back to JRH's Homepage | Jung Commentary

( PDF | ASCII text formats )

Roots of Analytical Psychology
John Ryan Haule

This article was published in: Journal of Analytical Psychology (1983), 28, pp. 253-267.


          EVEN THE CASUAL reader of Jung's works recognises that the influence on analytical psychology of Janet's writings must be significant. There is little that is tangible, however, apart from a few phrases, invariably quoted in French (above all, abaissement du niveau mental). My investigations into this matter have convinced me that a great deal of the misunderstanding which developed between Freud and Jung can be attributed to what each found valuable in Janet (HAULE 3). It is a useful simplification to say that Freud based his original understanding of hysteria (the trauma theory) on Janet's L'automatisme psychologique (JANET 4). When the trauma theory proved inadequate, Freud went his own way, replacing the discrete historical cause (the trauma) with several years of developmental stages (the theory of infantile sexuality). Meanwhile, Janet had already explored the possibilities of a trauma theory and had rejected it in a series of articles which appeared in the 1890s, most of them collected in Névroses et Idées Fixes (JANET 5). Then in 1903, two years before Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (FREUD 2), Janet published his extensive and highly nuanced theory of psychasthenia (Obsessions et la psychasthénie) in which virtually all psychological disturbances and insufficiencies are described as various forms of `lowering of the mental level' (abaissement du niveau mental). Obsessions plays a role in Janet's development very similar to that of Symbols of Transformation in Jung's career: having integrated the influences of his past, Janet begins to come into his own as `the Great Janet'. It is significant, therefore, that Obsessions is the Janet work most frequently cited by Jung and that it is never cited by Freud.

          It was ten years before Janet began to follow up on the theoretical initiatives of Obsessions; and then publication was delayed by World War I (JANET 7). Meanwhile Jung had discovered his own theoretical foundations; and, after a similar fallow decade during which he worked them out in some detail, he apparently no longer felt the need of fertilisation from Janet. In any event, Jung does not cite any of the works which Janet wrote after 1903. I believe, however, that there is much in the later Janet which is of interest to analytical psychologists. In illustration of this thesis, I shall describe the hierarchy of nine mental levels (niveaux mentaux) in language familiar to Jungians and then discuss levels two to five in terms of their phenomenological and diagnostic significance. Specifically, I shall argue that an archetype has been `integrated' when a continuity obtains between the various mental levels of the Janetian hierarchy, and that various types of failure to integrate can be diagnosed in terms of the level at which the discontinuity or disturbance occurs.


          The first `hierarchy of psychological phenomena' was published `provisionally' in Obsessions (JANET 6, pp. 487f). The central concept, there, is 'la fonction du réel', a phrase often quoted by Jung. Janet argued that adaptation to the exigencies of the moment is the prime criterion of normalcy. Numerous improvements were made upon this original schema, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s (JANET, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). The interested reader must wade through thousands of pages in order to conjecture a final synthesis. Fortunately, Janet's student, Leonard Schwartz of Basel, was able to compile a textbook of Janetian psychology before he died, only a few months after the death of Janet (SCHWARTZ 17). This book, according to its introduction, was written in close consultation with the master. Therefore, I have relied upon its nine-stage schema to organise the data scattered through Janet's later writings. Ellenberger's bare-bones summary of Schwartz's synthesis is, to my knowledge, the only presentation in English (ELLENBERGER 1, pp. 386-94).

          In what follows, I have endeavoured not to burden the reader of this essay with a full Janetian description of each stage, followed by a rationale for my interpretation of this into Jungian categories. Therefore, my description is a Janetian/Jungian hybrid. Furthermore, the shorthand nomenclature, `first level', `second level', etc., or its equivalent, `N.1', `N.2' (where `N' stands for niveau mental), is entirely my own contribution. I hope it serves my intention to be as clear as possible, if only through allowing the reader to refer constantly to Table I.

          If the resultant clarity also seems a bit dry, part of the blame may be laid to Janet's personality. Schwartz tells us that his patients called him `Dr Pencil' because of his tireless efforts to write down every detail (SCHWARTZ 17, p. 31); and Jung wrote to Freud (28 June, 1907) that Janet is `merely an intellect but not a personality'. Perhaps even the admiring Dr Schwartz would grudgingly admit Jung was not wrong, for virtually the only adjective Schwartz employs of Janet is the German word, genial, i.e., manifesting genius and originality. Nevertheless, I find -- almost between the lines -- a genuine involvement with and concern for patients like Irène and Lydia, whose cases are discussed in some detail (JANET 7, passim) and especially Madeleine, the main subject of Angoisse (JANET 8). He tells us how these people feel, how they experience their lives and their afflictions, for the most part through judicious use of the patients' own words. But, with the possible exception of Madeleine, he never sketches the whole patient. He tells us only as much as is relevant for the theoretical point he is making. All Janet's books have a kind of textbook quality to them. His primary concern in his writing is to articulate and defend his theories. Behind this `intellect', however, can be discerned a sensitive, generous man, who is also probably very shy. There is no doubt that his `best' patients developed an intense and saving rapport with him. He recognises this and (both fortunately and unfortunately) includes it in his theory.


Janet's label
Reflective belief
Immediate belief
Elemental intellectual
Energy without tension
True individuality, freedom
Creative, original adaptations
Libido `disposed' even for unpleasant tasks
Decision making adapted to the moment
Personal unconscious, complexes, dreams
Archetypal/mythic imagery
Pre-imagistic experience of wholeness ("Self")
In-born releasing mechanisms, separate archetypes
Reflex arc, all-or-nothing reactions
Disorganized movement

          In addition, feelings and images are (mistakenly in my view) relegated to lower levels of the hierarchy. Consequently the intellectual and mechanical aspects of psychological acts are emphasised -- for it is always the acts themselves which are hierarchised. These are understood in terms of psychic energy (force mentale), which varies two ways: in quantity of energy and in the `tension' (tension psychologique) which might be said to focus or channel that energy. For the most part, quantity of energy is of minor importance in the hierarchy, whereas an act's place in the hierarchy is a direct expression of its degree of tension. A teenager's incessant motion, for example, bespeaks a high quantity of energy under low tension, whereas the middle-aged scholar's scribbling requires less energy but a much higher tension. In general the more primitive or `inferior' an act, the greater its quantity of energy (SCHWARTZ 17, pp. 337f). This corresponds to Jung's observation that phantasies emanating from the deeper levels of the psyche are more numinous.

          The hierarchy does not consist in discrete quantum levels, as in atomic physics; rather it is a continuous spectrum upon which nine convenient and ideal divisions have been arbitrarily drawn. Most human behaviour is too complex to be assigned any single position. For example, one may absentmindedly munch pop-corn (N.2) while passively absorbed, following the plot of a mystery novel (N.5), and speculating as to its outcome (N.8). In the following list of mental levels, those most relevant for my discussion of the integration of archetypes are the second to the fifth; consequently I describe them at somewhat greater length.

          N.0. In the absence of any `psychological tension', unharnessed energy results in nearly complete disorganisation of movement, for example, the agitations of a new-born infant or the explosive expenditure of energy in an epileptic attack.

          N.1. The reflex arc is a rigid organisation of psychic energy, characterised by an all-or-nothing reaction. The individual (or the muscle group) responds immediately as soon as a minimum stimulus threshold has been reached.

          N.2. The second level appears to correspond to Jung's biological examples of pure archetypal behaviour: the yucca moth (JUNG 13, p. 132) and the leaf-cutter ant (JUNG 15, pp. 200f) which carry out a complicated series of acts in the right circumstances, despite the fact that they live through only one season and cannot have learned the behaviour from other individuals. Janet points out that this kind of behaviour, because it is dependent on the perception of appropriate circumstances, requires that the `erected' tendency to act be `held in suspension' until the right moment (JANET 8ii, p. 121). Thus it is a considerable advance over the all-or nothing behaviour of the first niveau. The cat, for example, does not snap its jaws shut at the sight of a mouse, but stalks it, avoids obstacles, and pounces only when it has a chance of success. These second-level activities are nevertheless quite primitive; transmitted by heredity (JANET 9, p. 15); and capable of only limited variety of action (JANET 10, p. 75). Although they may oppose one another-as when the fox's hunger for chickens is arrested by his fear of the farmer's pitchfork (JANET 10, pp. 53f) -- co-operation between these instincts/archetypes is almost non-existent (JANET 10, p. 75).

          N.3. Social behaviour of the most rudimentary kind becomes possible at the third level. For example, a band of wolves splits up and divides the labour of stealing a sheep from a flock (JANET 10, pp. 790. Janet speaks of the individual `learning' from his `socius' by imitation, collaboration, and assistance (SCHWARTZ 17, pp. 42f). I believe, however, that Jung's concept, borrowed from Lévy-Bruhl, of participation mystique, describes the phenomena more adequately. `Imitation' usually suggests a certain consciousness, but the consciousness possible at N.3 is only enough to enable the individual to react to his own actions (JANET 8ii, p. 433). A Jungian would insist that such activity is highly unconscious. The individual cannot yet represent the world to himself, but operates immersed in his affective involvements, simultaneously acting and being acted upon (JANET 10, p. 78). Nevertheless, because he can react to others and to himself, collaboration between the archetypes becomes possible for the first time at this third level (JANET 8i, p. 184). I locate the `mythic rhizome' (JUNG 12, pp. xxivf) at this level because a myth cannot be based on any single archetype, but only on co-operation between several of them. At the third niveau the rhizome is still the pre-imagistic, unthematic, unconscious set of primordial assumptions about the nature of the world and human existence which `archetypal' images later emerge to thematise and make conscious.

          N.4. The mythic rhizome of the third level cannot be criticised or consciously altered until it can be expressed in a perceptible form, and thereby a certain `distance' gained. At the fourth level, enough distance to enable recognition becomes possible for the first time, in the form of symbols. `The symbol is a picture of "sentiments" and is recognised by its resemblance to them' (JANET 11, p. 92). The symbol is the foundation of `intelligent repetition' (JANET 10, p. 225), as opposed to the blind imitation of participation mystique. For the first time, the individual is capable of novel acts. For example, the invention of stone-age tools is ascribed by Janet to mankind's having reached the fourth niveau (JANET 10, pp. 191-3). Symbols, recognition, and novelty all require a certain rudimentary abstraction, an ability to find essential principles amid diverse forms (JANET 11, p. 39). Probably the most characteristic act of this type for Janet is the ability to recognise a portrait as simultaneously a representation of one's friend and only a piece of paper (JANET 10, p. 23 1). So it is with archetypal images. They represent an aspect of life, a fragment of nature, but in an ideal or `as if' mode. A `big dream' is both more and less than `reality'. Language becomes possible on the basis of symbolisation. Although Janet never assigns the beginnings of language a precise location on the hierarchy, and Schwartz maintains the ambiguity, N=4½ seems a good compromise.

          N.5. Narrative imagination, the stringing together of fragmentary phantasies and memories to constitute a coherent and livable worldview, appears for the first time at the fifth level. A certain `personalisation' of the imagined becomes possible, the elaboration of a life-world as a possible project, relevant for me. Here, one finds `personal dreams', the personal unconscious, the complexes as flesh on the archetypal bones. Consciousness is still dreamy and awash in what could be. There is still no true personal identity. Janet describes it as `the stage of the personnage, that form of personality which is imposed on us by society and in which we must maintain ourselves' (JANET 11, p. 56). Evolutionarily, it corresponds to the moment in ancient Egypt when each individual was accepted as an `Osiris', or to the characterisation of people with an Homeric epithet, or to adolescent hero-worship (JANET 8i, pp. 254-7). Memory operates selectively to maintain the complex/ personnage. Feelings are possible for the first time in the Jungian sense of having a `colouring' effect. Below the fifth niveau, there is affect but no true feeling in the sense of a `psychic function' which apprehends a world.

          The higher niveaux. Janet does not admit an ego, in the sense of a functional component within the psyche. Throughout his professional life, he remained convinced that to talk of an ego as if it were a being is just metaphysics. For him, the moi is `an idea which accompanies psychological phenomena' (JANET 4, p. 58). It is an important element of the fonction du réel; i.e., unless I have the idea that `I' am acting in such-and-such a situation, my grasp on reality leaves something to be desired. But it is always an apprehended subjectivity, never the apprehending subject. The qualities, however, which Jung ascribes to the agent ego, Janet spreads out over the four higher psychic levels.

          N.6. Reflective, critical consciousness assesses the `dreams' of the fifth niveau as regards their practical, adaptive value. It compares them with one another and applies them to the exigencies of the moment ('presentification'). Here is the first emergence of a true sense of ego.

          N.7. At the `rational, ergetic' level, the individual can for the first time take action despite immediate unpleasantness. Here, the subject has the ability to work for the sake of ideals, long-range goals, and rational principles.

          N.8. At the `experimental' level, the individual can consult facts as well as principles. Creativity appears for the first time, the ability to figure out in advance, mentally, the consequences of possible actions.

          N.9. At the `progressive' level, true individuality appears, together with an understanding of chance, freedom, and evolution.


          The foregoing presentation has not only employed Jungian language to clarify Janetian concepts for a Jungian readership, it has also emphasised the continuity of thematic material between the several niveaux. Janet, to my knowledge, never writes in this fashion. His primary interest is in determining at which mental level an individual's habitual functioning can be located. This, together with a judgment regarding the individual's `supplies' of `latent' energy, enables him to diagnose and prescribe. My interests, however, in the way the higher niveaux incorporate, express, and expand upon what has been achieved at lower niveaux reflects Jung's point of view that the healthy psyche is `integrated', and that neurosis results from, and gives evidence of, a `psychic split'. Specifically, I have noticed that the psychic split may often be located at one or other of the Janetian niveaux and that a different integrative problem arises at each niveau.

Mr A, Discontinuity at N.5

          Mr A is a thirty-year-old fundamentalist Christian who was sent by his sect to do missionary work in a North African country. During his year there he was very much impressed with the faith and `submission' of the Muslim inhabitants as well as with their casual attitudes towards matters of sexuality. He himself had a couple of orgasmic experiences of an almost accidental nature while swimming with adolescent African young men, and finally one impetuous moment while walking along the seashore with a Western male colleague. Although none of these incidents involved a complete sexual act they troubled him immensely, with the result that he withdrew from active participation in his sect, although he still attends services. He now vacillates between the homosexual counter-culture and rigorous Christian self-denial. Attempts to reconcile his sexual orientation with dogmatic Christianity by way of homosexual-Christian therapy groups have failed. Mr A becomes very upset at any criticism of a strict, biblical Christianity; and, as a good deal of what transpires at such group sessions is an airing of anger towards the church, Mr A inevitably finds himself sermonising in the worst `pharisaical' fashion, as he himself puts it. In his view, his life has come to a standstill.

          From the analytic point of view, however, the standstill is by no means total. Granted, he derives little satisfaction from interpersonal relationships or his occupation, which is well below his capabilities but to which he clings out of indecision as to where next he might go or what kind of training he ought to seek. Despite all this he has dreams in which great medieval cathedrals have been reduced to rubble through which a small Islamic procession is winding or in which people are gleaning objects of value. Great rituals occur which have a generally Christian form but strongly Islamic flavour. A vivid faith in the resurrected Christ occasionally bursts through the synoptic image of Jesus of Nazareth. In short, this man's homosexuality appears to be in harmony with an Islamic-Christian syncretism of Gnostic, mystical, or transcendental style. Such, anyway, seems to be the evidence from the archetypal imagery of the fourth niveau. I see no reason to suspect any disharmony between this material and the putative pre-imagistic rhizome.

          But Mr A stands still. There seems to be no way to utilise the archetypal harmony sporadically making itself felt at lower niveaux, for it is never taken up and made personal at the fifth mental level. Mr A is threatened by the very idea of psychology; for the psyche lies outside of his conscious control as well as outside the authority of the church. He is terrified that the unconscious will seduce him out of his `faith'. Yet he knows something must be done to move his life off dead-centre, so he persists in his analytic meetings as the tension between the opposites grows. Although at times he seems thrilled that `God can speak through the unconscious', his relentless dogmatism even appears to censor his dreams. His `personal dreams' (N.5) are very tortured and fragmentary, presenting eloquently and in a great variety of situations, the thoroughly unsatisfactory condition in which he finds himself As he cannot consciously imagine any `way out', neither can he dream a way out at the fifth level. These dreams are invariably without resolution.

          It seems, therefore, in the case of Mr A, that the fifth niveau is as much dominated by the personnage/persona of the perfect Christian as is consciousness. Consequently, as the fifth level rises towards and assimilates with the sixth, the fourth sinks towards the third, and an apparently unbridgeable rift appears. So strictly does he `censor' every expression of the unconscious coming from within (e.g., by waking up before a fifth level dream can reach resolution) that the deep unconscious can only speak to him from `without'. Thus he finds himself in a highly synchronistic world where, for example, a passage from the morning's scripture readings is paraphrased in the next night's sexual encounter, or where the dream-figure answers his newspaper advertisement for a room-mate to share the rent.

          These external manifestations of the fourth mental level are as much outside his personal responsibility as are the archetypal dreams. Therefore he does not find them to be as threatening as a completed personal dream. But, at the same time, they come from without and therefore cannot, on their own, effect an integration. One can only hope that eventually the consistency of the synchronistic events and archetypal dreams will bring about a change in his attitude, or that the fragmentary and unsatisfactory nature of his daily life and its relentless exposition in the personal dreams will shake loose his reliance on a hide-bound pharasaism.

Mrs B, Discontinuity at N.4

          Mrs B, a twenty-five-year-old divorced woman, entered analysis because she found herself stuck between the unrealistic phantasy of returning to her ex-husband (despite the fact that she had initiated the divorce) and an ambivalent relationship with a new man. This situation was resolved quite easily and in a manner which reveals the nature of Mrs B's unconscious split. After six or seven weeks of dreams in which she found herself on one trip after another with a man who could have been either the ex-husband or the new friend, she dreamed.

          I'm hiding in a field with a tall man. He is a real `straight-arrow'. He strides through the field, swinging his arms, and turns himself in.

          To the `straight-arrow' she associated her ex-husband, who had been a rather foolish and naive businessman, too forthcoming with potential clients and too trusting with his competitors. He was much `better' than she. Indeed, she wished to go back to him so that it would be `as though she never left'. With this clue the analyst proposed an archetypal interpretation (N.4): the dreamer is Eve and the `straight-arrow' is Adam, who, this time, left her holding the evidence, an apple with only one bite out of it. Her problem is original sin. She wants to restore the Edenic innocence of her pre-divorce life. She responded to this very well, recalling ways she had tried to maintain a cartoon-like innocence during the time she was married. For the first time, seemingly, she saw through her former attempts to be a `good wife' by, say, not accepting a job more prestigious than that of her husband. In less than two weeks she had moved in with the new man and never again reported a dream in which the new and the old men were interchangeable.

          Despite the apparent effect of discussing this dream, Mrs B was unable to remember it in succeeding weeks and could also not recall the discussion which followed it, though she did recall her foolish attempts at being a `good wife'. She continued to suffer from monumental guilt; and she continued to be `stuck', although in a much more general way than before.

          Mrs B has a strong sense of destiny, of being `called' to something. There is nothing specific about this. She lacks the archetypal images (N.4), having only a vague, unthematic intimation (N.3) of a life to be lived. It is my hypothesis that the interpretation of the above dream worked because it, for once in her life, provided an archetypal image which could link the `personal imagination' (N.5) and the pre-imagistic rhizome (N.3). She cannot remember that dream or its interpretation for the same reason she lacks, generally speaking, archetypal dreams. Because the images have, as it were, fallen out, there is no continuity between the unconscious theme of her existence (N.3) and the relevant possibilities she spins into lifeworlds at the fifth niveau. For example, one of the most `responsible' acts of her life (from the viewpoint of the third level) is also (from the viewpoint of the sixth) the most `irresponsible': her leaving her husband. It was `irresponsible' in that it was impetuous, unthought-out, and based on projections and inflation. However, it was `responsible' in that she (unconsciously) responded to that unconscious rhizome and set out to free herself from the distorting security of bourgeois respectability (persona).

          The reason she has not yet found a satisfactory course is that Mrs B's navigational system, the archetypal imagery, is lacking. I believe the most prevalent symptom of the discontinuity at N. 4 lies in a rather common phenomenon which might be called, paraphrasing Kris, `animus in the service of persona'. According to Jung's discussion of the mana personality the anima should be transformed from an autonomous complex into a `function of relationship between conscious and unconscious' (JUNG 14, p. 227). It is, in short, the mediatrix of the ego-self axis. No doubt the animus has a similar purpose. However, in Mrs B's case, it appears that this depth-function of the animus has been short-circuited in such a way that the animus seems to mediate between the ego and the persona rather than between ego and self. Consequently, the vague intimations of destiny and of a transcending self-worth are experienced as demands for adjustment, but in superficial social adaptation rather than in fundamental course setting in her life.

          It is true she is out of tune with a collectivity. The solution, however, lies not in collective consciousness (the persona) but in the collective unconscious (the self). Because she nevertheless has caught a whiff of the rhizome's numinosity, she projects it on to the only `other' she can find. Without the archetypal images of the fourth niveau mental, she is isolated from her psychic roots and adrift in mass-mindedness.

Mr C, Discontinuity at N.3

          In his first interview, Mr C claimed that, after years in a California-style therapeutic community, he `had finally gotten his life straightened out', had a respectable job, a fine group of friends, and could at last afford the luxury of polishing up his soul in Jungian analysis. His persona did all of the talking; and, although full of bravado, it could have been right. Mr C is, at all events, a very intelligent and personable man with an athletic body and a young face which belie his age (late thirties). What was most disconcerting, however, was that the feelings were all awry. When he spoke of this or that giving him a `warm feeling' or how `sweet' such-and-such was, it was hard to tell whether Mr C was lying to himself or simply did not know any better. Specific questions revealed chinks in his facade through which the blackest terror could be glimpsed.

          It became evident that the main dynamic in Mr C's life was his ambivalent relationship to his strict taskmaster father. Although he admired his father's professional successes, he had always been afraid of him. He might, perhaps, have hated him outright, except that the logical alternative to his father's discipline seemed to be his mother's depression, which eventually had led to suicide. Thus he tried to follow his (deceased) father's will into business success but was so rattled by fear of his bosses that he found himself repeatedly fired (including twice during the first eighteen months of analysis).

          That the persona/father-complex, as miserable as it was, served as a ramshackle bridge over the abyss of the mother-complex, appeared to be demonstrated by the relative absence of archetypal dreams. It seemed for about six months, in fact, that Mr C might be a male version of Mrs B. But the analytic situation changed dramatically with a dream in which Mr C

finds himself standing with a group of people on the wrought-iron balcony of a lake-cabin something like one he had built with his father. He is just thinking that it would not be a disaster if the weight of crowd should break the balcony off the building, for the people would only fall into the lake.

Then he is standing a short distance from a somewhat grander seaside house and watching an old woman descend a stair to a landing, where she cuts open the top of a bulb-like plant which looks like a green frozen flame. She extracts a clear gel which she is going to use for medicine or food.

Clearly Mr C did `fall into the lake' in the symbolic sense that the fifth-level dream suddenly dropped to the fourth level. There he found a healing/nourishing great mother tapping the potential of his frozen feelings instead of the bottomless abyss he had so long feared. There followed several weeks of archetypal dreams in which Mr C explored the rich and fascinating life of ponds and tried to recover his possessions from under water, sometimes with the help of friendly animals.

          This all happened during a period when Mr C was between jobs and therefore not confronted daily with clear reminders of the parental world which blights his efforts to establish himself, professionally. Once he found another job, he was back on the rickety bridge over the abyss. (This has actually become a recurring dream-image). But now, strange to say, the archetypal dreams generally failed to find a resolution. Furthermore, his relationship to them underwent an important change. Instead of experiencing them as traces of the pre-imagistic rhizome (N.3), he began to find in them images which gave him a `warm' or `sweet' feeling. He had, in fact, converted them to adjuncts of the persona/father-complex world. The old terror was again visible between the chinks of this facade. What is worse, it did not seem advisable to criticise or in any way to undermine this resistance. For since Mr C seemed to have lost all ability to believe in the fertility and nurturance of `hollow places', any reminder of the yawning gulf could serve to unblock his ear to the siren call of suicide or at least the danger of a fatal accident.

          The evidence that Mr C's archetypal dreams were co-opted, as it were, by the martial imperatives of his defensive persona-world (N.5), does not at all prove that his failure to integrate the archetypes results from what I have called a `discontinuity at the third niveau'. What leads me to postulate this discontinuity is another, related, phenomenon: his propensity, in the face of terrifying father-figures, to `fall right through' the third niveau, all the way to the second.

          Life would, indeed, be easier for Mr C if only he could live up to his father's expectations. The rickety bridge would become a highway, and he would be able to skim along above the swamps and chasms with one eye on the road and the other on his speedometer. Unfortunately, however, his oversensitivity to paternal criticism can be likened only to an `in-born releasing mechanism'. One thinks, for instance, of a chick which has seen the shadow of what might be a chicken-hawk and automatically runs under the nearest object. Mr C's fear of father-figures operates in just that way. The terror becomes so great that the collaboration of the archetypes at the third level no longer holds, and Mr C falls victim to the primitivity of the isolated archetypes (N.2).

          In view of Mr C's discontinuity at the third niveau, it is tempting to speculate along the lines of Kohut's theory of narcissism that a self has to be established during the early years of childhood (KOHUT 16). Here, `self' is the pre-imagistic ground (N.3) out of which the personal myth (N.4) springs. As such, it operates as the behind-the-scenes organiser, the principle of continuity to which our nightly dreams bear intermittent and fragmentary witness. Probably the self becomes established, in most cases, through a participation mystique with the mother. A child is born into a space and time in which every person, object, and event is saturated with the feeling-tones of the mother's world. The pre-imagistic ground of the child's world will be established when the child is allowed to be a co-agent in the lifeworld in which it mystically participates with the mother. This will inevitably involve the `grandiose fantasies' of which Kohut speaks, for in the archetypal world of childhood' (as Neumann calls it) to be a co-agent with the mother is tantamount to being vice-regent with God (in Islam, the dignity of the human individual rests in great part, on his being God's vice-regent, kahlifah, in completing the work of creation). For the co-agent, the participated world is a secure space/time continuum in which achievement, self-realisation, loving encounter, and all the normal human functions are learned.

          When, however, as must have been the case with Mr C, the mother is too insecure to allow the child co-agenthood, the child inevitably becomes a sometime opponent in a frightening world in which the ground shifts suddenly from moment to moment. Mr C's mother was evidently as terrified of her husband as was her son. No doubt the son learned his fear, in part through his participation mystique with her. Indeed, there must have been many occasions when the young boy, through his innocent childishness confirmed his mother's worst fears about her own incompetence to preserve order, safety, and other `essentials' upon which her husband insisted. In such instances, her son was her adversary, the cause of the disaster, the precipitator of the depression. Thus Mr C experienced himself not only as vice-regent with the mother-god, but unwitting minion of the Adversary who destroyed the participation-world. The demonic image of the Adversary being projected jointly by mother and son on to the father, their participatory world dissolves, and they scatter like chicks from the `hawk' (N.2).


          The integration of the archetypes is a process which can be observed in the analysand's imagery. In this paper I have argued that characteristic failures to imagine or to relate to one's unconscious imagery correspond to discontinuities at three of Janet's niveaux mentaux. Precisely how analysis may be said to restore a lost niveau is largely a matter of speculation. The fact that the analyst recognises and points out a lacuna and possible bridging image does not at all guarantee that the analysand will accept it. I am inclined to believe that the therapeutic interaction as a whole is the primary agent for the restoration of missing niveaux. An important mechanism might be the analyst's ability to hold the tension occasioned by a discontinuity in the imaginal continuum and to recognise potentially frightening phantasies as fragments belonging to the whole. In this way the fright may be contained by confidence. Perhaps the analysand would then see the analyst as a protecting, generating womb; a nurturing comforting breast; or a wise, sympathetic mentor. Such has been the case with all three of the analyses discussed above. In addition, I am sure that the mechanisms Kohut describes (mirroring and empathy) have been at work, especially as regards Mr C. It seems likely that they will operate most effectively when the analyst can see or at least believe in the presence of a fractured but mendable whole. The analyst therefore requires a variety of models (such as the one articulated in this paper) by which he may glimpse the unrealised wholeness. This enables him to retain his confidence in the integration process, which, in turn, provides the hook upon which the analysand can hang the projection of his own inner healer.

          Such speculation is based on the notion that analytic progress is made when the analyst is able to make appropriate interventions. I am not convinced, however, that the analyst's conscious activity determines the course of events. Jung's alchemical discussions of the transference, for example, concentrate predominantly on the unconscious transference/countertransference. One can scarcely choose to be the king or queen in the alchemical bath, though one can sometimes choose to expose oneself to such dangerous opportunities.

          Images of the transference (as opposed to the rapport, itself) are signposts along the route of individuation; they are just a different set from those described in this article. Usually when one drives from one city to another, it is possible to follow either the signs which name the destination city or the signs which supply the numbers of the roads as they appear on maps. At confusing intersections, the driver who is familiar with both sets of signs will drive most confidently. Along the lines of this analogy, I offer for the consideration of the readers of this journal, who -- I assume-are inclined to follow the transference `route signs', an alternative set of indicators.


          Although Jung apparently did not follow Janet's career after the 1903 publication of Obsessions, the fact that (a) the work presents the kernel of Janet's mature psychology and that (b) it influenced Jung profoundly, justify this application of Janetian concepts from the 1920s and 1930s to Jung's theory of the archetypes. Janet developed a `hierarchy' of psychological phenomena which distinguishes nine `mental levels'. The second to the fifth of these describe the portion of the spectrum of consciousness which corresponds to the archetypal realm. The second level corresponds to the in-born releasing mechanisms, the third to participation mystique and to the rhizome out of which the personal myth emerges, the fourth level to the archetypal images, and the fifth to the fleshing out of those general forms with images from the personal unconscious.

          An archetype has been `integrated' when a continuity obtains between the various mental levels of the Janetian hierarchy. Furthermore, various types of failure to integrate can be diagnosed in terms of the level at which a discontinuity or disturbance occurs. These are illustrated by three case studies. Discontinuity at the fifth level is characterised by a stand-still in the conscious life despite a promising set of archetypal dreams. The personal imagination (fifth level) falls to take up these archetypal possibilities and weave them into a relevant life-project. Discontinuity at the fourth level is characterised by a fairly healthy but pre-imagistic sense of destiny (third level) as well as a lively personal imagination which, however, `goes its own way'. The archetypal imagery which might explicate the sense of destiny and provide guidance for the personal imagination is missing. Consequently the latter is cast adrift so that it has nothing but the assumptions of collective consciousness to guide it. Discontinuity at the third level is characterised by a narcissistic flaw, in Kohut's sense of the term. The personal imagination clings to outside norms in order to escape the fear that there is no ground under foot. Archetypal images are then perverted in the understanding, either to confirmation of the persona-dominated personal unconscious or to demonic intimations of an abyss. Without a `grounding' in the `mythic rhizome', hypothetically gained through a participation mystique with a stable and empathic mother during infancy, the individual's psychic life is prone to disintegrate into a stimulus-response form of existence, where the archetypes function as `in-born releasing mechanisms' (the second level).


  1. ELLENBERGER, H. F. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychology. New York. Basic Books.

  2. FREUD, S. (1905). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Std Edn VII.

  3. HAULE, J. R. `From somnambulism to the archetypes: the French roots of Jung's split with Freud', Psychoanalytic Review 71(4): 95-107.

  4. JANET, P. (1889). l'automatisme psychologique. Paris. Alcan. (Reprinted. Paris, La Société Pierre Janet, 1973).

  5. ________ (1898). Névroses et Idées Fixes. (Two volumes). Paris, Alcan.

  6. ________ (1903). Les Obsessions et la Psychasthénie (Two volumes). Paris, Alcan. (Reprinted: New York, Arno, 1976).

  7. ________ (1919). Psychological Healing: a History and Clinical Study (Two volumes). New York: Macmillan. (Reprinted, New York, Arno, 1976).

  8. ________ (1926, 28a). De l'angoisse a `'extase: etudes sur les croyances et les sentiments (Two volumes). Paris, La Société Pierre Janet 1975.

  9. ________ (1928b). L'evolution de la mémoire et de la notion du temps. Paris, A Chahine.

  10. ________ (1935). Les débuts de l'intelligence. Rio de Janeiro, Americ-Edit.

  11. ________ (1936). L'intelligence avant le language. [n.p.] Flammarion.

  12. JUNG, C.G. (1912). Symbols of Transformation: An Analysis of the Prelude to a Case of Schizophrenia, Coll. Wks, 5.

  13. ________ (1919). `Instinct and the Unconscious', Coll. Wks, 8.

  14. ________ (1928). `The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious', Coll. Wks, 7.

  15. ________ (1947). `On the Nasture of the psyche', Coll. Wks, 8.

  16. KOHUT, H. (1977). The Restoration of the Self. New York, International Universities Press.

  17. SCHWARTZ, L. (1951). Die Neurosen und die dynamische Psychologie von Pierre Janet. Basel, B. Schwabe.

back to JRH's Homepage | Jung Commentary