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Carl Jung, part 7: The power of acceptance

In 1931, one of Jung's patients proved stubbornly resistant to therapy. Roland H was an American alcoholic whom he saw for many weeks, possibly a year. But Roland's desire for drink refused to diminish. A year later Roland returned to Zürich still drinking, and Jung concluded that he probably …

Carl Jung, part 6: Synchronicity

The literary agent and author Diane Athill describes the genesis of one of her short stories. It occurred about nine one morning, when she was walking her dog. Crossing the road, a car approached and slowed down. She presumed someone needed directions. A man leaned out and brazenly asked her …

Carl Jung, part 5: Psychological types

It is striking how differently individuals can react to precisely the same thing. Some love Marmite and others loathe it. And more seriously, many arguments self-perpetuate aside from whether there is evidence or sound reason to decide the issue, because opposing sides embody different …

Carl Jung, part 4: Do archetypes exist?

Jung took the inner life seriously. He believed that dreams are not just a random jumble of associations or repressed wish fulfilments. They can contain truths for the individual concerned. They need interpreting, but when understood aright, they offer a kind of commentary on life that often acts …

Carl Jung, part 3: Encountering the unconscious

Jung's split with Freud in 1913 was costly. He was on his own again, an experience that reminded him of his lonely childhood. He suffered a breakdown that lasted through the years of the first world war. It was a traumatic experience. But it was not simply a collapse. It turned out to be a highly …

Carl Jung, part 2: A troubled relationship with Freud – and the Nazis

Jung's relationship with Freud was ambivalent from the start. First contact was made in 1906, when Jung wrote about his word association tests, realising that they provided evidence for Freud's theory of repression. Freud immediately and enthusiastically wrote back. But Jung hesitated. It took him …

Carl Jung, part 1: Taking inner life seriously

If you have ever thought of yourself as an introvert or extrovert; if you've ever deployed the notions of the archetypal or collective unconscious; if you've ever loved or loathed the new age; if you have ever done a Myers-Briggs personality or spirituality test; if you've ever been in counselling …