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Guthrie, J. (1977). The Self and Autism Michael Fordham Published by Heinemann. J. Child Psychother., 4(3):123-126.

(1977). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 4(3):123-126

The Self and Autism Michael Fordham Published by Heinemann

Review by:
Jess Guthrie

This important book makes a valuable and original contribution to analytical psychology in its understanding of children. It is well known that Jung in his investigations, clinical work and formulation of theory was mostly concerned with adults in the second half of life. His immediate followers gave so much importance to the effect of the Parents' unconscious conflicts on their children that no consistent body of knowledge concerning younger people was built up.

Fordham has for long realised that much that was given no definite statement was implied in Jung's work. He studied these implications closely in their original context, and has tested their validity over a long period of clinical work and observation of children. In the result, he has shown that the theories of the archetypes and the self can increase our understanding of maturation and development of the personality in infancy and through childhood and adolescence into adult life.

Jung introduced the theory of archetypes to account for the regularity of the images, often mythological, which occurred in the dreams and imagination of adults. As well as being felt to be important by the individuals who experienced them, they were reflected in religion and the organisations within society where they were found to constitute an important element in the psychology of groups. Thus the regularity of their recurrence showed a general and probably a universal distribution.

The archetypes are considered to be dynamic structures within the personality and closely related with the instincts, but differ from the ethologists’ release mechanisms in being bipolar.

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