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Jackson, S. (2008). Understanding the Self-Ego Relationship in Clinical Practice: Towards Individuation by Margaret Clark. Published by Karnac, London, 2006; in the Society of Analytical Psychology Monograph Series; 118 pp; £9.99 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 24(1):105-107.
  

(2008). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 24(1):105-107

Understanding the Self-Ego Relationship in Clinical Practice: Towards Individuation by Margaret Clark. Published by Karnac, London, 2006; in the Society of Analytical Psychology Monograph Series; 118 pp; £9.99 paperback.

Review by:
Sarah Jackson

This little volume is the third in the Society of Analytical Psychology Monograph Series. It is aimed, as are the earlier two publications, at trainees and recently qualified psychotherapists and psychodynamic counsellors, although I believe it also has something to offer more experienced practitioners. Written by a Jungian analyst who originally trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist before further training at the SAP, it covers key theories in Jungian analytic and psychoanalytic thinking, presented from an integrated viewpoint and as taught in major Jungian trainings today. The author explains the theoretical concepts of the ego and the self, and of individuation. In describing the ultimate goal of individuation, Jung wrote that it was ‘important only as an idea; the essential thing is the opus which leads to the goal; that is the goal of a lifetime’ (Jung 1946, p. 200, italics in original). In firmly locating clinical work as central throughout this book, Clark describes the evolution and development of these concepts and theories, and their place in current post-Jungian and psychoanalytic thinking. She then illustrates this with a series of case histories and clinical examples which bring the theory to life. Her point, that it is the relation ‘between the ego and the self in the work that makes us take the self seriously’ (p. xviii), also helps to put the work in context. It is the working relationship between the ego and self of the therapist and of the patient that is of such value in depth psychology. Including more of the self in consciousness is the task of analysis, work which in the process of individuation is never completed.

The arrangement of this book is compact and it is easy to use as a quick reference. It is divided into sections covering well-structured short explanations of complex theoretical concepts.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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