medically) obese to very
over weight (a BMI of between 25 and 30). From her perspective, however,
what mattered more was that her relationship to food and her body
changed. Instead of being a source of constant, low level anxiety, food
became a kind of barometer so that if it was getting bad again Jo took it as
a communication from her internal world that something needed to be paid
attention. Crucially, she also felt that the risk of falling into bottomless depression
had abated.

My understanding of what happened in Jos analysis is that she developed
a sense that the helplessnesses and turbulent absences around which her inner
life was organized (and which expressed themselves through her body) were a
central part of who she was, and that being loyal to them (unconsciously)
mattered more to her than losing weight in order to pass as normal.

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


What also emerged was that:

1) Because the psyche as landscape metaphor is not organized around
temporal-developmental goals, it offers the clinician a way of working
which can
a) remain relatively free of the analysts assumptions (be they temporal/
developmental or otherwise) about what might constitute a goodenough outcome for the analysis. It can do this by focusing attention
on the details of the sensations, images and dynamics which emerge
in the mapping of the patients inner landscapes on their own terms,
and by letting more complex phenomena, such as developmental
achievements and relational capacities, emerge from that focus if
and as they will;
b) turn up surprising and sometimes contradictory elements of identity
(including important pockets of non-identity or anti-identity) which
are not easily recognizable to mainstream understandings of what it
is to be a person, but which may be of great importance to the patient.
It does this by attending especially carefully to pockets of perceptual
and affective intensity and disturbance which arise in sessions. These
elements of the patients interiority and relational eld are often based
on experiences of absence, lack or loss. Again, in Butlers language
they can be thought of as the archaeological remainder of unresolved
grief that forms not just the ego, but the underlying geology and
archaeology of the psyche (Butler 1997, p. 133).
2) The spatial/landscape metaphors for the psyche which Jung drew from
the French dissociationists and which have been added to by a number
of post-Jungian writers can be particularly helpful when working with
people with eating disorders because these metaphors supports a focus
on the physicality of our experience of interiority and our unconscious
(often somatic) expression of it. They also make it possible to work
with the current and ancestral dimensions of the patients unconscious
communications, and with the personal and cultural aspects of them

My thanks to Ladson Hinton and Peter Fullerton for their thoughtful input
into earlier drafts and to Warren Colman and Giles Clark for their generous
contributions and for patiently working with me on numerous re-writes of this
paper. My thanks also to Leon Petchkovsky and Jeff Eaton for their clarifying
comments and to Andrew Samuels for his important clinical thinking on
psyche and identity as political entities. And Id also like to thank Ris Becker,


Sue Austin

Pam Shein and Louise Gyler of the Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis for an
opportunity to present and develop these ideas at a workshop in 2011.



Cet article explore lanalyse dune femme obse qui en est venue vivre sa chair comme
lincarnation dexpriences culturelles et familiales personnelles et trans-gnrationnelles
dimpuissance. Il examine les ides et les images qui expliquent comment je me suis engage
dans ltude de ces thmes tels quils se prsentent dans le contre-transfert. Ma thse est que
les approches cliniques qui proposent des mtaphores spatiales la psych offrent des outils
prcieux pour le travail avec les personnes dont le monde interne sexprime de faon
somatique, car de telles mtaphores peuvent tre utilises pour sengager en mme temps
dans les dimensions personnelles, culturelles et ancestrales de ces relations inconscientes.
Larticle sappuie sur la vision quavait Jung de la psych comme tant compose de noyaux
daltrit interne (complexes), sur limage de la psych comme un paysage selon Redfearn,
et sur les ides de Samuels dun contre-transfert incarn, et dune psych politique. Il
sinspire aussi du travail de Butler sur le corps comme phnomne social, et sur lide dtre
une non-personne impuissante ou personne , comme cela est explor dans la pice de
Tom Stoppard Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, qui revisite Hamlet de Shakespeare
du point de vue de deux petits rles de la pice.

Dieser Artikel untersucht die Analyse einer fettleibigen Frau, die ihr Fleisch als krperlichen
Ausdruck persnlicher und multigenerationaler familirer und kultureller Erfahrung von
Hilosigkeit wahrnahm. Die Ideen und Bilder werden diskutiert, die die Basis abgaben
auf der ich mich diesen Themen, wie sie sich in der Gegenbertragung zeigten, nhern
konnte. Meine These ist, da klinische Herangehensweisen, die sich auf rumliche
Metaphern fr das Seelische beziehen, wertvolle Mittel bieten fr die Arbeit mit Menschen,
deren innere Welt sich somatisch darstellt. Jene knnen genutzt werden um gleichzeitig mit
den persnlichen, kulturellen und den die Vorfahren betreffenden Dimensionen dieser
unbewuten Kommunikationen umzugehen. Der Beitrag baut auf Jungs Ansicht von der
Seele als etwas aus Behltnissen mit innerem Anderen (Komplexen) Bestehenden auf,
desgleichen auf Redfearns Bild der Psyche als Landkartenhnlichem sowie auf Samuels
Gedanken zu verkrperter Gegenbertragung und zur politischen Psyche. Er bezieht sich
weiter auf Butlers Arbeit ber den Krper als ein soziales Phnomen und auf das Thema
der hilosen Nicht-Person oder des Nobody, wie es in Tom Stoppards Bhnenstck
Rosenkranz und Gldenstern untersucht wird, das Shakespeares Hamlet aus der
Perspektive von zweien der ursprnglichen Nebenguren erzhlt.

In questo lavoro viene esposta lanalisi di una donna obesa che arriv a fare esperienza
della propria carne come di un corpo di una famiglia multigenerazionale e personale e
di esperienze culturali di impotenza. Discuto le idee e le immagini che formarono la base
per come mi relazionai a questi temi mentre si presentavano a livello controtransferale.
La mia tesi che approcci clinici che portano a metafore spaziali per la psiche offrono
strumenti importanti per lavorare con quelle persone il cui mondo interno si esprime

Spatial metaphors and somatic communication


somaticamente perch tali metafore possono essere usate per contattare simultaneamente
le dimensioni ancestrali, culturali e personali di tali comunicazioni inconsce. Questo
lavoro si basa sul modo di Jung di vedere la psiche come un contenitore di alterit interne
( i complessi), sullimmagine di Redfearn della psiche come paesaggio e sul pensiero di
Samuel sul controtransfert incarnato e sulla psiche politica. Mi baso inoltre sul lavoro
di Butler sul corpo come fenomeno sociale e sul tema dellessere una non-persona
impotente o un nessuno come viene analizzato nel lavoro di Stoppard Rosencrantz e
Guildstern sono morti che riracconta lAmleto di Shakespeare dalla prospettiva di due
caratteri minori dellopera.


. ,
. ,
, ,
, ,

(), , (
) .

- ,


En este trabajo se explora el anlisis de una mujer obesa que vino a experimentar su
cuerpo como un la encarnacin de experiencias personales y multigeneracionales de la
familia, y culturales de impotencia. Se discuten las ideas e imgenes que formaron la base
de cmo me compromet con estos temas contratransferencialmente. Mi tesis es que los
enfoques clnicos que utilizan metforas espaciales ofrecen herramientas valiosas a la
psique para el trabajo con personas cuyo mundo interior se expresa somticamente
porque tales metforas pueden ser utilizadas para comprometer simultneamente las
dimensiones personales, culturales y ancestrales de las comunicaciones inconscientes.
El trabajo se construye sobre la idea de Jung de la psique como incluida en los bolsillos
de la alteridad interior (los complejos), en la imagen de Redfearn de la psique como
paisaje-similar y en los conceptos de Samuels sobre la contratransferencia encarnada y
en la psique poltica. Tambin se trabaja sobre las ideas de Butler del cuerpo como un
fenmeno social y en el tema de ser a una no-persona impotente o de nadie como es
explorado en la obra de Tom Stoppard Rosencrantz y Guildenstern Estn Muertos la
cual reedita el Hamlet de Shakespeare desde la perspectiva de dos de los caracteres
primordiales de la obra.


Sue Austin

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Psychology, 54, 5, 58199.
(2013). Working with dissociative dynamics and the longing for excess in binge
eating disorders. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 58, 3.
Balint, M. (1959). Thrills and Regressions. London: Mareseld Library.
Benjamin, W. (1977). The Origins of German Tragic Drama. Trans. John Osborne.
London: NLB.
Butler, J. (1997). The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Stanford: Stanford
University Press.
(2001). Giving an account of oneself. Diacritics, 31, 4, 2240.
(2004). Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso.
Colman, W. (2009). Theory as metaphor: clinical knowledge and its communication.
Journal of Analytical Psychology, 54, 2, 199215.
Fleming, J. (2002). Stoppards Theatre: Finding Order Amid Chaos. Austin: University
of Texas Press.
Fuery, P. (1995). Theories of Desire. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Haraway, D. (1997). The persistence of vision. In Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment
and Feminist Theory, eds. K. Conboy, N. Medina & S. Stanbury. New York: Columbia
University Press.
Hartman, G. (1994). The Franco-Prussian War or Jung as a Dissociationist. Online at The
Jung Page
(accessed 2nd March 2013).
Haule, J. (1992). From somnambulism to the archetypes: the French roots of Jungs split
with Freud. In Carl Gustav Jung: Critical Assessments, Vol. 1, ed. R. Papadopoulos.
London: Routledge.
Jung, C. G. (1928). The technique of differentiation between the ego and the gures of
the unconscious. CW 7.
(1935). The Tavistock Lectures. CW 18.
(1992). C.G. Jung Letters. Volume 1, 19061950. Eds. G. Adler & Aniela Jaff.
Trans. R.C. Hull. London: Routledge.
Laplanche, J. (1999). The unnished Copernican Revolution. Trans. Luke Thurston. In
Essays on Otherness, ed. J. Fletcher. London: Routledge.
Midgley, M. (2011). New Scientist, 29th January.
Redfearn, J. (1985). My Self, My Many Selves. London: Karnac Books.
Stack, A. (2005). Culture, cognition and Jean Laplanches enigmatic signier. Theory,
Culture and Society, 22, 3, 6380.
Samuels, A. (1993). The Political Psyche. London: Routledge.
(2000). Post-Jungian dialogues. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 10, 3, 40326.
(2001). Politics on the Couch: Citizenship and the Internal Life. London: Prole
Stoppard, T. (1967). Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. New York: Grove Press.
Winnicott, D.W. (1962). Ego integration in child development. In The Maturational
Processes and the Facilitating Environment, London: Hogarth Press & The Institute
of Psycho-Analysis (1965).

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 347365

The Holy Mother and the shadow:

revisiting Jungs work on the quaternity
Christine Driver, London
Abstract: Through a series of clinical vignettes, this paper considers the impact of
religious belief, specically Roman Catholicism, on the psyche and development of
mind; in particular, there will be a focus on the inuences of the conation of maternal beliefs with a Catholic belief system when the loss or absence of the father is a
primary factor. Further, it will be shown in case examples that split off aspects of
the personal shadow such as conicted and aggressive emotions related to mother
and father can conate with the collective numinous and religious aspects of the dark
side of the God-representation and result in religious persecutory symptoms. This
has a debilitating effect on the emerging personality, leaving it prone to fears, anxieties
and psychotic pockets of experience when there is a numinous persecutory shadow in
the background that affects and limits the individuals development. The implications
and ndings drawn from the clinical vignettes are used to consider the impact of an
interrelationship and conation between aspects of the psyche and religious beliefs.
Jungs work on the Trinity and the problem of the fourth (Jung 1942/1948/1991)
is also reconsidered in relation to the role of the feminine, the maternal and the
reality of matter. A diagram of the multiple levels of the quaternity is used to elaborate
and expand on Jungs concept.
Key words: Catholicism, God-representation, Holy Mother, quaternity, religion,
shadow, Trinity

Many analysts, psychologists and researchers have studied psychology and religion
over the past 120 years. Freudian/post-Freudian, Jungian/post-Jungian and object
relations meta-psychology have all been utilized to study the psychology of religion
and many of these approaches have used developmental psychology and ideas
surrounding this particular eld to consider the way the psyche conceives a godimage. Rizzutos (1981) work is fundamental here; she considers the conjunction
of psychology and religion through psychodynamic, object relations and depth
psychology perspectives concluding that in the course of development each
individual produces an idiosyncratic and highly personalized representation of
God derived from his/her object relations, his/her evolving self-representations,
and his/her environmental system of belief (Rizzuto 1981, p. 90). Studies from

2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12018


Christine Driver

empirical research carried out in the USA (Boyatzis 2006; Dumas &
Nissley-Tsiopinis 2006) indicate how parental religiousness affects parent
and child functioning and Boyatzis (2006, p. 249) emphasizes that such
studies are actually looking at the mothers religiosity and parenting and
that our knowledge of the family-religion link has been ltered mostly
through mothers eyes (ibid. 2006, p. 249).
Figlio (2006), in his examination of fundamentalism, considers issues of
separation and loss and, by implication, the relationship with the maternal.
He points out that fundamentalist belief systems tend toward narcissistic identication with an ego ideal that maintains certainty and defends the individual
(and the group) from loss, desolation and disillusionment. He concludes that
there is a quest for purity, linked with an extensive projection of the impure
(ibid. 2006, p. 123) and that aggression is directed against the outside
representatives of the causes to which they impute their dreaded internal decay
(ibid. 2006, p. 121). These states, which Figlio also links to an extreme form of
the paranoid schizoid position (ibid. 2006, p. 123), are a defence against the
desolation of depressive anxiety.
What both Rizzuto and Figlio touch on is that loss and separation from the
maternal and anxieties around aggression are all implicated in the generation
and perception of a god-image. What this exploration considers is a different
perspective which is the inuence and impact of the mothers religious beliefs on
the developing child and the way these might interact with the infants fears and
anxieties about survival, aggression and separation. It is the way a god-image is
introjected and becomes part of the internal mental apparatus in relation to the
perception of self and other that is signicant in how the individual perceives
and relates to the world. When it is part of family culture, religion inuences
and shapes the psyche through its creeds and dogmas. Simultaneously, the ways
that affects are expressed and managed or defended against through religious
belief contribute profoundly to psychological development.

Jungs work on religion

Jungs work on religion focused on how the structure of the psyche inuenced
the perception of the god-image rather than the impact of religion on the
psyche. Jungs fundamental orientation in this direction is evident in A psychological approach to the dogma of the Trinity (Jung 1942/1948/1991) in which
he examines the emergence of the doctrine of the Trinity and its relationship to
numbers and the dynamic of opposites. Jung concludes that in order to reect
dimensional reality beyond a two-dimensional dyad of opposites, two pairs of
opposites are needed in which the other is the fourth element, whose
nature it is to be the adversary and to resist harmony (Jung 1942/1948/
1991, para. 188). He cites Goethes comment that the fourth thinks for them
all (ibid., para. 183). It was this exclusion of reality and the undifferentiated

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


and primitive affects which formed, for Jung, the problem of the fourth and
the problem of the shadow in relation to the Christian Trinity (ibid.).
For Jung the major problem with the Trinity that underpinned his arguments
with Victor White (Lammers & Cunningham, 2007) was that it did not
incorporate the shadow. For Jung the Christian dogma of the Trinity and the
problem of the fourth (Jung 1942/1948/1991) revolve around the conict with
the father and the importance of integrating the shadow and the dark son
through a resolution of the dynamics of the opposites. From a psychological
point of view it is therefore interesting to consider the Trinity as a motif which
expresses both the struggle with the father and fears around aggression, parricide
and infanticide. Interestingly, what Jung writes in relation to the Trinity mirrors,
in some respects, Freuds work on the Oedipus complex and religious motifs in
Totem and Taboo (1913/1914/2001) and Moses and Monotheism (1937/1939/
2001). Both were, in their different ways, writing about the struggle with the
father and separation in relation to religious motifs. What neither really focused
on was the signicance and importance of the maternal and feminine in this.
Jung is aware of the exclusion of the feminine and comments in relation to the
problem of the fourth that a mother interpretation would reduce the specic
meaning of the Holy Ghost to a primitive image and destroy the most essential
of the qualities attributed to him (Jung 1942/1948/1991, para. 236). This is
an interesting comment but it is one that Jung does not pursue. This failure to
examine the feminine and maternal in relation to his consideration of the Christian
symbol of the Trinity is something that Heisig (1979, p. 64), Clift (1983) and Main
(2006, p. 306) reect upon.
Jung does consider the relationship with the maternal, the mother archetype,
and the maternal god-image and views these interactions in terms of the way in
which everything original in the child is indissolubly blended with the motherimage (1928/1931/1987, para. 723). In an earlier work he considers the battle
for separation from the mother and related religious imagery (Jung 1911-1912/
1952/1981a, para. 41963) and elsewhere writes about separation from the
mother in a symbolic and mythological way in Symbols of the mother and of
rebirth (ibid.). In this text, Jung considers the tension between the desire for
regression to the habits of childhood, and above all the relation to mother
(Jung 1911-1912/1952/1981b, para. 313) including the necessity of the incest
taboo which opposes it. Jung sees these opposites being transcended through
the canalization of libido into mother analogies (ibid.) which enables progression
of the libido and even attains a level of consciousness (ibid.).
However, Jungs work about Christianity, the Trinity and the problem of the
fourth is largely written from a Protestant viewpoint in which the primary struggle
is with God the Father and he overlooks the different and broader dimensions that
would evolve from considering these issues from a more Catholic perspective. What
Jung fails to appreciate is the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism. To
some extent he was aware of his lack of understanding of Catholic theology and this
led him to have frequent discussions with catholic [sic] as well as protestant [sic]


Christine Driver

theologians (Lammers & Cunningham 2007, p. 8). However as Clark (1971)

points out, Protestants tend to conceive their gods as male (ibid.) whereas
Catholics are deeply involved with the feminine principle (ibid., p. 177), especially
via the symbolism and imagery of the Virgin Mary, and this generates a different set
of experiences. What Jung also overlooks is the psychological impact of specic
religious beliefs, creeds, dogmas, forms of worship and the collective shadow on
the psyche, in particular the specic experience of Catholicism and its teachings,
especially when they are experienced through the maternal. Clinical work bears
out some interesting and important perspectives on the inuence of religion on
the psyche and the signicance of the maternal as mediated through a Catholic
belief system. The case material below will provide ground for a re-consideration
of Jungs ideas about the quaternity.

Clinical material
A number of patients with whom I have worked have grown up within Catholic
families. It is clear that the specic creeds, dogmas and rituals of Catholicism
have had powerful emotional, psychological and cognitive inuences, primarily
via the mothers religiosity and belief system, and that these beliefs have
inuenced their childrens mental structures and patterns of perception. I am
basing my reections on the patient group with whom I have worked where
the father was absent either physically or emotionally and the mother, a
devout Catholic, was the primary caregiver. Common within this group is that
memories of home and individual relationships with mother were almost
entirely linked to religious motifs.
One patient described walking with his mother in smart clothes to church.
For a period of time he remembers going every day and recalls the pictures,
statues and the rituals which he felt made mother calmer. On the daily excursion
to church mother would hold his hand and they would climb the big steps into
the calm of the church in which there were pictures and statues and rote learning
of the catechism. He remembered feeling confused about the words of Our
Father in the Lords Prayer, imagining that it was his own father he was praying
to. The words and images around him both at home and in church were very
powerful and instilled a sense of fear. He says, Catholicism came with my
mothers milk and Father was in Heaven. Going with my mother to church I felt
I had to be what God wanted to please her. In one session, he recalled an image
of his mother standing in front of the replace in a blue dress holding him as a
baby just like the statues he saw in church of the Virgin and the Baby Jesus.
For this man, there was little differentiation between the personal parents
and archetypal images drawn from the Catholic culture surrounding the
Another patient was the eldest of three, who believed that his mission was to
be good and to look after his mother and the younger children. At about 6 years

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


old, he remembers going to church with his mother where he had the experience
of feeling poisoned by the pictures of the parables and the Stations of the
Cross. Although this patient was a successful businessman, he experienced
feelings of irrational persecution of having been fed and poisoned by pictures
of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Talents and that they
compelled him to always be the Good Samaritan and make the most of all
that he had. On the one hand, these stories which connected to his mother
and the church allowed him to develop helpful attributes; on the other hand,
they entrapped him as he felt compelled to consciously deny his own aggression
and ruthlessness. Superego imperatives which had evolved from this limiting
background made it difcult for him to form real and satisfying relationships
or to hold a real sense of self.
Another patient, who experienced both of her parents as distant, found a sense of
mother via Catholicism and the Holy Mother. Here the maternal archetype
remained in its numinous form and experience was unmediated by a real and
embodied mother. Consequently, the patients life and presentation in analysis were
threaded with magical thinking and belief in magical happenings. Her life had no
grounded reality and her relationships were idealistic and overshadowed by fantasy.
Without the mediation of a real, embodied human mother, this patient perceived the
world as a kind of religious fairyland where she expected a god-like magician
would eventually make everything alright and where she would have no agency
or role in unfolding life. Within this world, it seemed that her ego was projected into
an ego ideal of God who would organize and take care of her.
For another patient, where death and loss had been a recurring experience, he
said, the Catholic Church became my mother and my father, there was nothing
else. My father was in heaven and at school there were all these fathers but it
was all a deception, a con, they werent him. This same patient linked aggression and loss to a numinous and archetypal gure, the shadow side of God
which he called the Flaming Absolute. He commented:
[The] Flaming Absolute has the power to come in like a dragon and destroy life and
kill all that is good. God is a malevolent God; Hes a hunter who triumphs by death.
This God sits in the shadows and always has the trump card in death. Its the raw
masculine that just desecrates. Flaming Absolutes just wipe out life and that is what
Catholicism is all about, absolutes and death.

This patient felt compelled to protect his mother from the shadow of death
and from his aggression by maintaining a safe haven/heaven. To do so he felt
a need to be a good little man, a manikin for his mother in order to protect
her from his angry and aggressive affects. He imagined wearing a straightjacket
and bullet proof vest so as to protect whats outside from whats inside and
whats inside from whats outside. At an earlier time in his life, Catholicism
reinforced defensive splitting behaviour; it provided a context which delineated
acceptable feelings and a circumscribed life style and, further, it allowed him to
project unwanted awful aspects elsewhere, keeping him (and his mother) safe


Christine Driver

and contained. He commented, Catholicism comes at you and lls whats inside.
It is the authority and shaped the world. Without it the world was a scrappy place
and there was no way of making sense of it. Through the structure and orientation of Catholicism, he believed that by doing the right things he could nd the
key to happiness and that shadow emotions and experiences would be split off
and banished. He commented, . . .to keep safe I couldnt let myself feel those
feelings which were sins. Catholicism made me feel they belonged elsewhere so I
could disown them, they were evil. It had been his hope that the rituals and beliefs
would create a distance from sin and provide him with a life free of conict. He
said, since childhood I have been looking for heaven and I thought there was a
key to nding it. Ive been looking for a saviour and a conict free life but in doing
so I havent learnt from my own experience that life is not like that.

Religious motifs in the transference and countertransference

These same motifs and unconscious connections to Catholic beliefs and symbols
were also present in the transference dynamics with these patients. For the
patient in the last example the transference contained the fantasy/phantasy that
women were magical and Holy Mothers who would and could keep him safe.
Alongside this he held the belief that Father was in Heaven and an unconscious
assumption of a holy couple. His confusion around the father was such that the
imago of the personal father was caught up in the image of God the Father. He
equated the father and masculinity with the raw masculine that just desecrates;
he saw this aspect as the shadow side of God, the Flaming Absolute, in which
masculinity and aggression were one and the same.
The transference and countertransference dynamics were certainly affected
by the patients intertwined personal and religious background. Often I felt
controlled and constrained by these patterns enacted between us; it was as
though bringing in reections or interpretations that might set off difcult
feelings would be sacrilegious. I imagined that I was being asked to watch in
silent contemplation, like a benevolent Madonna whose mission was to keep
this man safe. I began to understand my countertransference as reecting an
unconscious complex which connected to a powerful imperative, linked to both
mother and the Catholic Church, to keep disturbing and unwanted affects out
of the picture and to maintain a unied and unseparated bond. Any disturbing
affects were denied and seen as belonging to some external and numinous force.
My interpretations in relation to the transference induced the response, you
are like a magician, you make things feel safe, you make me feel safe, youre like
a Madonna, youre solid and safe and make me feel held. This idealizing type
of response however was double-edged. On the one hand it enabled the
acknowledgement of a need but it also identied that the transference contained
a longing for me to be Mother, Magician, Madonna to make the patient feel
protected, a numinous dimension of the maternal archetype. This dynamic

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


and tendency to idealize me/woman also acted as a defence against experiencing

my aggression. My interpretations threatened to break up what was set in
stone and disrupt the good feeling (Strachey 1934) between us and it was clear
from his responses that he was, in the early stages of the analysis, confused and
agitated by the shadowy and uncomfortable feelings that emerged in relation to
my interpretations and the inevitable disappointments of the therapeutic
The patient who spoke of an image of his mother holding him as a baby,
likening this scene to the Virgin and Child, actually incarnated this with me
via the transference. In my countertransference I felt moulded by this image,
as if I were cast and xed as the Virgin Mother, and that to break out of this
and introduce other more earthly perspectives and affects was not only sacrilegious but was, for this patient, bringing in something that was dangerous and
did not belong to him. In the transference I, and other women, were archetypal
and numinous mother(s) who knew the ways of the world in a way that seemed
magical to him.
I often felt a sense of frustration with this patient and others in this particular
group as I experienced their relation to their own emotional world as closed off
from thought and that I was the one who had to struggle to think and make
links to what was going on internally and emotionally. Their deep and
undifferentiated dependence on the maternal left me with the sense of being
caught in a deadening coniunctio. Alongside this was my growing awareness
of how much the masculine was marginalized. Aggression, sexuality and
potency were both feared and denied and the phrase that he hates the raw
masculine because that just desecrates epitomized this. My countertransference
led me to conclude that this patient group related to all women as if they were the
Holy Mother, like the Virgin, and that the maternal complex was signicantly
inuenced by numinous expectations. Aggression was left to the shadow and
was kept at a distance as sin and the devil; the darker affects and experiences
were not really accessible for thought or integration and were left, in Bions
(1967/1987) terms, as unprocessed beta elements. Without developed alpha
function (ibid), and the capacity for mentalization (Fonagy et al. 2004),
exibility and play with thinking, these patients were trapped and limited
intrapsychically and interpersonally. Such emotional defences and mental
structures profoundly inuenced perception of the self and others and also
the patients God-image.
Discussion and implications of the clinical material
Analysis of the clinical material identied that within certain developmental
conditions, especially when the father is absent and aggression is split off
and defended against in order to keep mother and infant safe, it is the mothers
defences, beliefs, religiosity and parenting, together with the specic tenets of
the religious upbringing, in this case Catholicism, that generate a religious


Christine Driver

mental framework which affects perception and shapes and inuences the
structure of the psyche and mental functioning. Further, with the failure to
integrate aggression in this kind of maternal psychic structure, loss and death
are experienced as other, powerful, persecutory and numinous.
With the three patients described above there is a pattern of fusion with the
loving mother archetype and the darker aspects of human functioning are cast
out and defended against. The child is limited to identication with the saviour
child, a role that requires the expulsion of the dark child in order to stay safe.
Mothers deeply held beliefs are enacted at the human level and constrict
the emerging psyches of these patients. The expelled contents are frequently
experienced by the child as an external, numinous and persecutory force. Such
belief systems are then carried into adulthood as feeling-toned complexes when
the ego is unable to become conscious or to integrate these split off aspects of
the psyche. The degree of unconsciousness of the split seems to empower the
autonomy and danger of these complexes and renders such patients vulnerable
to enantiodromia and possession by the darker aspects. The child sexual abuse
crimes and sexual enactments that have been perpetrated by Catholic priests are
disturbing examples of this.
Kalscheds work on early loss and trauma is also helpful to consider here.
He writes that for the person who has experienced unbearable pain, the
psychological defense of dissociation allows external life to go on but at a
great internal cost in which the sequelae of the trauma continue to haunt
the inner world via feeling-toned complexes which tend to behave autonomously
as frightening inner beings, and are represented in dreams as attacking
enemies, vicious animals, etc (Kalsched 1999, p. 13). He highlights the
way in which the power of the relationship to the mother inuences the
defences which come into operation following infant trauma and reects that,
aggressive, destructive energiesordinarily available for reality-adaptation
and for healthy defense against toxic not-self objectsare directed back into
the inner world (ibid., p. 19) in which the natural processes of symbolic
integration cannot occur (ibid., p. 23). Kalsched describes this force as a
gure, that belongs to a more primitive level of ego development and
corresponds to what Jung designated as the archetypal shadow or the
magic demon with mysterious powers (ibid., p. 28). This dynamic reects
aspects of the pathology of these patients especially as the persecutory object
is experienced in a literal way as a real external object particularly in the
case of the dynamic of the Flaming Absolute. Without the experience of
maternal/parental containment and mediation in relation to these affects, they
are defended against and become projected objects. When conated with their
religious counterparts, they take on a form of awesome magnitude of either
destructive power or a magic demon with mysterious powers (Jung 1917/
1926/1943/1990, para. 153). Consequently, these affects are not available
for thought or reection and the capacity for metabolization remains limited
and undeveloped.

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


The clinical maelstrom: the challenge of the shadow

In the clinical work the power of the affects were substantial and palpable,
especially when the patients fear, anxiety and fury at the demonic shadow
(e.g., the Flaming Absolute) were forcefully expressed. Holding the tension
between the power of the fantasy and reality was complex and required
sensitive handling. Interpreting the fantasy too quickly would have risked
exposing the patient to raw emotion that such a vulnerable ego was not
equipped to manage. On the other hand, staying with the fantasy too long
risked collusion with the defence which would ultimately cause the patient
to feel betrayed when I moved from a strongly empathic stance to one of a
differentiated other with a separate mind. Navigating a pathway through
this was delicate as the denial of separation made it hard for these patients
to perceive that there was another perspective (another mind) and person
with whom they could engage in dialogue.
I came to realize that the powerful dynamic of the opposites was being
activated and registered through the countertransference. My countertransference
oscillated between a rigid calm and a maelstrom of affect; in consequence I
needed to rigorously engage my own internal process and analytic attitude and
I sought supervisory support to ensure that I could metabolize, contain and think
about what was being projected and defended against. With one patient the
ritual beginning of each session created an illusion of a quiet, contemplative,
almost religious space, separate from the outside world. However, this
atmosphere was soon broken by overwhelming tears, sobs and cries of despair.
Breaking out of the silence these emotions seemed almost disembodied and split
off from reality; this penetrating ow had a powerful effect on me. Gradually
it became apparent that the tears and feelings had two separate, but linked,
aetiologies. At one level they were a reactive response to the loss and grief he
had experienced and was reected in the comment: I just feel lled with tears,
as though there is no end to them, Ive lost so much. On another level, tears
seemed to emerge with a desperate anger at what the patient called the Flaming
Absolute and destroyer of life and a God who is a malevolent God. Hes a
hunter who triumphs by death. This God sits in the shadows and always has
the trump card in death.
Another frequent countertransference affect was that of feeling set in stone
like the Madonna. This alerted me to affects which were being split off and
put me in touch with the opposite experience which included frustration
and anger, isolation and aloneness, tears and depression, loss and separation
and fear of the powerful and numinous aggressor. These affects were sometimes
hard to bear and I found myself not wanting to stay with them. This alerted
me to the defensive organization of the patients and their inclination to split
as I too felt pulled to move away from what felt like overwhelming emotions.
A turning point for another patient occurred when he made the comment that
the world was a scrappy place. This phrase symbolized the beginning of a
realization of the impact of loss and the way his feelings in relation to his


Christine Driver

mother, his partner and others had been denied because they were so difcult to
bear. This enabled the beginning of awareness and integration of difcult and
painful feelings.
The affects defended against revolved primarily around loss, separation and
aggression and resulted in an incapacity to hold a sense of other or develop
a capacity for dialogue (internal or external) in relation to them. The lack of a
real and available other in infancy results in a failure to imagine a sense of
intercourse between a real parental couple. My countertransference experience
of feeling set in stone and like the Madonna also reected this, making it hard
to have a dialogue with myself, let alone the patient. It highlighted the archetypal
nature of the parental couple and how these imagos were also conated
with their numinous and religious counterparts that were reected via Catholic
imagery. The difculty of generating dialogue within the therapy resonated with
the patients terrible dilemma and we were at risk of a collusive transference
enactment if we both were to stay caught in the rigid defensive system. My
gradual introduction of, and reection on, the shadow as it emerged in the
therapeutic relationship helped to begin the development of the patients
capacities for metabolization and the development of a sturdier and more
robust ego structure.
Working with such defensive structures analytically requires an ongoing
dialogue within the therapeutic relationship but not necessarily direct transference
interpretations. My experience has been that in the early stages of the work
transference interpretations have little real impact. This is because these
patients have little or no internal separation, internal dialogue or differentiation
between self and other and, in addition, there is a massive defence against
experiencing anything that puts them in touch with disturbing emotions. As a
result interpretations need to aim to generate a reective capacity within the
patient so that they develop an internal separation and dialogue between ego
and self, fantasy and reality. In the early stages of the work the transference
interpretations needed to take place internally within myself until a sense of self
and other could be achieved and tolerated by the patient. Integration occurred
through the slow mediation of the affects via dialogue and the uncovering of the
feelings of loss, separation and aggression and the associated affects such as grief,
anger, despair, isolation, etc.
My struggle with a dialogue within myself also reected the struggle of the
patient to experience a sense of twoness and a sense of a separate other.
Generating dialogue with these patients enabled them to gradually experience
two people in the room rather than one. In confronting the reality of matter,
such as separation and loss (which became real around breaks) and aggression
(when one patient tipped into depression and blamed me), the negative transference
and unwanted emotions were powerfully evoked and became more accessible for
thought and reection because they were based in the real relationship with me
and not projected on to a numinous other. In this dynamic I became what the
patient did not want me to be; I was not the perfect Madonna, and this catapulted

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


him into experiences of loss. Here we were both thrown into the struggle with the
shadow and, by default, the reality of life and the reality of matter.
The challenge is to enable these patients to feel that separation is not destructive
and that with space in between there can be a creative coupling, a creative
dialogue, rather than an assumption that closeness leads to merger and loss of a
sense of self in order to avoid unbearable anxiety and unbearable feelings. In
addition the therapeutic relationship has to bear the press of archetypal primitive
affects expressed through religious beliefs rmly held by the patients. The central
clinical challenge revolves around the differentiation of self and other, between
therapist and patient. With these patients the combination of a missing father
and a merger with the mother leads to a deadening of the self (Seligman 1985)
and the failure to imagine a couple (Birksted-Breen 1996). This prevents the
necessary space for the tension of opposites and the intercourse of a creative
couple. The challenge in the therapeutic relationship is persevering through
the deadness towards a sense of a creative couple. Generating curiosity in the
therapeutic dyad enlivens interest in the value of what is different and not yet
known. Through a long, slow process, one patient developed a sense of curiosity
about the unknown parts of himself and the unknown in the other. As a result, the
other was no longer persecutory and powerful; rather this differentiated other
became a separate individual with whom dialogue was possible.

Implications in relation to Jungs work on the Trinity and Quaternity

In considering these issues there are clear implications in relation to Jungs work
on the Trinity (Jung 1942/1948/1991). In Jungs construction of the Quaternity
the dynamic that was excluded from the Christian Trinitarian framework of
Father, Son and Holy Spirit was that of the dark son. Jung proposes that a
more logical psychological dynamic is between the father, son and the dark
son (ibid.) or the dark emanation in which the dynamics of the opposites
and the unspeakable conict posited by the duality (ibid., para. 258) activates
the transcendent function (Jung 1916/1957/1991). For Jung the transcendent
function resolves this duality via a fourth principle of separation, thought,
imagination, actualization and spirit and transcends the opposites and results
in a Quaternity.
One sees this argument most clearly when Jung writes about the Quaternity
(ibid.) but also in a more complex form when he draws a sketch of interlocking
quaternios in a letter to White in 1948 (Lammers & Cunningham 2007,
p. 123). In this correspondence complex arguments are evident in a difcult
exchange between Father White and Jung. White accuses Jung of falling into
gnostic dualism, of operating outside his own orbit and that he misunderstands the metaphysics which account for the phenomena (ibid., pp. 140/141).
Jung vigorously rebuts this in a letter written in December 1949 (ibid., p. 140)
and claims that he makes no metaphysical assertions but is considering only the


Christine Driver

psychological in which good and evil are psychological relativities and should not
be projected upon a transcendent being (ibid., p. 143). But nevertheless his paper
on the Trinity, his development of the Quaternity (Jung, 1942/1948/1991), and
the letters to White (Lammers & Cunningham 2007) certainly could be read
as trying to correct theology and this seems to be the way in which White
experiences it.
The argument that was generated between Jung and White characterized two
different perspectives: one psychological and the other theological. However, I
believe that the theological does link to the psychological as evident in the clinical
material cited above. These examples illustrate the way in which psychological
development is inuenced by how emotional life is mediated and experienced
within a religious upbringing through the creeds and dogmas of Catholicism.
Jung (1942/1948/1991) alludes to this when he comments that the persons
unconscious is gripped by the Catholic form no matter how weak his faith may
be (para. 285). Certainly this was evident with the patients described above
whose exposure to archetypal Catholic religious observances and belief systems
conjoined with personal dynamics related to a lack of differentiation from mother
and the absence of father.

Developing the model of the quaternity

It seems clear that Jung has mapped the shadow, the opposites and the struggle
with the father on to the Trinity. What he does not do is consider the impact of
the symbol of the Trinity on the psyche for individuals brought up within
Catholic culture. What Jung also overlooks is the power of the image of the
Virgin Mary in Catholic worship and the impact on the psyche for an individual
brought up within such a context.
Unfortunately, Jung (1942/1948/1991) conates and condenses the dark son,
evil, matter, the Virgin Mary and the maternal on to the fourth point of the
quaternity rather than separating them in order to consider the various and
different dynamics which need to be considered. Bishop (2002) believes that Jung
veered between two versions of the fourth in the quaternity, one linked to the
female element or Virgin Mary, the other to the shadow in the form of the devil
(ibid., p. 155). In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Jung 1951/1987)
Jung does expand his ideas and thinking in relation to the quaternity in detail
and proposes a series of quaternities with higher and lower forms and comments
that just as man culminates above in the idea of a light and good God, so he
rests below on a dark and evil principle, traditionally described as the devil or as
the serpent that personies Adams disobedience (ibid., para. 386).
Not content with this vertical schema, Jung rearranges it into a circular
uroboros in which there is a stronger tension between anthropos-rotundum
and serpens and a lesser tension between homo and lapis on the other (ibid.,
para. 391). His aim, as he points out, is that we can no longer conceive of a psyche

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


that is oriented exclusively upwards and that is not balanced by an equally strong
consciousness of the lower man (ibid., para. 402). Subsequently Jung pursued this
further in Answer to Job (Jung 1952/1991) which is where, according to Stein
(1985), Jung considered Gods tragic contradictoriness with evil and good mixed
together (ibid., p. 162). Stein goes on to comment that this is Jungs most
intensely emotional and personal psychotherapeutic confrontation with biblical
Christian tradition (ibid.).
Within the clinical work described, however, it is the role of the feminine
which is crucial and Jung comments in Symbols of Transformation (Jung
1911-1912/1952/1981a) that the libido which builds up religious structures
regresses in the last analysis to the mother, and thus represents the real bond
through which we are connected with our origins (ibid., para. 669). This
comment has particular relevance to the clinical work under consideration
and suggests the complex interrelationship between the maternal and religious
structures and symbols. However, in The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche
(Jung 1951/1987) and Answer to Job (Jung 1952/1991) Jung focuses largely on
the dynamics with the Father although he does examine the role of the feminine
in the Old and New Testament and comments on how Mary is elevated to
the status of a goddess and consequently loses something of her humanity (ibid.,
para. 626). In Mysterium Coniunctionis (Jung 1955/1956/1981) Jung goes on to
consider the multi-natured aspect of Luna (ibid., para. 218), the medieval
importance of the Virgin Mary as mediator and the introduction of the dogma of
the Assumption in 1950 as taking up not only of the soul but of the body of Mary
into the Trinity (ibid., para. 237) with a resulting quaternity of Holy Ghost (Dove),
God the Father, Christ and Mary (ibid.). Here, and in Answer to Job (Jung 1952/1991)
and The Symbolic Life (Jung 1977/1993), we see Jung beginning to explore in
much more detail the role and signicance of the feminine, especially in relation
to her numinous forms and in particular the role of the Virgin Mary and the
maternal. Jung, at the end of his life, was therefore beginning to grapple with the
dynamics of the feminine in religion but tended to remain in the position of
analysing the religious symbols rather than considering the impact and effect that
these symbols have on the psyche in terms of what they contain and what they omit.
In the exploration of this clinical work, the inuence of the interaction of the
psyche with religious symbols is central but the clinical material demonstrates
that there are a number of overlapping quaternios in which the fourth point relates
to the negative and dark aspect of the earthly and numinous dimensions of child,
mother, father and reality. What is also clearly evident for this patient group is that it
is the relationship to the mother which is signicant in determining how the God
image is perceived. In parallel to this the Catholic religious symbols, creeds and
dogmas inuence perception and the feeling-toned complexes.
As a consequence, an alternative representation of Jungs idea of the quaternity is
proposed and the diagram below represents the multidimensional nature of
overlapping dynamics. Each aspect has its opposite, the psyche/soul being the
mediating factor between the opposites and the spirit being the point of separation,


Christine Driver

actualization and thought within and through each. Perception of the God-image
occurs within and through the axis of the relationship with the parents initiated
via the relationship with the mother.

This diagram builds on Jungs ideas around the quaternity and the essential
dynamics between the opposites of the light and dark sides of the psyche.
This diagram also proposes the dynamics between the psyche/soul and the
spirit/self in conjunction with the dynamics of the child, the maternal and paternal
that are inuenced by the God image. In particular this clinical study identies
the way in which the childs experience of religion and religious beliefs is
mediated via the initial and primary relationship with the mother and that it
is the nature of her beliefs alongside that of the actual belief systems, dogmas
and creeds that affect the way in which the psyche develops and what can,
or cannot, be integrated. The literal absence of the personal father leaves the
door open for such individuals to be powerfully affected by archetypal images
and beliefs related to God the Father.
The clinical work illustrates the way in which the psyche sits at a fulcrum point
between the tension of the opposites and signicantly between the light and
dark sides of matter and the light and dark sides of the parental archetypes
and imagos in which it is the psyche, via the ego, that is required to deal with
the reality of matter and physical and spiritual experience. Jung uses the word
psyche as meaning the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as
unconscious (Jung 1921/1989, para. 797) and soul as reecting the moving
force, that is, life force (Jung 1931/1987, para. 663) and personality (Jung
1921/1989, para. 797) in its fullest sense. Jung saw spirit as the non-material . . .
incorporeal . . . and the opposite of matter (Samuels et al. 1986, p. 140)
which gives meaning to life and the possibilities of its greatest development
(Jung, 1926/1987, para. 648). Later, in his explorations of the God-image, Jung

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


connected spirit to his concept of the Self and the God-image and made the
interesting observation that the God-image is immediately related to, or identical
with, the self, and everything that happens to the God-image has an effect on the
latter (Jung, 1951/1989, para. 170). It is interesting that in Jungs reections on
the problem of the fourth he largely focuses on religious symbols and seems to veer
away from exploring one of the primary struggles of life, the struggle with the
reality of matter especially in relation to separation and loss.
What Jung seemed to be aiming for in his work in Aion (Jung 1951/1989)
was a formulation which conveyed the complexity of life. The dilemma in
trying to put this into diagrammatic form is that a diagram can only
represent such a complexity but can never fully capture it because life and
nature are affected by so many overlapping dimensions. What the above
diagram does identify, however, is a key aspect of depth psychology namely
the interactive dynamics within the psyche. Samuels (1989) reects this when
he comments depth psychology is less about things than about the relations
between things, and, ultimately, about the relations between sets of relations
(ibid., p. 9).
With the patients discussed here, their reality was skewed towards the light
reality of matter and the light reality of the parental archetypes and the
numinous leaving dark reality excluded and externalized. This defensive
dynamic denied the tension of the opposites and resulted in a diminished
capacity within the psyche and a diminished capacity to deal with life and its
complexity. As one patient commented later in the analytic work:
I always felt that the spiritual world was completely separate from the physical world.
I never imagined they might interact. That explains why I could never understand
death and why I felt on the edge of relationships. I have been viewing things from
the spiritual world and Catholicism and not from the physical.

What this identies, and the above diagram illustrates, is that the psyche/soul
has to struggle with the reality of matter and life and death and that it is also
the point at which the ego within the psyche can get pulled into identifying with
or existing within the light or dark poles. The psyche/soul via the ego therefore
has to deal with the tension of the opposites between the light and dark sides
but also between the reality of matter, the embodied and numinous aspects of
the archetypes, the personal and collective unconscious and the collective
external world, in this case dominated by Catholicism.

From the work with these patients, it can be concluded that what religious belief
systems do, especially when experienced from infancy via the maternal, is
inuence and determine the development of the psyche. From a neuroscience
perspective one could postulate that they inuence and determine the neural


Christine Driver

pathways within the brain and consequently affect mental functioning. This is
possibly because religious beliefs are internalized as moral and psychological
imperatives and partly because the narratives, creeds and dogmas resonate
with the internal dynamics and conicts of the developing psyche resulting in
a feed-back loop between the personal and the collective. This feed-back loop
is powerful when internal conicts and dynamics are ruled by and interrelate
with religious creeds and dogmas. Within, for example, a Catholic upbringing,
religion and psychology conate to form scaffolding within the psyche which
creates a psycho-religious mindset in which experience is viewed as having a
primarily religious source and aetiology.
Religion offers the individual a way to explain real and existential dilemmas
and internal fears and anxieties in relation to life and death. These belief
systems provide a narrative about how the world was created, propose a moral
code and give substance and meaning to life, death and life after death. We
cannot carry out clinical work without considering the impact of the collective
and religion is no exception because it shapes and informs what is internalized
by the individual. For these patients and those who have been brought up
within a specic religious framework, there is exposure from birth to a structure
which explains and formulates a worldview and this has implications for
psychological and moral development. What this study demonstrates is
that religion and psychology cannot be separated because religions a structure
about the fundamental questions of life and death and a powerful
framework on to which psychological motifs adhere, interrelate and structure
the mind.

A travers une srie de vignettes cliniques, cet article considre limpact des croyances
religieuses, prcisment catholiques romaines, sur la psych et le dveloppement de lesprit;
lattention sera porte sur les inuences du mlange des croyances maternelles avec un
systme de croyance catholique lorsque la perte ou labsence de pre est le facteur primaire.
Plus loin, il sera montr que la forme humaine et personnelle de lombre, telles que les
motions agressives et conictuelles vis vis du pre et de la mre, lorsquelles sont clives
par la psych, rejoignent le numineux collectif et les aspects religieux du ct sombre de
la reprsentation de Dieu, et aboutissent des symptmes de perscution religieuses. Cela
a un effet dbilitant sur la personnalit en dveloppement, la laissant en proie aux peurs, aux
angoisses, et un vcu de noyaux psychotiques, quand il y a une ombre numineuse
perscutrice en arrire-plan qui affecte et limite le dveloppement de lindividu. Les implications et dcouvertes retires des vignettes cliniques sont utilises pour considrer limpact
dune interrelation et dune conuence entre certains aspects de la psych et les croyances
religieuses. Le travail de Jung sur la Trinit et la question du quatre (Jung 1942/1948)
est aussi reconsidre en lien avec le rle du fminin, le maternel et la ralit de la matire .
Un schma des diffrents niveaux de la quaternit est utilis pour laborer et largir le
concept de Jung.

The Holy Mother and the shadow: revisiting the quaternity


Mit Hilfe einiger klinischer Vignetten wird in diesem Artikel die Auswirkung religisen
Glaubens, speziell des rmisch-katholischen, auf die Psyche und die Entwicklung des
Geistes betrachtet. Ein besonderer Fokus richtet sich dabei auf die Einsse der
Verbindung maternalen Glaubens mit dem katholischen Glaubenssystem in den Fllen,
in denen der Verlust oder die Abwesenheit des Vaters einen vorrangigen Faktor bildet.
Desweiteren wird aufgezeigt, da sich die persnliche und menschliche Ausprgung
des Schattens, wie etwa als konikthafte und aggressive Emotionen in den Beziehungen
zu Mutter und Vater, wenn sie durch die Psyche abgespalten wird, mit den numinosen
und religisen Aspekten der dunklen Seite der Gottesreprsentanz verbindet, und in
religise verfolgende Symptomen resultiert. Dies hat einen schwchenden Effekt auf
die sich bildende Persnlichkeit, machen sie anfllig fr Furcht, ngstlichkeiten und
psychotische Erfahrungsbereiche insoweit sich ein numinoser verfolgender Schatten
im Hintergrund bendet, der die individuelle Entwicklung beeinut und begrenzt.
Die aus den klinischen Vignetten gezogenen Implikationen und Befunde werden
verwandt, um die Wirkung einer gegenseitigen Beziehung und Verschmelzung von
Aspekten der Psyche und religisem Glauben zu betrachten. Jungs Arbeit ber die
Dreieinigkeit und des Problems des Vierten (Jung 1942/1948) wird berdacht auch
in Bezug auf die Rolle des Weiblichen, das Maternale und die Realitt des Faktischen.
Um Jungs Konzept zu verdeutlichen und weiterzuentwickeln wird ein Diagramm der
vielfachen Ebenen der Quaternitt herangezogen.

Mediante una serie di vignette cliniche, in questo scritto si prende in considerazione

limpatto del credo religioso, specicamente del Cattolicesimo Romano, sulla psiche e sullo
sviluppo della mente; con particolare attenzione alle inuenze della fusione dei credi
materni con un sistema di credi Cattolici laddove la perdita o lassenza del padre un fattore
primario. Si mostrer inoltre che la forma personale e umana dellombra, come emozioni
conittuali e aggressive nei confronti della madre e del padre, se scissa dalla psiche, si fonde
con il numinoso collettivo e con gli aspetti religiosi del lato oscuro della rappresentazione
di Dio e d vita a sintomi religiosi persecutori. Ci ha un effetto debilitante sulla personalit
emergente lasciandola in preda a paure, ansie e contenitori psicotici di esperienze quando
nello sfondo c unombra persecutoria numinosa che inuenza e limita lo sviluppo
dellindividuo. Le implicazioni e le scoperte tratte dalle vignette cliniche vengono usate
per considerare limpatto dellinterrelazione e della confusione tra aspetti della psiche e credi
religiosi. Viene anche riconsiderato il lavoro di Jung sulla Trinit e sul problema del quarto
(Jung 1942/1948) in relazione al ruolo del femminile, del materno e della realt della
materia. Viene utilizzato un diagramma dei molteplici livelli della quaternit per elaborare
e ampliare il concetto di Jung.

, , ;


Christine Driver

. , , ,
, ,
, , ,
. ,
, ,
( 1942/1948) ,

Por medio de una serie de vietas clnicas, este trabajo considera el impacto de las creencias
religiosa, especcamente del catolicismo, en la psique y el desarrollo de la mente; en particular, se focalizar en las inuencias de la anexin de certidumbres maternales con un sistema de
creencias catlicas cuando la prdida o la ausencia del padre representan un factor primario.
An ms, se mostrar que la forma personal y humana de la sombra, como conictiva y las
emociones agresivas en relacin con la madre y el padre, cuando son disociadas de la psique,
conuyen en el colectivo integrndose a los aspectos sobrenaturales y religiosos del lado
oscuro de la imago de Dios y como resultado surgen sntomas persecutorios de carcter
religioso. Esto tiene un efecto debilitante en la personalidad emergente dejndola propensa
a sentir temores, ansiedades y experiencias de contenido psictico cuando hay una sombra
persecutoria sobrenatural en la base que afecta y limita el desarrollo del individuo. Las
implicaciones y las conclusiones extradas de las vietas clnicas son utilizadas para considerar
el impacto de la interrelacin y la anexin entre aspectos de la psique y las creencias religiosas.
El trabajo de Jung sobre la Trinidad y el problema del cuarto (Jung 1942/1948) tambin es
estudiado en relacin con el papel de lo femenino, lo maternal y lo de la realidad de la
materia asunto. Se usa un diagrama de los mltiples niveles de la Cuaternidad para elaborar
y expandir el concepto de Jung.

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Dumas, J. E. & Nissley-Tsiopinis, J. (2006). Parental global religiousness, sanctications
of parenting, and positive and negative coping as predictors of parental and child
functioning. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15, 4, 289310.

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Figlio, K. (2006). The absolute state of mind in society and the individual. Psychoanalysis,
Culture and Society, 11, 11943.
Fonagy, P., Gergely, G., Jurist, E., Target, M. (2004). Affect Regulation, Mentalization,
and the Development of the Self. New York: Other Press.
Freud, S. (1913/1914/2001). Totem and Taboo and Other Works. London: Vintage
Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
(1937/1939/2001). Moses and Monotheism. London: Vintage / Hogarth Press
and the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Heisig, J. W. (1979). Imago Dei. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press / London: Associated
University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1911-1912/1952/1981a). Symbols of Transformation, CW 5.
(1911-1912/1952/1981b). Symbols of the mother and of rebirth. Symbols of
Transformation. CW 5.
(1916/1957/1991). The transcendent function. CW 8.
(1917/1926/1943/1990). On the psychology of the unconscious. CW 7.
(1921/1989). Denitions in Psychological Types. CW 6.
(1926/1987). Spirit and life. CW 8.
(1928/1931/1987). Analytical psychology and Weltanschauung. CW 8.
(1931/1987). Basic postulates of analytical psychology. CW 8.
(1942/1948/1991). A psychological approach to the dogma of the Trinity. CW 11.
(1951/1987). The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. CW 8.
(1951/1989). Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self. CW 9ii.
(1952/1991). Answer to Job. CW 11.
(1955/1956/1981). Mysterium Coniunctionis. CW 14.
(1977/1993). The Symbolic Life. CW 18.
Kalsched, D. (1999). The Inner World of Trauma. London: Routledge.
Lammers, A. C. & Cunningham, A. (2007). The Jung-White Letters. Hove & New York:
Main, R. (2006). Religion. In The Handbook of Jungian Psychology, ed. R. K.
Papadopoulos. Hove & New York: Routledge.
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Chicago Press.
Samuels, A., Shorter, B., Plaut, F. (1986). A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis.
London & New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Samuels, A. (1989). The Plural Psyche. London: Routledge
Seligman, E. (1985). The half-alive ones. In The Father, ed. A. Samuels. London: Free
Association Books.
Stein, M. (1985). Jungs Treatment of Christianity. Chicago, Illinois: Chiron Publications.
Strachey, J. (1934). The nature of the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis. International
Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 15, 1, 12759.

[MS rst received March 2012; nal version March 2013]

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 366386

Secular and religious: the intrinsic doubleness

of analytical psychology and the hegemony of
naturalism in the social sciences
Roderick Main, University of Essex, UK
Abstract: In recent years a number of prominent social theorists, including Jrgen
Habermas and Charles Taylor, have voiced concern about the hegemony of naturalistic,
secular assumptions in the social sciences, and in their different ways have sought to address
this by establishing greater parity between secular and religious perspectives. This paper
suggests that C.G. Jungs analytical psychology, which hitherto has been largely ignored
by social theory, may have something to contribute on this issue as it can be understood
coherently both empirically, without reference to transcendent reality, and metaphysically,
with reference to transcendent reality. It is argued that, despite his denials of any metaphysical
intent, Jung does in fact engage in metaphysics and that together the empirical and
metaphysical vectors of his thought result in a rich and distinctive double perspective. This
dual secular and religious perspective can be seen as part of Jungs own critique of the
hegemony of naturalism and secularism, which for Jung has profound social as well as
clinical relevance. The concern and approach that Habermas and Taylor share with
Jung on this issue may provide some grounds for increased dialogue between analytical
psychology and the social sciences.
Key words: Jrgen Habermas, C.G. Jung and metaphysics, naturalism, religious,
secular, social science, Charles Taylor

There can be no doubt about C. G. Jungs (18751961) interest in both the secular
world, epitomized by the natural and social sciences in which he forged his career,
and the religious world, which for Jung meant not only the Protestant Christianity
of his immediate milieu but also other variants of Christianity, other Western
religions, and numerous non-Western, pre-modern, and esoteric traditions. His
interest in and advocacy of the values of both worlds was energetic and lifelong.
On the one hand, he trained in science and medicine; was accordingly inuenced
by developments in biology, physics, psychiatry, and other sciences; achieved early
international success as an experimental psychologist; protested throughout his life
that he was working as an empiricist; and corresponded and collaborated with a
number of eminent scientists, including most notably the Nobel Prize-winning

2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12019

Secular and religious


physicist Wolfgang Pauli (see Shamdasani 2003; Main 2004, pp. 10005, 12124;
Meier 2001). On the other hand, Jung was born of a long line of pastors,
was inuenced by his readings in theology and comparative religion, underwent
several profound religious experiences at various times in his life, wrote extensively
on a wide variety of religious traditions and topics and corresponded and
collaborated with pastors and theologians, most notably the Dominican Father
Victor White (see Heisig 1979; Main 2004, pp. 10005, 12931; Lammers &
Cunningham 2007).
Along with many contemporaries Jung experienced the relationship between
science and religion as a tension, a tension which, because of the depth of his
experience of and commitment to both, seems to have affected him with especial
vividness and urgency (see, e.g., Jung 1963, p. 91 et passim; Main 2004,
pp. 10002). As Peter Homans has argued, this tension undoubtedly inuenced
the nal shape of the psychological theory to which Jung gave rise: during his
mature life, Homans writes, [Jung] tried to reconcile the tension between
tradition [religion/the sacred] and modernity [science/the secular], and his
psychology is an attempt [. . .] to close what most people consider the unbridgeable
gap between [these] two orientations to the world (1979/1995, p. 186). Although
Jung felt that for him psychiatry, his eventual choice of career, provided a place
where the two currents of [his] interest could ow together (1963, p. 130), he
nevertheless continued throughout his life to work on the relationship between
science and religion, and at different times and in different respects he viewed
the relationship between them variously in terms of conict, independence,
dialogue, and integration (Main 2004, pp. 10304). Consistently, however, he
seems to have been concerned that neither should eclipse the other.
In this paper I argue that the psychological model Jung developed, drawing on
his dual commitments, is both secular and religious. By this I mean that his
psychology can be understood coherently both empirically, without reference to
transcendent reality, and metaphysically, with reference to transcendent reality.1
Jung himself repeatedly denies that he has any metaphysical intent in his psychological work. Despite this, I think it can be shown that he does in fact engage in
metaphysics, albeit implicitly. I argue that this metaphysical aspect of his thinking
can complement rather than be effaced by, remain subordinate to, or supersede his
empiricism and that together the empirical and metaphysical vectors of his
thought can result in a rich and distinctive double perspective.
I set out the case for nding this double perspective in Jungs work in some
detail, for the perspective not only has immense clinical value, in Jungs view,

Elsewhere I have noted the deep interconnection between the notions of the sacred and the secular
implied in Jungs thought and how from the perspective of the unconscious as Jung understands it
these notions may be referring to the same underlying unitary reality (2008, pp. 38081). For the
purposes of the present paper, however, the important task is to clarify Jungs relationship to the
secular and religious as I have here concisely differentiated and dened them.


Roderick Main

but also underpins a distinctive contribution that analytical psychology can make
to a range of debates and issues in the contemporary social scientic study of
religion.2 The widespread and, for many, unexpected resurgence of religion in
the public sphere over the last two or three decades has prompted a number of
prominent social thinkers to reconsider the relationship between secularity and
religion (e.g., Taylor, C. 2007; Taylor, M. 2007; Warner et al. 2010; Calhoun
et al. 2011). For some this reconsideration has involved questioning the way
secular assumptions are privileged over religious ones in the generation of the
knowledge that informs our individual, social, and political identities and
processes of decision making. Such privileging, it is argued, can result in some
voices being excluded, some individuals and groups being aggrieved, and an
overall impoverishment in the range of perspectives contributing to academic
and cultural debate (e.g., Taylor 2009; Butler et al. 2011). Two of the most
prominent thinkers who have expressed concerns along these lines are the German
philosopher and sociologist Jrgen Habermas (b. 1929) and the Canadian
philosopher and social thinker Charles Taylor (b. 1930), both of whom, in their
different ways, have sought to address the problem by establishing greater parity
between secular and religious perspectives (see especially Habermas 2008;
Taylor, C. 2007). In the latter part of this paper I argue that Jungs dual secular
and religious perspective is part of his own critique of the hegemony of naturalism
and secularism and provide some indications of how the afnities between his
position and those of Habermas and Taylor could open up possibilities for
productive interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration between analytical
psychology and at least some contemporary social sciencea dialogue that
hitherto has been little explored.

Jungs self-identication as a scientist (e.g., 1938/1940, para. 2; 1976, p. 567)
seems justied in relation to at least his early work on the word association
experiments (Jung 190437), for which he gained international peer recognition
(Shamdasani 2003, pp. 4649). And as rigorous a scientic critic as Pauli could
write even of Jungs later work that he was certain that one day it will all be

In previous publications I have deployed the notion of Jungs thought being both secular and
religious to understand the deeply polarizing mutual projection that can occur between adherents of
extreme secular and religious positions, including in the academic study of religious fundamentalism
(2006, 2013); to comprehend better the subjectivity of contemporary individuals for whom a
putatively spiritual aspect of their sense of self, alongside its naturalistic aspect, is a major
source of energy, cohesion, commitment, and value, as for example in much holistic spirituality
(2008); and to explore some of the dynamics underlying the widespread cultural processes of
disenchantment and re-enchantment (2011, 2013). In none of these works have I had the space
to explain as fully as I shall do so here the grounds on which I attribute this dual secular and
religious perspective to Jung.

Secular and religious


scientic psychology and that through it the way was paved for an integration of
the psychology of the unconscious into the natural sciences (quoted in Gieser
2005, pp. 165, 168). However, it has also been questioned whether Jungs method
and theory, especially the elements of his later, distinctive model of analytical
psychology, are not so thoroughly shot through with unscientic procedures,
concepts, and arguments as to undermine their claim to scientic status (Heisig
1979, pp. 10345).
One response to this charge of being unscientic could be that analytical
psychology is a complex body of thought with different strands that it might
be helpful to differentiate. A useful resource in exploring this possibility is
J. Harley Chapmans book Jungs Three Theories of Religious Experience
(1988). Chapman identies within Jungs work three separate ways of explaining
religious experience, which he terms Jungs scientic-psychological,
phenomenological-mythological and metaphysical-theological theories. (I shall
refer to these, more concisely, as Jungs scientic, phenomenological and
metaphysical theories.) Chapman notes that, while the key texts articulating these
three theories tend to be from Jungs earlier period in the case of his scientic
theory, from his middle period in the case of the phenomenological theory, and
from his last decade in the case of the metaphysical theory, each theory can also
be seen as present or recurring over a span of years and perhaps throughout his
career (ibid., p. 6). If there are in Jungs work other theories than a strictly
scientic one at play, it is not surprising that his work should in certain respects
appear unscientic. But this should not preclude the possibility of a credible
scientic theory operating within such a framework.
For Chapman, Jungs scientic theory, articulated above all in Psychology of
the Unconscious [Transformations and Symbols of the Libido] (Jung, 191112),
The theory of psycho-analysis (1913), and On psychic energy (1928),
is governed by a model of the psyche as a stream of vital energy capable of
manifestation in various forms and (in principle, measurable) intensities. Jungs
goal with this theory is to explain the psyche and its manifestations (for Chapman,
specically religious experience) as part of the natural world and to do this
through a process of objective, critical inquiryobservation, classication,
hypothesis, and empirical test (1988, p. 152). Chapman sees Jung as treating
the object of investigation (experience of the god-image) as a to some degree
intersubjectively observable and veriable datum, interpreting this datum
through comparison with other similar experiences with an eye toward grasping
the regularity or necessity in [these compared] data, and ultimately explaining the
datum in terms of his libido theory as a quantum of psychic energy (ibid., p. 153;
see also pp. 34, 1362).
Chapman does not evaluate how rigorously or effectively Jung applies this
theory. Any such evaluation would be complicated by the coexistence alongside
the scientic theory of what Chapman calls Jungs phenomenological theory. This
theory, which Chapman considers to be articulated in Jungs works mainly
between about 1930 and the middle 1950s (1988, p. 7), is governed by the model


Roderick Main

of an individual on a quest for wholeness. It is presented not from the viewpoint of

a relatively impartial observer, as in the scientic theory, but from that of a totally
engaged individual who does not just critically investigate but encounters and
enters dialogue with numinous powers in the form of archetypal symbols and
provides rich subjective descriptions of such encounters (1988, p. 153; see also
pp. 4, 63122).3 This framework clearly has a different goal from the scientic
theory and involves a different kind of activity and a different relationship
between subject and object (ibid., p. 4). Yet Jung himself seems to have conated
these theories. He saw the phenomenological aspect of his work as also scientic
insofar as it dealt with psychic events which are observable facts (1976, p.
567). For him as a continental European, the term scientic was not restricted,
as he says it seems to be in the Anglo-Saxon realm, to physical, chemical, and
mathematical evidence only but encompassed any kind of logical and systematic
approach (ibid.), under which description he clearly considered his own
phenomenological approach to be included. As he pronounced during a seminar
to the Guild of Pastoral Psychology, London, in 1939: Our science is
phenomenology (1939, para. 692).
Whether or not the scientic and phenomenological theories as differentiated
by Chapman are both in a sense scientic, both are, as Chapman accepts,
empirical (1988, p. 155). For the purposes of the present paper, this is sufcient
to establish that both can be taken as secular theories in the sense that they attempt
to explain data without presupposing or referring to transcendent realities.
There are many strong contrasts between the scientic and phenomenological
theories: for example, the one aims at generating knowledge of nature through
critical investigation, the other at transforming the individual through numinous
encounters; the objective, self-eliminating attitude and observational stance of
the one contrasts with the subjective, self-involving attitude and participatory
stance of the other; and explanation is provided in the one by a scientic
hypothesis and in the other by a myth (Chapman 1988, p. 4). The co-existence
within Jungs work of these two contrasting approaches already creates the
possibility for certain kinds of doubleness: Jung as both scientist and therapist,
for instance; or a dual focus on linear rationality on the one hand and holistic,
symbolic modes of thought on the other. However, I am concerned in this paper
with another, more fundamental doubleness: between the secular orientation
implied by both the scientic and the phenomenological theories and the religious
orientation implied by Jungs metaphysical theory.

For further discussion of Jung and phenomenology, see Brooke 1991, 2000; Gieser 2005, pp.
15966. Suzanne Gieser argues that Jungs characterization of his psychology as phenomenological
was prompted by Pauli, who in turn was inuenced by Ernst Mach (ibid., pp. 15960). Jung seems
not to have been directly inuenced by Edmund Husserls work (Brooke 2000, pp. 17; Gieser
2005, p. 160).

Secular and religious


There are several signicant hints that Jung found the scientic and phenomenological theories less than totally adequate, and there are moments too where, even
in the face of his own disavowals, he implicitly draws on a metaphysical theory.
These hints and moments, some of which I note below, are arguably prompted
by the logic of Jungs emphasis on wholeness within his psychology. So long as
he viewed religious phenomena only empirically, naturalistically, within a secular
framework, he was voicing only part of what these phenomena have meant to
people. The transcendental, metaphysical, specically religious aspect of the
phenomena, that which cannot be captured within a secular framework, also
demands voice if the aim, as seems to have been Jungs aim, is to be true to human
It is clear from his writings that Jung did not want to own up to having a metaphysical theory. He engaged extensively with metaphysical and religious subject
matter but always, he claimed, as a psychologist, focusing on the empirical aspects
of such subject matter, the fact and phenomenology of peoples holding such views
(1939/1954, paras. 75960). Since the case for Jungs being a metaphysician is
being made in the face of his own denials, some plausible account needs to be given
of why he might have denied it and why he might be mistaken in this denial.
Jungs resistance to any description of his work as metaphysical almost certainly
stems from his not wanting to jeopardize his standing as a scientist at a time when
many new sciences, not least psychology, were struggling to differentiate themselves from philosophy (Shamdasani 2003, pp. 16379). While Jung was keenly
aware of the close relationship between psychology and philosophythe two,
he wrote, are linked by indissoluble bonds; the one invariably furnishes the
unspoken [. . .] assumptions of the other (1931, para. 659)and while he
frequently referred to philosophers and philosophical issues in his publications,
his understanding of metaphysics in particular as the antithesis of science caused
him to be suspicious of it as an activity. Based on his reading of Kant, he tended
to view metaphysics as, in Chapmans words, a form of rootless rationalism
that could provide only empty knowledge, a news from nowhere (1988,
pp. 13536. and n. 34). Further, because in Jungs view philosophers who engage
in metaphysics are unwittingly rationalizing archetypal experiences, there is a
moral danger that they will reduce such experiences to conscious concepts
and manipulate them carelessly, underestimating their autonomy and power
(ibid., p. 136).
The metaphysical theory that Chapman nevertheless discerns in Jungs work,
mainly evinced in texts and letters from Jungs last decade, is governed by a model
of the human being as a creature or splinter (of the innite deity) (1988, p. 5).
What Jung attempts to understand with this implicit metaphysical theory and to
articulate through ontological reection and confession is the ultimate (God as
a reality) and our relationship to it (ibid., p. 4). The central thesis of the theory
is that the experience of the numinous archetype, especially of the central archetype of the self or God-image, is an experience of God the metaphysical ultimate


Roderick Main

(ibid., p. 123). Put more tentatively: numinous data, well attested in the inner
experience of many people across culture and history including contemporary
experience, are ultimately best explained as the expression in the human psyche
of the metaphysical ultimate (ibid., p. 124).
It is beyond the scope of the present paper to set out and evaluate all the
evidence for Jungs having held, implicitly if not explicitly, a metaphysical theory.
But an indication can be given of the kinds of evidence there are. For his part,
Chapman enumerates ve kinds of evidence, which cumulatively he considers
sufcient to make the case. First are a number of direct statements. For example,
on 1 October 1953 Jung wrote to Pastor Werner Niederer that If one assumes that
God affects the psychic background and activates it or actually is it, then the
archetypes are, so to speak, organs (tools) of God (1976, p. 130). The context
strongly suggests that Jung does make the assumption and draw the conclusion
presented hypothetically here (Chapman 1988, p. 124; see further, pp.12528).
Second is Jungs metaphysical rhetoric when writing about archetypes. By this
Chapman means both Jungs drawing on the language of metaphysicians and
theologians such as Plato, Augustine and Dionysius and his using the language
of universality, immutability, and eternality (1988, pp. 128-29). In part, such
rhetoric can be explained by Jungs terminological conservatism and wish to
use language familiar to his educated readers (ibid., p. 128), and he generally
hedges it around with anti-metaphysical disclaimers (ibid., p. 129). But at times
Jung seems to use such language not simply to describe empirical facts in oldfashioned terms but also to evoke elusive, metaphysical realities (1976, p. 70).
As Chapman puts it:
Jung attempts both to explain and to discloseto reach out to what is through selfrestricted manipulating and expression of ideas and to let reality disclose itself through
language (let Being speak). Jung in part, therefore, is engaging in metaphysical
rhetoric, and such rhetoric cannot be scrubbed clean of all metaphysical import.
(1988, p. 133; emphasis added)

Third is Jungs appeal to Kant to support his assertion that things-in-themselves

(for Jung, archetypes-in-themselves) can be known only through their effects
(for Jung, through archetypal images). On this Chapman quotes Edward Casey:
even if the real is to be judged only by its effects, to assert the existence of these effects
(as Jung explicitly does) is necessarily to presume the reality of their archetypal cause,
and thus to indulge in metaphysics despite Kants and Jungs own warnings.
(quoted in Chapman 1988, p. 138)

Fourth is Jungs use of Rudolf Ottos concept of the numinous. While Jung
attempts to use this concept immanently, Chapman argues that when, for
example, Jung asserts to a correspondent that the term God should only be
applied in case of numinous inconceivability (Jung 1976, p. 512), he ends up in
agreement with Otto in placing God beyond any naturalistic framework such as
psyche (Chapman 1988, p. 140).

Secular and religious


Fifth and last of the kinds of evidence enumerated by Chapman is Jungs

concern with theology and theologians. While not wishing to make theological
assertions himself, Jung seemed willing for them to be made by theologians on
the basis of his discoveries. It would be a regrettable mistake, Jung writes
with typical caution, if anybody should take my observations as a kind of
proof of the existence of God. They prove only the existence of an archetypal
God-image, which to my mind is the most we can assert about God psychologically
(1938/1940, para. 102). He continues, however: But as it is a very important and
inuential archetype, its relatively frequent occurrence seems to be a noteworthy
fact for any theologia naturalis (ibid.). As Chapman comments, Jungs going out
of his way to point out to theologians how his discoveries could be used for their
purposes [for example, as evidence supporting a natural theology] bespeaks some
concern for, and some conviction of the legitimacy of, their enterprise (1988,
p. 142).
To the evidence assembled by Chapman other evidence could be added.
This might include statements in Jungs recently published Red Book (e.g.,
2009, p. 339) and his acknowledgement of his interest in the metaphysical
aspect of synchronicity (1976, p. 344), an interest clearly evinced in his
correspondence with Pauli (Meier 2001). It might also include his assertions,
largely stemming from his thinking about synchronicity, that it is possible to
have a kind of trans-empirical absolute knowledge (1952, paras. 912, 923,
931, 948), that there is a unitary aspect of being which can very well be
described as the unus mundus (1955-56, para. 662), and that the psyche exists
in a continuum outside time and space and possesses relative eternity (1976,
p. 561; cf. 1963, pp. 33536). Again, it might include his willingness to admit
the promptings of intuition and feeling, as well as of thinking, in making
judgements on the putative reality of spirits (1920/1948, para. 600) and his even
concluding late in life that the spirit hypothesis (that is, the hypothesis that
spirits are real) provides a better explanation of spiritualistic phenomena
than a purely psychological explanation, or indeed any other kind (1973,
p. 431). Finally, it might include Jungs practice of engaging in metaphysical
speculationsfor example, about life after death or the meaning of life (1963,
pp. 330-88)and then trying to excuse them on the grounds that he is really just
mythologizing and thereby fullling a psychic need which is part of our mental
hygiene (1976, p. 449; 1963, pp. 330, 373).
All of this evidence may need to be more fully considered, but prima facie
there seems good reason to accept that there is an implicit metaphysical aspect
to Jungs work, perhaps even (as Chapman maintains) a coherent metaphysical
theory within it, and therefore that his psychological model, as well as being
secular, is also religious in the sense of presupposing or referring to
transcendent realities. Having established, then, that both a secular and a
religious understanding of Jungs psychological model are possible, we next need
to consider what evidence there is that Jung advocated valuing both of these
understandings equally.


Roderick Main

Secular and religious

Jung writes in his paper Basic postulates of analytical psychology that In
practical psychotherapy we strive to t people for life, and we are not free to
set up theories which do not concern our patients and may even injure them
(1931, para. 678). He continues:
Here we come to a question that is sometimes a matter of life and deaththe question
whether we base our explanations on physis or spirit. We must never forget that everything spiritual is illusion from the naturalistic standpoint, and that often the spirit has to
deny and overcome an insistent physical fact in order to exist at all. If I recognize only
naturalistic values, and explain everything in physical terms, I shall depreciate, hinder,
or even destroy the spiritual development of my patients. And if I hold exclusively to a
spiritual interpretation, then I shall misunderstand and do violence to the natural man
in his right to exist as a physical being.

He advocates that the modern psychologist should occupy neither the one
position nor the other but stand between the two, dangerously committed to
this as well as that (ibid., para. 679).
This openness to both material and spiritual interpretations captures what I
mean by Jungs dual secular and religious perspective. In his use of the expressions
injure, matter of life and death, destroy, do violence, and dangerously
committed Jung may be suggesting the sharpness of the conict one must endure
to occupy this dual perspectiveas he himself seems to have suffered this tension
between his commitments to both science and religion. It is not just a case of
someones being a secular scientist by profession and having religious views in
private, or of their being traditionally religious and having to practise their faith
in a predominantly secular, science-oriented environment. Rather, it is a case of
having to endure not only the intellectual recognition but also the personal
experience of a deep and pervasive ontological ambivalence concerning the
existence of material and spiritual realities and their respective claims upon one.4
Jung acknowledges that the position he is advocating presents a very difcult
problem: How, he writes, should anything but a formless and aimless
uncertainty result from giving equal value to two contradictory hypotheses?
(1931, para. 679). Some will consider such a position simply incoherent, others
a wilful avoidance of commitment, and hence both an intellectual and a moral
weakness.5 But Jung, for whom maintaining the tension between opposites was
one of the most morally demanding and needful of tasks (1917/1926/1943, paras.
34, 78, 115, 119), would have championed the value of such paradox.

Charles Taylor has given an evocative account of how this tension and ambivalence were vividly
experienced by William James (see Taylor 2002, pp. 5259).
Max Weber, for example, would probably have viewed it as avoidance and weakness (see Weber
1918, p. 155; Main 2013).

Secular and religious


There is, however, another possible problem with Jungs position, at least in
relation to the argument I am trying to develop in this paper. This is that, in
justifying the double perspective he presents in Basic postulates, he draws on
an explicitly psychic ontology. He appeals to psychic reality as our only immediate experience (1931, para. 680) and argues that it is from this perspective that
physical and spiritual realities can be equally afrmed:
it seems to us that certain psychic contents or images are derived from a material
environment to which our bodies belong, while others, which are in no way less real,
seem to come from a spiritual source which appears to be very different from the
physical environment. Whether I picture to myself the car I wish to buy or try to
imagine the state in which the soul of my dead father now iswhether it is an external
fact or a thought that concerns meboth happenings are psychic reality. The only
difference is that one psychic happening refers to the physical world, and the other
to the spiritual world.
(ibid., para. 681)

Insofar as Jung sees the psyche as part of nature and recognizes spiritual
manifestations only as psychic images, his position arguably retains a naturalistic,
secular bias. In other words, he treats psychic images, including those with a
putative spiritual source, as phenomena and hence as empirical; he is in the
position where he can disclaim any wish or ability to make assertions about
spiritual reality itself.
In response to this problem, the case made earlier for Jungs having a
metaphysical theory lurking among and behind his empirical (scientic and
phenomenological) theories could be re-invoked. For example, Jungs language
does seem to imply that the spiritual world, which he sees as the source of the
relevant psychic images about the state of the soul of his dead father, actually
exists. But there would still remain a question whether in privileging the psyche
in the way he does Jung is not at the same time privileging the empirical and
secular over the trans-empirical and religious. It is therefore worth noting the
manner in which, prompted by Pauli, Jung later claried his view of reality.
In a letter of 31 March 1953 Pauli took issue with Jungs privileging of the
psyche and argued for equal treatment not, it is true, of spirit but of the other
source of psychic images recognized by Jung: matterthe object of Paulis
discipline of physics (Meier 2001, pp. 10211). In response Jung (4 May 1953),
while continuing to maintain that the psychic aspect of reality is to all intents
and purposes the most important one (ibid., p. 115), claried his view that psyche
grasps only the ascertainable aspect of matter, psyche, and (he adds) spirit.
But matter, psyche, and spirit also have a non-ascertainable, transcendental
aspect (ibid., pp. 11117). This implies that, for Jung, what is ascertainable by
the psyche and hence naturalistic is only part of reality. Beyond that, he postulates
a non-ascertainable, transcendental aspect of reality. Notable too is that in this
model the psyche, which does the ascertaining, itself has a non-ascertainable
aspect. There is thus a transcendental aspect implied in the psyche that obtains
naturalistic knowledge.


Roderick Main

Furthermore, in response to another letter from Pauli (27 May 1953), Jung
(24 October 1953) clearly articulates his position in terms that can be understood
as a form of dual-aspect monism: psyche, including spirit, and matter, including the
body, are seen as aspects of an underlying transcendental reality (Meier 2001,
pp. 12526).6 Jung had expressed the kernel of this idea already in his 1926 essay
Spirit and life, before his contact with Pauli: Mind and body, or spirit and
living being, he writes there, might be the expression of a single entity whose
essential nature is not knowable (1926, paras. 619, 621). Prompted by Pauli,
however, Jung began to give clearer published expression to the idea, for instance
in the nal version of his paper On the nature of the psyche (1947/1954):
Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are
in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable,
transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable, even, that psyche
and matter are two different aspects of one and the same thing.
(ibid., para. 418; see also 1955-56, para. 662)

For the present paper, the important point is that all of these formulations
adopting a standpoint between material and spiritual interpretations; acknowledging the non-ascertainable as well as the ascertainable aspect of matter,
psyche, and spirit; and articulating a version of dual-aspect monismcan be
understood as attempts to value the transcendental and religious alongside and
equally with the naturalistic and secular.
While Jungs secular and religious perspectives can in principle be distinguished
from each other, as shown by Chapmans exercise of differentiating Jungs three
theories of religious experience, in practice and arguably in intention the two
perspectives coexist and are both embedded not just in the general orientation
of Jungs psychology but also in each of its core concepts. The concept of the
archetype, for instance, draws on both scientic and empirical sources (for example,
biology and physics) and religious and metaphysical sources (for example,
Platonic philosophy and Augustinian theology), and it is explicitly characterized
by Jung as having both an instinctual pole and a spiritual pole (1947/1954, paras.
397420). Similarly with the concept of synchronicity: inuenced by physics and
experimental parapsychology on the one hand and by anomalous and mystical
experiences and traditions of divination on the other (Main 2004, pp. 6590,
10506), Jung referred to it both as an empirical concept (1952, para. 960)
and as the kernel of numinous and religious experiences (McGuire & Hull
1978, p. 230). Similarly again for the concepts of the collective unconscious,
symbol, individuation, and the self: each of these in large part stems from
empirical observation and various natural scientic and social scientic
assumptions at the same time as from metaphysical and religious traditions, and

This philosophical position, as it was intimated and elaborated in the works of Jung and Pauli,
has recently been explicated by William Seager (2009) and Harald Atmanspacher (2012).

Secular and religious


each while describing empirical phenomena also presupposes an aspect of reality

that is intelligent, purposeful, and irreducible to material, social, or cultural terms
(Main 2008, pp. 37273).

The intrinsic doubleness of analytical psychology and the hegemony of naturalism

in the social sciences
As we have seen, when Jung explicitly articulated a dual secular and religious
perspective in Basic postulates, he did so with the primarily psychotherapeutic
aim of ensuring that he was positioned to respond to his patients experiences in
their own terms, whether material or spiritual. Signicantly, however, Jung
introduces his discussion of this point within a much wider eld of social, cultural,
and philosophical considerations. He reects on the unexampled revolution in
mans outlook which led a metaphysics of the mind [to be] supplanted in the
nineteenth century by a metaphysics of matter, resulting in exclusive adherence
to naturalistic principles when attempting to account for human behaviour, society, and culture (1931, paras. 64959): Otherworldliness, he writes, is converted
into matter-of-factness; empirical boundaries are set to every discussion of mans
motivations, to his aims and purposes, and even to the assignment of meaning
(ibid., para. 651). He notes both the value and the problems of the former
exclusively spiritual understanding and of the current exclusively material
understanding of the human being and looks for a way of respecting both
understandings (ibid., paras. 65277). Importantly, Jung does not believe that
either understanding can be ultimately grounded, for no chain of reasoning can
prove or disprove the existence of either mind or matter (ibid., para. 650). The
dominance of one kind of understanding or another is a matter of historical bias,
of which we would do well to be critical. In relation to the current bias:
We delude ourselves with the thought that we know much more about matter than
about a metaphysical mind or spirit, and so we overestimate material causation
and believe that it alone affords us a true explanation of life. But matter is just as
inscrutable as mind. As to the ultimate things we can know nothing, and only when
we admit this do we return to a state of equilibrium.
(ibid., para. 657)

From this position Jungs development of a dual secular and religious

perspective can be seen as part of his critique of the bias of his age, correcting its
one-sided emphasis on secular principles of explanation and sources of insight
alone. Hence, even while priding himself on being a scientist, Jung was throughout
his life critical of what he saw as the one-sidedness of scientic rationalism, which,
especially in his late paper The undiscovered self (present and future) (1957), he
identied as the root cause of such personal, social, and political problems of
modernity as the loss of meaning, mass-mindedness, and totalitarianism (ibid.,
paras. 488504; see also Main 2004, pp. 11729, 13542).


Roderick Main

As noted at the beginning of this paper, Jungs concern with the hegemony of
naturalism and secularism and its adverse social and political consequences is
shared by a number of prominent contemporary social theorists, including Jrgen
Habermas and Charles Taylor, each of whom has attempted, in terms not dissimilar
to Jungs, to address the issue by establishing greater parity between secular and
religious perspectives.7 Habermas and Taylor have both written extensively about
the relationship between secularity and religiousness in the context of the resurgence
of religion in the public sphere; indeed, they have publicly debated with each other
on these issues (Butler et al. 2011, pp. 1569). To my knowledge, neither thinker
engages with Jungs work or has previously been connected with it (except, in the case
of Taylor, in some of my own recent publications [2011, 2013]). In connecting them
now I have two main aims: rst, to ground further my argument for the social (in
addition to clinical) importance of the kind of dual religious and secular perspective
I have identied in Jungs work; and second, to suggest that the issue of how to
address the hegemony of naturalism, especially through the development of such a
dual secular and religious perspective, might provide one locus for exploring possible
productive engagements between analytical psychology and the social sciences.

Habermas is perhaps best known for his work pioneering the study of the public
sphere as a social space [. . .] in which individuals could engage each other as private citizens deliberating about the common good (Mendieta & VanAntwerpen
2011, p. 2). However, he later acknowledged that this work paid insufcient
attention to religion, and over the last decade or so he has published a series of
essays (2008; Habermas et al. 2010) arguing that the conict between adherents
of naturalism and adherents of religion jeopardize[s] the cohesion of the polity
through ideological polarization when neither side exhibits a willingness to engage
in self-reection (2008, p. 2). His proposed solution is to foster a culture in which

Two other social scientists whose work would be worth exploring in relation to the present theme
are the British sociologist Margaret Archer (b. 1943) and the Dutch anthropologist and scholar of
religions Andr Droogers (b. 1941). Archer takes issue with the way that Throughout their history
the social sciences have privileged atheism, presenting it as an epistemologically neutral position,
instead of what it is, a commitment to a belief in the absence of religious phenomena (2004, p. 63).
In an attempt to address this she and some colleagues try to establish a level playing eld between
religious and secular ideas (Archer et al. 2004, pp. ixx), which in her particular case involves arguing
for a critical realist conception of the human being which does not rule out the possibility of authentic
human relations with the divine in advance (2004, p. 64). Droogers nds the existing methodological
options available in religious studies, both the privileged approach of reductionism (naturalism) and
the alternative approach of religionism, inadequate to explain certain religious phenomena he has
encountered in his anthropological eldwork (1996, pp. 4452). He therefore develops a third
approach, methodological ludism, which involves the capacity to deal simultaneously and
subjunctively [i.e., as if true] with two or more ways of classifying reality (ibid., p. 53), specically
with secular and religious perspectives together.

Secular and religious


religious and secular citizens [are] willing to listen and to learn from each other in
public debates (ibid., p. 3). For this to be realized, he argues, it is necessary that
religious citizens should translate their insights from religious idioms into a generally intelligible language and that secular citizens should co-operate in facilitating this translation (ibid., p. 5). Such co-operation requires reexive overcoming
of secularistic consciousnessthat is, a becoming aware on the part of secularists
of the limitations of their perspectivecomparable to the process which has
been taking place within religious consciousness in the modern era (ibid., pp. 6,
14047). Underpinning this proposal is Habermass advocacy of what he calls
postmetaphysical thinking. Such thinking, which he describes as fallibilist but
non-defeatist (ibid., p. 6), differentiates itself from both sides [i.e., the secularism
of the scientic worldview and religious doctrines (ibid., p. 5)] by reecting on
its own limitsand on its inherent tendency to overstep these limits. It is as wary
of naturalistic syntheses founded on science as it is of revealed truths (ibid., p. 6;
see also pp. 14043, 24546).
From Jungs dual secular and religious perspective, the conict between naturalism and religion, the resulting risk of polarization, the imperative to listen to and
learn from the other, the aim of maximizing intelligibility, and the need for
reection on the limits of secularism would all be understood similarly. But Jungs
perspective might prompt further reection on the process that Habermas envisages
of translation from religious to secular idioms. First, it might raise a question mark
over the continued privileging of the secular as providing the language into which
religious insights should be translated. Somewhere down the line such privileging
of the secular is likely to present an obstacle to the kind of listening and learning that
Habermas would like to foster. Jungs own language was purposely ambiguous
(1976, p. 70) and, as we have seen, his core conceptssuch as collective unconscious,
symbol, archetype, individuation, self, and synchronicityembed religious as well
as secular assumptions and insights. While specically Jungian terminology is
unlikely to be more acceptable than religious language as a medium for public
debate, Jungs practice does exemplify the possibility of the desired parity between
the secular and religious being embedded in language and might encourage other
attempts to achieve this in language relevant to whatever particular eld is under
consideration. Habermas, for instance, acknowledges that modern forms of
thought, even postmetaphysical thinking, include the religious traditions
alongside metaphysics in [their] own genealogy (2008, p. 6; see also pp. 14142).
By elucidating the internal connections between modern thought and religious
traditions that make up this genealogy, as Habermas in fact recommends (ibid.,
p. 6), it may be possible to develop a language use that, like Jungs, is in effect able
to evoke the religious equally with the secular.8

The development of a neutral language was a concern of Paulis that recurred in his correspondence with Jung (Meier 2001, pp. 35, 40, 6667, 80, 82, 10506, 11112, 117; see also Jung 1952,
para. 960). The neutrality sought was primarily between physical and psychic interpretations, but,
as the discussion earlier in this paper indicates, spiritual interpretations were also implicated.


Roderick Main

Second, Habermass use of the notion of translation seems to imply, as Craig

Calhoun has argued, a highly cognitive model of understanding, overlooking
the ways in which meanings can have inarticulate connections, for example by
being embedded in broader cultural understandings, personal experiences, and
practices of argumentation that themselves have somewhat different understanding in different domains (2011, p. 85). Habermas also seems to pay insufcient
attention to the fact that the kind of mutual understanding he is promoting
cannot be achieved without change in one or both of the partiesthat is, without
a process of transformation that is not entirely rational (ibid., p. 86). A dual
secular and religious perspective based on analytical psychology might suggest
ways beyond these limitations inasmuch as the process of analytical psychology
inherently involves both non-linguistic, non-rational modes of representation
and communication and the possibility, even necessity, of transformation of the
communicating partners.

Taylor, like Habermas, is deeply concerned with the social and political problem
of how to manage the diversity of modern societiesdiversity not only between
but also among adherents of the multitude of secular and religious positions
available within modern democracies. His aim, he has said, is to create a framework that would ensure three things: maximum freedom for people (believers or
unbelievers) to express their deepest convictions, equality of respect among the
various positions held, and maximum input by all parties into social, cultural,
and political debates (2009). He envisages that such a framework could promote
among all parties a conversation about diversity conducted in a spirit of friendship, which, rather than just leading to intellectual assent and accommodation,
incorporates the kind of understanding where each can come to be moved by
what moves the other (2010, p. 320). Unlike Habermas, Taylor does not expect
there to be different requirements of religious citizens than of secular citizens in
terms of their needing to translate their insights into a neutral language of public
debate (2011, pp. 4851). This difference stems from Taylors understanding of
secularity. While he agrees with most contemporary social thinkers that the
modern western world is predominantly secular, a condition he refers to as the
immanent frame (2007, p. 594), he denes secularity in terms of cultural diversity
and religions ceasing to be the default position rather than in terms of the decline
or privatization of religion (ibid., p. 3). He also sees secularity as an historical
construction every bit as much as any form or facet of religion may be. Secularity
is not, he argues against the common assumption of secularists, a truth that is left
over once the illusions of religion have been subtracted. Nor does it exclude the
possibility of religious options (ibid., p. 594). In Taylors secular age, while the
immanent frame predominates as a historical fact in the West, both secular and
religious standpoints are possible, and there are no undeniable arguments

Secular and religious


supporting one kind of position over the other (ibid. p. 600). Accordingly, for his
purposes of promoting conversation and managing diversity, Taylor especially
values the capacity to inhabit what he refers to as the open space between the
conicting claims of transcendence and immanence, a space where one cannot just
intellectually grasp but actually feel some of the force of the opposing positions
(ibid., p. 549).
Taylors advocacy of openness to and equal valuation of both secular and
religious perspectives and of remaining equally exposed to the pulls of both
transcendence and immanence closely resembles the double perspective of
analytical psychology that I have been discussingnot least in Taylors awareness
of the practical as well as theoretical value of such a perspective and the extreme
difculty of maintaining it. As such, Taylors account of secularity arguably
provides a sociological framework with which analytical psychology could
fruitfully engage (Main 2013). In any such engagement, what the double
perspective of analytical psychology might be able to add to Taylors outlook
is a fuller account of and greater sensitivity to the psychodynamics involved in
the issues he discusses. Taylor acknowledges depth psychology as a potential
source of insights (2007, p. 623), but he remains sceptical about its value for his
specic concerns and discusses it only cursorily. His reservation stems from his
understanding of depth psychology as a purely immanentist approach, which
involves repudiation of, or at least distancing from, any aspirations to the
transcendent, tends to speak of pathology alone to the neglect of spiritual or
ethical hermeneutics, and thus as a total metaphysic [. . .] risks generating
perverse results in that its attempts to treat our ailments can end up further
stiing the spirit in us (ibid., pp. 62223). Since analytical psychology, as I have
been arguing, is not purely secular or immanentist but equally considers the
transcendent and spiritual, it ought to escape these reservations, which are based
primarily on Taylors consideration of psychoanalysis (ibid., p. 621). In relation to
Taylors concern with managing diversity and promoting conversation, analytical
psychology might be drawn on to provide psychodynamic insights into, for
example, the propensity for unconscious identication with a particular secular
or religious position; the risks of mutual projection among adherents of opposed
positions; the possible compensatory relationship between secular and religious
identities; or the way views can be problematically masked by the interplay of
The preceding discussions of Habermas and Taylor show that Jungs dual
secular and religious perspective and its underpinning criticism of the
hegemony of naturalism are not too far removed from some of the concerns
of prominent contemporary social theorists. Recognition of this perspective
in Jungs work might therefore help in opening dialogues between analytical
psychology and at least some areas of social scientic work. Of course, many
issues remain. There would need to be much more detailed comparative
studies of analytical psychology vis--vis the work of the social theorists. It
would need to be shown that any putative contributions from analytical


Roderick Main

psychology to the social sciences actually have payoffs in the sense of generating
insights that could not be arrived at so effectively by other means. And it
would need to be borne in mind that the dual secular and religious character
of analytical psychology for which I have been arguing is just one among
several of the distinctive features of analytical psychology. Whether the other
features which any deployment of analytical psychology would bring in
its trainfor example, its assumption of a collective as well as personal
unconscious, its understanding of symbolic expression, its inclusion of
teleological psychic processes, and its recognition of a principle of acausal
connectionshould be viewed as further obstacles to the acceptance of
analytical psychology in the social sciences, or as additional distinctive
resources to be explored, is a question for future work.



Ces dernires annes certains thoriciens sociaux minents, dont Jrgen Habermas et
Charles Taylor, se sont inquits de lhgmonie des postulats profanes, naturalistes,
dans les sciences sociales, et chacun sa manire a cherch en parler en tablissant
un meilleur quilibre entre les perspectives profanes et religieuses. Cet article suggre
que la psychologie analytique de Jung, qui a t amplement ignore jusqu prsent
par les sciences sociales, peut apporter sa contribution cette question car elle peut tre
comprise de faon cohrente aussi bien empiriquement, sans rfrence la ralit
transcendante, que mtaphysiquement, en se rfrant la ralit transcendante. Il est
discut du fait que, malgr ses dngations de toute intention mtaphysique, Jung sest
rellement engag du ct de la mtaphysique, et que les deux courants empirique et
mtaphysique de sa pense ont abouti une double perspective riche et caractristique.
La double perspective profane et religieuse peut tre considre comme une part de la
critique propre de Jung vis--vis de lhgmonie du naturalisme et de la lacit, qui pour
Jung a un grand intrt tant social que clinique. Lintrt et lapproche que Habermas et

Taylor partagent avec Jung sur cette question peut apporter des sujets dchange entre
psychologie analytique et sciences sociales.
In den vergangenen Jahren hat eine Anzahl prominenter Sozialtheoretiker, einschlielich
Jrgen Habermas und Charles Taylor, Bedenken lautwerden lassen gegen die Vorherrschaft
von naturalistischen skularen Vorausannahmen in den Sozialwissenschaften. Auf ihre je
eigene Weise haben sie sich dem anzunhern versucht, indem sie ein besseres Gleichgewicht
zwischen skularen und religisen Perspektiven herstellten. Dieser Beitrag unterstellt, da
C.G. Jungs Analytische Psychologie, welche bisher durch die Sozialtheorie weitgehend
ignoriert wurde, etwas zu diesem Thema beizutragen hat da sie, die Analytische
Psychologie, kohrent sowohl als empirisch, ohne Referenz an eine transzendentale
Realitt, und metaphysisch, mit Referenz an eine transzendentale Wirklichkeit, verstanden
werden kann. Es wird argumentiert, da, ungeachtet seiner Verneinungen jedweder
metaphysischer Absichten, sich Jung faktisch in die Metaphysik eingebracht hat und da
sowohl die empirischen wie die metaphysischen Vektoren seines Denkens in einer reichen

Secular and religious


und fr ihn charakteristischen Doppelperspektive resultieren. Diese duale skulare und

religise Perspektive kann als Teil von Jungs eigener Kritik an der Hegemonie von
Naturalismus und Skularismus angesehen werden, die fr Jung von grundlegender sozialer
und klinischer Bedeutung ist. Das Anliegen und der Ansatz, den Habermas und Taylor mit
Jung in dieser Angelegenheit teilen, knnte eine Basis schaffen fr einen verstrkten Dialog
zwischen Analytischer Psychologie und Sozialwissenschaften.

In anni recenti un numero di importanti teorici sociali, tra i quali Jrgen Habermas e
Charles Taylor hanno mostrato preoccupazione per legemonia delle ipotesi naturalistiche
e laiche nelle scienze sociali e con modalit diverse hanno cercato di concentrarsi su ci
stabilendo una maggiore parit tra prospettive laiche e religiose. In questo lavoro si sostiene
che la psicologia analitica di C.G.Jung, che stata in gran misura ignorata dalla teoria
sociale, pu dare il suo contributo a questo proposito poich pu essere compresa
coerentemente sia empiricamente, senza riferimenti a realt trascendenti, sia
metasicamente, riferendosi a una realt trascendente. Si sostiene che, nonostante
il suo diniego di qualunque intento metasico, Jung di fatto si ingaggia con la
metasica e che sia i vettori metasici che quelli empirici del suo pensiero risultano
in una ricca e distinta doppia prospettiva. Tale doppia prospettiva laica e religiosa
pu essere vista come parte della stessa critica che Jung fa allegemonia del
naturalismo e del laicismo, che per Jung ha una profonda rilevanza sia sociale che
clinica. La preoccupazione e lapproccio che Habermas e Taylor condividono con
Jung a questo proposito possono fornire un terreno fertile per un incremento di
dialogo tra la psicologia analitica e le scienze sociali.

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Roderick Main

En los ltimos aos varios tericos sociales prominentes, inclusive Jrgen Habermas y
Charles Taylor, han expresado preocupacin en relacin a la hegemona de las
suposiciones naturalistas y seculares en las ciencias sociales y en diversas formas han
procurado estudiarlas estableciendo una mayor paridad entre perspectivas seculares y
religiosas. Este trabajo sugiere que la psicologa analtica de C. G. Jung, que hasta ahora
haba sido en gran parte ignorada por las teoras sociales, podra contribuir en algo en
este asunto tal como podra ser entendido en ambos sentidos, como empricamente
coherente, sin referencia a la realidad trascendente, y metafsicamente, con referencia a la
realidad trascendente. Se discute este asunto ya que, a pesar de su negacin de alguna
intencin metafsica, Jung de hecho entra en la metafsica y juntos los vectores empricos
y metafsicos de su pensamiento tienen como resultado una doble perspectiva rica y
distintiva. Esta perspectiva doble, secular y religiosa puede ser vista como parte de la
autocrtica de Jung a la hegemona del naturalismo y el secularismo, que para Jung tiene
profunda relevancia tanto social as como clnica. La preocupacin y enfoque que
Habermas y de Taylor comparten con Jung al respecto puede proporcionar algn terreno
para estimular el dilogo creciente entre la psicologa analtica y las ciencias sociales.

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Columbia University Press.
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[MS rst received July 2012; nal version February 2013]

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 387408

Recurrent motifs as resonant attractor

states in the narrative eld:
a testable model of archetype
Erik Goodwyn, University of Louisville, KY, USA
Abstract: At the most basic level, archetypes represented Jungs attempt to explain
the phenomenon of recurrent myths and folktale motifs (Jung 1956, 1959, para. 99).
But the archetype remains controversial as an explanation of recurrent motifs, as the
existence of recurrent motifs does not prove that archetypes exist. Thus, the challenge
for contemporary archetype theory is not merely to demonstrate that recurrent motifs
exist, since that is not disputed, but to demonstrate that archetypes exist and cause
recurrent motifs. The present paper proposes a new model which is unlike others in that
it postulates how the archetype creates resonant motifs. This model necessarily claries
and adapts some of Jungs seminal ideas on archetype in order to provide a working
framework grounded in contemporary practice and methodologies. For the rst time, a
model of archetype is proposed that can be validated on empirical, rather than theoretical
grounds. This is achieved by linking the archetype to the hard data of recurrent motifs
rather than academic trends in other elds.
Key words: archetype theory, cognitive anthropology, cognitive science, historical
analysis, folklore, mythology, recurrent motif

It is uncontroversial that, around the world and throughout history, homo sapiens
tends to make the same kinds of myths and tales (Eliade 1954, 1958; Lehner 1956;
Thompson 1960; Propp 1968; Cirlot 1971; Leach & Fried 1984; Stevens 1998;
ther 2004; Tresidder 2005; ARAS 2010). Archetype theory began with Jungs
study of folklore and mythology (1956, passim), which he felt was very
important in understanding the psyche: A knowledge of mythology is needed in
order to grasp the meaning of a content deriving from the deeper levels of the
psyche (Jung 1919, para. 309).
Jung argued that recurrent motifs were associated with archetypes, but he often
struggled dening archetypes rigorously (reviewed by Hogenson 2004), making
empirical validation difcult and fostering continued scepticism of the archetype
as an explanation. As will be discussed below, it is difcult to assess whether or

2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12020


Erik Goodwyn

not Jung believed archetypes caused motifs, but as we will see, the assumption that
archetypes cause motifs can be a fruitful mode of inquiry. As evidenced by his
numerous motif parallels (discussed in Jung 1956), Jung apparently thought early
on that the existence of such motifs was good enough to explain the plausibility of
the archetype as an explanatory structure. But as some point out (Pietikainen
1998), the existence of recurrent motifs does not prove that archetypes exist.
Thus, the challenge for contemporary archetype theory is not merely to demonstrate that recurrent motifs exist, since that is not disputed, but to demonstrate that
archetypes exist and cause recurrent motifs.
This requires a shift in focus to the question: what causes motifs, and can
we dene the archetype in terms of those causal factors? Doing this allows us to
examine motifs and derive and rene the denition of archetype-as-motif-causer
empirically. But does it stay true to the denition of the archetype?
This is a hard question to answer partly because of Jungs elusive denition of
the archetype (Hogenson 2004), which varied considerably through his writings
and has deed any easy existence proof. Previously scholars attempted to x this
by redening the archetype in the theoretical terminology of other disciplines.
Knox (2003) used the framework of developmental psychology to dene it
as the image schema. Hogenson (2001, 2009) used the framework of articial
intelligence theory to dene it as an action pattern in organism-environment
dynamics. McDowell (2001) used the framework of dynamic systems to dene
it as a mathematical principle of organization in a nonlinear system. Stevens
(2003) used the framework of evolutionary psychology to dene it in terms of
domain specic algorithms. Haule (2012) used the framework of evolutionary
theory to dene it in terms of nested hierarchies of species-specic behaviour
These denitions may establish the plausibility of the archetype as an explanatory
construct, since they dene it in terms of established theories from other elds (i.e.,
image schemata exist, therefore archetypes exist), but they do not generate
testable predictions or explicitly propose how archetypes generate recurrent
motifs. They therefore remain theoretically derived denitions rather than
empirically derived ones. They also lack detail and predictive ability. For example,
viewing the archetype as an action pattern, algorithm, behaviour, principle, or
image schema does not explain why stories about a hero who enters a cave to
rescue a princess from a dragon by cutting off its tongues or heads recur throughout
the globe (Ashliman 1987; Thompson 1960; ther 2004), instead of stories where
a hippo that is also a mosquito-man transforms into a turnip patch mist backwards
every 92nd day for no reason. Why is one story fascinating, memorable and
evocative, and hence putatively archetypal, but the other comes across as mere
noise? Why does one story spontaneously show up everywhere, but another

In Goodwyn 2012, I focus more on the archetypal images rather than attempt a denition of the
archetype-as-such per se. The present essay is a continuation of that approach.

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


hardly ever emerge? The above theories do not address these questions, giving
them less direct clinical applicability. It is the aim of this paper to propose
a back-to-basics model of archetype working from the recurrent motif
itself, rather than the more abstract formulations given above. From this
analysis, the denition of the archetype can be developed from direct empirical
observation, from which we can produce clinical applications and testable

Studying recurrent motifs

Jung often linked his theorizing on archetypes to recurrent motifs:
The material brought forwardfolkloristic, mythological, or historicalserves in the
rst place to demonstrate the uniformity of psychic events in time and space.
(1919, para. 436)

To explain this uniformity, he posited that the unconscious mind contained

instinctual processes that did not contain innate stories so much as nudge the
psyche to create stories of similar theme and structure in the presence of typical
life situations:
Archetypes, so far as we can observe and experience them at all, manifest themselves
only through their ability to organize images and ideas, and this is always an
unconscious process which cannot be detected until afterwards.
(1919, para. 440)

Jung theorized that archetypes, as forms without content, work by activating in

the presence of appropriate stimuli: When a situation occurs which corresponds
to a given archetype, that archetype becomes activated, whereupon fascination,
terror, or other powerful affects and imagery form and/or persist (1959, paras.
99103). Jung argued that archetypes are context sensitive, requiring the proper
environmental stimulation before activating:
We experience archetypal situations, that is, situations that humankind has
experienced from time immemorial. These situations always repeat themselves, in
various forms. We experience them as we have experienced them at all times.
(Jung & Meyer-Grass 2008, p. 162)

Beyond these observations, Jung generally did not explain exactly why these
nebulous instinctive processes would produce one kind of story over another,
what the characteristics of such expressions were and why one story should be
considered archetypal, and another not, apart from vague appeals to evolution
and animal behaviour (Hogenson 2009), which are not particularly convincing
today. Outside Jungian psychology, however, cognitive anthropologists also study
recurrent motifs, and their observations can be used to stimulate thinking about
the archetype as a theoretical structure.


Erik Goodwyn

Cognitive anthropologist Justin Barrett (2007) introduces the subject:

cognitive scientists of religion have begun to say much about how crossculturally recurrent features of human minds inform and constrain religious
actions (p. 179). In general, cognitive scientists observe that cultural transmission
is not a mere carbon-copying of stories and belief systems across generations,
but a complex process that is inuenced by universal cognitive principles.
Anthropologist Dan Sperber argues that cultural transmission is complex and
neurobiologically constrained:
[the cross-cultural resemblance] among cultural items is to be explained to some
important extent by the fact that transformations tend to be biased in the direction
of attractor positions in the space of possibilities.
(1996, p. 108)

Cognitive anthropologists Robert N. McCauley and E. Thomas Lawson

The cognitive foundations of the processes of cultural transmission make some sorts of
cultural representations more likely to persist than others. Similarities between cultural
representations turn primarily on these evolutionary vectorswhich the character of
human cognition shapes. Over many cycles of transmission divergences from these
attractor positions will certainly arise; however, because of these cognitive constraints,
subsequent transformations in further cycles of transmission will typically steer
cultural representations towards one of the attractors again.
(2002, p. 42)

This shaping by the character of human cognition that McCauley and Lawson
describe above may be seen as a process in which intuitive or non-reective
cognitive mechanisms over time result in recurrent motifs, as explained by
cognitive scientists James Laidlaw and Harvey Whitehouse:
cognitive scientists have developed quite a rich picture of the strengths and weaknesses of
human cognitive capabilities. Some things we appear to do brilliantly: for instance, we
recognize faces and remember patterns of behavior we have seen or heard on only a single
occasion, perhaps days or weeks ago, perhaps under very different circumstances from
those in which the remembrance occurs. Or we make astonishingly accurate and
convergent interpretations of other peoples emotional states based on cues so subtle that
giving formal description of them and/or subjecting them to experimental measurement is
extremely difcult. Even the worlds most powerful supercomputers have difculties
performing tasks of this kind. . the same time even an average home computer can
carry out tasks that are utterly beyond our mental faculties. . .
(2007, p. 15)

These constraints, it is argued, shape motifs across generations. Whitehouse adds:

Certain systematic biases in the way we humans think persist despite all our efforts to transcend them. . ..Cognitively optimal concepts are ones that the human mind is naturally
well-equipped to process and remember, or that readily trigger exceptionally salient
or attention-grabbing inferences, in the absence of any special training or inducement to

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


learn such concepts. Even when people have mastered a body of difcult-to-acquire
concepts. . .they never outgrow their susceptibility to more natural ways of thinking.
(2004, p. 189; emphasis in original)

In other words, cognitive scientists of religion propose that because of

unconscious, universal psychological processes, we tend to tell and imagine
images and stories that converge, over generations of story telling, upon attractor
positions that are a consequence of those processes:
If there are aspects of our ideas about supernatural agency and ritualization that may be
described as cognitively optimal, this is also true of the way certain religious narratives
are put together, for instance as more or less sacred myths, legends, and histories.
(Whitehouse 2004, p. 192; emphasis in original)

Such cognitively optimal expressions are the result of phenomena described by

cognitive scientists such as agency detection, intent, animacy, image schemata,
and more (Atran 2002; Boyer 2001; Pyysiinen 2009, passim). McCauley and
Lawson, in their studies of ritual, argue that the set of these mental processes
naturally emerges:
With little, if any, explicit instruction, religious ritual participants are able to make
judgments about various properties concerning both individual rituals and their ritual
(2002, p. 5; see also Srensen 2007)

These judgments include beliefs in the efcacy of certain ritual actions over others,
the order they should occur in, various constraints on ritual roles, common
points of variability in forms, and so on.
Thus, cognitive scientists studying recurrent motifs suggest that these motifs are
the result of invariant elements of human minds and environments combining in
typical ways. Accordingly, this process of motif-making can be compared to the
phenomenon of biological niches: animal species will tend to ll in particular
niches (i.e., large herbivore, ying predator, arboreal omnivore, etc.) in similar
ways regardless of species history. Such niches are analogous to attractor
positions. Cognitive theorist Ilkka Pyysiinen (2009) describes a model not unlike
The architecture of the mind. . .shapes beliefs, thus creating cross-culturally recurrent
patterns. This implies that not all concepts and beliefs have an equal potential for
becoming widespread. The most successful representations in cultural selection are
those that match peoples mental architecture, in that an existing slot corresponds
to the form of the representation in question.
(pp. 34)

Pyysiinen is quick to point out that this model does not require a strong nativist,
evolutionary psychology or modular stance, as the forces that comprise the
architecture of the mind could all easily be self-organizing universal developmental
achievements (see also Whitehouse 2007, p. 250).


Erik Goodwyn

The issue is the existence of universal, reliably emergent constraints or patterns,

from whatever source, that provide the substrate for the generation of such
attractor positions. The debate about whether such faculties are genetic, innate,
learned, or simply emergent, however, is not relevant.
It is evident, then, that cognitive scientists studying religion and folklore appear
to agree somewhat with Jung that some stories persist and spontaneously recur for
reasons that have to do with universal psychological functions. Cognitive anthropologists, however, do not describe anything fully analogous to the archetype.
Moreover, Jungs nativist suppositions are not universally shared by cognitive
scientists, and Jungs frequent (vague) talk of innate instinct (discussed below)
is not well supported by the elucidation of known epigenetic development (Knox
2003, pp. 1270).2

Folklore perspectives
Cognitive scientists and Jungians are not the only scholars that analyse recurrent
motifs. Folklorists also have much to say on the subject; many have noted that
recurrent motifs can be surprisingly specic. For example, the rst two major
episodes of the 8th Century Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf (where the hero faces
the monster Grendel and his mother) have been shown to parallel folktales and
motifs in many other regions, and comprise both types 301 (the Three Princesses)
and 650A (Strong John) of the Aarne-Thompson Folktale typing indexof
which Beowulf is one example among 600 of type 301 alone so far that have been
documented (Thompson 1960; ther, 2004). In these tales, a bear-like hero of
unusual strength defeats a monster who is raiding a kings palace, which in defeat
ees wounded, followed by the heros descent into a watery underworld where he
nds a magic sword and defeats more monsters there, but is left there by his
treacherous companions, only for him to nd his way out anyway by various
means (Garmonsway et al. 1971, pp. 33139). Parallels to Beowulf have been
found in areas such as Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Wales, and Scandinavia which
is perhaps not surprising given their proximity to Anglo-Saxon England. But there
are also parallels in Africa, Armenia, Burma, China, Finland, France, Hungary,
India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Polynesia, Russia, Sicily, Spain, Turkey and
the Americas (reviewed in Fulk et al. 2009, pp. xxxvixliii; see also Ashliman
1987, pp. 5153). The ght between Beowulf and the dragon also has countless
parallels worldwide.
Naturally, such wide parallels cannot be accounted for by cultural transmission
alone, and even if it could it would not explain why such stories were transmitted
so persistently rather than forgotten. Jungian theory predicts that such recurrence

Note, however, that the term innate has no agreed upon denition (Goodwyn 2010 and
responses by Hogenson 2010; Knox 2010; Merchant 2010), making a rigorous analysis of Jungs
supposed nativism very challenging.

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


is due to the archetypes, though debates continue about exactly what archetypes
actually are. Moreover, it is not clear exactly why a given particular story should
be archetypal. What is so special about it?
Cognitive anthropologists propose that with each retelling of a tale, subtractions
and additions occur, but only some of these will stick for various cognitive and
emotional reasons and successfully become a part of a folk narrative. In time,
stories will acquire cognitively optimal or attractor state elements, so that any
story can, through the process of accretion, achieve the status of great legend, myth
or folktale. This process of folklore element accretion seems to have occurred in
the case of King Arthur, for example, according to historian Geoffrey Ashe
(2003, pp. 10921).
Folklorists also document the way folktales transform across generations
(for detailed analysis, see Davidson 1978; also Lthi 1982, 1984; Puhvel 1987,
passim), but are more cautious about theory and less rigorous than the cognitive
anthropologists. However, folklorists appear to agree that folktales transform
through transmission, and gradually acquire widespread motifs along the way.
An excellent example of this process is Davidsons (1978, pp. 8094) analysis of
the Lady Godiva story of Coventry. Davidson notes that Coventry has a lively
tradition surrounding its famous legend, which originated in the 11th century
and gained such motifs over time. In her day, Lady Godiva was praised by everyone as wise, devout and a generous ruler of Coventry. She died in 1067, but in the
12th century, monks recorded the story of her famous ride naked through the
town, to convince her husband Earl Leofric of Mercia to remit an oppressive
tax. In this early version of the story, he sarcastically suggested that only if she rode
through town naked would he grant her request. So she did, and the fact that no
one saw her was simply a miracle.
Four hundred years later, a 16th century version reports that the local magistrates
forbade anyone to look upon her as she rode through the city, and this time she
was with her husband and an entourage. So great was the love of the townsfolk
for Godiva that no one disobeyed the command, and so her husband was
compelled to remit the taxation. Davidson notes that notable ubiquitous folkloric
elements (which could be called attractor positions) have been added:
First there is the story of the dutiful wife who performs some humiliating task at the
bidding of a tyrant husband in order to benet the common people. . .Second there are
folktales of a clever wife or maid who fulls seemingly impossible conditions. . .Thirdly
there are tales of a noble heroine miraculously saved from shame.
(ibid., p. 85)

The story persisted and has inspired yearly festivals with local women riding
through Coventry to re-enact the famous story; this celebration survived several
of the Churchs attempts to eradicate it (which is itself telling). In the 18th century,
the Peeping Tom part of the story was added, wherein the infamous tailor looked
at Godiva and by so doing was struck blind. The earliest records of the peeper
(originally unnamed) state that his attempt to see her was noticed by the horses,


Erik Goodwyn

which neighed and revealed his shameful behaviouronly later was it added that
he was stricken blind. Davidson draws attention to the fairy midwife motif
parallel found throughout folklore, where someone given power to see fairies is
blinded by seeing things they are not supposed to see, which is also paralleled by
numerous tales of being blinded by Otherworld visions.
Further analysis comes from historian of folklore, Max Lthi:
The stability of fairytale transmission over centuries, which constantly provides grounds
for amazement, is only partially ascribable to literary inuence (which was for a long time
underestimated but presently tends to be overestimated). The listeners demand for the
familiar, for what was felt to be valid, was also a factor; and the demands imposed by
narrative and mnemonic technique on narrators, as well as their artistic sense, conspired
to maintain what was successful in terms of rhythm and sound. The narrator commits
himself voluntarily to a formulation which seems to him to be optimal.
(Lthi 1984, p. 69)

Lthi theorizes that folktales have similar characteristics because of the oral
transmission process and the psychological inuences on teller and audience. Like
the cognitive anthropologists, he explains that the process of storytelling shapes
folktales into similar patterns that self-correct deviations. The qualities described
by Lthi are similar to the ones identied by cognitive science and include:
1. Objects and settings that tend to be described in vivid, static terms, like
gold, crystal, metal, etc, and/or in basic colours like black, white, red, or
2. Characters who are depthless, meaning they are simple types that act
with very little reference to internal dynamics or psychological conict,
and often in extreme social positions (king, prince, etc).
3. Stories that have extreme opposites in imagery, double or triple events in
a rhythmic pattern, and have simple plots (task/fulll, lack/gain, etc).
4. Environments that are also general, but simple and easy to visualize,
with castles, lakes, forests, mountains, caves, and frequently are of a
uniform substance (glass mountain, brass city, etc).
5. Heroes who are made highly distinctive through various means (the
youngest, the oddball, the stupid one, the most beautiful in the land,
These qualities match up somewhat with the predictions of cognitive scientists,
the details of which I will explain later.
Lthi observed that Wilhelm Grimm (2003), when writing down the famous
folktales he had collected (along with his brother Jacob Grimm), changed the tales
from the above characteristics for various reasons (reviewed by Zipes 2003,
pp. xixxxxviii). Despite Grimms changes, however, when these folktales were
later recorded by storytellers in Europe continuing the tradition, the changes
did not endure: when the Grimms folktales returned to the folk, they tended to
become puried and in many ways have again approached the style that was

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


weakened by Wilhelm Grimm (Lthi 1982, p. 110). His example: in Grimms

version of Rapunzel, the prince becomes overwhelmed with grief and despair
when he nds Rapunzel gone, and jumps from the tower. This is a deviation
because descriptions of internal emotions are avoided in folktales. Folktale
characters act, rather than feel. However, this deviation corrects itself in
subsequent tradition: in oral tradition it corrects itself. . . In two later narratives
derived independently. . .the passage is corrected (Lthi 1982, p. 111) and the
witch simply throws him from the tower. This and other examples led Lthi to
conclude that one may indeed say that in the oral tradition of the folk, the folktale
style passes through a process of self-correction (Lthi 1982, p. 111).3

Commonalities in opinions on recurrent motifs

Despite many differences in approach and method, the cognitive, Jungian and
folklorist perspectives can at least agree that the reason motifs recur has something
to do with universal commonalities in human cognition, emotion and memory.
Not all stories are created equal: some stories will stick or resonate with the
listener and be more likely to be passed on. The question is: why are they sticky?
These sticky stories occupy all three kinds of investigation.
In fact, regardless of which origin one favours, one can consider all the possible
narratives as existing together on a eld, but with a terrain corresponding to the
likelihood of such a narrative being transmitted. Troughs correspond to high
likelihood, acting like gravity wells on narratives over time. These gravity wells,
or attractor points, represent stories that align well with the reliably emergent
universal patterns in the human mind (whatever they may be, and whatever their
origin is), and so stories will, over time, tend toward those positions. Since stories
are constrained by the limitations of human memory, attention, visuo-cognitive
ability and emotional tone, eventually similar themed stories will emerge despite
large distances in time and space.

Analogy: human language development

An analogous model has been proposed for the development of languages
throughout history, as provided by Terrence Deacon (2010). Deacon states that
though languages vary, each must still be learned by new generations. Therefore
they will be shaped by learnability factors, as not all conceivable languages will
be equally easy for human children to learn. There will always be reliably
emergent constraints on behaviour and cognition that will encourage a particular
language to conform to certain patterns. Human perceptual biases and constraints

He concludes with the fairytale takes on the shimmer of the perfect, the indestructible, the
timeless, the absolute, and with it that of the transcending, even of the transcendent (Lthi 1984, p. 13).


Erik Goodwyn

in tonal range, rhythm perception, the ability to differentiate various sound

patterns, and also the mechanics of the oropharyngeal musculoskeletal and neuroanatomical structures of homo sapiens will play a part. So will biases in semantic
conceptual tendencies of our species; all of these characteristics are variable but
not innitely so, staying within certain parameters. Therefore, the most learnable
languages will preferentially survive cultural transmission over time:
A given language should reect selection favouring learnability, early acquisition, and
ease of use concerning which features are retained or lost over the course of its historical
change. . .So as brains have adapted to the special demands of language processing over
hundreds of thousands of years, languages have been adapting to the limitations of those
brains at the same time, and a hundred times faster. . .the differential reproduction of
language structures through history will be dependent on the delity and fecundity of
their transmission. Not only will this process be subject to selection with respect to semiotic and pragmatic demands of symbolic communication, it will also favour structures
that are more easily acquired by immature brains undergoing activity-dependent
intraselection of neural circuitry. Indeed, just as evolvability is aided by evolution-like
processes involved in ontogenesis, we should expect that the social evolution of language
should itself exhibit analogous processes. . .
(Deacon 2010, p. 9005)

This same argument can be applied to folk narratives and suggests that cultural
transmission will, because of the constraints on human learning, memory, and
cognition, produce a nite (though large) collection of possible outcomes, with
some outcomes much more heavily weighted than others. The results of this
process are recurrent motifs.

Psychological resonance
Whatever ones theoretical beliefs, it is evident that out of all possibilities,
some mythic motifs will be more psychologically resonant than othersthe
difference comes in why we believe this occurs. This is a testable question.
To facilitate thinking here, I dene psychological resonance (PR) as a characteristic that can be applied to any image or narrative that describes its mental
stickiness, its tendency to emerge spontaneously and/or its intergenerational
staying power.
More specically, highly resonant expressions are dened as those which are:
1. Highly resilient across generations of transmission, especially oral
2. Resistant to conscious efforts at eradication (e.g., the Lady Godiva story).
3. Spontaneously and independently emergent cross-culturally even across
large distances in time or space.
Expressions that satisfy the above criteria (as borne out by studies in folklore or
cross-cultural symbolism) are dened as highly resonant and represent troughs in

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


the narrative eld described above. Narratives that audiences like to experience
repeatedly, like folktales or myths, are dened as more resonant than those that
do not have such staying power, like jokes, which spread quickly but zzle out
equally rapidly. What is not included in this denition is why a given expression
is resonantthat is, where various theoretical and/or philosophical models
can suggest testable predictions. For example, a model based on cognitive
anthropology and folklore analysis might propose that high PR expressions should:
1. Have a high proportion of elements that align with the intuitive thinking
patterns described by cognitive and developmental scientists: image
schemata, agency detection, intuitive physics, folk biology, force dynamics,
essentialism, causal reasoning and shape (see Gazzaniga et al. 2002,
pp. 499611; Karmiloff-Smith 1996, passim). In other words, high PR
expressions will be full of personications and concrete, easily imagined
objects or people moving through space in mostly typical ways. They will
contain characters doing mostly expected things in mostly expected ways,
and will be devoid of a lot of violations in the expectations of folk biology,
force dynamics, cause and effect expectations, and so on.
2. However, they will also be minimally counterintuitive (a concept developed
by Barrett 2007); that is, a story or image that aligns too well with intuitive
expectations will be dismissed as prosaic and unremarkable. Therefore,
in addition to aligning well with non-reective beliefs described above, a
highly resonant expression will be likely to have one or a small number of
counterintuitive elements. This is because, as Barrett argues, expressions
having all intuitive elements will be ignored as commonplace, whereas too
many counterintuitive elements will be confusing and difcult to visualize
and remember. Expressions that have a few counterintuitive elements will
grab attention due to their novelty and will be more easily recalled and
Barrett gives an example:
Concepts that too greatly violate intuitive expectations generated by mental tools would
be difcult to understand, remember, and communicate at a later time. For instance, a
dog that experiences time backwards, is born of a rhino mated with a bullfrog, that
sustains itself on graphite, speaks Latin, and changes into cheese on Thursdays would
be a difcult concept to transmit faithfully. Such a concepts primary limitation is that
it so greatly violates the expectations (non-reective beliefs) about dogs generated by
human mental tools, that the conceptual structure of dog is undermined.
(2007, p. 187)

The above dog violates, in order, the non-reective beliefs governing cause and
effect (backwards time), folk biology (such an animal mating is wrong, what the
dog eats is wrong, and animals dont speak), and nally, essentialism (cheese has
a different kind of essence than animals). One could make the example even more


Erik Goodwyn

non-resonant by allowing the dog to violate force dynamics through telekinesis,

or agency, by describing it as without any intentions, and intuitive physics by
allowing it to walk through walls. Such a dog would be as poorly resonant as an
utterly commonplace dog that violates none of the above. A cat, however, that
experiences time normally, is born of cat parents, eats cat food, always stays a
cat, but speaks Latin, is an example of a minimally counterintuitive expression
that is likely to be much more resonant. Thus, high PR expressions are predicted
to have a low, but non-zero number of intuitive violations in them. Personication
of story elements will be the rule rather than the exception, as non-human things
with human mentality and intentionality are easily comprehended and are
minimally counterintuitive.
3. Resonant expressions will be emotionally evocative, perhaps stimulating
and satisfying the convergent affective systems involving fear, rage,
panic, play, care, lust, seeking, and hunger (Goodwyn 2012, pp. 2327,
pp. 2859, pp. 20205; Panksepp 1998, passim, 2005). Note that Jung
requires archetypal images to be affectively charged and/or numinous
(Jung 1964, p. 87; von Franz 1996, p. 10). The most resonant expressions
will be likely to trigger strong affects, such as the shocking eroticism and
shame of Godivas naked ride, the voyeurism of Peeping Tom and the
vengeful satisfaction at his blindness, the piety and inspiring loyalty of the
citizens toward their Lady (an element which overtook the vague its a
miracle explanation), and so forth. High PR expressions should have vivid,
emotionally satisfying content and low PR expressions are predicted to
have a cool, detached quality or will be emotionally frustrating.
4. Resonant expressions should be sensually vivid and clearly dened.
Expressions containing creatures moving through clearly dened and vivid
environments that are simple and not overburdened with descriptors, yet
not overly abstract either, are likely to be more resonant. Middle level
categories that are easy to visualize like shimmering sword will therefore
be preferable to abstract categories like weapon or dense expressions like
quillioned pattern-weld blade with Brighthampton scabbard and cross.
High PR expressions should, therefore, contain a lot of sensually vivid,
simple, middle-level category descriptions, rather than very specic or very
general and abstract descriptions. Objects and settings will tend to be
described in vivid, static terms such as gold, crystal, metal. Descriptions
will use basic colours like black, white, red, or blue, rather than
ambiguous, complicated or changing terms. Characters will be simple types
that act with very little reference to internal dynamics or psychological
conict, and they will often be extremely distinct in some way, for example
in their social position (king, prince, god), or in their beauty, power,
evilness or ugliness. Internally complex characters with indeterminate or
prosaic qualities are less likely to be resonant.
5. Narratives with a sense of timelessness, such as stories set long ago or in
the eternal dream time of the gods (Eliade 1954, pp. 1773; Sproul 1979,

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


pp. 131; von Franz 1996, pp. 3746, 2001, pp. 63145) are likely to be
more resonant. Folklorists suggest they evoke a satisfying oceanic feeling.
Cognitively, such generality in time and space allows a narrative to be
applicable to many settings, easily visualized and adapted. Thus, high PR
expressions are less likely to contain specic identiers of time and space.
6. Rhythmic and prosodic utterances will be likely to have a special resonance
for their musical quality, which enhances recall and emotional engagement.
Consider the statement of folklorists Robert Stockwell and Donka
the primary role of meter [is] its mnemonic value. . .Beyond this obvious primary function,
the rhythm that results from the performance of metrical regularity is intrinsically
pleasurable. . .[and these derive] from a set of intrinsic properties of language. . .either
onset identity (alliteration), as in Old English, or coda identity (rime), as later. These
intrinsic properties are universal in language, within a small range of variation.
(1977, p. 59)

Many of the worlds oldest myths were originally in verse form, which adds
strength to the validity of this criterion. Thus, high PR expressions are more
likely to contain rhythmic or prosodic elements (such as Magic mirror, on the
wall. . .) than low PR expressions.
7. Resonant stories will have simple plots such as a task to full, or a progression from lack to gain. They will have a sense of urgency and conict, but
contain some kind of dramatic reversal or unforeseen event. Common
themes include: help from mysterious or unknown powers, the weak
prevailing over the powerful, selfdestructive actions that turn out
benecial in the end, victory or catastrophe that is suddenly reversed, evil that
thwarts itself, good intentions leading to harm, inaction leading to weal.
Resonant narratives also often show that appearances are deceptive (this is
identied by Lthi as the most common folktale theme). Thus they typically
contain irony. Non-resonant expressions will have no repetition, overly
complex plots or no plot, and no unexpected reversals of events or irony.
8. Resonant stories will have an interconnected quality, for example things
may occur in the nick of time, or events may recur in doubles or triples.
Both characters and events are likely to come in contrasting pairs and to
interact in just such a fashion as to give the impression that though objects
and characters are sharply drawn and distinct, they are nevertheless
part of a teleologically organized process. Non-resonant expressions will
have no repetition and will appear disjointed, purposeless and randomly

The quality of interconnection shares many similarities with synchronicity. If the quality of interconnection proves to correctly predict resonance, this may help explain why events that appear to
have a high level of synchronicity are particularly resonant and emotionally powerful. Moreover,
with further investigation, we may be able to better characterize perceptions that trigger a sense
of acausal connection.


Erik Goodwyn

It is important to note that these predicted features are hypothecated without

reference to evidence about whether a narrative has lasted across generations,
or has been found to be independently invented cross-culturally. Rather, it is
predicted that resonant narratives should be more likely to contain some or all
of the above elements, and narratives that are not resonant (that do not survive
transmission easily), should be less likely to. I invite clinicians and researchers to
test these predictions against known recurrent motifs, and against clinical data.
The most resonant dreams, patient self-narratives, psychotic fantasies and ritualistic obsessions (the most memorable, durable, and sticky) should also have the
above qualities. If they do not, the criteria will need to be rened.
In summary, it appears humans have a tendency to selectively transmit folktales,
myths and legends in such a way that over multiple retellings they will drift into
recurrent, resonant attractor positions that share the same characteristics and
themes regardless of particular origin. This can occur quickly, such as when a
story spreads like wildre (and subsequently persists) or gradually builds over
generations. Such attractor states will be associated with various universal and
reliably emergent learnability and emotional factors that tend to preserve some
narratives over others. The above criteria are hypothetical characteristics based
on cognitive science and folklore studies, but it is up to empirical study to verify
what they are. This puts us in the position to propose a testable model for the
archetype, since in the present work we are proposing that archetypes generate
motifs through the mechanism of psychological resonance. Those criteria which
most reliably produce resonant narratives are therefore dened to be archetypal.
The attractor state model therefore denes the archetype as the collection of
psychological constraints and biases, of whatever origin, that work in concert to
create one or more resonant attractor states in the narrative eld. It is a group of
processes that can increase the probability of generating and retaining, say, a
dragon slayer story anywhere. Specically, these constraints include the particular
reliably emergent cognitive, semantic, memory, emotional, and visuospatial biases
on human thoughtwhatever their origin may bethat are applicable to a given
typical situation. Naturally at this point they are not fully characterized, but are
put forward as a tentative, testable model inspired by cognitive anthropology
and folklore study. The model predicts that these constraints and biases should
include, but need not be limited to:

minimal counter-intuitiveness
sensual vividness
indeterminacy in time and space
biasing toward middle-level categories
low complexity
containing rhythmic and prosodic elements
having simple plots with reversals and/or irony
apparent interconnection of events.

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


Non-resonant expressions will be overly counter-intuitive or overly mundane,

emotionally detached or frustrating, sensually vague or abstract, specic in time
and space, contain over-specic or over-general categories, be internally complex
or ambiguous, will lack any rhythmic or poetic qualities, will lack a clear plot, will
lack reversals and interconnection. As will be seen, one advantage of this
denition is that it sets aside the question of origins and focuses on the constraints
themselves and links them tightly with motifs.

Discussion: comparing the attractor state model to Jungs archetypes

In the above, I have proposed a model of archetype working from the recurrent
motif. If the recurrent motif is central to our denition of the archetype, this model
also provides a method for rening the denition empirically using the features of
recurrent motifs and clinical data. We may be departing somewhat from Jung,
however, in such a model. For example, Jung writes that the archetype
Can be conceived as a mnemic deposit. . .which has arisen through the condensation of
countless processes of a similar kind. In this respect it is a precipitate and, therefore, a
typical basic form, of certain ever recurring psychic experiences.
(1971/2005, para. 748)

And he states further that the archetype

Can only be explained assuming them to be deposits of the constantly repeated
experiences of humanity. . . [they] are a kind of readiness to produce over and over
again the same or similar mythical ideas. Hence it seems as though what is impressed
upon the unconscious were exclusively the subjective fantasy-ideas aroused by the
physical process. We may therefore assume that the archetypes are recurrent
impressions made by subjective reactions.
(1953, para. 109)

Jung appears to understand the archetypes in terms of biological perceptual

predispositions, deposited via an undened evolutionary process, which
produce recurrent motifs. Thus, he does not work backward from the motif as
I have done, but starts more foundationally with biological assumptions in an
attempt to show how it could possibly produce motifs, but no specic mechanism
is given. Because of this choice, any attempt to construct a testable model from
Jungs speculations forces us to diverge from Jung. For example, it appears that
Jung is saying that repeated encounters throughout the history of our species have
left some sort of mark on the psyche that somehow generates recurrent impressions
made by subjective reactions. But what mythic ideas are related to what recurrent
species challenges? Why do we tell stories of dragon slayers more often than
aardvark slayers? Which certain ever-recurring psychic experiences leave such an
imprint? Which physical processes? And exactly how does a kind of readiness


Erik Goodwyn

These are naturally criticisms from hindsight. Jungs choice to work from early
20th century biological notions was a natural one, but resulted in a lack of
specicity and the detail needed for a straightforward empirical approach. The
attractor state model is advantageous empirically because it provides these details,
but necessarily focuses out of some ideas (as discussed by Knox 2003) such as the
archetype as eternal metaphysical entity, whichthough possibly validis outside
the realm of empirical inquiry at present.
The attractor state model is only concerned with which potential criteria
produce resonant themes and which do not, irrespective of origin. It asks
only what are the criteria for resonant expressions? not what creates the
criteria?that must come later, empirically, after we have rmly established what
they are. It is therefore closer to the data from motifs than the more comprehensive,
but more speculative theories of Stevens, Knox, Haule, Hogenson and McDowell.
It does, however, have the ability to generate data to eventually judge these more
general theories of archetype.
Thus, the attractor state model proposes a method of analysing clinical
narratives and dreams, and differentiating them into those which are archetypal
and those which are not, which is something the other models do not aspire to
do. The present proposed criteria for resonance are inspired by the ndings of
cognitive anthropologists and folklorists, and my own explorations (Goodwyn
2012, passim). But whether these criteria are valid canusing this methodbe
determined empirically. This method may therefore compel us to abandon Jungs
hypotheses about ancestral depositsor it may notwe are free to let the data
reign.5 But before such a task is attempted, the present model allows us to clearly
dene what constraints and characteristics produce the most psychological
resonance. Once accomplished, we will be far better equipped to determine the
origins of such constraints and characteristics, whether biological, developmental,
mathematical, interactional, or some combination.
The reviewed theories of the archetype give well-reasoned proposals for how
motif-making constraints might arise based on the ndings of other disciplines,
but sparse detail is provided concerning what those constraints actually are
beyond abstract principles. They do not characterize features of recurrent motifs,
they cannot differentiate between resonant and non-resonant expressions, and they
cannot make any predictions. They do, however, give us solid theoretical reasons
for believing such constraints exist in themselves, whether or not they fully agree
with each other on why they exist. In any case, by postponing the theory of the
origin of the constraints for now and focusing on the empirical search for what
the constraints actually are, archetype theory, as proposed here, becomes an
empirical endeavour that remains within clinical and experimental analytical

The reference to emotional content among the criteria remains an avenue in which motifs may have
evolutionary or biological deposit content, as affective neuroscientists (Panksepp 1998, 2005)
continue to advance our knowledge of the way evolution has shaped our emotional responses.

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


Any expression that has been independently identied as a resonant attractor

state via cross-cultural studies (such as the ARAS, the folklore index or by
historians of symbolism) or longitudinal study (such as the Lady Godiva,
King Arthur, or Grimms fairytale analysis) can be examined by clinical and
experimental analytical psychologists to see if they have the above qualities. Such
qualities are inspired by cognitive science and folklore studies, but any set of
criteria could be proposed or tested against the recurrent motif. Predictive validity
will allow us to rene these criteria with further data.

In summary, the attractor state model provides us with more than a hypothesis of
archetype in terms of where the (generically dened) constraints may come from.
Instead it postpones questions of origins and focuses tightly on what the
constraints are, how resonant motifs arise, and why some motifs are resonant
where others are not, allowing for easy recognition in clinical practice and
straightforward testability in research.6 Using the presently proposed criteria, a
minimally counter-intuitive, rhythmic, emotionally sharp narrative with middlelevel objects and characters, with an indistinct setting in time and place, with a
simple conict-oriented plot with dramatic reversals and a sense of interconnectedness should be more resonant (that is, more memorable and sticky)
than a story without these qualities. This prediction should be tested empirically
in both research and clinical settings.
Firmly linking archetype to motif in this manner may diverge somewhat from
Jungs original intention. We may not ever be sure, given Jungs multiple denitions
and ambiguous language. But it provides us for the rst time with a method of
rening the denition of archetype (as offered here) with direct empirical study
rather than theoretical speculation, and frees us from dependency upon any
particular framework outside analytical psychology, apart from drawing inspiration
from whatever eld to propose further criteria. Such proposed criteria can
subsequently be tested against known recurrent motifs and clinical materialfor
example, themes found to resonate strongly with patients. From this methodology,
we will be able to more clearly differentiate which clinical narratives and dreams are
more resonant because we will have an empirically derived set of criteria.
As a thought experiment, try to recall the story about the hippo. This should be
difcult, even though it has the same number of words (20) as the dragon slayer
story, because I intentionally designed it to be non-resonant. Clinically, some life
stories, fantasies, obsessions and dreams will be more resonant than others. Jungian
psychology attends to resonant motifs and resonant characters like gods, spirits

Research programmes could be devised which present subjects with narratives and images to
measure resonance directly via ability to recall stories with and without the proposed criteria for
resonance, not unlike the ASI study of Rosen et al. (1991).


Erik Goodwyn

and dream or fantasy beings, but has not always provided clear criteria by which to
judge. As models of the archetype become more rigorous and testable, we should in
the future be able to more easily judge that question. Continued investigation of
recurrent motifs can give us more sophisticated tools to understand the clinical
narratives that contain them.
I will conclude with some observations of relevance to clinical work. I proposed
that non-resonant narratives will be confusingly counter-intuitive or overly
mundane, emotionally detached or frustrating, sensually vague or abstract,
specic in time and space, will contain over-specic or over-general categories, will
be internally complex or ambiguous, and will lack any rhythmic or poetic qualities,
a clear plot, reversals or irony and interconnection. Note that there can often be a
similarity between these qualities and our patients self-narratives when they come
into therapy for the rst time. It is possible that psychotherapy works partially
because patients and therapists continually examine a patients story, and slowly
co-create a more resonant narrative over time. Research in Prolonged Exposure
therapy (Foa et al. 2007, pp. 616) provides some support here. More resonant
self-narratives will, signicantly, be more emotionally satisfying and contain a
strong sense of inter-connection and purposefulness. The tendency to gravitate
toward greater resonance of self-narrative (facilitated by therapy) may, therefore,
contribute signicantly to endogenous psychological healing and integration. This
can be tested clinically by having patients describe a self-narrative before and after
therapy and correlating resonance of self-narrative with any clinical improvement.
Au niveau le plus lmentaire, les archtypes reprsentent une tentative de Jung pour
expliquer le phnomne des motifs rcurrents dans les mythes et les contes populaires (Jung
1956, 1959, para. 99). Mais larchtype demeure controvers en tant quexplication de
motifs rcurrents, car lexistence de motifs rcurrents nest pas une preuve que les archtypes
existent. Ainsi, lenjeu pour la thorie contemporaine de larchtype nest pas simplement de
dmontrer que les motifs rcurrents existent, puisque cela nest pas contest, mais de
dmontrer que les archtypes existent et induisent les motifs rcurrents. Cet article propose
un nouveau modle diffrent des autres car il explique comment larchtype cre des
motifs en rsonance. Forcment, ce modle clarie, modie et adapte les ides fondatrices
de Jung sur larchtype, de faon donner un cadre de travail bas sur la pratique et les
mthodologies contemporaines. Pour la premire fois, un modle darchtype est propos,
qui peut tre valid dans un champ empirique plutt que thorique. On y parvient en
reliant larchtype aux donnes concrtes des motifs rcurrents plutt que dans des
orientations acadmiques dautres champs.

Auf ganz grundlegender Ebene reprsentierten die Archetypen Jungs Versuch, das
Phnomen der regelmig wiederkehrenden Mythen und Motive in den Volkssagen zu
erklren (Jung 1956, 1959 } 99). Aber der Archetyp bleibt als Erklrung von hug
vorkommenden Motiven kontrovers, da die Existenz von wiederkehrenden Motiven die

Recurrent motifs and archetypes


Existenz der Archetypen nicht beweist. So besteht die an die gegenwrtige

Archetypentheorie gestellte Herausforderung nicht darin zu zeigen, da es die stetig
wiederkehrenden Motive gibt, da dies nicht in Frage gestellt wird, sondern zu zeigen,
da Archetypen existieren und das Wiederkehren von Motiven bewirken. Der
vorliegende Beitrag entwirft ein neues Modell, welches sich von anderen dadurch
unterscheidet, da es erklrt, wie der Archetyp resonante Motive erzeugt.
Notwendigerweise klrt, modiziert und adaptiert dieses Modell einige von Jungs
grundlegenden Ideen ber Archetypen. Dies geschieht in der Absicht, einen
Arbeitsrahmen bereitzustellen, der auf heutiger Praxis und Methodologie fut. Zum
ersten Mal wird ein Archetypenmodell vorgestellt, welches eher auf empirischer als auf
theoretischer Basis validiert werden kann. Dies wird durch die Verbindung des Archetyps
mit den harten Daten wiederkehrender Motive erreicht, was einen Unterschied macht zu
akademischen Trends auf anderen Gebieten.

Al livello pi basico gli archetipi rappresentano il tentativo di Jung di spiegare il fenomeno

della ricorrenza dei miti e dei motivi popolari (Jung 1956, 1959, para. 99). Ma larchetipo
resta controverso come spiegazione dei motivi ricorrenti, poich lesistenza di motivi ricorrenti
non prova che larchetipo esista. Quindi la sda per lattuale teoria degli archetipi non
semplicemente dimostrare che esistono motivi ricorrenti, poich ci non in discussione,
ma dimostrare che gli archetipi esistono e causano motivi ricorrenti. Il presente lavoro
propone un nuovo modello che differisce dagli altri nel fatto che spiega in che modo gli
archetipi creano motivi risonanti. Tale modello necessariamente chiarisce, modica e adatta
alcune delle idee seminali di Jung sugli archetipi in modo da fornire una struttura di lavoro
basata sulla pratica e sulle metodologie attuali. Per la prima volta viene proposto un
archetipo che pu essere convalidato su basi empiriche piuttosto che teoriche. Ci si ottiene
legando larchetipo ai dati forti di motivi ricorrenti piuttosto che a tendenze accademiche in
altri campi.

( 1956,
1959, 99).
. ,

, ,
. ,
; , .
, ,
, , .


Erik Goodwyn

En el nivel ms bsico, los arquetipos representaron la tentativa de Jung para explicar el

fenmeno de motivos recurrentes de mitos y cuentos popular es (Jung 1956, 1959, el
prr. 99). Pero el arquetipo escontroversial para la explicacin de motivos recurrentes,
y la existencia de motivos recurrentes no demuestra que los arquetipos existen. As, el
desafo para la teora contempornea de los arquetipos es, no solamente demostrar
que los motivos recurrentes existen, puesto que ello no est en discussion, sino demostrar
que los arquetipos existen y causan los motivos recurrentes. El presente trabajo propone
un nuevo modelo que, a diferencia de otros, explica cmo el arquetipo crea motivos
resonantes. Este modelo necesariamente clarica, modica y adapta algunas de ideas
originales de Jung en relacin al arquetipo para proporcionar una marco de trabajo
basado en la prctica y metodologas contemporneas. Por primera vez se propone un
modelo de arquetipo que puede ser validado empricamente antes que tericamente. Esto
se logra ligando el arquetipo a los datos slidos de los motivos recurrentes antes que a las
tendencias acadmicas en otros campos.

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[MS rst submitted July 2012; nal version March 2013]

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 409431

fMRI responses to Jungs Word Association

Test: implications for theory, treatment and
Leon Petchkovsky, Michael Petchkovsky, Philip Morris, Paul Dickson,
Danielle Montgomery, Jonathan Dwyer, Patrick Burnett, Australia
Abstract: Jungs Word Association Test was performed under fMRI conditions by 12
normal subjects. Pooled complexed responses were contrasted against pooled neutral
ones. The fMRI activation pattern of this generic complexed response was very
strong (corrected Z scores ranging from 4.90 to 5.69). The activation pattern in each
hemisphere includes mirror neurone areas that track otherness (perspectival empathy),
anterior insula (both self-awareness and emotional empathy), and cingulated gyrus
(self-awareness and conict-monitoring). These are the sites described by Siegel and
colleagues as the resonance circuitry in the brain which is central to mindfulness
(awareness of self) and empathy (sense of the other), negotiations between self awareness and the internal other. But there is also an interhemispheric dialogue. Within
3 seconds, the left hemisphere over-rides the right (at least in our normal subjects).
Mindfulness and empathy are central to good psychotherapy, and complexes can be
windows of opportunity if left-brain hegemony is resisted. This study sets foundations
for further research: (i) QEEG studies (with their ner temporal resolution) of complexed
responses in normal subjects (ii) QEEG and fMRI studies of complexed responses in
other conditions, like schizophrenia, PTSD, disorders of self organization.
Key words: fMRI, internal conict, Iain McGilchrist, left hemisphere, psychological
complexes, resonance circuit, right hemisphere, Dan Siegel, transcendent function

Jung on the complexes

It is worth going back to Jungs original descriptions. He was impressed by the
way complexes seemed to over-ride volition and conscious intention.
[Complexes] are psychic entities which are outside the control of the conscious
mind. . .always contain something like a conict. . .are the sore spots, the btes noires,
the skeletons in the cupboard which we do not like to remember but still come back

This paper has been adapted for a non-technical psychoanalytic readership. A technically detailed
account of the procedure and ndings is available in a paper published in the US China Journal of
Medical Sciences (Petchkovsky et al 2011).


2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12021


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

to mind unbidden in the most unwelcome fashion. . .experience shows that complexes
are innitely varied, yet careful comparison reveals a relatively small number of typical
primary forms.
(Jung 1921, paras. 92327)

Jungs early Word Association Test investigations in schizophrenia revealed

affective as well as cognitive dimensions, leading him to wonder about the
role of complexes across a spectrum of conditions, ranging from psychosis,
dissociative disorder, psychological trauma, through to everyday life.
[T]he average speed of the reactions and their qualities was a relatively subsidiary
result compared with the way in which the method was disturbed by the autonomous
behaviour of the psyche.

. . . it was then that I discovered the feeling-toned complexes, which had

always been registered before as failures to react . . . fundamentally there is
no difference in principle between a fragmentary personality and a complex. . .
whether such small psychic fragments are also capable of a consciousness of
their own is still an unanswered question.
. . . Dream psychology shows us as plainly as could be wished how complexes
appear in personied form. . . We observe the same phenomenon in certain
psychoses when the complexes get loud and appear as voices having a
thoroughly personal character. . .
. . . the aetiology of their origin is frequently a so-called trauma. . .. . .[or]. . .a
moral conict. (ibid., para. 204) . . . complexes are in truth the living units
of the unconscious psyche. . ..that is why Freud became the real discoverer
of the unconscious in psychology.. . .the via regia to the unconscious,
however, is not the dream, but the complex, which is the architect of the
dreams and symptoms.
(Jung 1934, paras. 196, 202, 203 and 210 respectively)
The notion of a fragmentary personality implies an internal otherness at odds
with the ego (which Jung regarded as yet another complex, albeit the central
one). This in turn implies a process of internal conict. However, the balance
between these tensions varies. By and large, the ego wins in the normal subject,
but in conditions like schizophrenia, an activated complex can dominate
consciousness. Since our investigation looked at normal subjects only we might
expect to nd evidence of the disturbance introduced by the internal conict
being overcome by the ego as in Jungs normal subjects.

A brief history of neuroscience research in analytical psychology

It is one of lifes ironies that analytical psychology, often regarded as the most
starry-eyed of the psychoanalytic methods, had its beginnings, over 100 years

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


ago, in what was essentially a neuroscience project, although, because brain

functional imaging technology was not available at the time, Jung (19078)
had to content himself with measuring the peripheral physiological responses
that reect central activities. Jung and his collaborators at the Burghlzli, trying
to track the neurophysiological changes that accompanied complexed responses
when patients performed the Word Association Test (WAT), used the most
advanced physiological psychology technology of the times: Skin Conductance
(SC) or Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), Electrocardiography ECG, and plethysmographic spirometric (measurement of breath rate and depth). Jung, with his
Word Association Test (WAT), and Freud with his free association technique,
examined the associative processes in their patients inner lives. The inferences
they drew from their ndings helped build psychoanalytic theory. Freud
acknowledged the contributions of Jungs WAT research to psychoanalytic
theory in his discussion of dream interpretation in the 1915 Introductory
Lectures (Freud 191516, p. 109).
As we know, Jung noticed that when a person presented with a word from a
standard list is asked to respond as quickly as possible with the rst word that
comes to mind, most responses tend to be bland and neutral, but every so often
there are long pauses, often with unusual behavioural and semantic features
(the so-called complex indicators), and physiological disturbances (heart rate,
breathing rate, skin conductance). Such responses typically organize around
themes. From these responses, a map of psychological hot spots can be
built. Jung called these affect-bound thematic nodes the complexes. But more
importantly, both he and Freud viewed complexed reactions as evidence of
repression, a state in which the subjects experience collides with an internal
opposition, generating internal conict.
Jungs neuroscientic approach appealed to the pragmatic US Zeitgeist, and
he was invited to lecture at Clark University in 1909. Jung considered that
the association experiment and the psychogalvanic experiment were chiey
responsible for my reputation in America (Jung 1963, p. 120).
Jung stopped routine use of the WAT and neurophysiological evaluations in
his private analytic practice because his vast experience and highly developed
intuition made this redundant. It took another 80 years before any further
serious research in the WAT was attempted. Jeffrey Satinover, in the early 80s,
tried to look at the neurobiological underpinnings of the complexes, using
newly developed Quantitative ElectroEncephaloGraph (QEEG) techniques
(Satinover 2006). This, sadly, proved inconclusive because QEEG and Event
related Potential (ERP) computerized data analysis was then in its infancy.
And functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), another method for
imaging brain function, would take another 20 years to develop to the point
where it could be accessed routinely by researchers.
A search of the analytical psychology literature revealed few publications
bringing research neuropsychology methodology to the eld. Of note were 2
papers. The rst (from Seoul in Korea: Yong-Wook Shin et al. 2005) found that,


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

paradoxically, the activation of a complex not only enhanced the attention of

subjects, but improved their performance on an implicit learning task. This
nding resonates with ours. Our complexed responses showed both
activation of the head of the caudate nucleus (indicating captivated attention)
and right hemispheric regions involved in implicit learning (see the Left
and Right Brain discussion section further). The second study (from Milan
in Italy: Vezzoli et al. 2007) did not use brain imaging technology, but
tracked changes in the inter-relational patterns of complexes during
therapy. The present fMRI study does not allow us to describe the
inter-relational patterns of complexes, but further research, including
QEEG work, may allow us to track the neurophysiological correlates of
complex pattern changes.

Complexes and the developmental trajectory

Theodor Ziehen, one of Germanys rst child psychiatrists, is credited with
having coined the term complex in 1898. Jung expanded it in his formulation
feeling-toned complex of ideas to refer to the hot spots that his Word
Association Test elicited. Jung formulated that the core of any complex is
archetypal, and that while, complexes can be conscious, partly conscious, or
unconscious, in all cases they act as splinter psyches (Jung 1934, para. 203)
and are largely painful (ibid., para. 207). But after all these years, the
pathogenesis of the complexes is still very unclear. How does any particular
archetype unpack in the individuals ontogeny? Obviously, traumatic events
could leave their permanent marks in the form of complexes (as in the fearful
associative responses in various forms of PTSD). But the timing of traumas
within the developmental trajectory was largely left out of the account (with
the exception of Oedipal dynamics). Contemporary developmental research
(not available to Jung) reminds us that socio-emotional brain patternings
are probably laid down as early as in the uterus, and various forms of
neglect or empathic mismatching (which might not be all that traumatic
to an adult) can produce radical and life long damage in a baby or infant,
as can pathological attachment dynamics of various kinds, and disorders of
self-organization and function. Furthermore, developmental possibilities that
depend on the establishment of a prior functional base would be thwarted.
(The diminished capacity for self-awareness that we see in alexithymia and
various borderline conditions would be examples).
There is a large literature on the subject, both within contemporary psychoanalysis and development psychology and neuroscience. A good account of
developmental aspects of analytical psychology (reviewing contributions
including those of Bowlby, Fonagy, Knox, Bucci, Schore, Siegel) can be found
in Cambray and Carters Analytical Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives
in Jungian Analysis (2004) but this paper is not the place to review them

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


in detail. Sufce it to say that these early developmental patternings are nonverbal, implicit, possibly pre-symbolic, but we know that they must
nevertheless impact on Complexed Word Association responses in various ways.
For instance, complexed responses are often emotionally painful, and the brain
circuitry of emotion is non-verbal.
The Word Association Test necessarily relies on words, and hence on the
left hemispheric function. But left hemispheric development in humans only
begins in the 2nd or 3rd years of life. This does not mean that complexes
cannot emerge in the rst 2 or 3 years of life, of course. In fact, the research
ndings of Allan Schore (Schore 2003) strongly suggest that during this time,
implicit/procedural affective patterns or programmings are laid down in the
right hemisphere of the infant brain, in interaction with the care-giver, often
in the form of attachment styles, and continue to have an overwhelming
effect on behaviour and object choices for the rest of our lives. Developmental
or Complex PTSD (Herman 1997), an earlier formulation for Reactive
Attachment Disorder, takes into account the fact that trauma has different
effects depending on the developmental stage of the individual at the
time it occurs. Adult Post Traumatic Stress Disorder clearly generates
complexes of a kind, even if the individuals early development has
been good enough. The DSM-IV check-list for PTSD species this. For
instance, ash-backs, the re-living of traumatic events, are triggered
off by associative prompts in the environment. Clearly there is some
overlap here between adult PTSD and complex or developmental PTSD,
and a complexed response uses early fearful right hemisphere
programmes as a basis. The specics of biographical events provide the
rest. Our ndings support this. We noted that right hemispheric regions
(including limbic/anterior insula) are activated early in the complexed
response. And there are some similarities between our complex responses
and what is seen in imaging studies in PTSD, Borderline conditions, and
attachment states (details in Petchkovsky et al 2011). But further brain
imaging studies to differentiate between ordinary and PTSD-type complexed
responses are required.

These were 13 volunteers: 7 males, 6 females, 12 R handed, 1 L handed, ages
26 to 63, all adult mental health professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists,
psychotherapists, counsellors, Jungian analysts) afliated with the Australian
and New Zealand Society of Jungian Analysts (ANZSJA). Two volunteers
repeated the test after a 12 month interval. One scan had to be discarded
because dental llings interfered with the imagery, thus yielding only
14 scans.


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

Recruitment and ethics

Recruitment was by word of mouth invitations to ANZSJA members and afliates,
e-mail invitations via the ANZSJA mailing list, public announcements at ANZSJA
AGMs (2005, 2006) and ANZSJA-sponsored Professional Development Seminars.
Clearance was obtained from the Ethics Committees of ANZSJA, the University
of Queensland, and the Wesley Hospital Brisbane (the site of the fMRI Unit).
Condentiality measures were in place.
In a pre-procedure interview, subjects were given Information for Volunteers
forms, and Metals Check and Interim Medical Examination as prescribed by
Wesley Hospital fMRI protocols. Written Informed Consent was obtained after
the procedure had been fully explained.
Investigators were concerned about the unsettling nature of eliciting complexed
responses. Volunteers could have, on request, intensive de-brieng sessions with a
choice of senior consultants.

Technical procedures
The primary form of the fMRI process relies on contrasting blood-oxygen-leveldependent (BOLD) signals between 2 conditions, the test condition (in this
case complexed responses) versus the baseline condition (neutral responses)
to measure oxygenated blood ow (and hence metabolic activity) in brain regions
that get activated in the complexed response.
The WAT was performed at the Wesley Hospital Brisbane using a 4 Tesla
Bruker Medspec system. The fMRI process requires each subject to hold their
head very still throughout. Our fMRI Unit technical advisers stressed that
vocalization can spoil imaging. Furthermore, the noise level in the magnet is
very high. We therefore modied the classical procedure so that words were
presented visually.
Volunteers were told that every 20 seconds a word from a standard list of 100
words would appear on a video screen (in two blocks of 50 words each with a
5 minute rest period because the fMRI machine can only operate continuously
for about 20 minutes before overheating). And instead of vocalizing their
response, volunteers would press a nger-button just as soon as they had
completed saying their response mentally, then hand-write the response word
on a moving scroll. Volunteers received a prior 5 minute practice session.
Response times were measured. Two lots of 339 volumes (36 slices per volume)
were acquired for each scan.
It is important to note that visual presentation of the WAT words, in the
isolation of the fMRI chamber, reduced the felt presence of the interlocutor
signicantly. This is actually a benet for the experimental paradigm, both
because it reduced the independent variables that go with the interlocutor,
and pushed the focus much more on internal process in the subject, as opposed
to interaction with the experimenter.

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


The Standard English version Zurich Institute 100 Word WAT List (C. G.
Jung Institute 1974) was used. An English translation of Kasts WAT Guidelines
(Kast 1980) and Meiers text on the WAT (Meier 1984) informed procedure.
Complex indicators, as detailed in the WAT Guidelines (ibid.) include;
1. Any reaction time 0.4 sec greater than the Median (or so-called probable
mean, being the average between the 50th and 51st fastest within the 100
ranked responses) (see Jung 1904-7/1973, para. 571).
2. Incorrect reproductions on repeat WAT (not done here because of
logistical constraints)
3. Semantic Indicators

No reaction
Repetition of stimulus word
clang reactions (e.g., big-pig)
Disconnected reactions. E.g., subject gives the name of an object in
the room unconnected with the stimulus word
e. Responding with several words
f. Neologisms, colloquialisms, profanities
g. Stereotypies (use of the same response repeatedly)

4. Behavioural indicators. (These could not be observed effectively while the

subject was in the magnet, but were observed in the post-fMRI interview).
a. Mimic, movement, laughter
b. Stuttering or mispronunciation
5. Self-reported complexes
Identifying and selecting complexed responses in individuals
After each session, investigator discussed responses with subject, marked responses
subject felt were disturbing, identied semantic complex indicators (as described
in the Zurich WAT protocol) and invited further comment.
Within each WAT response, we identied several variably overlapping groups.

Time Delay (TD) Group (0.4 seconds above Median)

Self Reported Complex (SR) Group
Semantic Indicators Group (SI)
Pooled (Complex) or Generic set. The sum of TD, SR and SI responses
Neutral (Simple) Group. All remaining responses below median time,
excluding any response that followed immediately after either a TD or
SR response since a strong complexed response can sometimes persevere
to the next word presentation.


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

Interview responses, together with the response time data, allowed us to

compile a reliable list of complexed responses. All complexed responses were
gathered and contrasted with all neutral ones for the entire group, allowing
us to map a generic complex response.

The scans were analysed using the Statistical Parametric Mapping
Programme (SPM5 2009). The complexed responses revealed a very strong
pattern of bilaterally symmetrical activity in each hemisphere. A t Test was
applied to the Complex versus Neutral comparison. Statistical signicance
of the results was well above the SPM-5 Family Wise Error (FWE) and False
Discovery Rate (FDR) thresholds, with Z-scores ranging from 4.90 to 5.66;
i.e. 4 or more Standard Deviations above baseline expectation (a result with
a Z score of 3.9 or above has less than 1 chance in 10 thousand of being
accidental, see Table 1).
The initial Left and Right Hemisphere symmetry of the generic complex
response is well captured in this Drishti image (Limaye 2006). In each
hemisphere, we can see the interactive pattern between mirror neurone sites
(Pre-motor Mirror Neurone Area and Supplementary Motor Area), the conict
monitoring Cingulate Gyrus, and the Anterior Insula which tracks internal
states, but also communicates with mid-brain limbic areas like the Amygdala
(to do with emotions). The details follow below.
The BOLD responses accompanying complexed activity are strongest in the
rst 3 seconds (see Figure 2).
Explanatory notes: The SPM-5 programme produces a diagram which
attempts to deal with the difculties of representing a complex 3 dimensional
structure on a 2 dimentional plane. It does so by using 3 sections. The sagittal
section (top left) views the brain from the side. The coronal section (top right)
looks at the brain from the front as if the front had been sliced off. The
Transverse section (bottom left) looks at the brain from above, as if the top of
the brain had been removed.
The transverse Axis is X, the front-to-back one is Y, and the vertical one is Z.
These co-ordinates allow SPM to specify in millimetres where each response site
is located in the brain space. Our SPM-5 analysis resolved the 3-D brain image
into Voxels (3.6 by 3.6 by 3.6 mm cubes), which are specied by X, Y, Z coordinates. This allows the programme to generate sets of X, Y, Z co-ordinates
for each active area.
The red arrow at the centre of each section is the point 0,0,0. Readers
wishing to access X, Y, Z co-ordinates for the areas appearing in the SPM
images above and listed below will nd this in Petchkovsky et al 2011.
One striking feature of the response pattern displayed above is the high level
of interhemispheric symmetry in the rst 3 seconds.

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


Table 1. As previously mentioned, the results show a very strong statistical salience. In order of
decreasing statistical salience (Z scores ranging from 5.69 to 4.50), the following BOLD responses
above the FWE and FDR thresholds are seen.

Z = 5.69
Z = 5.46
Z = 5.24
Z = 5.13

Z = 5.06

Z = 5.05
Z = 5.02
Z = 4.93

Z = 4.90
Z = 4.50

101 voxels in Left Ventrolateral Prefrontal Brodmann areas 9

and 44. (Mirror neurone sites and linguistic expressive sites)
40 voxels in the Left superior and middle temporal region.
(mirror neurone and linguistic processing sites)
58 voxels in the Left anterior Insula (interoceptive/self-awareness site)
21 voxels in Right Supplementary Motor Area SMA and Dorsal
cingulate gyrus. (Supra-ordinate mirror neurone sites and
conict-monitoring/self-monitoring sites).
7 voxels in the Right Dorso Lateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC)
at 54, 7, 49. There is no research literature relating to the
signicance of this site.
22 voxels in the Right Middle Temporal Region (homologue to
the contralateral Left Temporal Area)
32 voxels in the Right Anterior Insula (homologue of the Left
Interoceptive/Self Awareness site)
28 voxels in the Left SMA and Dorsal Cingulum (Z = 4.93)
(homologue to the corresponding Right area to do with
20 voxels in the Right Ventrolateral Prefrontal Brodmann areas 9
and 44. (Mirror neurone sites and linguistic expressive sites)
12 voxels in the Left head of caudate. This region is active when
attention is captivated by an internal process (obsessional
states are one example).

The complexed activation pattern

The complexed response pattern (see both Figure 1 and Figure 2) includes (1)
mirror neurone areas that track otherness (Brodmann Area 9 and 44),
(2) Anterior Insula on both sides (mediating proprioceptive and emotional
self-awareness but also emotional empathy), and (3) Dorsal Cingulate Gyrus
(conict-monitoring and self-monitoring processes, including conscious reection
about the other).
The anterior Insula interacts with both Dorsal Cingulate Gyrus and Mirror
Neurone areas, and in turn inuences, reciprocally, mid-brain limbic areas like
the amygdala. The interaction between DCG and Insula is very marked in states
of social rejection and experiences of object loss. An easily readable overview of
various studies that explore this interaction between Cingulate and Insula is
available in the 1st December 2012 issue of New Scientist (Raffensperger
2012). Interestingly, these two sites are also activated in states of physical pain
(see also Slavich et al 2010).


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

Fig. 1. The generic complexed response

SPM-5 Images showing Sagittal, Coronal and Transverse sections

Complex V Neutral


SPM results: \canonical

Height threshold T = 6.501145 {p<1e-005 (unc.)}
Extent threshold k = 5 voxels

Fig. 2. First 3 seconds

The pattern of the generic complexed response seems to use that combination
of brain areas described by Siegel and colleagues (Siegel 2007) as the Resonance
Circuitry in the brain central to mindfulness (awareness of self) and empathy
(sense of the other). The Resonance Circuitry is discussed in greater detail further
in this paper, but in essence, comprises
(1) Medial Prefrontal Cortical activity (like our Dorsal Cingulum ndings)
associated with self-referential and internal comparison processes;
(2) Lateral Prefrontal Cortical activity (like our peri-Brocas Brodmann area
9 and 44 ndings) which have more to do with reference to others, and

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


(3) the Insula (which lights up in our ndings as well), which tracks
self-experience in the moment, but also seems to mediate between
the other two areas and lower mid-brain ones like the amygdala and
hind-brain ones like the vagal and sympathetic nuclei and tracts (areas
to do with the arousal level and emotions aroused by any particular
experience). As we pointed out earlier, DCG and Anterior Insula are also
very active in states of emotional pain.

Neutral responses
It is important to realize that when the SPM-5 analysis contrasts complexed
versus neutral responses, the features common to both conditions cancel out.
Therefore, to obtain an independent fMRI pattern of neutral activity, the
neutral responses to the WAT have to be contrasted against something else
again. We pulled out the rst scan volume from the 20 second bloc time for
every neutral response, and contrasted this against the last volume, reasoning
that because neutral response time was so brief (less than 0.8 sec) the last
3 seconds or so spent waiting for the next word to come up might give us a fairly
bland background condition for purposes of contrast.
Neutral responses showed activity in the cerebellum (mainly Right side, and
probably to do with efferent tracking of executive responses; i.e. tracking the
generation of a new word in response to the stimulus word), Left Brocas
(verbal expressive) and temporo-parietal (verbal searching and associative)
regions. This is what we would expect in a word search and response task. This
(including the cerebellar activity) was similar to the incidental ndings of
Simmons et al (2008), who looked at neutral word association responses as
part of a larger study in mental simulations.

Complexed activity over time

Whereas fMRI spatial resolution is high (better than 1 cubic mm), temporal
resolution is poor (around 2 seconds). We can compensate somewhat by taking
2 second blocs overlapping by one second (as we have done in Figure 3) but we
cannot break down the rst 2 seconds to smaller time frames. The much higher
temporal resolution of QEEG (Milliseconds) will help us investigate the very
earliest events.
In the rst two seconds, the activity we see is symmetrical. Presumably a process
of internal conict is active in each hemisphere, across a range of circuits (the
resonance circuits) that mediate various aspects of self and other within each
hemisphere. Very soon however, activity shifts to the left hemisphere.
When we analyse the data in 2 second fragments from the beginning, we
see that Left hemispheric activity quickly becomes more prominent, Right


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

SPM images, showing BOLD activity over the first 5 seconds
2 second




0 to 2 sec

1 to 3 sec

2 to 4 sec

3 to 5 sec

Fig. 3. SPM images, showing BOLD activity over the rst 5 seconds

hemispheric much less so, until by the 5th second, only Left activity raises above
FWE or FDR thresholds (see Figure 3).
Also note that medial prefrontal (SMA and Dorsal Cingulum) activity within
each hemisphere, while strongest in the rst 2 seconds, begins to fade relative to
Dorsolateral Prefrontal activity.
The low temporal resolution of the BOLD fMRI response (some 2 seconds)
does not allow us to make more detailed inferences about the very rst 2 seconds,
and we await the results of a Dynamic Functional Modeling analysis based on
QEEG results (with their ner temporal resolution).
However, even within these limitations, we can say that the sequential patterns
seen above suggest that in the initial 3 seconds, negotiation between sites
subserving self awareness (Medial sites like Dorsal Cingulum) and other awareness (Lateral Prefrontal sites) occurs within each hemisphere, and results in
Lateral Prefrontal predominance (compare front to back activity in the transverse
section 0 to 2 with 1 to 3 and 2 to 4).
As times goes on however, negotiation between Left and Right hemisphere
results in left hemispheric hegemony (compare the rst transverse section with
the subsequent ones, and note how activity shifts to the Left hemisphere, and
diminishes in the Right one). What are we to make of this dynamic pattern?
We offer some points of orientation.

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


The resonance circuits

The term resonance circuits is used by Dan Siegel and his colleagues at UCLA
(Siegel 2007, see especially Appendix III) to refer to the brain circuitry
subserving mindfulness (our self awareness), and empathy (our awareness of
others). The pathways begin at various mirror neurone sites in the lateral
cortex, and project to the insula, which registers emotional self- and otherawareness through its subcortical limbic and hind brain conections, receives
feed-back, and talks back to the middle pre-frontal region (mesial SMA and
cingulate gyrus). The mesial cortex and cingulate gyrus have a well-described
conict monitoring function. But the Dorsal Cingulum also seems to mediate
aspects of self awareness. Thus the cingulate circuitry involves reections
(at various levels of conscious awareness) on differences between self and
other. There is accumulating research evidence to support the validity of this
mirror neurone/insula/subcortical/middle pre-frontal system as a substrate for
relational awareness.
The Netherlands brain imaging neuropsychologist Christian Keysers
(Keysers 2011) has recently published a detailed overview of the role of mirror
neurone sites, the insula, and mesial cortex in empathy and self-awareness, and
includes accounts of their early neurodevelopmental processes. Keysers and his
colleagues use a slightly different terminology, the term shared circuitry, to
describe the processes that are referred to as resonance circuit functions by
Seigel and his colleagues.
We have overviewed the fMRI literature of the last 20 years to see what
response patterns most closely match the pattern in our ndings, and the
resonance circuitry is the one that corresponds most strongly (details of the
literature review can be found in our Petchkovsky et al 2011 publication).
We see very strong activation of peri-Brocas SMA and Superior Temporal
Mirror Neurone sites, anterior insula, cingulate gyrus, and parietal lobule
(Fogassi et al 2005; Rizolatti & Craighero 2004). All of these areas survive
FWE and FDR (Family Wise Error and False Discovery Rate) group analysis
thresholds in our ndings (or FDR alone for the parietal one, appearing in
the 4th second).
While Siegel and his colleagues talk of the resonance circuits primarily in the
context of the relationship between the individual and his signicant others, in
the complexed response the process is a highly internalized one. What is being
accessed is some representation of the internal other which seems in conict
with the self.
There is a sense in which all representations of otherness have to be internal
of course, since even mirror neurone activity is actually embedded in the
observers circuitry. And this accounts for occasional failures of empathy.
Sometimes our mirror neurone activities do not match the actual internal
experiences of the observed other. We can also make a distinction between
representations of the internal other that are triggered by an actual external
other, and those that are already embedded in the brain in memory, which


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

can be implicit/procedural rather than explicit/biographical/narrational (not

readily accessible to ordinary introspection, which relies so much on words).
Much of the implicit patterning, as we explained earlier, is laid down in the rst
two (pre-verbal) years of life, as object relations patternings, attachment styles,
programmes that the baby downloads into their right hemisphere from their
nurturers right hemisphere, as Schore would put it (Schore 2003). This seems
to be where the affect component that binds complexed response comes from.
And even though the WAT is verbal, the affective circuitry that drives and binds
complexed reactions is non-verbal.
Whereas left hemispheric development begins around the 3rd year, primordial
self versus other awareness begins much earlier in the human infant, as
interactions with its caregivers impact on the development of right hemispheric
and limbic circuitry, to lay down implicit memory patterns which shape
perceptions to do with fear or safe protectors. This is discussed in detail by Siegel
(Siegel 2007) and Schore (Schore 2003) and leads us to consideration of the
separate roles of each hemisphere.

Left and right brain

Why does the generic complex response initially show bilateral symmetry and
then resolve in left hemispheric dominance? We think this is actually a
pseudo-resolution, the way the brain deals with a complex in the moment,
possibly to dull the pain of the complexed response (as opposed to a real
psychotherapeutic resolution, in which both left and right hemispheric experiences are tolerated, despite the pain, worked with, and hopefully come to a
transcendent function resolution).
Let us explain. Much has been written about left versus right hemispheric
function. Australian vision neuroscientist, Jack Pettigrew, was one of the
rst researchers in this area, and became particularly interested in the role of
hemispheric switching in Bipolar Disorder, nding that Left hemispheric activity
is higher in mania, whereas the Right hemisphere predominates in depression
(Pettigrew 2001).
Perhaps the deepest and most comprehensive contemporary review of
hemispheric functional differences is that of Iain McGilchrist (2010). In essence,
McGilchrist argues that each hemisphere has its own distinctive mode of
awareness or consciousness. The right hemisphere develops rst (the rst 2 to
3 years of life) and processes incoming data (including proprioceptive body
eld) holistically and emotionally. It mediates highly affect-loaded attachment
and threat patterns. Right hemispheric over-activity in vertebrates is associated
with wariness and depression (the subject as prey). Left hemisphere circuitry
develops later, and processes in a linear rather than gestalt fashion, organized
around language, logic and abstractions. At the affective level, left hemisphere
is more curious, exploratory, danger-denying, even hypomanic (the subject as

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


predator). McGilchrist associates optimal mind-states with good interhemispheric

communication because a third more integrative mode of awareness becomes
possible. We wonder if much of Jungs biographic account of his Personality
number One and Personality number Two reected left versus right hemisphere
function, and if Jungs intuitive genius rested on a particularly successful tango
between his hemispheres.

A provisional model
Let us now bring these background understandings to bear in describing
and interpreting our ndings. The WAT depends on words, a left hemispheric
function. The stimulus word is received in the primary visual cortex and understood in the left upper temporal area (Wernickes area of receptive speech). At
this very early stage (the rst 300 milliseconds), there will be no difference
between neutral and complexes responses. (Thus they cancel themselves out
when complexed is contrasted with neutral). However, the left amygdalar
nucleus becomes activated if the generated associations are problematic. This
amygdalar activation can be seen in the rst 2 seconds in our scans, but does
not achieve large statistical prominence probably because being very early and
brief, it is drowned out by the activity of the much longer responses in the
resonance circuit sites.
The left word-nding (middle temporal) and word-generating areas (Brocas)
now become vigorously activated as the subject struggles to nd a suitable
verbal response. By this stage, the resonance circuits are operating vigorously.
Within each hemisphere, conictual word associative activity (middle temporal
and Brocas) activate the mirror neurone sites near them (awareness of internal
other), which in turn activate the insula, a site of somatic self-awareness. The
insula in turn serves as a connective node between lateral cortical (peri-Brocas)
and medial cortical (cingulate gyrus) activity, and the limbic system and
hindbrain. The mesial SMA, a supra-ordinate mirror neurone site, is also
involved. The cingulate gyrus, especially the middle part, is a well-known
conict monitor and registers the tensions between experience of internal self
and internal other. Thus there is a range of self versus other comparative
processes going on at various levels within each hemisphere. And it seems that
in each hemisphere, the lateral cortical circuitry to do with representation of the
other wins over the medial (cingulate) circuitry.
At a higher level still, the pattern of symmetrical activation suggests that
the hemispheres are talking with each other, at least initially, and we surmise
that the word-processing left hemisphere conveys its concerns to the right
hemisphere very early on in the piece.
The poor temporal resolution of the fMRI data for the rst 2 seconds of the
response makes it difcult for us to sequence the very early events. We suspect
that the left (verbal) hemisphere activates rst, but the right hemisphere is not


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

totally devoid of verbal ability. Its very good at prosody, but may also have
picked some basic vocabulary from its more verbal sibling. We also know
that the left hemisphere is more exploratory. The right hemisphere probably
carries more of the fearful response (see our discussion of McGilchrists
work above). But within 3 to 5 seconds, the left hemisphere has won the
dialogue (see Figure 3, the rst 5 seconds).

Implications for psychotherapy

Mindfulness and empathy
Much good psychotherapy involves establishing new patterns of relatedness
especially in the domain of implicit relational knowing (BCPSG 1998). The
complexed response activates circuits relevant to such processes, the resonance
circuits that mediate mindfulness (awareness of self-concept and self-process)
and empathy (awareness of the other, including the internal other in this case).
To resolve or tolerate the tension of internal conict?
But our fMRI ndings also show that the complex pseudo-resolves the conict
through left brain dominance. But within the problem of the complex, there is
also a therapeutic opportunity (bringing awareness and compassion to work
with the tension of opposites). As we know from clinical practice, the complex
may continue to pseudo-resolve the tension in this fashion forever, unless
the holding of the tension of opposites that Jung recommended can be done
in a nurturant environment of safety, courage, and kindness, leading to the
emergence of a transcendent function mediatory product beyond the terms
of the original conict. It is worth remembering that as far back as 1977, Rossi
wrote that just as the cerebral hemispheres are in a continuous process of
balancing and integrating each others functions on a neurophysiological level,
Jung describes a similar regulation (Rossi 1977, p. 45).
Not all conicts can be reduced to left vs. right brain, and our ndings also
show that within each hemisphere, the patterns associated with negotiations
between internal self and internal other can be seen in the rst 3 or so seconds.
But the interhemispheric dialogue is also quite striking.

Organizational brain lock

Left brain hegemony can be institutional. Within psychoanalysis, the rigid
disdain that met Winnicott and Bowlbys focus on early nurturance and
developmental process is a good example. Sebern Fisher, a US therapist who
specializes in the treatment of Reactive Attachment Disorders, gives a particularly
good account from outside the psychoanalytic profession of the institutional

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


acrimony that met Winnicott and Bowlby (Fisher 2009, pp. 31718). Another
example might be the prescriptive rigidity of the psychoanalytic couch (or the
Jungian two chairs for that matter). But more importantly, locked left brain selfrighteousness, or the inconsolableness of rampant right brain process, usually
point to inherent problems, whether in the individual or the group.

The relationship between archetypes and complexes

We were interested to nd whether these fMRI results would tell us anything
about the transcendent axis of Jungian psychology, facing forward towards
teleology and individuation, and backwards towards the archetypes and the
collective unconscious. However, the results do not point us in any particular
direction and further research would be required to indicate how complexes
are inuenced by archetypal factors (factors beyond biographic environmental
ones). Gyorgi Buszjaki, a leading neuroscientist who through his work with
EEG wave forms became interested in the role of oscillations in brain function,
from the physics of oscillations through to its role in neuronal assembly organizational through to complex cognitive processes (Buszjaki 2006). There is a
connection between this and Jungs formulation of the play of opposites in the
psyche which deserves further investigation. We commend the way Buszjakis
emergent neurobiology can account for the generation of complex brain states
without the intervention of a divine microarchitect and, similarly, we strongly
support an emergent understanding of complex and archetypal theory, as
outlined by Roesler (2012), Knox (2011) and Merchant (2006, 2009). Emergence
is sufcient. Nevertheless, it is by no means clear that all complex contents (as
opposed to structures) must be biographically generated. There seems to be a
peculiar openness in many children from the age of 2 to 4 or so, who will give
accounts of matters that cannot be easily reduced to biographic factors,
cryptomnesia, or imaginative construction. Jung was aware of this, especially in
the dreams of very young children (see Jung 1976, p. 51) and the accounts of
so-called re-incarnation imagery in young children detailed by the Canadian
psychiatrist Stevenson also come to mind (Stevenson 1974).
Some of the authors have also noted spontaneous productions of similar
material from their children, grandchildren, and the children of some of their
patients. Clearly, studies need to be done of paranormal experiences in
infancy /childhood.

Directions for further research

Repeat studies. The present study ts in the Pilot category. Though the
ndings are robust, replication is needed, preferably with Galvanic Skin
Response (GSR) and Heart and Breathing rate facilities (Polygraphy).


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

We were hoping to include these in our study, but the technician who
was going to install the technology resigned before this could be done.
GSR and Polygraphy responses provide additional means to identify
complexed responses even more accurately and objectively, which is
why Jung used this in his original studies. Greater numbers of trials
will also allow us to make a clearer distinction between conscious
and unconscious complexed responses, and perhaps even begin to
differentiate between different types of complexes.
Microdynamics. QEEG studies (with their ner time resolution) are
needed, for comparison/contrast with fMRI, but also to discriminate
the microdynamics within the rst 2 seconds. This can be done by
bringing an Independent Component Analysis to the responses. We
suspect that ERP (Evoked Responses Potential) changes, especially in
the P300 range (activities emerging around 300 milliseconds) will be
a feature of the complexed response, because these are often seen in
association with cingulate gyrus dysfunction.
Comparison with other conditions

- Eliciting the dynamics of the complexed response in a range of diagnostic

categories is also vital; we have schizophrenia especially in mind, since
clinically, as Jung noted, it seems as if in schizophrenia, the complex tends
to overwhelm the ego. We have noted, in our very preliminary work with
EEG responses to the WAT, that patients with schizophrenia tend to have
much more prolonged complexed responses. Some of them even experience an outburst of auditory hallucinations.
- Brain functional imaging studies of WAT responses in persons with
disorder of self organization (like borderline conditions and
attachment disorders) will throw more light on the neurodevelopmental
processes in such disorders.
- The WAT is only one paradigm for eliciting complexed responses. Various
pre-verbal stimuli (visual, haptic/gestural, olfactory) can generate painful
responses. Such protocols could enable us to observe these processes in
infants and babies. The Yale child psychiatrist Kevin Pelphrey has
developed baby-friendly fMRI procedures (Pelphrey 2012).
- Complexes in PTSD are also worth studying. It may settle the issue of
whether all complexes are forms of PTSD or not.
The psychology/neuroscience tango
Jungs initial combined engagement with empirical/scientic and introspective/
subjective approaches proved highly innovative. The development of powerful
brain imaging technologies allows us once again to engage in this creative dance.
Good depth psychotherapy increases our capacity for the detailed mental
examination of our feelings, thoughts, and motives (and those of others). This

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


allows us to bring more rened research questions to the neurosciences domain.

In turn, recent advances in neuroscience let us bring an ever more powerful lens
to processes of subjectivity.

Le Test dAssociation de Mots de Jung sest droul dans les conditions du fMRI
avec 12 sujets normaux. Lensemble des rponses altres a t compar un
ensemble de rponses neutres. Le modle dactivation fMRI de cette rponse
altre moyenne tait trs fort (scores Z corrigs allant de 4.90 5.69). Le modle
dactivation dans chaque hmisphre inclut des zones de neurones en miroir qui
reprent laltrit (empathie de perception), la partie antrieure de linsula (
la fois conscience de soi et empathie motionnelle), le gyrus cingulaire (conscience
de soi et contrle du conit). Ce sont les localisations dcrites par Siegel et ses
collgues comme le circuit de rsonance dans le cerveau qui est essentiel pour
lattention (conscience de soi) et lempathie (sens de lautre), et les ngociations
entre la conscience de soi et lautre interne. Mais il y aussi un dialogue
interhmisphrique. En moins de 3 secondes, lhmisphre gauche lemporte sur le
droit (au moins chez nos sujets normaux). Lattention et lempathie sont essentiels
pour une bonne psychothrapie, et les complexes peuvent tre des ouvertures
possibles si lhgmonie du cerveau gauche est contenue. Cette tude pose les bases
de recherches ultrieures : (i) tudes des rponses complexes sur lEEG (avec la
rsolution temporale la meilleure) chez les sujets normaux ; (ii) EEG et tudes fMRI
des rponses complexes dans dautres conditions, comme la schizophrnie, PTSD,
troubles de lorganisation de soi.
Jungs Wort-Assoziationstest wurde unter fMRT-Bedingungen mit 12 normalen Probanden
durchgefhrt. Aggregierte komplexe Antworten wurden mit aggregierten neutralen
kontrastiert. Das fMRT-Aktivationsmuster dieser generischen Komplexantwort war sehr
stark (korrigierte Z-Werte zwischen 4.90 und 5.69). Das Aktivationsmuster in jeder
Hirnhemisphre schliet die Gebiete der Spiegelneuronen, die Anderssein (perspektivisch
Empathie) beinhalten, den Cortex insularis (sowohl Selbstwahrnehmung als auch emotionale
Empathie) und den Gyrus cinguli (Selbstwahrnehmung und Koniktverarbeitung) ein. Dieses
sind die Orte, welche von Siegel und seinen Kollegen als das Resonanzschaltzentrum des
Gehirns beschrieben werden das fr die Achtsamkeit (Gewahrwerden des Selbst) und die
Empathie (Sinn fr den Anderen), den Austausch zwischen Selbstwahrnehmung und dem
inneren Anderen von zentraler Bedeutung ist. Aber es gibt auch einen Dialog zwischen
den Hemisphren. Innerhalb von drei Sekunden setzt die linke Hemisphre die rechte auer
Kraft (wenigstens bei normalen Individuen). Achtsamkeit und Empathie sind wesentlich in
einer guten Psychotherapie und Komplexe knnen Fenster fr Chancen sein wenn der
Vorherrschaft der linken Hirnhlfte widerstanden wird. Diese Studie legt Grundsteine fr
weitere Forschungen: (1.) QEEG-Untersuchungen (mit ihrer feineren temporalen Ausung)
bezglich Komplexantworten bei normalen Probanden, (2.) QEEG- und fMRT-Studien zu
Komplexantworten unter anderen Bedingungen wie Schizophrenie, PTBS, Strungen der
Organisation des Selbst.


Leon Petchkovsky et al.

Il Test Associativo Verbale di Jung venne eseguito da 12 soggetti normali sotto le

condizioni fMRI. Una serie di risposte complesse vennero messe a confronto con una
serie di risposte neutrali. Lo schema di attivazione del fMRI di queste generiche risposte
complesse fu molto forte ( corretti Z punteggi che andavano da 4.90 a 5.69). Il pattern
di attivazione in ciascun emisfero include larea dei neuroni specchio che tracciano
lalterit (empatia prospettiva), linsula anteriore (sia la consapevolezza di s che
lempatia emotiva), e la circonvoluzione cerebrale (consapevolezza di s e monitoraggio
del conitto). Queste sono le aree descritte da Siegel e colleghi come i circuiti di
risonanza nel cervello che centrale alla attenzione (consapevolezza di s) e alla empatia
(senso dellaltro), le negoziazioni fra la consapevolezza di s e laltro interno. Ma vi
anche un dialogo intraemisferico. Entro 30 secondi lemisfero di sinistra passa oltre
quello di destra (almeno nei nostri soggetti normali). Lattenzione e lempatia sono
centrali per una buona psicoterapia e i complessi possono essere nestre di opportunit
se legemonia del cervello sinistro resiste. Questo studio getta le basi per ulteriori
ricerche: (i) gli studi QEEG di risposte complesse in soggetti normali (con la loro
pi sottile risoluzione temporale); (ii) gli studi QEEG e fMRI di risposte complesse
in altre condizioni, come nella schizofrenia, nel PTSD e nei disordini di organizzazione
del s.

. , ,
- ( Z
4.90 5.69). , (
), ( )
() ( ). ,
( ) ( ),
. 3
( , ).
, .
: 1)
( ) ; 2) -
, , , , .

El Test de Asociacin de Palabras de Jung fue realizado bajo condiciones de fMRI por 12
sujetos normales. Las respuestas complejas de fueron contrastadas con las neutras. La
pauta de la activacin de fMRI de esta respuesta genrica compleja fue muy fuerte

Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


(corrigi cuentas Z que recorren de 4,90 a 5,69). El patrn de la activacin en cada

hemisferio incluye reas de neurona en espejo que rastrean la alteridad (empata de perspectival), la Insula anterior (tanto la conciencia de s mismo como empata emocional),
y Gyrus Cingulado (la conciencia de s mismo y vigilancia de conicto). Estos son los
sitios descritos por Siegel y colegas como la red de circuitos de resonancia en el cerebro
que es central al totalidad mental (el conocimiento de ser) y la empata (sentido del otro),
las negociaciones entre auto conocimiento y el otro interior . Pero hay tambin un
dilogo de interhemisfrico. Dentro del lapso de 3 segundos, el hemisferio izquierdo
sobrepasa al derecho (por lo menos en nuestros sujetos normales). La totalidad mental
y la empata son centrales para una buena psicoterapia, y los complejos pueden ser
oportunidades si se resiste a la hegemona de hemisferio izquierdo. Este estudio sienta
las bases para la investigacin adicional: (i) Estudios de QEEG (con su resolucin temporal ms na) sobre respuestas complejas en sujetos normales; (ii) QEEG y estudios de
fMRI de respuestas cpmplejas en otras condiciones, como la esquizofrenia, PTSD, los
desrdenes de auto organizacin.

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Jungs Word Association Test under fMRI conditions


We thank the Wesley Hospital fMRI Unit, and especially Professor Greig De
Zubicaray and Dr Katie McMahon of the Centre for Advanced Imaging,
University of Queensland, for their help. We also thank the Grants Committee
of the International Association of Analytical Psychology for their kind moral
and nancial support.
[MS rst submitted July 2012; nal version February 2013]

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 433441

Book reviews
Edited by Lucinda Hawkins and Joe McFadden
Pilar Amezaga, Gustavo Barcellos, xel Capriles, Jacqueline Gerson,
and Denise Ramos (Eds.). Listening to Latin America: Exploring Cultural
Complexes in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
New Orleans, Louisiana: Spring Journal Books, 2012. Pp. 289. Pbk. $26.95
This book is about the deep interior of the Latin American psyche and about
the powerful emotional reactions elicited by the frequently constellated
complexes of entire cultures that are clamouring to be heard. The book is
written by a multiplicity of local authors, each one a practitioner in the front
line of the eld of mental health care in their respective countries. The authors
are Jungian analysts or in analytic training. Each writer demonstrates an
educated sense of geography, history, sociology and anthropology. This is another
successful book that belongs to the Analytical Psychology and Contemporary
Culture series edited by Jungian analyst, Thomas Singer.
The articles in this book are grouped according to each of the Latin
American countries listed in the title. In spite of the implied complexities
and multiplicities, this work manages to have a solid cohesiveness, not only
of style but of content. The themes within each culture are linked with each
other in what appears as a remarkably organized sequence. In addition, the
addressed cultural complexes of every country link with each other in a
variety of ways ultimately to form a long cultural chain of complexes that
imprison vast areas of the Latin American psyche.
There is a common thread in these cultural complexes that emerged as a
result of the brutal imposition of the culture by the conquerors and colonizers,
mostly Spanish and Portuguese, but also others. Conquerors and colonizers, as
noted by the authors, saw the natives as barbarians, denied their humanity and
declared them uncivilized. In addition, the shadows of the civilizers were
projected on to the natives who accepted and carried them with passivity,
resignation, docility, and even at times with misplaced pride. There was no
energy left to reject the projections or to enforce their withdrawal. This
continues into contemporary times. From these attitudes, and the imposition
of foreign cultural mores, a number of complexes have arisen with a misplaced
sense of inferiority or superiority, various prejudices about race and social class,


2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12022


Book reviews

appellations of gringo and foreigner, and an imposition of isolation and social

exclusion. Even today these complexes are seated deep within the Latin American
psyche and continue to manifest themselves with a pervasive repetition of the
victim/perpetrator dynamic.
This book is an eye opener, one distilled from the Latin American psyche with
great mastery, and one that points out the need to deal with these matters not
only locally but, hopefully, abroad as well. Locally, as said by one of the
authors, we [Latin-Americans] continue to behave in a submissive way that
gives to the abusers, and recruits the necessary forces, constantly to support
re-enactment of the trauma. The acting out of the victimization complex, as
described in the case of the sicariato in Colombia, continues unabated. It is
not imposed by foreigners but, by the same locals, in this case the Colombians.
The tendency to remain unconscious of the historical traumas leads to a sado/
masochistic attitude of the psyche and ignores the telos or purposiveness of
the negative complex that could lead to transformation and consciousness.
In this book it is regrettable to nd signicant misspellings in some proper
names. The misspelling of the country Colombia as Columbia is seen twice,
one in the leading map of the book and in the title page of its chapter. Brasilia
the capital of Brazil is misspelled as Brasilio in one of the South America maps.
In another map, a non-Latin country, French Guiana, is misspelled as Giuana.
These misspellings caused in this reviewer, also of Latin origin, a visceral
reaction of discontent, criticism and sadness.
Perhaps I interpreted the disregard of the spelling as a possible passive
attitude of the editors who should have caught the errors when reviewing the
book proofs. I asked myself if there was a deeper meaning to the oversight.
Could it be that a pervasive inferiority cultural complex was at work that
prevented the authors from claiming the correct spellings? Do we feel we must
accept these mistakes that tamper with our identity, so the Latin American cries
contained in this book can be published in English?
I believe this book to be a gem that belongs in the library of every Jungian
analyst. We are all exposed to the cultural complexes that consequently have
individual expression found in our patients who arrive in our consulting rooms.
Alvaro A. Giraldo
Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts /
Medical University of South Carolina

Book reviews


Mary- Jayne Rust and Nick Totton (Eds.). Vital Signs: Psychological Responses
to Ecological Crisis. London: Karnac Books, 2012. Pp. xxii + 314. Pbk. 22.19.
eBook 17.49
Sally Weintrobe (Ed). Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic
and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge, 2013. Pp. 255.
Hbk. 90.00 / Pbk. 27.99
Climate Change: are we psychotherapists bothered? I urge you to read these
books; if we are not bothered, we should be. Most of us know that global
climate is changing; many believe it is at least partly man-made; most feel
helpless about it. These two challenging, hopeful, timely books deal with the
crucial issue of our environmental crisis; they both contrast with, and complement
each other. Vital Signs has an introduction and twenty chapters by different
authors, and Engaging with Climate Change has an introduction and ten chapters
by different authors, each followed by commentaries by other authors, and a
review barely scratches the surface of these two complex and dense books.
Vital Signs provides psychological responses to the environmental threat, nature
and humanitys relationships with nature from Jungian and other psychotherapists
and ecopsychologists, including personal, subjective experiences; Engaging with
Climate Change contains perspectives about climate change by psychoanalytic
writers, sociologists, social policy academics and others, with amplifying or
challenging short responses, which makes for a deeper analysis.
Vital signs are medical measures of health and of response to treatment; the
book covers a wide and fertile range of ideas and experiences about the health
of the planet. The editors introduce the diverse and emerging discipline of
ecopsychology, which sees the planet as an eco-system of which humanity is
only a part. Given the huge emotional shift needed before change can happen,
they wonder if ecopsychologys main role might be to deal with life after a
climate holocaust.
Social research provides two useful chapters: Susan Bodnar gives us expressive
quotations from interviews to illustrate attitudes to climate change, and Tom
Crompton gives an account of intrinsic goals (concern for personal growth,
afliation to others) and self-transcendence values (concern for others and
natures welfare), which research links with concern for the natural world. He uses
these ndings to consider how to promote concern about the environment and gives
an ethical analysis of attitudes towards others and the environment, compared to
the self-seeking attitudes of extrinsic goals and self-enhancement values.
How far humanity is part of nature is a key question, and Vital Signs
expresses a range of views. Viola Sampson describes her emotional connection
with the seasons; G. A. Bradshaw suggests that biological consciousness, a
relationship with the natural world, means ending our de-connection with
nature; Margaret Kerr and David Key describe emotional experiences of
wilderness, arguing that the unconscious is nature, and Peter Chatalos also


Book reviews

sees the ecological unconscious as the core of the mind. Kelvin Hall shows
how human-animal communication enhances therapeutic processes.
But what is Nature? Martin Jordan disputes a view of man and nature as
opposed; nature, culture and mind are mutually immersed and emergent, and
nature is a series of unfolding events; the self mirrors nature as a relational
process of becoming; subject and nature are a complex assemblage.
Joseph Dodds echoes Jordans idea of nature culture and mind as one, drawing
on Deleuze/Guattaris three ecologies. Nature is not a balanced system, then
disturbed by human intervention, but frighteningly, liberatingly, non-linear
and chaotic. Mary-Jayne Rust suggests that our diverse views of nature
represent our projections of ourselves as wild, savage or vegetative, the whole
animal, vegetable and mineral spectrum.
Spiritual themes emerge. Paul Maiteny draws on the major religions to ask us to
experience ourselves as part of a larger whole; Sandra White explores themes of
sacrice through the story of Adam and Eve; Hilary Prentice sees eastern spiritual
traditions, indigenous peoples resistance to environmental assaults, and psychotherapies responding to trauma, abuse and neglect, as remedies for our split
between inner and outer lives. Mick Collins, William Hughes and Andrew
Samuels link the collective and Marcuses one-dimensional modern consciousness
with the individual and Jungs one-sided consciousness. Individual psychotic
spiritual emergencies give us experience of a collective spiritual emergency; the
authors seek deep transition (their italics) through deep learning, deep citizenship
and democracy, deep culture and ecology, and deep occupations.
Increasing awareness of climate change and nature is the subject of chapters
by Randall and Key and Kerr. Randall sees contemporary society as suffering
an identity crisis, evaded by consumer activities that conrm the individuals
fragile sense of self. Her Carbon Conversations project helps people with the
emotional impact, guilt and loss, of climate change. Key and Kerrs Natural
Change Project consists of workshops in wilderness areas, intended to
encourage people to a transpersonal, interconnected sense of self and a more
sustainable life, through personal experiences, inuencing their own cultural
settings, and achieving structural change through leadership roles.
Complexity and self-organization are the subjects of a number of chapters.
Dodds describes self-organization as what happens when patterns emerge from
lower levels without order imposed from above; systems theory provides the
concept of negative feedback under which systems tend to return to a state of
balance, until a tipping point is reached and the system self-organizes into a
new pattern. This helps in understanding both individual psychological
processes and collective human responses to climate change. Chalatos draws
on Batesons notion of ecosystems having mind-like properties, involving selforganizing processes, to understand an unconscious connection between the
human psyche and nature, while Nick Totton sees spontaneity as part of
ecological awareness and the world as a complex and self-organizing system
where everything responds to everything else.

Book reviews


Sally Weintrobe identies the underlying themes of Engaging with Climate

Change as conict, social justice, and theories about hidden underlying
structures. Our pathological relationship to nature and the earth as a mother
is explored from every conceivable angle. The book could have been called
Denial; or, Not Engaging with Climate Change; the denial of climate change
and the interplay between paranoid-schizoid and depressive thinking unite
the books chapters. Paranoid-schizoid splitting underlies our anxiety, our
separation from nature, our treating the planet as a mother to be exploited
and our perverse attitudes that disregard the Other, while depressive feelings
underlie feelings of loss, social melancholia, guilt, reparation and forgiveness.
Weintrobe identies the anxiety underlying negation and disavowal and believes
disavowal stems from realistic and narcissistic anxiety about climate change:
capitalist culture colonizing our minds so we see ourselves as consumers and
separate ourselves from nature regardless of cost. Paul Hoggett sees todays social
and economic policies and culture as having perverse elements, and nds
perversity in the position of hard-line climate sceptics, in our avoidance of climate
change, and in virtual unattainable emissions-reduction targets. Rosemary
Randall explores self-deception about ecological debt; Rene Aron Lertzman
disagrees that people are environmentally apathetic but believes they are
ambivalent about climate change; she found powerful experiences of loss under
her research participants social melancholia and guilt about environmental
degradation. For her, fear and guilt are obstacles to reducing carbon emissions.
John Keene sees denial in our readiness to discharge toxic waste into the
environment, like our ruthless abuse of our mothers as infants, and in our hope
that we can avoid guilt and depression about the damage we do. He sees
widespread splitting and conspiracy theories and basic-assumption group
thinking. Michael Rustin argues that both the denialist, ruthless exploiters of
natural resources, and those morally outraged by them are in split, paranoidschizoid positions. He sees grounds for hope in an alternative, steadily improving,
depressive attitude towards the environment, and the main contribution of
psychoanalysis as understanding these anxieties. Weintrobe sees our attraction
to animals as splitting off and denying our underlying cruelty. Randall sees
ecological debt as taking an unfair share of resources and argues that the shock
of recognizing it leads to guilt, possible reparation, and forgiveness; she illustrates
this through Pips emotional maturing in Great Expectations.
It is helpfully framed by Clive Hamiltons history of denial, and by Stephan
Harrisons summary of climate science. Hamilton places climate-change denial
in a succession of historical instances including denial of the theory of Relativity
and of Nazi Germanys belligerence in the 1930s. Harrison outlines the
certainties and uncertainties of climate science and the difculty of predicting
the future, due both to limitations in scientic models and to unpredictable
human responses to future climate changes.
The dialectical format provides interesting opportunities to compare the main
chapters and their commentaries. Perhaps the most illuminating amplications


Book reviews

are those that challenge the author and offer alternative points of view.
Ted Benton comprehensively challenges Michael Rustins explanation of
social processes by intra-psychic processes and his linking environmentalist
positions to a paranoid-schizoid position. He disputes Rustins view of
economic developments that have been benecial but with unintended harmful
environmental consequences; for him, social movements have had to ght for
these benets against erce opposition from the developers. He frames Rustins
developments as produced by capitalist carbon technologies over 200 years,
amplied over the last 30 years by global neo-liberalism. Rustin in his response
agrees that explanations based on unconscious structures of mind are difcult
but arguably better than no explanation. We are presented with a choice
between depth-psychological and politico-economic perspectives.
Likewise, Stanley Cohen questions Hoggetts anti-denial critique, proposing
that the concept of a gap between knowledge and belief about climate change
and of one between belief and action, is instead a owing, uid narrative of
moral panics, regulations, claims, counter-claims and denials, and John Steiner
traces the concept of perversion back to a denial of death, and cautions against
intolerance of difference leading to opposing sides in the climate debate
resembling each other. Margaret Rustin refers to primitive, even psychotic,
underlying intolerable anxieties to qualify what she sees as Randalls account
of depressive anxiety about climate change; while Bob Ward proposes that
climate change has been framed along leftist lines calling for penitence for
carbon-energy proigacy; he proposes linking action on climate change to wider
benets like electric cars, beyond Randalls ecological debt. Bob Hinshelwood
augments Keenes psychoanalytic account of obstacles to caring for the planet
with an awareness of social culture, and reminds us, like Rustin and Steiner,
that group processes can polarize two sides, such that therapists see exploiters
as greedy and self-seeking while exploiters see therapists as do-gooders,
manufacturing blame.
This short account is intended to give some impression of the great wealth of
original and thought-provoking ideas contained in these two books. Though
the explicit tone of both is up-beat and positive, it is difcult to avoid sensing
an underlying anxiety among almost all the authors. This might of course just
be this reviewers projection.
Unfortunately both use abominable jargon and neologisms: dark or deep
ecology, ecopsychoanalysis, ecopsychosomatics, enantiodromia, liminality,
Samhain, Borderland consciousness, autopoeisis. Though ecopsychology is
forging new thinking and language, even complex thinking can be expressed
in plain English.
One participant in my own research into attitudes to climate change
commented on people who dont really like the human race, and . . .wish to
see [it] punished for our sins. This is an extreme view, but it does reect how
universally we assume that humanitys needs override those of other species.
As the author of Genesis says (1: 2728):


Book reviews
So God created man in his own image. . .and said unto them,

Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have
dominion . . .over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
However, we only observe the injunctions that suit us; we multiply massively,
from 1 billion humans in 1800 to 4 billion in 1980 and today 7 billion,
seven-fold in a bit over 200 years. We subdue the earth, but do not
replenish it, and have dominion over every living thing, casually
extinguishing species; we mine unsustainably, we cut down forests, we acidify
and over-sh the ocean. Ecopsychologists do not say how far we have to go to
balance the wellbeing of the animal, vegetable and mineral world with that of
humanity, on our miraculous, exquisite, fragile, small blue planet.
Robert Tollemache
The Lincoln Clinic and Centre for Psychotherapy
Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven. The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary
Origins of Human Emotions. New York, London: WW Norton, 2012.
Pp. 562. Hbk. $55.00
This book updates and attempts to popularize Panksepps Affective Neuroscience:
The Foundations of Human and Animal Behaviour, published in 1998. In The
Archaeology of Mind, Panksepp and his co-author, psychotherapy clinican
Lucy Biven, aim to explain why his neuroscientic research on basic emotional
systems is relevant to all mental health professionals. The essence of their case is
that primary-process emotions arise from subcortical emotional action networks
in the brain. These subcortical systems are shared across all mammalian species,
so understanding how they function helps us to recognize how much all
mammals share in the ways that they emotionally respond to the world. The
authors argue that there are seven primary-process systemsSEEKING, FEAR,
RAGE, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF and PLAYalways written in capitals
to signal that they designate specic functional networks of evolutionarily
very ancient regions of our brains. These networks underpin and feed into
the secondary emotional learning systems and tertiary conscious emotional
experiences, which are the most easily recognized aspects of human emotion
and which psychologists usually study.
The authors make the case that we cannot have a credible theory of mind
without a credible understanding of the basic emotional feelings we inherit as
evolutionary tools for living. They argue that this perspective narrows the
distinction between emotional and physical disorders, and that the mind and brain
are one thing, which they call MindBrain. They go on to suggest that current
psychiatric diagnostic categories such as schizophrenia, autism and depression


Book reviews

are actually conceptual umbrellas for a host of overlapping MindBrain problems,

which could be understood more accurately as manifestations of disturbances of
the seven basic subcortical emotional systems. One of their major criticisms of
both cognitive-behavioural and psychoanalytic psychotherapies is the failure to
recognize this wealth of research on the neuroscientic basis for emotion and
motivation, for example failure to identify SEEKING as a basic emotional urge
or to distinguish between FEAR and PANIC/GRIEF as distinct causes of anxiety.
One of the authors repeated themes is that this model for emotion is not
speculative but has a sound empirical basis, specically through a triangulated
method of research that:
focuses equally on our understanding of i) the mammalian brain ii) the instinctual
emotional behaviours of other animals and iii) the subjective states of the human
mind. Such triangulations are the primary means by which we can investigate the
neural underpinnings of affective life in our own species as well as in other animals.
(pp. 2324)

The essence of this argument is that experimental direct manipulation of specic

subcortical brain systems in mammals induces distinct emotional behaviours,
which can be reliably identied; these emotional behaviours are accompanied
by affective experiences that are themselves the rewards or punishments that
control animal behaviour. For example, when the areas of a rats brain that
form the neural substrate for the SEEKING system are stimulated by electrodes,
the rat will endlessly seek to induce the stimulus, even to the point of death. This
SEEKING experience is itself the reward. Humans can display the same distinct
emotional behaviour, in the form of addictions; but they also can describe
verbally their emotional experiences when behaving in similar ways, and this
complements and conrms the emotional nature of the animal observations
and so provides information about how affects are organized in human and
all mammalian brains.
The authors are particularly critical of researchers who see emotional arousal
in animals as merely a set of behavioural and physiological responses that are
devoid of affective experience. They argue passionately that emotional
behaviour is always accompanied in mammals by raw affective feelings, a form
of affective consciousness whose evolutionary role is to provide a value system
The second approach to emotion that they single out for criticism is the view
that the subjective experience of emotions depends on our ability to conceptualize
and describe in language our physiological experiences, in other words, that
affects are created when the neocortex reads out our physiological responses.
This is the essence of the James-Lange theory of emotion. They cite a range of
research that demonstrates that human babies born without a neocortex
(anencephalic) and experimentally de-corticated animals show normal
patterns of emotional responses. In this context, Panksepp extensively critiques
the read-out theories of emotion of Antonio Damasio, Joseph LeDoux and
Edmund Rolls. But he highlights the fact that Damasio now appears to accept that

Book reviews


animals do have emotional feelings, rooted in subcortical brain systems, in other

words that he has apparently come round to Panksepps view.
The last chapters (12 and 13) explore the implications of this model of the
mind for psychotherapy, and it is disappointing that the clinical co-author, Lucy
Biven, was not involved in writing them. The focus is on forms of therapy that
are intended to encourage positive affects, for example, by developing the
SEEKING and PLAY systems to counter depression and anxiety disorders.
Panksepp describes these as affective balance therapies (ABTs), aimed at more
direct and more precise benecial interventions within the primal affective lives
of individuals (p. 434). He is not a psychotherapist himself and does not discuss
how this might become operational; certainly he does not consider cognitive
behaviour therapy the treatment of choice, because it is not targeted directly
to core emotional states. He advocates dynamic emotion-focused approaches,
such as those of Habib Davanloo and David Malan, sensorimotor approaches,
EMDR and well-targeted pharmacotherapy. But his discussion of the
implications of his model for psychoanalytic psychotherapy is very limited,
and the views of an experienced psychoanalytic psychotherapist would have
been especially useful.
This book is not easy to read; the writing style and frequent repetition of
points interrupt the ow of complex discussions. Despite this, it offers a very
valuable updating of an essential, richly researched neuroscientic perspective
on our emotional lives. The major difculty for psychotherapists is that most
of us do not have the neuroscientifc expertise or research skills to evaluate the
differing models offered by Panksepp and others such as LeDoux and Damasio.
Each makes a powerful and convincing case, and we must wait for further
research to sway the arguments one way or the other. Until then, we can only
familiarize ourselves with key issues in the debates.
Jean Knox
Society of Analytical Psychology

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 442446

Books received
Compiled by Suzanne Hyde

Analytical Psychology
HOLTKAMP, M. B. Biology of the Archetype. Kindle edition only, 2012. 16.08

This study is the rst of two volumes, attempting to explore and clarify two
apparently disparate phenomenathe biology of the Jungian archetype and
the biological causation of evolutionary psychology and psychiatry. The author
does this through his understanding of neuroscience and the nervous system. He
suggests his book will be of use to anyone interested in understanding the core
causal mechanisms of the human psyche (preface). The book specically
addresses the neurobiology of archetypes. The second volume (not published yet)
will explore the relationship of the archetypes neurobiology to the psychology
and psychiatry of the archetypes and the implications for mental health.
MCNEELY, A. D. Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine. Carmel: Fisher King
Press, 2011. Pp. 191 (including index). Pbk. 18.50

Through the medium of female poetry, McNeely explores the role the animus has
played throughout womens inner lives. The author weaves depth psychology
with poetry from women poets including Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Teresa
of Avila and Adrienne Rich. The poems seem to serve the purpose of active
imaginationand help bring to life the concept of the animuswhich McNeely
sees as a life-time companion within every woman.
SHARP, D. Hijacked by Eros: A Jungian Analysts Picaresque Adventures in the Pleroma
with The Eros Aspect of the Eye by A. R. Pope [Book Three of The Eros Trilogy].
Toronto: Inner City Books, 2012. Pp. 125 (including index). Pbk. 12.00

Sharp writes an intriguing book, the last in a trilogy; it can be read on its
own or alongside the previous two books (Live Your Nonsense, book 1,
Trampled to Death by Geese, Book 2) Sharp is a prolic writer of Jungian
thoughts and reections. This is not a text-book and one has to suspend
intellectual thought and enter into the authors world. However, there are

2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12023

Books received


ample riches to be found and his passion to integrate Jungian depth psychology
into real world living is quite inspiring. The book contains vignettes, poetry,
song lyrics and most striking, the authors own internal musings. Sharps aim
is to promote the practical application of Jungs work which he knows inside
and out. The author makes so many almost throw-away comments that one
could miss the depth and wisdom in his words. He also makes no claim for
originality, only that he has tilled the soil that is the substance of analytical
psychology (p. 11). Sharp has written several trilogies and hints in this book
that he is considering an exegesis of Jungs Red Bookwhich I imagine will be
quite unlike any other commentaries published so far. This is a book that
I could imagine having in my consulting room to pick up between sessions;
I think it would encourage me to get out of my headand enter into a more
playful and thoughtful space.

BANNINK, F. 1001 Solution-focused questions. New York, London: W.W. Norton, 2010.
Pp. 251 (including index]. Pbk. 17.99

Fredrike Bannink is a clinical psychologist whose specialty is solution-focused

coaching and therapy. Drawing on 30 years worth of clinical experience,
Bannink provides a work-book style publication that offers clinicians of all
theoretical persuasions an opportunity to expand and sharpen their existing
skills. The solution-focused approach centres around the philosophy that the
practitioner needs to help the client see their problems from a different
perspective, from what is going right, rather than from what is wrong. The
book provides detailed scenarios and a toolkit of potential questions and
approaches to facilitate this process.
SHULAMITH, K., BEN-ARUSH, M. W. & MARTIN, A. Pediatric Psycho-oncology: Psychosocial
Aspects and Clinical Interventions. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, 2nd edn. Pp. 310
(including index). Hbk. 59.99

This is a highly practical resource book for health professionals dealing with
children and adolescents with cancer. When the rst edition was published eight
years ago it was ground breaking in its focus on the care of the total child, and
not just the tumour. In 2010 the International Pediatric Oncology Society
(SIOP) endorsed the statement that quality cancer care today must integrate
the psychosocial domain into routine cancer care and made this applicable to
children with cancer. Written by a team of international paediatric oncologists,
psychologists/psycho-oncologists, this second edition focuses on the real-life
practical aspects of children undergoing cancer treatment. There are new


Books received

sections focusing on quality of life and pain management. There are also sections
on psycho-social aspects of treatment including art therapy, fantasy-based
techniques, education and palliative care. A new nal section considers ethical
issues and addresses the emotional needs of children whose parents have cancer.
The book moreover contains a chapter on survivorship and bereavement. For
those who already have the rst edition, this second edition has 22 chapters;
16 of the original edition have been thoroughly updated and six new chapters
added [including psychopharmacology and international collaborations). There
is also a new appendix providing a comprehensive overview and details of
research tools in paediatric psycho-oncology.

HODSON, P. L. The Business of Therapy. London: McGraw Hill / Open Universtiy Press, 2012.
Pp. ix-xx +143 (including index). Pbk. 21.99

With a burgeoning number of counselling and psychotherapy courses, this

book is a straightforward and helpful guide to the newly qualied counsellor
considering private practice. Just as there is often little preparation for people
when they get married or have babies, a similar thing can happen with
psychotherapy training; much thought is given to in-depth exploration of
complex theories, but often the basics can go unaddressed. Hodson helps
to identify the situations that need to be thought about prior to starting
a practice, that, if neglected, could result in breakdown of the therapeutic
frame. The book is written in a lively and fresh way, and although primarily
useful to newly qualied practitioners, it would also be of benet to those long
in the tooth to read to re-fresh their own thinking about their practice
and procedures.
SNELL, R. Uncertainties, Mysteries, Doubts: Romanticism and the Analytic Attitude. London:
Routledge, 2013. Pp. 217 (including index). Pbk. 24.99

At a time when NHS budgets are being squeezed and clients are clamouring
for quick xes, this book comes as a refreshing reminder of psychotherapys
deep cultural roots. The author immerses the reader in the literature and
art of Romanticism in order to re-kindle an emotional orientation in the
therapist, a commitment, founded in respect, to maintaining a radically
open-minded stance (p. 1). The author takes the reader on an exploration
of Romanticism, the Analytic Attitude and poets and artists from the late
18th century onwards, including Goya, Holderlin, Novalis, Baudelaire and
Keats. This is a scholarly work (the author has a doctorate in Art History)
and one that demonstrates and encourages the attitude of reverie that Bion
urged the analyst to cultivate.

Books received


BULKELEY, K. & BULKLEY, P. M. Childrens Dreams: Understanding the most memorable
dreams and nightmares of children. London: Rowman & Littleeld, 2012. Pp. 162
(including index). Hbk. 24.00

Its just a dream is often the hurried reply from a busy parent to a childs
recounting of a frightening or disturbing dream. This rather enchanting book
provides a guide for parents and educators to help unleash the creative potential
that may lie hidden within their childrens and their own dreams. The book
looks at the psychology and neuroscience of dreaming and explores dreams
from earliest childhood through to late adolescence. The authors (mother and
son) focus on the dreams and nightmares of the ctional character Harry Potter
to expand and explore their topic. There are also very practical discussion
topics and ideas of activities to stimulate wonder in childhood.

Couples Psychotherapy
CLULOW, C. (ED.) Sex, Attachment and Couple Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytic Perspectives.
London: Karnac Books, 2009. Pp. 243 (including index). Pbk. 23.99

When published, this book was the rst in a new series from Karnac Books
entitled: The Library of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. It also marked
the sixtieth anniversary of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. The
aim was to offer the best of psychoanalytical thinking about adult partnerships.
Peter Fonagy in his foreword to the book, commenting on Clulows comment
that sex permeates every bre of the dating couple, asks, So why do we need
this book and why do we need it from a psychoanalytic perspective?. He
answers his own question quite simply because there are no other books like
it. He continues to muse upon the irony that, as a profession, psychoanalysis
discovered that sex was a key organizer of psychological function, but has since
done so little development of thinking about it. Estela Weldon in her review of
the book comments that it, at last, puts the sex back into British psychology.
The book is indeed a wide spanning collection of essays that provide an
in-depth exploration of the complexities and riches of adult partnerships.
Amongst other topics, the essays look at desire, perversion and the function
and dysfunctions of sex in marriage. Warren Colman writes a particularly
engaging essay on what do we mean by sex? and offers an exploration of
how to help patients bring their sexuality back into relation with other aspects
of their lives. The book itself has a similar aim: to bring sex back into relation
with other developments in psychotherapy. This is a book that any practitioner,
whether a couples therapist or an individual therapist, would do well to have
on their bookshelf as the essays are a quick, digestible read, but provide
illumination and fresh thinking about sex.


Books received

The following books have also been received. The inclusion of a book in this
list does not preclude a subsequent review.
BEEBE, John & FALZEDER, Ernst (EDS). The Question of Psychological Types.
Correspondence of CG Jung & Hans Schmid-Guisan, 19151916. New Jersey
& Oxford: Princeton, 2013. With introduction, bibliography and index.
Pp. 184. Hbk. 19.95
HOLMES, Jeremy. Storrs The Art of Psychotherapy. London: Hodder, 2013. Pp. xiv
+145. With an index. Pbk. 24.99
MACDIARMID, Derry. Century of Insight. The Twentieth Century Enlightenment of the
Mind. London: Karnac Books, 2013. Pp. xix + 338. With a foreword and edited
by Sue Macdiarmid. Pbk. 26.99 / eBook: 18.89
SCHENK, Ronald. American Soul: A Cultural Narrative. New Orleans: Spring Journal
Books, 2012. Pp. xix + 253. With an introduction and an index. Pbk. $ 27.95
STEVENS, Anthony. The Talking Cure in Three Volumes. 1: The Founding Fathers
Sigmund Freud and CG Jung. Canada: Inner City Books, 2013. Pp. 126. With
an introduction, glossary, bibliography and an index. Pbk. $ 25.00
STEVENS, Anthony. The Talking Cure in Three Volumes. 2: Warring Egos, Object
Relations and Attachment Theory. Canada: Inner City Books, 2013. Pp. 123.
With an introduction, glossary, bibliography and an index. Pbk. $ 25.00
STEVENS, Anthony. The Talking Cure in Three Volumes. 3: The Way Ahead Jung and
Evolutionary Psychotherapy. Canada: Inner City Books, 2013. Pp. 122. With
an introduction, glossary, bibliography and an index. Pbk. $ 25.00
ZELIA DE ALVARENGA, Maria, The Grail, Arthur and his Knights. A Jungian Symbolic
Reading. London: Karnac Books, 2013. Pp. xvii + 132. Pbk. 12.99 / eBook:

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 447448

Contributors to this issue

Sue Austin (Australia) trained with the Australian and New Zealand Society of
Jungian Analysts and lives in Sydney where she works in private practice. Sue
specializes in working with adults with eating disorders and supervising clinicians
who work in the eating disorders eld. She is the author of Womens Aggressive
Fantasies: An Exploration of Self-Hatred, Love and Agency (Brunner-Routledge,
2005) and a number of papers. Email:
Patrick Burnett (Australia), MEd., is a member of the Australian and New
Zealand Society of Jungian Analysts and a training analyst with the C.G. Jung
Institute of ANZSJA. His analytic training took place at the C.G. Jung Institute
in Zurich in the mid-1990s. Email:
Paul Dickson (Australia), BPsych, is a psychologist with bio-statistics training,
who works as a consultant data-miner and statistician for a major Australian
company. He is also trained in body, energetic and transpersonal models of
esoteric psychotherapy. He maintains a small boutique practice and also teaches
infrequently on a voluntary basis at the Institute of Energy Science where he
trained and facilitated as a group trainer for many years.
Christine Driver (UK), D. An. Psych is a Jungian analyst and psychoanalytic
psychotherapist and member of the SAP, FPC, BPC and BAPPS. She is director
of Training at WPF Therapy and teaches, supervises and works in private
practice. She is the author and co-editor of Supervising Psychotherapy (Sage
2003), Supervision and the Analytic Attitude (Whurr 2005) and Being and
Relating in Psychotherapy (Palgrave 2013). She has also written a number of
articles and undertaken research into religion and psychology. Email:
Jonathan Dwyer (Australia), PhD, is a psychologist in private practice. He also
works at the Pinniger Clinic, Robina, Queensland, in a Jungian psychotherapy
model and specializes in chronic and acute trauma responses. He has published
his research ndings at international meetings.
Erik Goodwyn (USA), MD, is an instructor at the University of Louisville
School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. He is involved in lecturing

2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12024


Contributors to this issue

residents and medical students as well as seeing general psychiatry patients.

He has given talks at the Jung Center in Houston and is scheduled to speak
at the Jung Center of the Triangle and the Jung Foundation in New York.
He has published and reviewed journal articles on traumatic dreams in
soldiers with combat experience, and his recent publications include The
Analytical Psychology of Beowulf: Individuation in the Ancient and
Modern Psyche (forthcoming, Mellen Press) and The Neurobiology of the
Gods: How the Brain Shapes the Recurrent Imagery of Myth and
Dreams (Routledge, 2012). He currently lives in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
Roderick Main (UK) is a professor at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies,
University of Essex. He is the author of The Rupture of Time: Synchronicity
and Jungs Critique of Modern Western Culture (Brunner-Routledge, 2004) and
Revelations of Chance: Synchronicity as Spiritual Experience (SUNY, 2007) as
well as of many articles and book chapters on analytical psychology, religion,
and society. Email:
Danielle Montgomery (Australia), BSC, MCounsPsych, is a clinical psychologist
who specializes in working with people with disorders of self-organization
(Reactive Attachment Disorder, Borderline States). She is in the nal stage of
an analytic training with ANZSJA.
Philip Morris (Australia), FRANZCP, PhD, is a psychiatrist who specializes in the
mental health of older individuals. A neuropsychiatrist, he trained in Australia
and the USA. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College
of Psychiatrists and is Board Certied by the American Board of Psychiatry and
Neurology. A professor at Bond University School of Medicine, he has a private
psychiatric practice at Southport, Queensland, Australia.
Leon Petchkovsky (Australia), FRCPsych, PhD, is an associate professor of
psychiatry with Queensland University, a Jungian analyst, and past president of
ANZSJA. His lifelong interests in depth psychology, art and music, Australian
Aboriginal people, and functional brain imaging have led to a range of studies on
the brain substrate of complexes, the impact of singing on brain circuital interaction,
and nurturance (for the last see his blog on
Michael Petchkovsky (Australia), M.Visual Arts, is a new media artist. His art
practice focuses on hardware hacking, open source, electronic circuitry and
the nature of digital graphic display technology. He is a current student at
Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, where he is undertaking a
Master of Fine Art as practice-based research.

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, 58, 449

Bibliographical Note
The editors of The Collected Works of C.G. Jung are Herbert Read ( 1968), Michael Fordham
( 1995) and Gerhard Adler ( 1988) (Executive Editor,WilliamMcGuire 2009) and the translator
(except for Volume 2, translated by Leopold Stein in collaboration with Diana Riviere) is R. F.
C. Hull ( 1974). Supplementary Volume A is translated by Jan van Heurck and Volume B by
Beatrice M. Hinkle ( 1953). The volumes are published simultaneously by Princeton University
Press, Princeton, New Jersey, for the Bollingen Foundation (being No. XX in the Bollingen series),
and by Routledge, London.
Reference to these volumes is made in the Journal by the abbreviation CW, followed by the
volume number.
The edition is complete as follows:
Volume 1. Psychiatric studies. 1957; 2nd edn, 1970.
2. Experimental researches. 1973.
3. The psychogenesis of mental disease. 1960.
4. Freud and psychoanalysis. 1961.
5. Symbols of transformation. 1956; 2nd edn, 1966.
6. Psychological types. 1971.
7. Two essays on analytical psychology. 1953; 2nd edn, 1966.
8. The structure and dynamics of the psyche. 1960; 2nd edn, 1969.
9. i.The archetypes and the collective unconscious. 1959; 2nd edn, 1968.
ii. Aion. 1959; 2nd edn, 1968.
10. Civilization in transition. 1964.
11. Psychology and religion: west and east. 1958; 2nd edn, 1969.
12. Psychology and alchemy. 1953; 2nd edn, 1968.
13. Alchemical studies. 1967.
14. Mysterium coniunctionis. 1963; 2nd edn, 1970.
15. The spirit in man, art and literature. 1966.
16. The practice of psychotherapy. 1954; 2nd edn, 1966.
17. The development of personality. 1954.
18. The symbolic life: miscellaneous writings. 1976.
19. General bibliography of C. G. Jungs writings. 1979; 2nd edn, 1992.
20. General index to the Collected Works. 1979.
A The Zongia Lectures, 1983.
B Psychology of the unconscious. 1992.
The above volumes correspond in all essential respects with the Gesammelte Werke, published by
Rascher Verlag, Zrich, until 1970 and, after its dissolution, by Walter Verlag, Olten. They are edited
by Franz Riklin M.D. ( 1969), Marianne Niehus-Jung ( 1965) and Lena Hurwitz-Eisner ( 1965);
and from 1965 onwards by Lilly Jung-Merker ( 1983) and Elisabeth Rf, Ph.D. (until 1986) and
currently by Dr Leonie Zander. Volumes A and B are edited by William McGuire ( 2009).



2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology

Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-5922.12025