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Maduro, R. (1980). Correspondence. J. Anal. Psychol., 25(1):101-103.

(1980). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 25(1):101-103


Renaldo Maduro, Ph.D.

In Her Recent article ‘The use and misuse of the archetype’, (this Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1979), Dr June Singer explores ‘five ways of misusing archetypes’ (p. 7). In a very timely and thought-provoking attempt to relate Jungian psychology to various concepts drawn from modern physics, Dr Singer discusses ‘(1) categorisation, (2) reduction, (3) reification, (4) pathologising, and (5) interpretation’. These five ways in which the archetypes may be misused are first defined and then highlighted in terms of how they may limit, cloud, and distort our understanding of the objective psyche; later in her paper they are again taken up for consideration in the context of ‘a holistic world view’ (p. 13) which Dr Singer derives from ‘the new physics’.

I was stimulated by Dr Singer's cogent remarks to think of other possible misuses of the archetypes, and I thought of one in particular which has been of interest and concern to me for some time. It is that analysts, analysands, and students of Jung may also ‘misuse’ the concept of the archetype by means of unconscious defensive idealisation. Perhaps others would agree that it might be useful to add idealisation to Dr Singer's list.

At times, Dr Singer would appear to be alive to the danger of idealisation, especially when she makes the important point that Jungian psychology can be as excessively reductive as ‘orthodox psychoanalysis’ (p. 7) by reducing complex psychic phenomena to archetypes (‘the gods and goddesses’, etc.

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