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Anderson, R.W. (1998). Response to D. Kalsched's ‘Archetypal defenses in the clinical situation: a vignette’. J. Anal. Psychol., 43(4):589-596.
(1998). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 43(4):589-596
Response to D. Kalsched's ‘Archetypal defenses in the clinical situation: a vignette’
Reid W. Anderson, Ph.D.
(JAP, 1998, 43, 1, 3-17)
The case of ‘Sue’ in Kalsched's paper (1998) provides a welcome addition to his fascinating book: ‘The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit’. By describing his interventions with an analysand presenting a ‘self-care system’ (Kalsched 1996, p. 4), Kalsched helps us see more precisely how he works with these most interesting and challenging individuals. He also provides opportunity for dialogue regarding alternative approaches, and thus a means of clarifying our understanding of analysis and the assumptions underlying our interventions. Discussion of these issues may be particularly important in analytical psychology where neither technique nor ‘methods’ (Jung 1937, para. 543) unite the many societies.
Because Sue is fictionalized in certain respects, greater anonymity is provided as well as a more abstract rendition of the processes and interventions the author intends to illustrate (Kalsched 1998, p. 3). This, and the fact that analysis has ended, allow greater opportunity for considerations divergent from the conceptions of analyst and analysand.
While I commend Kalsched's openness in discussing his work with Sue, which is never easy nor without risk, I remain troubled by the progression of her analysis. Both the escalating morbidity of Sue's dreams, and her marked deterioration in social, occupational, and personal functioning are disconcerting. I also wonder why so little was said about her life outside analysis towards its end, and how the two decided upon resolution. The analysis ends with a dream that is supposed to convey the ‘integrative healing function of … the Self’ (ibid., p. 15). But who Sue is as a person or what life holds for her is obscure. I’m reminded of Ovid's tale where Narcissus wastes away, leaving behind the enigmatic flower.
Like all Jungians, I understand the ubiquity of death/rebirth in analysis. Disjunctions are inevitable, and analysands often fall apart (hopefully deintegrate rather than disintegrate) before they come together. Analysis can be exasperating, and progressive deterioration in the analysand's function can be due to a variety of factors apart from analysis.
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