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Russack, N.W. (1984). Amplification: The Spiral. J. Anal. Psychol., 29(2):125-134.

(1984). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 29(2):125-134

Amplification: The Spiral

Neil W. Russack, M.D.

I Am Particularly interested in the creative healing process which occurs in the psyche of the human being. For three years I had the fortunate opportunity of sitting for an hour a week with a man in whose unconscious the symbol of the spiral appeared and reappeared in such ways as to make me try to understand this wondrous process. Nothing much seemed to happen on the surface, but in the depths it was a different story, and that is the theme of this paper.

Along with the dreams I will describe illustrations of the spiral as it first came up in the different cultures of the Neolithic period. These, I hope, will amplify the meaning of this symbol and help us to understand the patient better. Most of the descriptions have been worked out from the slides in the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS); for the purpose of this paper all except one have to be given in words.

The patient is a forty-four-year-old white male homosexual teacher who sought therapy because of his increasing problem with writing commitments and an inability to complete his Ph.D. He had had some short-term psychotherapy ten years before, at the time of the death of both parents. Three significant people, all men, one of whom was the patient's Ph.D. adviser, died within a year prior to the patient's seeking help. He made it quite clear that their deaths were extremely upsetting, and said it reminded him of the anxious feelings he had experienced at the time of his parents' deaths.

The patient was born and raised in California. He has an older brother who had five unsuccessful marriages with very emotionally sick women, some of whom were suicidal. The sister, also older, is much healthier and is married with children. The mother had shock treatments for presumed schizophrenia; she was the stronger or more dominant of the two parents, at least in the house. The father was a salesman whose feelings were expressed in his work. He had many friends who referred to him by a nickname, but in the house he was addressed with his formal name.


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