Ethics & Analysis: Philosophical Perspectives and Their Application in Therapy

Ethics & Analysis: Philosophical Perspectives and Their Application in Therapy

Ethics & Analysis: Philosophical Perspectives and Their Application in Therapy

Ethics & Analysis: Philosophical Perspectives and Their Application in Therapy

Synopsis

Most books on psychoanalytical ethics focus on rules, but author Luigi Zoja argues that ethics is really concerned with personal decisions-as is analysis itself. Rules are defined by others and center on punishment, but the purpose of analysis is to free the individual to make choices from his or her own "best" psychological and emotional center while still respecting society. Rules establish black and white; real ethics and psychological understanding both operate in the gray zone. Rules emerge from Enlightenment rationality; true ethics proceeds from choices and thus cannot be given in advance or be satisfied by respecting the rational part of the psyche only.

After considering the nature of ethics, Zoja turns to Immanuel Kant and Max Weber for a practical consideration of therapeutic relationships. He applies his ethical principles to the first psychoanalytical cases (Anna O. and Sabine Spielrein) described by Freud and Jung. In his thorough examination of these original examples, Zoja balances the traditional ethic of rules and law with the "new ethic" proposed by Erich Neumann. The result is an appreciation of the complex-at times even contradictory-yet healing nature of analysis.

Excerpt

David H. Rosen

Through the new ethic, the ego-consciousness
is ousted from its central position in a psyche
organized on the lines of a monarchy or totalitar
ian state, its place being taken by wholeness or the
Self, which is now recognized as central.

—C. G. Jung

Luigi Zoja has written a thought-provoking treatise on ethics and analysis that advocates a healing “gray zone,” or middle path. in Part One, Zoja discusses ethics in general, focusing on its historical and philosophical roots. He reveals how justice (ethics) and beauty (aesthetics) are linked and, ideally, in balance. He then emphasizes how beauty and ethics have fallen apart, losing the original unity (kalokagathia) they possessed in classical antiquity. Thus, the disappearance of beauty as an ideal has been accompanied—not incidentally—by ugliness and immorality. Zoja suggests that ego consciousness and the rule of law and rationality have attempted to fill the vacuum created by ethics and aesthetics being asunder. However, he posits that this has only worsened the situation. Zoja calls out for us to confront the shadow and develop an inner ethical and aesthetic sense and cultivate the ability to hold the tension of the opposites of good and evil. He underscores the archetypal value of a “gray zone,” which would allow for a transcendent function to emerge leading to truth and reconciliation as well as transformation (similar to the consciousness . . .

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