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Analyzing From The Self
A Phenomenology of the "Third" In Analysis
John Ryan Haule

This article was published at Chapter 14 (pp. 255-272), in Roger Brooke (ed.), Pathways into the Jungian World.  London: Routledge, 1999.

    1. Reports from Jung's Patients and Students
    2. Jung's Experience of the Self in Analysis
    1. Analyzing from the Ego
    2. Analyzing from the Persona
    3. Analyzing from the Self
      1. The Analytic Mitwelt
      2. Transparency and the Self Field
      3. The 2,000,000 Year-Old Man

Abstract. Jung often spoke of his approach to psychotherapy as "analyzing from the Self," to which he contrasted "prestige analysis," based on persona, and "ego-centered analysis," driven by a fear of the unconscious. This essay explicates "analyzing from the Self" phenomenologically by attending to reports from Jung's close associates and students who speak of the uncanny way he addressed their deepest issues directly. Three dimensions of Mitwelt are distinguished within the analytic temenos: (a) the social adaptation and inauthenticity of the persona field, (b) the critical reality-testing in the interaction between two egos, and (c) the imaginal "gathering" of the Self field.

          The expression "analyzing from the Self" is nowhere to be found in Jung's Collected Works. Yet if we pay attention to those who knew Jung personally, who analyzed with him, and who trained in the early days of the Zurich Institute when Jung was still alive, we find that the notion of "analyzing from the Self" expresses something essential about how Jung understood his unique contribution to the therapeutic enterprise. This essay takes its data from what might be called the "oral tradition" in Jungian studies, what Jung's close associates have to tell us about their meetings with him, how he influenced them, and what it was like to engage with him, Self-to-Self. Such accounts enable us to distinguish three modes of analytic discourse: (a) that which proceeds from the Self, (b) that which is dominated by persona, and (c) that which relies heavily upon the discriminations of the ego.


A. Reports from Jung's Patients and Students

          In his essay, "Reflections on Professional Deformation," Robert Stein (Stein 1988: 151-61) recounts five meetings he had with Jung on the topic of "analyzing from the Self." In the first, Stein has an analytic hour with Jung to which he has brought a list of questions, but Jung is "in an expansive mood" and just "rambles on," never giving the young American a chance to speak. Stein discovers, however, that Jung is addressing all of his concerns. It is a profound encounter and Stein goes away "elated and overwhelmed." The second meeting takes place in a seminar where Jung devotes nearly two hours to answering a question Stein has submitted. Stein experiences Jung as the "Great Man," who humbly refuses to identify with the Great Man archetype. Furthermore, Stein accurately anticipates every word Jung says. It is an ecstatic encounter, and Stein is inflated for hours afterwards until an "enantiodromia" sets in leaving him depressed for weeks. The third meeting also takes place in a seminar, where Jung speaks of the necessity for the analyst to be "natural, spontaneous, open, vulnerable, and unprotected by the professional persona." An Italian candidate asks whether this sort of procedure will not enable the shadow to enter the analytic field. Jung responds immediately, "Well, of course!" There is a moment of embarrassed silence, and then the seminar begins to chuckle over the foolishness of the question.

          Disappointed that there was little talk of these matters in the courses and supervision he was receiving at the Zurich Institute, Stein transferred to the London Institute. There, again, he was disappointed and complained to his supervisor that there was too much of ego in the London approach. His supervisor responded, "Well, Jung may be able to trust the Self, but most of us have to rely on our ego." Shaken, Stein returned to Zurich and arranged a meeting with Jung: "With great passion I told him of my fear that the London school was moving regressively back into traditional Freudian ego psychology. He was very supportive, reassuring me that there was nothing to fear because in time the Self would win out."

          By the end of his training in Zurich, Stein found himself far removed from "the ego-centered world" and totally committed "to serving the life of the soul." He was worried that he was too poorly adapted to the extraverted world he had to return to in the United States, and addressed a question to Jung in a seminar: "How can an individual carry this new spirit of individuation back into a world that has no adequate vessels to contain it? Do we not need, as Jesus said, new bottles for the new wine?" Jung "responded irritably and cruelly by saying that I would not have asked such a question if I had understood the concept of the Self; and for good measure, to really put me in my place, he made sure to let me know that in Biblical times they used wine-skins, not bottles."

          Some thirty years later, Stein was still wrestling with this shadowy and unfeeling response from Jung and had arrived at a few conclusions of his own. Surely his book Incest and Human Love (Stein 1973/84) is one attempt to come to grips with "analyzing from the Self." He gives another in the article I have been summarizing, an incident in which he and his analysand both fall asleep during an analytic hour and the analysand has a dream which transforms the analysis. The burnt-out businessman realizes that he has been in analysis in order to dispose of his depression so that he can get on with his old life as he had envisioned it before he became depressed. The dream tells him that he is in analysis in order to discover his soul, that he has to relinquish his old life and learn to live a life centered in soul.

          Although Stein's struggle with the notion of "analyzing from the Self" is more complete than most, many of those who knew Jung personally have similar stories to report. Marvin Spiegelman (Spiegelman 1982: 87-9), for instance, tells of a final meeting he had with Jung in 1959, upon his graduation from the Zurich Institute. At first the two of them had nothing to say to one another and fell silent. "Then [Jung] began to speak, from out of himself somewhere. He spoke of his own life."

Throughout all this apparent soliloquy, I was totally present too and I had the experience, subsequently reported by others also, that Jung was "speaking to my condition," and addressing himself to all my problems, fears, concerns, and deep desires. Most of all, it was an experience of Self speaking to Self.

          In the documentary film Matter of Heart (Whitney & Whitney 1983), Hilde Kirsch tells of an analytic session she had in 1960, when Jung was 85. She told him only the first half of her very long dream out of respect for his age and health. Then, "He just started to talk." At first she failed to see the relevance of what he was saying; but, "Then suddenly he said, `Oh, that is as if you dream . . .' and he told me the second part of my dream which I hadn't told him." Mrs. Kirsch comments: "It was really as if he was always in, inside of your unconscious and not trespassing, but because he has been whatever one was, and so he knew how to be there." In the same film, Liliane Frey-Rohn tells of a similar event:

You could come into his room in analysis, and he was just speaking about the dreams you had the night before, last night, not knowing them, but he was, he was involved. He was so transparent for people, and that was the fascinating thing in the relationship with Jung. Therefore, everybody who knew Jung had the feeling he speaks one's own language.

          There are many such stories, but in some of them we hear more of the subjective state of Jung's analysand. For example the Australian, Rix Weaver (Weaver 1982: 91-5), speaks of an interview that began with some small talk about her native continent. Then Jung asked her if there was something she wished to ask:

All thoughts of dreams left me and my question surprised me, appearing as it seemed, of its own accord. "What," said I, "is the difference between me and that table?" In the company of the Great Man it seemed as if I was aware on a different level of the oneness of all things."

          Jane Wheelwright's (Wheelwright 1982: 97-105) encounter with Jung in the 1930's is even more dramatic.

It was hard going with Jung because, once in his presence, one felt as though all the surrounding matter had turned into whizzing molecules. Everything there seemed to be moving, melting, changing forms. Everything stirred. Reality blurred, conversation happened unplanned. I felt someone, not me, spoke through me and someone not Jung was speaking through him. There was also the feeling of being swept into the depths of a perilous, dangerous underworld but since Jung had descended into this strange world and emerged so could I. In his presence I did not register on the difference of our statures! An archetype had taken over? Whatever it was, it seemed to be creating before my eyes and ears and senses a model of the changed person I was meant finally to become. Trying the new me on me, so to speak. Equally strange was Jung. Instead of being the doctor who cures you, he was allowing himself to be equally affected. . . . Two people were caught in a vice [sic] that was forcing them to undergo an important rearrangement of themselves that had significance -- some meaning far beyond them.

B. Jung's Experience of the Self in Analysis

          Now that we have a fairly vivid feel for what it was like to be Jung's patient in an analysis from the Self, we might wonder how such events felt to him. His English friend, Eddy Bennet (Bennett 1985: 25), gives us an overview, paraphrasing what Jung told him in 1950:

He had learned never to start an interview beyond a few pleasantries -- "How are you?" -- but to wait for the patient because the instincts, the archetypes, lie in between and we don't know what may be there. But at times in conversation some topic occurs to him for no apparent reason, and he talks about it and finds it is just the right thing. For instance the other day he began talking to a woman doctor about his African tour and snakes, and wondered why he was telling her all this; then it turned out to be absolutely relevant for he discovered that she was deeply interested in these things. So we wait and the instincts guide us.

          In this passage Jung seems to be telling us he is acting in a largely unconscious manner when these marvelous events occur. Such an impression is strengthened when we consider what he said to Swiss journalist, Emil Fischer (Fischer 1977: 166): "If someone were to ask me: What are you thinking just now? -- I wouldn't know. I think unconsciously."

          This impression is made more explicit in the story Jung often told about his one-session success with a young school teacher from the bucolic Canton of Solothurn who suffered a terrible insomnia. He started by telling her that falling asleep was just a matter of letting herself go, like the sail of a boat that simply goes with the wind. As this first ploy earned him a blank stare, Jung went on to describe the feel of the wind, water, and tiller, hoping to draw her into an imaginative and emotional experience of the wind. But the next thing he knew, he was humming a lullaby about a boat on the Rhine that his mother used to sing. By the end of the session, he was rocking her in his arms as he softly crooned. In an interview with journalist Georges Duplain (Duplain 1977: 419), Jung hints at how he experienced this session:

How was I to explain to [her doctor] that I had simply listened to something within myself? I had been quite at sea. How was I to tell him that I had sung her a lullaby with my mother's voice? Enchantment like that is the oldest form of medicine. But it all happened outside my reason: It was not until later that I thought about it rationally and tried to arrive at the laws behind it. She was cured by the grace of God.

          What rational sense Jung must have made of incidents like this is suggested in the notes Marion Baynes (Baynes 1977: 360-1) made at a talk Jung gave to the students of the Zurich Institute in 1958. Other talks, recorded by other students, agree with these notes -- even to the choice of words Jung used. Clearly it was a favorite theme for him in his last decade, in which he described the Self which may come to presence between analyst and analysand as "the Great Man, the 2,000,000 year-old Man."

Analysis is a long discussion with the Great Man -- an unintelligent attempt to understand him. Nevertheless, it is an attempt, as both patient and analyst understand it. . . . Work until the patient can see this. It, the Great Man, can at one stroke put an entirely different face on the thing -- or anything can happen. In that way you learn about the peculiar intelligence of the background; you learn the nature of the Great Man. You learn about yourself against the Great Man -- against his postulates. This is the way through things, things that look desperate and unanswerable. The point is, how are you yourself going to answer this? . . . The unconscious gives you that peculiar twist that makes the way possible.

          If there is a difference between the Great Man and the Self -- and I doubt there is -- it would lie in the fact that Jung speaks of only one Great Man present between analyst and analysand. This is made even more explicit in a gesture he made to Professor Charles Boudouin of Geneva (Boudouin 1934: 80) as early as 1934 to indicate the "mutual unconscious communication and penetration [that] appears to take place" between therapist and patient: "With brief, firm gestures he touched first my forehead, then his own, and thirdly drew a giant circle with his hand in the space between us; . . . `In short, one doesn't dream here, and one doesn't dream here, one dreams there.'"

          Jung sometimes spoke of Self as though it were a private possession, each of us having a Self deep within our psyche, distinct from ego but nevertheless not completely unconscious. Clearly "soul," "Great Man," and "Self" can be used interchangeably to refer to the unitary state experienced in an "analysis from the Self." Furthermore, this notion of a personified superior being which comes to presence between therapist and patient is no mere theoretical abstraction for Jung. For, as he told the students at the Zurich Institute: "If you take the unconscious intellectually, you are lost. It is not a conviction, not an assumption. It is a Presence. It is a fact. It is there. It happens."


          If we summarize all these "oral tradition" reports on Jung's analyzing from the Self, we arrive at a fairly clear picture of "analyzing from the Self." Jung wanders off on a soliloquy, following a vague "hunch," which he describes as "listening within." He does not know where he is going with his monologue, but proceeds "unconsciously." Evidently further hunches make themselves known as he talks, and he follows them as well. When this procedure is successful, he finds that he is "closing in" on issues of central importance to his analysand. He describes his own subjective conditions for this hunch-driven monologue as speaking "spontaneously," while he "holds himself open, vulnerable, and unprotected by his professional persona." He is unconcerned by the possibility that his "shadow may enter" the interaction with his patient -- apparently believing that if the analysand feels cruelly treated, this is what the Great Man requires.

          The Great Man is neither Jung himself nor the patient, but a Third direction-giving "Presence." It is the Self or soul, as an unconscious spirit which guides the process. Sometimes the Great Man may be conceived as an unconscious factor within Jung himself, to which he "listens." At other times the Great Man is understood to be the patient's Self or potential wholeness which he is addressing. But most frequently the Great Man is experienced as a Third partner who is within neither partner but rather dwells in the space between them both. Alternately it is described as the "background" against which they meet and in dialogue with which they come to understand themselves in a new and more adequate manner.

          While all this is going on, the patient is deeply affected. The world of habitual, everyday consciousness dissolves into "whizzing molecules." The patient no longer knows who she is: "What is the difference between me and that table?" She has the sense that neither she nor Jung is directing the interaction; rather "someone, not she," is speaking through her, and "someone, not Jung," is speaking through him. Sometimes this altered state of consciousness is described as a Self-to-Self encounter, and sometimes as directed by a Third agent, a "2,000,000 year-old Man." It is an "overwhelming" experience which may result in "elation," "inflation," or a "cruel" belittlement. The patient often feels that her mind is being "read." Jung tells her the second half of the dream she withheld from him, or he starts right in speaking as though he had witnessed her untold dreams of the night before. She feels "transparent," a subjective condition that sometimes is experienced as gratifying and sometimes as a dangerous descent into "a perilous underworld."


          The language Jung and his associates are using in these accounts has a distinctly mythological and metaphysical character. Nevertheless, in contrast with most of Jung's published writings, these reports from the "oral tradition" of Jungian psychology have an experience-near flavor that lends itself very well to the language and style of a phenomenology that scrutinizes our "lifeworld."

          Although each of us constructs a lifeworld as an individually unique project, we encounter it as an unexamined given. Generally we enter analysis when our life has become burdensome and our perspective too limiting. In this context, neurosis represents an opportunity. Our discomfort leads us to a psycho-analytic set of heuristic questions. What is the life project we are living? Is there any possibility of altering it? What compelling interests and potential satisfactions have been systematically excluded and lie ready for discovery and implementation?

A. Analyzing from the Ego

          As a dialogue deliberately focused on problems inherent in the patient's lifeworld, analysis might well be conceived as the work of two "egos," two conscious/preconscious subjects engaged in a discourse designed to expose potential freedoms that have been lurking beneath the seeming "givens" of the patient's life. Looked at this way, the patient finds his life depressing, conflicted, and guilt-ridden because he has taken things for determined and immutable that actually might well be opened to critical reflection. There are actions he might take -- if only the possibility of doing so would occur to him, if certain unexamined "givens" were only brought to light as the unwarranted assumptions they have always been.

          Such an ego-to-ego dialogue is a deliberate enterprise based upon what the patient already knows about his lifeworld and what the analyst can uncover that is presently unknown but ready-to-be-known. The analyst is on the look-out for unconscious pseudo-philosophies in the patient's view of himself and of the life he is living, unrecognized rigidities that take the form of inflexible propositions. These may be identified by the flat tone with which they are uttered, a tone of voice that reveals a semi-conscious "internal monologue" by which the patient maintains his lifeworld as the freedom-denying structure it has become. The patient says, in effect, "My boss, my wife, my mother, is just like all the rest." Or, "I do my best to handle my life with integrity, and this is the trap it leads to." Upon hearing such unexamined statements from the patient, the analyst knows a "complex" has appeared in the ego-to-ego dialogue, a feeling-toned proposition characterized by resignation, rage, or sentimentality.

          The patient has alluded to one of the unexamined conditions that limits his egohood. For ego, above all, is the conscious agency for establishing what is real and working out strategies for negotiating it. In the face of a "complex," or inflexible "internal monologue," the patient has ceased to "test" reality. He has fallen victim to an habitual and automatic theme, the "possession by a complex," that unconsciously establishes unwarranted limits to his freedom.

          Analyzing from the ego is a subtle practice based on reality-testing. By posing questions the patient has failed to ask himself: "In what way is your boss like all the rest?"; "How does integrity become a trap?" The analyst tests the reality of what has been grasped of the patient's lifeworld by opening questions that have not been posed and exposing implications that have been taken for granted. In this process the patient is induced to open up the closed and automatic responses that limit the free subjectivity of his potential egohood. Analyzing from the ego strives to restore to the domain of free and reality-testing subjectivity those issues that have unconsciously been closed off. In the course of this work, the patient becomes more fully the ego he has potentially always been. He participates more and more fully, freely, and competently in the ego-to-ego dialogue. Fewer and fewer automatic interruptions occur, as the patient's freedom to test the propositions limiting his lifeworld grows.

B. Analyzing from the Persona

          Jung advocated a style of analysis "unprotected by the professional persona" in which the shadow was very likely to appear. In some accounts, he made no attempt to hide his disgust for those who practice "prestige psychology," "satisfying their vanity by preaching [his ideas] to others" (Von Franz 1975: 6) instead of letting them "silently change their lives" (Hannah 1976: 323). From this we may gather that "prestige" analysis is characterized by the therapist's identification with the role of analyst -- as one who possesses a saving doctrine and perhaps has even been touched personally by Jung himself. In hiding behind such a professional persona, the analyst maintains a position outside of and above the patient's struggles. Such an approach perpetuates the fiction that the analyst is a person of high prestige and great power who may be able to "heal" neurotic individuals by teaching them what they need to know.

          Analyzing from the persona, however, must be more than a rite of self-glorification on the part of the analyst. If some sort of therapy really takes place, if the patient is changed and returns to her life with a sounder and more adequate attitude, consciousness must have been raised; work must have been done. To clarify the nature of this work, we cannot stop short with the usual description of persona as a mask we don -- a kind of false self to hide behind in our dealings with the social world. Surely it may be that, but it is more. It is a dimension of our lifeworld. Persona is the strategy we pursue to adapt to and negotiate the world of "collective consciousness." Our social/cultural life together as human beings, citizens of a certain nation, and members of whatever sub-societies we may inhabit, affects us -- for the most part unconsciously -- as a field of influence. When the ideas, assumptions, and feeling values of society act upon us unconsciously, our experience is somewhat analogous to that of iron filings that arrange themselves along the invisible lines of force in a magnetic field. Without acknowledging it, we think what "everybody" thinks.

          Our lifeworld is never free of the influences of a persona field that demands conformity, promises prestige, and threatens us with marginalization and disdain. To the extent that we are conscious of persona-field influences as dystonic to our own lifestyle and values, we may struggle against them in an effort to give our lifeworld an individual integrity which is related to but not simply governed by the persona field. In every case, "my persona" is my unique stance toward and strategy for negotiating the persona field that influences us all.

          From this perspective, neurosis is experienced as the discomfort we suffer from a conflict between the semi-conscious demands of the persona field and the personal requirement we innately feel to construct a unique lifeworld of personal authenticity. "Analyzing from the persona" is an interpersonal endeavor designed to make conscious this conflict over "prestige" issues. It is a dialogue which takes up the issue of the patient's lifeworld construction as a stance toward the persona field. Nevertheless, it is not necessarily a superficial endeavor, for consciousness raising vis-a-vis the persona field is never complete as long as the deeper integrity of the patient's lifeworld remains unaddressed.

          This deeper dimension of the patient's life is largely comprised of what Jung calls "shadow," that aspect of her lifeworld that has remained unlived or lived sporadically through unconscious compulsions because it conflicts with the "prestige" she has been seeking in her inadequate attempts to strategize an adaptation to the persona field. Analyzing from the persona is, therefore, a dialogue that makes conscious the task of finding a stance and a strategy for negotiating the persona field. The patient finds an "ego," an agency of free choice midway between the requirements of persona-field adaptation and her disturbing and shadowy resistances to an inauthentic quest for social prestige. The shadowy resistances are brought to awareness and revalued as preliminary attempts to construct a unique, satisfying, and authentic lifeworld.

C. Analyzing from the Self

          While ego- and persona-centered analyses may each be described as a dialogue between two people in which the analysand's experience, frustrations, and neurotic dead ends form the subject matter of the exchange, analyzing from the Self is a different sort of thing. In the dialogues we have described, the patient has taken time out from his everyday life to reflect upon it. Nevertheless, his life outside of the analytic meetings is the central issue, something like the "text" that the analytic dialogue strives to interpret. The patient reports upon his extra-analytic lifeworld and engages the analyst in a thematizing dialogue that seeks to make sense of his experience in order to open up the issues that he has unconsciously closed off or ignored.

1. The Analytic Mitwelt

          In analyzing from the Self, by contrast, the subject matter derives primarily not from the patient's life outside of the analytic meetings but from experiences that occur uniquely in the therapeutic encounters themselves. These analytic rendezvous take place within a kind of joint lifeworld in which analyst and analysand participate as equals. (Wheelwright: "Two people were caught in a [vise] that was forcing them to undergo an important rearrangement of themselves that had . . . some meaning far beyond them.") In Jungian language, we might call this joint lifeworld a temenos, a sacred space "cut off" [temno] from the profane world, in which numinous events occur that are virtually unthinkable outside of the analytic temple. In attending to this jointly lived temenos, Jung refers to the lifeworld's capacity for intimacy and mutuality, its participation in a Mitwelt, a co-world, a single world lived in a shared manner.

          By analogy, we might consider the nuclear family as the distinctive Mitwelt into which each of us has been born and within which we initially discover ourselves as unique individuals. The familial Mitwelt is in each case encountered by the child as simply "the world." Later, as the child finds extra-familial playmates and schoolrooms of peers under the direction of a teacher, she begins to notice that the familial Mitwelt is only one jointly lived world among many. She encounters a collision between lifeworlds -- no doubt disturbing and gratifying by turns -- that forces her to intensify the work of constructing a unique lifeworld of her own.

          Later still, when she falls in love, she discovers a Mitwelt of a different kind -- not one that has pre-existed her entry, but one that comes into existence in that numinous moment when she finds herself drawn into the eyes of her future lover. From this moment onward, she finds that her life has been gloriously "rearranged." The most important dimension of her lifeworld is now that region where it overlaps and dissolves into a oneness with the lifeworld of her lover. This newly forming erotic Mitwelt becomes her primary concern, even her obsession; it becomes the meaning-giving context wherein she and her lover reveal themselves and discover one another as their interactions jointly build a single shared world. Furthermore, the erotic Mitwelt she shares with her lover opens up new depths in her appreciation of herself so that her own lifeworld is enhanced. She returns to her everyday life renewed and deepened.

          In similar fashion, the analytic Mitwelt is an intense realm of experience shared between analyst and analysand which begins the moment the two individuals meet. Like a personal lifeworld, it takes on an objective quality all its own and is constructed -- for the most part unconsciously -- by every move and countermove of the interaction. It is a world set apart, a temenos, which is entered at the beginning of each analytic session and exited at the end. Nevertheless, like the erotic Mitwelt just described, it has lasting effects upon the individual lives of the two participants. What takes place in the analytic Mitwelt is a process of disclosure and discovery, in which each participant's self-consciousness is broadened and deepened by the events, ordinary and numinous, that unfold.

          Although every analysis -- like every human relationship -- builds its own unique Mitwelt through the rituals of choosing a place and hour set apart wherein the matters discussed and the intimacies shared are quite distinct from the affairs of everyday, an analysis that proceeds from the Self values that Mitwelt differently from other kinds of therapy. In analyses that center upon ego and persona, the Mitwelt itself remains in the background as the unacknowledged context for an interaction that reviews the patient's lifeworld as it is lived outside of the analytic temenos. An analysis which centers on the Self, however, makes the analytic Mitwelt alone the focus of its concern. The shared life of the participants becomes both the context and the content of the interaction. Analysis is, in this case, not so much a time and place set apart for reflection upon the analysand's neurotic issues as they manifest somewhere else but rather constitutes the here, the now, and the whole of their attention. In an analysis from the Self, the therapeutic Mitwelt obtrudes to the forefront and comes to presence as the living matter and the central issue of the work.

2. Transparency and the Self Field

          In an analysis from the Self, the Mitwelt makes itself felt as a dissolution of the everyday into "whizzing molecules," where one's habitual identity as an "ego" is "rearranged," and one is impressed above all by the oneness of all things. Here one's conscious and relatively consistent subjectivity is relativized in a manner not unlike what occurs under the influence of the persona field. One's impressions are drawn -- as iron filings by a magnet -- into a new and ego-dystonic configuration. But while the ideas, expectations, and values of the persona field are anything but unfamiliar, belonging as they do to public consensus, the unsettling and disorienting effects of a Mitwelt centered in Self may be as unfamiliar as an alien cosmos.

          We might refer to this realm of experience as the Self field, suggesting by the word field the widely reported experience of encountering extraordinary impressions that feel as though they have been invisibly "induced," and by the word Self that numinous sense of oneness that attends our entry into an analytic Mitwelt that is truly "other" and more comprehensive than our everyday experience. In Jung and Phenomenology, Roger Brooke (Brooke 1991) offers us a language to name and articulate the two orders of subjectivity that Jung has called "ego" and "Self." In Brooke's language, the ego -- or self-conscious subject -- "appropriates" a world and makes it his own, while the Self more-or-less unconsciously "gathers" a world of much greater scope. Our Self is always out in front of our ego, gathering more than can ever be appropriated, assembling the unified background within which the foreground of our appropriated lifeworld constitutes a selection of favored memories, ideas, impressions, feelings, and the like. Compared with the appropriated world and the quality of "mine" that attends its subjectivity, the world gathered by the Self represents the implicit and rarely appreciated wholeness of our lifeworld as well as a subjectivity of improbable breadth and coherence.

          Entry into a Self field subjects both parties to a dissolution of their appropriated lifeworlds. For both participants, the foreground of an habitual world-construction and ego-identity fades into a comprehensive background of numinous significance and sometimes terrifying otherness that is nevertheless in some sense "ours." The sharp clarity of world-appropriating egohood is overshadowed by a fuzzy and almost mystical awareness. The boundaries and limits of mainstream psychotherapy are lost. Analyst and analysand find themselves "transparent" to one another, just as their habitually limited worlds of experience have become transparent to a "background" that belongs to neither of them: "Not in my head, nor in your head, but there between us." They are encompassed by a Mitwelt of overwhelming extent, significance, and disorienting realness.

          When Jung urges his students to be "natural, spontaneous, open, vulnerable, and unprotected by the professional persona," he is recommending that the analyst relinquish the two most familiar dimensions of every lifeworld: the appropriated world that is in each case "mine" and the persona field that involuntarily pulls us into line with what "everybody believes." Instead, Jung reports that he "listens within" and "thinks unconsciously." He favors a kind of "letting be" wherein he holds himself open for whatever may unexpectedly come to presence -- an attitude very similar to what Heidegger (Heidegger 1968) and Meister Eckhart (Eckhart 1981) before him called Gelassenheit. It is a sort of "active passivity": "active" in the sense that it is a stance voluntarily assumed; "passive" in the sense that it eschews every kind of expectation and pre-ordained therapeutic task, save for the anticipation that something unexpected will appear; and "active," again, in the sense that what comes to presence must be "taken up" -- taken seriously no matter how irrational it may seem -- and articulated. Even this active move of taking up and articulating remains "passive" in the sense that Jung does not know why he begins to "speak of Africa and snakes," to hum a lullaby, or peevishly to insist that in biblical times wine-skins were used rather than bottles.

          In the spirit of Gelassenheit, Jung begins a soliloquy. If it were the usual sort of "internal monologue" by which each of us inadvertently maintains the inflexible and complex-ridden structure of our lifeworld, his speech would be heard as the idiosyncratic ramblings of a crotchety old man. But it is not. His analysands report "Jung was speaking to my condition, and addressing himself to all my problems, fears, concerns, and deep desires." He tells them the dreams they had withheld from him. While speaking from "out of himself," he explores their depths. His monologue is simultaneously both "his" and "theirs." Thus in an analysis from the Self, what comes to presence is a Mitwelt where Self encounters Self. When two appropriated worlds have dissolved into an encompassing realm of profound and disturbingly alien mutuality, "my" concerns are also "yours." Amidst "whizzing molecules," "two people undergo an important rearrangement of themselves that has some meaning far beyond them."

3. The 2,000,000 Year-Old Man

          When Jung refers to the "background" of the Mitwelt he shares with a patient in an analysis from the Self as "the 2,000,000 year-old Man," he is making four separate claims: (a) the Mitwelt itself acts with a discernible intentionality so that it comes to presence as a Third agent; (b) because this agent is described as two million years old, the perspective of the "Third" extends far beyond the personal experience of himself or his analysand and encompasses the entire experience of the human race; (c) when he speaks of the 2,000,000 year-old Man in English, he uses the impersonal pronoun, it, implying that this agency is entirely impersonal; and (d) it is always the two million year-old Man, suggesting that it is the same impersonal Third agency that comes to presence as a guiding force in every analysis that proceeds from the Self.

          In the Self field an impersonal agency is discernible that manifests an intentionality the analyst can use as a guide. Clearly this is Jung's doctrine familiar to us as the intra-psychic Self which gathers a world much more comprehensive that any one of us is able to appropriate as "my" lifeworld. In the intra-psychic doctrine, consistently developed from Symbols of Transformation (1912) onward, "my" Self gathers a world which is revealed to me through fragmentary intimations (such as dreams, synchronicities, and waking fantasies often having a numinous character) that can be meaningfully assembled as the "personal myth" which connects "my" individual destiny with that of the human race, revealing a transcendent dimension to my personal lifeworld.

          The "oral tradition" of the two million year-old Great Man -- which apparently begins after the writing of The Psychology of the Transference in the mid 1940's -- extends this doctrine to the meeting of analyst and analysand in the therapeutic temenos. Here, the Great Man which gathers an encompassing world of mythic significance is neither "my" Self nor "your" Self, but "ours." Furthermore, the Great Man functions as an inductive field, drawing memories and fantasies into presence which are likely to have an irrational and arbitrary character when viewed from the perspective of either individual's appropriated world. Nevertheless, when these are taken seriously, they are found to have a profound significance for both parties sharing the analytic Mitwelt.

          If individuation (the goal of intra-psychic life) be construed along the lines that form the theme of Two Essays in Analytical Psychology (Jung 1966), we could articulate the process phenomenologically as follows. Individuation is the appropriation of a lifeworld which hews a course midway between the adaptive pressures of the persona field and the mythic potentials of the Self field. Psychic life becomes a quirky, idiosyncratic "individualism" when it ignores these two forms of collective influence and is likely to lead to the dead end of neurosis, a one-sided isolation both from the social life of the present and from the timeless mythic realities of the human race. Alternatively, when our construction of a lifeworld identifies with the images and aspirations that come to presence through the fields either of the persona or of the Self, one becomes an impersonal stereotype of a human being, completely devoid of personal authenticity.

          In the doctrine of the Great Man, individuation has been extended to the analytic Mitwelt, where the field-like forces of persona and Self are felt jointly. When Jung urges his students to be "unprotected by the professional persona," he recommends that they maintain a distance between themselves and the office of therapist and healer; for this would lock them into the persona field, where the analyst enters the therapeutic Mitwelt to "heal" and the analysand to "be healed." When limited by this power differential, analyst and analysand never leave the sphere of what has been appropriated as "mine," so that what is "ours" is never allowed to come to presence. To allow the Self field to come to presence, Jung urges his students to be "natural, spontaneous, open, and vulnerable." As analysts, we are to enter the therapeutic Mitwelt without presuppositions and in the unknowing spirit of Gelassenheit. Without pre-determined goals, we are simply to be attentive to whatever comes to presence.

          Hence the analyst's role in an analysis from the Self avoids the pitfall of "therapy as usual" by (a) refusing to accept the therapeutic task as expected by our public consensus and (b) maintaining a non-knowing expectancy (Gelassenheit) that is receptive to what the Self field may bring to presence. There is a third task and a third danger -- namely that the analyst may identify with the Great Man and assume the role of a wise guru who has all the answers. How precarious a balance this may be -- to speak the wisdom of the Great Man and yet never to believe one is the Great Man -- may be intuited from Robert Stein's clumsy formulation: "Jung was the Great Man, but he refused to identify with the Great Man archetype." Jung's own account, as recalled by Marion Baynes, is much clearer: "Analysis is a long discussion with the Great Man -- an unintelligent attempt to understand him. . . . You learn about yourself against the Great Man -- against his postulates." Thus the analyst's third task is to take on the role of a listener who receives "It, the Great Man, the peculiar intelligence of the background," as the Third agent in their dialogue. The analyst assumes an attitude that implicitly asserts: "I'm not the Great Man, and you're not the Great Man. We have come together to hear what the monumental background has to tell us both." By taking a stance midway between the inductive forces of the persona field and of the Self field, the analytic partners may be guided along a course we might call "the joint individuation process of the therapeutic Mitwelt."


          As a practicing Jungian analyst, I have found the writing of this essay to be a profoundly humbling experience. For, naturally enough, I have been led to ask myself again and again, "What is the style of analysis that I practice?" It has been easy to recognize my own work in the descriptions I have provided of analyses that proceed from the ego or from the persona. But do I ever analyze from the Self? Do I ever practice the one kind of analysis that Jung took to be distinctively his own contribution to the psychotherapeutic enterprise? If not, how dare I continue to call myself a Jungian and not simply admit that I deserve all the opprobrium that comes of being a "prestige psychologist," preaching Jung's ideas to others?

          I was ready to accept a very depressing verdict about my place in the Jungian world when a whole series of humiliating incidents came to mind. I recalled moments in my work when I had not a clue as to what was going on, when I thought I had no right to call myself an analyst -- or indeed a therapist of any kind. I felt the analysis had gotten hopelessly stuck and I was simply biding my time until things would simply change of their own accord. Surprisingly, they sometimes did so, and I felt the two of us (my analysand and I) had escaped failure by the merest fluke. I could see no hand I had played in our recovery. I was simply a bumbling fool who had been saved "by the grace of God." It has taken some time during the writing of this essay before it occurred to me that "by the grace of God" is precisely how Jung describes a successful turn in an analysis that proceeds from the Self. I conclude from this that analyzing from the Self is probably always a humbling experience. The non-knowing of Gelassenheit is subjectively experienced as stupidity and unworthiness. The genius of Jung lay in his ability to trust his stupidity.

          When we listen to the "oral tradition" wherein Jung's disciples tell us of Jung's greatness in being a conduit for the wisdom of the Great Man, we invariably identify with them in their "transference projection" onto Jung as the Old Wise Man of Zurich. When they entered a Self field shared with Jung, they assumed -- very much in line with their idealizing projection -- that Jung had some extraordinary talent for inducing an experience of the Self field. But in Jung's own experience, he had no idea why he suddenly began "to speak of Africa and snakes" or to hum a lullaby. He simply fell into an unconscious state. "What was I thinking just now? I wouldn't know. I think unconsciously." Very likely from his perspective, it was the analysand who "induced" a Self field the moment she entered the room.

          This resonates with my experience. On all those humiliating occasions when I found myself supremely stupid and incompetent, I secretly wondered whether my analysand's unconsciousness had "induced" this thick-headedness into the field between us. I was led to wonder about "psychic contamination" and the worst sort of participation mystique. Alternatively, when the analysis accomplished something in spite of me, I was prone to give my analysand all the credit. She evidently was possessed with extraordinary psychic powers and had "induced" the Self field that had guided us both. Perhaps our narcissism as Jungian analysts -- with all the grandiosity and impotence that flows by turns from it -- stems from our aspiration someday to be like Jung rather than accept the more likely and humbling alternative that Jung may have been more like us that we care to admit.


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