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Young-Eisendrath, P. (2006). Psyche, self and soul: Rethinking psychoanalysis, the self and spirituality By Gerald J. Gargiulo London: Whurr. 2004. 149 p.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(2):613-616.

(2006). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87(2):613-616

Psyche, self and soul: Rethinking psychoanalysis, the self and spirituality By Gerald J. Gargiulo London: Whurr. 2004. 149 p.

Review by:
Polly Young-Eisendrath

In 1916, Jung wrote a memorable essay on working within a spiritual dimension in our psychoanalytic endeavor. ‘The transcendent function’ lay unpublished in his files until 1953 and was revised in 1958. Jung writes in the English translation,

The shuttling to and fro of arguments and affects represents the transcendent function of opposites. The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing … a movement out of the suspension between opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation.

(1969, p. 90)

Similar to Winnicott's potential space and Ogden's dialogical space, Jung's transcendent function is the mental space in which we can see the interplay of conscious and unconscious forces. How one comes to terms, in practice, with the unconscious, claims Jung, is ‘the fundamental question … of all religions and all philosophies. For the unconscious is not this thing or that; it is the Unknown as it immediately affects us’ (p. 68).

Jung concluded that this Unknown has an intelligence far greater than our consciousness. In presenting his widely acclaimed Terry Lectures on Psychology and Religion at Yale University in 1937, Jung, speaking in English, said ‘My psychological experience has shown time and again that certain contents issue from a psyche more complete than consciousness. They often contain a superior analysis or insight or knowledge which consciousness has not been able to produce’ (1938, p. 49). Jung's interest in spiritual matters is not, by any means, the sole root of the engagement of psychoanalysis with spirituality and religion. I have begun my review with this particular historical background because the interests of Gerald Gargiulo, as I have encountered them in this thoughtful little book of essays, seem remarkably similar to Jung's. I am a Jungian psychoanalyst. Gargiulo is a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association and the American Psychoanalytic Association.


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