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Kalsched, D.E. (1999). Response to ‘The multiple self: working with dissociation and trauma’. J. Anal. Psychol., 44(4):465-474.
(1999). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 44(4):465-474
Response to ‘The multiple self: working with dissociation and trauma’
Donald E. Kalsched, Ph.D.
I am pleased to be able to respond to Mrs Everest's interesting paper about her analytic experience with ‘Chris’, who shows all the classical symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder, popularly known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). Her paper is a welcome addition to the surprisingly sparse Jungian literature on dissociation, especially because she presents an actual case study in some detail. Before turning to some clinical implications of her paper, I would like first to comment on it with reference to Jung and dissociation.
Jung and dissociation
The question as to why our Jungian literature should be so impoverished of good clinical studies of dissociation is one worth pondering in itself. It was only ten years ago in this journal that Richard Noll (1989) - before the recent ‘diabolization phase’ of his idealized transference to Jung - noted the relevance of Jung's theory to the emerging literature on dissociation in the US. On both sides of the Atlantic, quite a number of Jungian analysts have contributed to the discussion - notably, Kugler (1986), Fordham (1974), Proner (1986), Redfearn (1992), Plaut (1966), Salman (1999), Savitz (1991), Schwartz-Salant (1989), Skea (1993), Curran (1998), Early (1993), Sidoli (1993), and myself (Kalsched 1996, 1998). Among these studies, it is ironically Noll, the non-analyst, who makes the clearest claim for Jung:
Jung is a heretofore unrecognized pioneer in the study of dissociation. Jung's ‘complex theory’ is one of the earliest and remains the most comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the phenomenology of multiple personality.
(1989, p. 353)
While I believe Noll is technically correct in this assessment (and Mrs Everest seems to agree, citing relevant passages from Jung) nevertheless, I think there are aspects of Jung's ideas which have not been sufficiently brought out, and others that need revisioning if a clear application of Jung's theory to clinical dissociation is to be attempted.
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