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Pye, F. (1957). Some Analytical Problems Encountered in South Africa. J. Anal. Psychol., 2(2):167-181.

(1957). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2(2):167-181

Some Analytical Problems Encountered in South Africa

Faye Pye

Try as we may to concentrate on the most personal of personal problems, our therapy nevertheless stands or falls with the question: What sort of world does our patient come from and to what sort of world has he to adapt himself?

(Jung, 1945a, Coll. Wks., p. 95).

The South African nation is historically young, its population is composed of many diverse elements, and its social structure has developed greatly over a short period of time, and is consequently unstable. Social problems are therefore a matter of widespread personal concern; the analysis of patients frequently includes collective as well as individual material. Although integration of the individual remains the goal of the analytical process, the field of interest extends more particularly to the wider whole of the individual in the environment.

Jung's later work has paid considerable attention to the deeper currents of social change as they affect and are affected by the individual (Jung, 1927a, 1927b, 1936, 1945a, 1945b, 1946a, 1946b, 1946c, 1951). Nevertheless, analytical psychologists have not been orientated in this direction in their studies of individual case material. There is a tendency in the literature of analytical practice to assume that the environment is relatively stable and satisfactory, and that the difficulties experienced in it by the individual are the result of intra-psychic projections. This is often so, but not always. In an unstable society, social problems confront any thinking man with the unavoidable challenge either to solve them or to relate to them. And in so far as his psychic stability and integration depend on the community in which he lives, he is deeply affected by the environmental situation.

In this paper some of the problems of the “individual-in-environment” in South Africa will be examined.

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