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Hubback, J. (1990). The Changing Person and the Unchanging Archetype. J. Anal. Psychol., 35(2):111-123.

(1990). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 35(2):111-123

The Changing Person and the Unchanging Archetype

Judith Hubback, M.A.

There are probably thousands and thousands of analytical books and professional papers whose authors are studying change, in many languages, from every conceivable angle. Each of us can have so far read only a small fraction of them. As well as the inspired change-seeking scriptures of many religions and sects, there are countless works of likely interest to us produced by members of major specialisms other than ours, such as philosophers, theologians, historians, physicists, biologists, environmentalists and even prosaic plumbing engineers. But before this paper follows many others into the sewer of oblivion (but perhaps it will become organic and transformative manure for someone's garden), I hope to direct your attention to one area of interest, putting it in the form of a simple yet dual question: how is it that patients seeking psychotherapy (in the broad Jungian sense of the term) seem to want change yet so often cannot achieve it, and find themselves time and again in the same malign web of defensive manoeuvres? I want to explore whether repetitions have an archetypal quality and, if so, what such a formulation adds to our understanding and to the clinical handling of them. I am not going so far as to propose a new archetype, though I think that Ruth Strauss's suggestion at the Zürich Congress in 1962, of the archetype of separation, was a valid one.

Before going any further, I should like to say that this paper contains only short, sketchy, pieces of clinical material in order to respect the confidential nature of the analyses on which it is based. The focus has had to be on a perhaps cool theoretical exposition. The people whose experiences have generated or validated the theories are in the background, only semi-audible. That is the other way round from the actual course of daily consulting-room work.

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