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Tatham, P. (1993). Schwartz-Salant, Nathan and Stein, Murray (eds). Gender and Soul in Psychotherapy. Chiron Publications, Wilmette, Illinois. 1992. Pp. 294. Pbk £15.95, $19.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 38(3):343-344.
(1993). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 38(3):343-344
Schwartz-Salant, Nathan and Stein, Murray (eds). Gender and Soul in Psychotherapy. Chiron Publications, Wilmette, Illinois. 1992. Pp. 294. Pbk £15.95, $19.95.
Review by: Peter Tatham
The Chiron Clinical Series, to which this book belongs, provides a valuable forum for up-to-the-minute opinions by analytical psychologists on a variety of important topics.
The present volume is concerned with anima, animus, and the ways in which those archetypal configurations of gender are understood in the Jungian community today, and as applied to the wider world.
There is no doubt that the experiences covered by these two concepts are crucial to any understanding of Jung's psychology, but his writing on the subject is often confusing and contradictory. Consequently, his ideas can, on the one hand, appear dated and sexist to modern minds, given the cultural changes that have occurred this century: and they have been damned as such. While, at the same time, the apparent imprecision of the concepts can sometimes seem to allow them to be ‘all things to all people’. Certainly this book, while exceptionally stimulating (or should that be animating?), provides as many variations of understanding as there are contributors (twelve in all). This is, however, no bad thing, emphasizing as it does the kaleidoscopic nature of the human psyche, both as object of study and as subjective means of interpretation.
Of course Jung's ideas, or his expression of them, can be interpreted as sexist. He was a man of his times, brought up in a traditional, patriarchal, inward-looking society; and however much his theories may have been compensations for that internalized state, they could still only be expressed with the means at his disposal.
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