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Abramovitch, Y. (2014). Jung's Understanding of Schizophrenia: Is it Still Relevant in the ‘Era of the Brain’?. J. Anal. Psychol., 59(2):229-244.

(2014). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 59(2):229-244

Jung's Understanding of Schizophrenia: Is it Still Relevant in the ‘Era of the Brain’?

Yehuda Abramovitch

Jung was highly committed to grasping the meaning of psychotic thinking, and left behind precious insights to treatment scattered through his works written between 1906 and 1958. The tendency of today's psychiatry is to attribute the psychotic process to alteration in the brain's anatomy, biochemistry and electrophysiology, thus exempting the subject, i.e. the afflicted person, from responsibility for attachment to reality and their sanity. Jung understood schizophrenia as an ‘abaissement du niveau mental’, a similar phenomenon to the one encountered in dreams, and caused by a peculiar ‘faiblesse de la volonté’. He contested that complexes in schizophrenia, in contrast with neurotic disorders, are disconnected and can either never reintegrate to the psychic totality or can only join together in remission ‘like a mirror broke into splinters’ (Jung 1939, para. 507). Accordingly, a person who does not fight for the supremacy of ego consciousness and has let themself be swayed by the intrusion of alien contents arising from the unconscious (even to the point of becoming fascinated by regression) is exposed to the danger of schizophrenia. The contemporary relevance of these notions and their necessity in understanding the psychotic process in the light of modern scientific findings are discussed.

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