Controversies in Analytical Psychology

Controversies in Analytical Psychology

Controversies in Analytical Psychology

Controversies in Analytical Psychology


How can controversy promote mutual respect in analytical psychology? Analytical psychology is a broad church, and influences areas such as literature, cultural studies, and religion. However, in common with psychoanalysis, there are many different schools of thought and practice which have resulted in divisions within the field. Controversies in Analytical Psychology picks up on these and explores many of the most hotly contested issues in and around analytical psychology. A group of leading international Jungian authors have contributed papers from contrasting perspectives on a series of key controversies. Some of these concern clinical issues such as what helps patients get better, or how closely analysts should work with the transference. Other contributions focus on the relationship between analytical psychology and other disciplines including evolutionary theory, linguistics, politics and religion. A critical eye is cast over Jungian theories and practices, and a number of questions are raised: * are they homophobic? * do they denigrate women? * do they confuse absolute with narrative truth? * are the frequency of sessions chosen for political rather than clinical reasons? Controversies in Analytical Psychology encourages critical thinking on a variety of issues, helping foster dialogue and investigation in a climate of mutual respect and understanding. It will be invaluable for Jungian analysts and psychoanalysts in training and practice and psychotherapists.


Robert Withers

The field of analytical psychology and psychoanalysis has been bedevilled with more than its fair share of controversies, splits and schisms. These range from the original Freud/Jung split, whose ghost can still be discerned haunting the current volume, through to the present-day proliferation of analytic trainings, organizations and ideologies-most of them jealously staking their own claim to truth. The bitterness of some of the resultant disputes would stand unique among the sciences, were it not for the fact that we are unable to agree that analysis is a science, or, if it is, what kind. That controversy too stalks this book.

It is of course deeply ironic that in a therapeutic discipline that styles itself a talking cure, we are generally so bad at talking (and listening) to one another. But perhaps this has something to do with our chosen subject matter, which most, though by no means all, of us would agree is the unconscious. We are by definition unable to verify the truth of claims about our own unconscious, while claims made about the contents of someone else's can be disputed on the grounds that they are not open to falsification and therefore rest on some arbitrary presumption of authority. Perhaps it should not be wondered at then, if we sometimes respond to these doubts by adopting compensatory positions of 'certainty' with which we identify and to which we defensively cling. Clearly we will all have to sacrifice the sense of security that comes from such clinging if we are to enter into a genuine dialogue with one another. Despite this loss, the potential benefits of such dialogue are great-both in terms of the potential for creative interchange thus fostered and the strength that can emerge from collaborative exploration and mutual understanding. It is to the furtherance of that process of dialogue that this book is dedicated.

The book was originally inspired by a short series of lectures given by Andrew Samuels in 1983 in which it became clear that many of the complexities of the analytic field as a whole could be effectively grasped by contrasting simple assumptions underlying the theories and practices of the various analytic schools. The book then continues in this spirit of celebrating controversy as an effective way of promoting understanding. It consists of a series of papers, written from contrasting perspectives, that attempt to explore some of the major issues facing analytical psychologists today. Many of these issues concern psychoanalytically orientated therapists as well. And although analytical psychologists have written most of the

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