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Thomson, J. (1998). Commentary from a Jungian Perspective. Brit. J. Psychother., 15(1):119-122.
(1998). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 15(1):119-122
Commentary from a Jungian Perspective
My first reaction on reading the case study was to ponder on the patient's permitting the material to be published. The pros and cons went through my mind. The patient must have realized that it is helpful for her therapist's colleagues to have the insights into someone's story. Was this her way of being grateful? Was it reparative? Seeing it all in writing, as I assume she would do, might crystallize something for her and remind her of how she had changed. More negatively, I wondered how much the allowing of herself to be written about was part of the difficulty in retaining and digesting, and how much she felt she would get rid of by having it put on paper and handed to others to read. The case study in other words seemed to me to form, inevitably, part of the therapy process which would in some way be altered by it, and the therapist-writer's work is likely to be influenced in some way, too, by my comments and those of the other commentators.
As a Jungian analyst, I thought, reading the case study, how much I felt at home with it. I thought that the training programmes we go through as psychotherapists are similar and the language we end up with is mostly interchangeable. Most of us, certainly those who style themselves psychoanalytical psychotherapists, and some Jungians do, share an emphasis on work in the transference, keeping in mind the early experiences of the patient. Yet, two factors struck me as different enough, from a Jungian viewpoint, to have a considerable effect on how the material could be understood. Firstly, what the ‘bulimia’ symbolized for the patient and, secondly, the patient's struggle with her ‘femininity’. With the Jungian concept of an original Self, the psyche/soma as an entity from conception, therefore already a being to be realized, becoming as conscious as possible through life experiences, B can be seen to be attempting, through psychotherapy, to follow a need to develop, a need to find some way to learn how to digest experience.
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