Summary

Today, when psychiatry is dominated by biochemistry and genetics, Jung's ideas are likely to be disregarded. But research has shown that properly conducted psychotherapy by trained professionals still has an important role in psychiatry. Jung made original contributions to psychotherapy. He demonstrated that the middle-aged and elderly were not beyond the reach of help. His main contribution was in the field of adult development. By exhorting his patients to record and portray their psychological conflicts, he demonstrated the value of self-exploration and promoted the patient's independence from the analyst. He drew attention to a phenomenon which has not been sufficiently investigated: the need which those who have lost their faith feel for something to replace it, and the dangers which threaten us all when whole populations worship Hitler or Stalin or Mao rather than a god beyond the skies.

Every psychotherapist has seen patients who have not been cured of all their neurotic symptoms, but who nevertheless claim that psychotherapy has transformed their lives. Jung describes such people as achieving peace of mind after 'long and fruitless struggles'.

If you sum up what people tell you about their experiences, you can formulate it this way: They came to themselves, they could accept themselves, they were able to become reconciled to themselves, and thus were reconciled to adverse circumstances and events. This is almost like what used to be expressed by saying: He has made his peace with God, he has sacrificed his own will, he has submitted himself to the will of God. {D

This change in attitude to life and its problems could be expressed in other terms more in accord with modern thought. But Jung is describing a phenomenon which undoubtedly takes place during the course of analytical psychotherapy more often than has been generally recognized. Perhaps changes in attitude to life are actually more important factors in healing than the cure of symptoms.

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