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Freud and Jung: The creation of the psychoanalytic universe

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How can we think about or imagine the psychoanalytic university within which we work, think, organise and speak? How can we make sense of a universe of discourse that includes id psychology, object relations, neuropsychoanalysis, existential analysis, and of the Freudian, Jungian, Kleinian, Lacanian and Kohutian tendencies and their neo- and post- versions?
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Psychodynamic Practice:
Individuals, Groups and
Organisations
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Freud and Jung: The creation of
the psychoanalytic universe
David Hendersona
a Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University,
London, UK
Published online: 19 Feb 2015.
To cite this article: David Henderson (2015): Freud and Jung: The creation of the
psychoanalytic universe, Psychodynamic Practice: Individuals, Groups and Organisations,
DOI: 10.1080/14753634.2015.1010306
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14753634.2015.1010306
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OPEN SPACE
Freud and Jung: The creation of the psychoanalytic universe
David Henderson*
Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University, London, UK
How can we to think about or imagine the psychoanalytic universe in which
we work, think, organise and speak? How can we make sense of a universe of
discourse that includes id psychology, object relations, neuropsychoanalysis
and existential analysis, and all of the Freudian, Jungian, Kleinian, Lacanian
and Kohutian, tendencies and their neo- and post-versions? What sort of
historiography will help us to orient ourselves? Is there an approach to the
history of psychoanalysis that will serve the interests of historical accuracy and
heuristic possiblity?
Nicholas Rand and Maria Torok in their paper, The Secret of Psychoanalysis:
History Reads Theory,set out an interesting problem:
psychoanalysis has been investigated, even challenged, by a variety of other
disciplines: biology, linguistics, history, philosophy, literature, and so forth. One
may ask whether psychoanalysis can also become its own object, effectively dis-
tancing itself from itself. Will historical scrutiny provide criticism from within
and thereby alter the nature of psychoanalysis? (Rand & Torok, 1987, p. 278)
I want to play with this notion and make a couple of suggestions in that direc-
tion. These will necessarily be rather bald statements, lacking much supporting
evidence or nuance. A string of assertions and non sequiturs.
My point in a nutshell is that the best way to account for the history of
psychoanalysis, to map psychoanalysis as it exists on the ground today, is
to revise the creation myth of psychoanalysis. In On the History of the
Psychoanalytic Movement,Freud is unequivocal:
No one need be surprised at the subjective character of the contribution I propose
to make here to the history of the psychoanalytic movement, nor need anyone
wonder at the part I play in it. For psycho-analysis is my creation no one can
know better than I do what psychoanalysis is. (Freud, 1914, p. 7)
These words express the rage and anguish of the heart-broken lover. They are
Freuds response to the end of his affair with Jung. My argument here is that it
was the explosive erotic relationship between Freud and Jung that gave birth
*Email: d.henderson@mdx.ac.uk
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
Psychodynamic Practice, 2015
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14753634.2015.1010306
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to psychoanalysis and threw open the imaginative and conceptual space of psy-
choanalysis as it has actually developed over the past 100 years. All of the
substantive theoretical and technical issues that have been taken up and worked
on in the history of psychoanalysis were present, either explicitly or implicitly
in their relationship. Given the potency of this event, it is hardly surprising that
they were unable to keep it together. The act of conception was more than they
could manage as a couple.
In an interview with Kurt Eissler in 1953, Jung reminisced about his rst
meeting with Freud, when they talked without interruption for 13 hours. He
compared their encounter to an act of giving birth. His words are those of a
smitten and disappointed lover:
A world happened then At birth everything is already there! In reality there is
no time! Time is nothing! Thats what one realizes on such occasions. Those are,
there are moments, that are completely timeless Yes, that was really an intense
encounter. What depth he had! God, if only he had only gotten over himself, you
know! But there was this neurotic element. If he had gotten over that, yes that
it would have been crazy you know, to ever want anything other than to work
with him. (Bair, 2003, p. 117)
We could say that their relationship gave birth to the unrepressed unconscious
of psychoanalysis an unconscious teeming with strange psychic creatures
what we call ideas, concepts and intuitions. What was at play in this
unrepressed unconscious? Patrick Vandermeersch in his book, Unresolved
Questions in the Freud/Jung Debate, focuses on psychosis, sexual identity and
religion (Vandermeersch, 1991). These are big questions, but there is a long list
of the issues that were at stake in their dialogue.
Father
Mother
Libido
Psychic energy
Affect
Transformation
Incest
Dreams
Regression
Fantasy
Symbols
Representation
Death instinct
Negation
Violence
Sacrice
Teleology
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Instinct
Primordial images
Phylogenetic memory
Eros
Language/speech
Number
Complexes/internal objects
Object relations
Psychosis
Neurosis
Narcissism
Repression
Projection
Mind/body relationship
Religion
Mythology
Transference
Countertransference
The real relationship
Development
Individuation
The social
The collective
Hallucination
Ego
Consciousness
Unconscious
The role of philosophy
Midlife
Technique
Couch/chair
Frequency of sessions
Words/images
Authority
Science
Empiricism
Phenomenology
All these things, which have been and continue to be issues in the extended
debate we call psychoanalysis, were at play in their dialogue. The point of per-
forming this litany is to hammer home the fact that Freuds relationship with
Jung encompassed far more than his relationships with Breuer, Fleiss, Abraham,
Ferenczi, Jones or any of his other collaborators. Between them, Freud and
Jung set the agenda for the future evolution of psychoanalysis.
Psychodynamic Practice 3
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On the 3rd of January 1913, Freud wrote to Jung: I propose that we
abandon our personal relations entirely. I shall lose nothing by it, for my only
emotional tie with you has long been a thin thread the lingering effect of
past disappoints.Jung replied on the 6th: I accede to your wish that we
abandon our personal relations, for I never thrust my friendship on anyone.
You yourself are the best judge of what this moment means to you. The rest
is silence.”’ I suggest that these letters mark the creation of the repressed
unconscious of psychoanalysis. The dialogue fell into the unconscious. The
history of psychoanalysis subsequent to January 1913 can be read a record of
symptoms, an archive of the return of the repressed.
Rand and Torok note that the Secret Committee was formed in 1913. They
write: It follows that in 1913 psychoanalysis itself becomes a secret as it is
withdrawn under the seal of absolute secrecy pledged by the members of its
most powerful body into the Committee(Rand & Torok, 1987, p. 284). For
them, Rand and Torok, this is one example, among several that they offer, of
what they describe as:
the basic contradiction that separates psychoanalytic theory from its history:
that between the construction of clinical and theoretical tools for the recovery of
dynamic repression and the creation of areas of absolute silence, a preservative
repression that dees all attempts at discovery. (Rand & Torok, 1987, p. 285)
They are describing a conict between discovery and concealment, truth and
power. Or perhaps science and myth? Is psychoanalysis post-1913 an
uneasy dialectic between science in the service of the patient on one hand and
myth in the service of the analyst on the other? Is it a discipline of transpar-
ency or a site for fostering a form of religious identity the identity of the
psychoanalyst?
The problem of religion is hotwired into psychoanalysis by the privileging
of Freuds self-analysis and Jungs confrontation with the unconscious.
These are not scientic events but religious events comparable to Moses on
the mountain or Buddha under the bodhi tree. Unless they are studied within
the context of comparative religion, the prospect of psychoanalytic religious
wars seems inevitable.
By giving the Freud/Jung relationship its proper place (I would say, its
historically accurate place) in our history of psychoanalysis, we relieve Freud
and Jung from the burden of being religious heroes. They are a couple of
smart, ambitious guys who fell in love and got in over their heads, and the rest
is history.
The way we do the history of psychoanalysis is largely by arguing about
the question, What is psychoanalysis?As Freud said, No one can know
better than I do what psychoanalysis is.The rst session of our MA in
psychoanalysis at Middlesex University is entitled, What is psychoanalysis?
Robert Langs writes:
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Perhaps the most fundamental question we can ask of psychoanalysis is how it is
to be dened. What are its essential observables, methods, axioms and
postulates? And where is its center the few sine qua nons that dene its most
basic features? (Langs, 1993, p. 555)
For me, this is not a very interesting or useful question. I would rather ask,
Where is psychoanalysis?In terms of what I am arguing today psychoanal-
ysis is between Freud and Jung. As Freud himself remarked, it is between
medicine and philosophy. We might add that it is between science and myth.
Between past and future. Between conscious and unconscious. Between the
primordial and the present. Between silence and speech. Between self and
other. Between personal and impersonal. Between ego and superego. Between
individual and collective. Between mommy and daddy. Between 3 pm and
3:50 pm. My advice would be, if you want to know what psychoanalysis is go
into those gaps and see what crazy, amazing and heart-breaking things people
are up to. But good luck trying to dene it! If pressed, I would dene
psychoanalysis is a disciplined journey into the between.
Does this statement: psychoanalysis is a disciplined journey into the
between really mean anything? I think so. The between is everywhere so that
is easy enough. The tricky bit is disciplined journey. What is the discipline?
The discipline I am interested in is the discipline exercised by the analyst or
therapist. What is the intellectual, affective, psychological and behavioural pro-
le of the working analyst? I think that this could be an extremely fruitful area
for dialogue, debate and controversy. Freud advocates free association and
evenly hovering attention. Jung states that when listening to a dream, he
reminds himself that he has no idea of its meaning. Bion advises us to
approach the session without memory or desire.
It seems to me that what all of these rules of thumb have in common is a
type of epistemology. They are not advocating a dream-like reverie or a trance
state but a radical attitude of unknowing on the part of the analyst. A princi-
pled foreswearing of knowledge. An analyst who really, really does not know
has a huge amount to offer.
Leon Ginsberg observed that:
In spite of its tremendous impact on mankind, paradoxically enough, it has not
yet been possible to place and classify psychoanalysis within any of the existing
elds of knowledge. (Ginsberg, 1969, p. 517)
Well good. Perhaps psychoanalysis is not a type of knowledge, but a type of
ignorance. Perhaps it is precisely the disciplined, learned ignorance of the
analyst that makes life possible for the patient.
Notes on contributor
David Henderson is senior lecturer in psychoanalysis at the Centre for Psychoanalysis,
Middlesex University, London. He is a member of the Association of Independent
Psychodynamic Practice 5
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Psychotherapists. He is the author of Apophatic Elements in the Theory and Practice of
Psychoanalysis, 2014, Routledge and the editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society,
2012, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
References
Bair, D. (2003). Jung: A biography. London: Little Brown.
Freud, S. (1914). On the history of the psycho-analytic movement. SE14. The Complete
Psychological Works (Vol. 14). London: Vintage Classics.
Ginsberg, L. (1969). New ideas: Conict and evolution. The International Journal of
Psychoanalysis, 50, 517528.
Langs, R. (1993). Psychoanalysis: Narrative myth or narrative science. Contemporary
Psychoanalysis, 29, 555594.
Rand, N., & Torok, M. (1987). The secret of psychoanalysis: History reads theory.
Critical Inquiry, 13, 278286.
Vandermeersch, P. (1991). Unresolved questions in the Freud-Jung debate: On psychosis,
sexual identity and religion. Leuven: Leuven University Press.
6D. Henderson
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Article
Full-text available
The fundamental crux of disease is weakness. The solution is strength - in mind and in body. The solution has always been strength, and it has stared the medical profession in the eye for decades. It is only a rigid traditionalism and the unexpressed fear of leaving the beaten path and forging a new way ahead that has maintained the status quo for such a long time. If there was ever an opportunity to take decisive action it is now. We face an unknown enemy which preferentially preys on the weak and debilitated. There might be a learning curve to getting to know this enemy and taking the battle to him. No such learning curve is staring us down when it comes to strengthening the weak. The research has been done and the methods are available and ready to implement. The situation we face compels us to look to a functional approach in healthcare and focus on resolving chronic disease for the long-term, as opposed to short-term damage control and a resignation to a lifetime of medication punctuated with the occasional surgical intervention.
Article
The liars showed courage and resolution in their opposition to the scientists who with their pernicious doctrines bid fair to strip every shred of self-deception from their dupes leaving them without any of the natural protection necessary for the preservation of their mental health against the impact of truth. Some, knowing full well the risks that they ran, nevertheless laid down their lives in affirmation of lies so that the weak and doubtful would be convinced by the ardour of their conviction of the truth of even the most preposterous statements. It is not too much to say that the human race owes its salvation to that small band of gifted liars who were prepared even in the face of indubitable facts to maintain the truth of their falsehoods. Even death was denied and the most ingenious arguments were educed to support obviously ridiculous statements that the dead lived on in bliss. These martyrs to untruth were often of humble origin whose very names have perished. But for them and the witness borne by their obvious sincerity the sanity of the race must have perished under the load placed on it. By laying down their lives they carry the morals of the world on their shoulders. Their lives and the lives of their followers were devoted to the elaboration of systems of great intricacy and beauty in which the logical structure was preserved by the exercise of a powerful intellect and faultless reasoning. By contrast the feeble processes by which the scientists again and again attempted to support their hypotheses made it easy for the liars to show the hollowness of the pretensions of the upstarts and thus to delay, if not to prevent, the spread of doctrines whose effect could only have been to induce a sense of helplessness and unimportance in the liars and their beneficiaries.
On the history of the psycho-analytic movement. SE14. The Complete Psychological Works
  • S Freud
Freud, S. (1914). On the history of the psycho-analytic movement. SE14. The Complete Psychological Works (Vol. 14). London: Vintage Classics.
Psychoanalysis: Narrative myth or narrative science
  • R Langs
Langs, R. (1993). Psychoanalysis: Narrative myth or narrative science. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 29, 555-594.
Unresolved questions in the Freud-Jung debate: On psychosis, sexual identity and religion
  • P Vandermeersch
Vandermeersch, P. (1991). Unresolved questions in the Freud-Jung debate: On psychosis, sexual identity and religion. Leuven: Leuven University Press.
New ideas: Conflict and evolution
  • L Ginsberg
Ginsberg, L. (1969). New ideas: Conflict and evolution. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 50, 517-528.
He is the author of Apophatic Elements in the Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis
  • Psychotherapists
Psychotherapists. He is the author of Apophatic Elements in the Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis, 2014, Routledge and the editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 2012, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.