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Hubback, J. (1982). Rauhala, L. (Helsinki). ‘The problem of meaning in psychology and psychiatry’, in Studies in the Theory of Values. Turku, University of Turku, Turun Yliopisto (1981). J. Anal. Psychol., 27(3):281.

(1982). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 27(3):281

Rauhala, L. (Helsinki). ‘The problem of meaning in psychology and psychiatry’, in Studies in the Theory of Values. Turku, University of Turku, Turun Yliopisto (1981)

Review by:
Judith Hubback

When Professor Rauhala contributed the paper entitled Analytical psychology and metascience to this Journal in January 1976, he said that even those who have no grounding in philosophy may learn to grasp the issues involved in the study of the philosophy of depth psychology, and that he would like to see the philosophical aspects of the field of psychology cultivated at some stage in the training of therapists. He has now taken the thought in that paper further and it is available in English. He is also publishing research along the same lines in Finnish.

The topics covered are: on the nature of the problem of meaning and the sciences involved in its investigation; the meaning of meaning; the place of psychological and psychiatric problems in the context of meaning; psychological and psychiatric research and application as undertaken from the standpoint of meaning; the producer of neomata (meaningful contents) and their external investigator, in psychology and psychiatry; the status of experiential research in present-day psychology and psychiatry; experiencing within the overall question of meaning; and, the implications of the semantic aspect of their problems for both psychology and psychiatry.

Undoubtedly those untrained in academic philosophy will find they have to work hard if they wish to understand this chapter thoroughly. They might, however, be cheered by the thought that Jung was prepared to take a great deal of trouble to apply philosophical thinking to therapeutic experience and theoretical concepts, even if it is admitted that he had an enviable head start as a result of his Basel gymnasium education. Professor Rauhala's point of view is that the problem of the meaning of meaning should not only be approached in a narrow sense, or only in a semantic one, or only in an intellectual way, but that it must take the body into account as an absolutely essential part of experiencing. He argues that it is more appropriate to examine psychically disturbed experiencing as a semantic problem than as a disease, and moves on from there to assert that ‘disease’ and ‘sickness’ are archaic expressions, the use of which obstructs us in our need to relate to the whole person—the person who experiences. This is existential phenomenology up to date.

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