Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jung: an analyst's work is never done

From Luciano Mecacci, Freudian Slips. The casualties of psychoanalysis from the Wolf Man to Marilyn Monroe.


AJP Crown said...

Okay, this one seems a bit of a mess. However, there's no indication of when these events were happening, and I'd say that would make all the difference between 'it was an advantage' and 'it was a disaster'.

I wonder how he decided in which direction to place the arrow points.

Your chess partner's father is a Jungian analyst, perhaps he (your partner) has an insight.

Stuart said...

The diagrams themselves are not intended to represent "disasters". They show a certain aspect of supposedly therapeutic relationships, namely the emotional and sexual entanglements that accompanied them. The book itself describes what has come to be known about these psychoanalysts - adultery, suicide, madness etc - and about their so-called "case studies", many of which were simply invented, and otherwise about the people who were the "cases".

Some of this stuff I had already heard off, but Mecacci gives it more context and adds more details. I thought I was blasé about the failings of psychoanalysts, but some of these things disgusted even me.

AJP Crown said...

Well, this wasn't therapy, it was psychoanalysis. I don't know how Jungians feel about the concept of transference, but rather than feeling disgusted I simply can't see how the process could be expected to work properly.

Stuart said...

I don't understand what you mean by "this wasn't therapy, it was psychoanalysis". What is your understanding of the purpose of psychoanalysis, as it was conceived by its proponents?

Stuart said...

That is, as it was conceived by its initiators and proponents in the first half of the 20th century?

AJP CROWN said...

It's not a question of its having been first conceived as a form of therapy, that's not the point. Psychoanalysis is a much longer-term commitment than psychotherapy, with quite different goals. You can read more about it at wiki, though I'm sure you know more than enough already and I therefore don't understand the purpose of your challenge.

jamessal said...

Your chess partner's father is a Jungian analyst

Oh, don't bring me into this. As the son of two Jungian analysts, I consider myself least qualified of all to offer a clear-eyed opinion of Jung. All I'd say is that I think boundaries (an unpleasant term) are little more strict these days. A little.

Stuart said...

JJ, I was neither mooting whether, nor claiming that, psychoanalysis was "first" conceived as a form of therapy. But it's hardly contestable that therapy (or its supposed prequel, "aid to self-understanding") is what these psychoanalysts thought they had to offer their clients.

Perhaps in fact you know more than I do about psychoanalysis (I don't know much, except for having read standard Freud stuff over the years, like Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion, with the goal of winning my German spurs). You (for me suddenly) introduced the concept of "transference". I have never taken this concept seriously, nor even been able to understand it. All I was talking about were the diagrams - which, as I said, are just an aide-memoire to the inbred, screwing-each-other-and-the-patients-and-their-relatives behavior discussed by Mecacci. These psychoanalysts destroyed their own lives and those of others, and lied and prevaricated about what they were up to.

In any case, to my mind, psychoanalysis is dead on the ground, because it assumes that there is a structured thing called "human sexuality" which provides fundamental explanations of pretty much every aspect of human behavior, even coffee-grinding. I have to agree with those Marxist-Leninists who branded psychoanalysis as a bourgeois theory. In my words, psychoanalysts and their disciples were fixated on rude things and sex because they weren't getting enough of these, or imagined that they weren't. And now I must get back to my mint julep.

A.J.P. Megkoronáz said...

Well if you don't believe in transference then it's hard for me to discuss why these relationships might have been bad and why you find some of the analysts' actions disgusting. Apparently not only do Jungians believe in transference, Jung himself wrote a book on it (The Psychology of the Transference). But it could be Jungians don't see its part in a patient's affair with his or her analyst necessarily as an obstacle to the analysis; I don't know.

I have to agree with those Marxist-Leninists who branded psychoanalysis as a bourgeois theory.
Of course psychoanalysis is a bourgeois theory. I am bourgeois and proud of it, my family has been middle class since at least the seventeenth century. The bourgeoisie may be the finest achievement of mankind. By any unselfish standard what other class could be better?

psychoanalysts and their disciples were fixated on rude things and sex because they weren't getting enough of these, or imagined that they weren't.
I can't see any evidence for this.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!