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Van Eenwyk, J. (1991). The Analysis of Defences. J. Anal. Psychol., 36(2):141-163.

(1991). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 36(2):141-163

The Analysis of Defences

J. R. Van Eenwyk, Ph.D., M.Div

One deep calls to another

Psalm 42

The Previous Essay in this series ended with the statement that analysts who do not understand their own role in the oscillatory dynamics of analysisunaware of their fractal dimensions, uncomfortable dwelling on the irreducible boundaries, or insensitive to the effects of sensitive dependence on initial conditionslack the information necessary to locate both themselves and their patients in the analytic process (Van Eenwyk 16, p. 26). That statement was the culmination of an analysis of the methodological conjunction between contemporary research into complex dynamical systems and Jung's research into psychodynamics, a conjunction that made a dialogue between the two possible. This essay extends that dialogue to a practical application of Jung's theory. Rather than simply allowing these two thought systems to chatter away at one another in the hope that some usable stuff will eventually appear, however, this essay intends to focus the dialogue on an aspect of the analytic process for which the mechanics are not fully elaborated.

Faced with the limitless possibilities contained in the archetypal dynamics of the psyche, Jung developed a metapsychology that is both heuristic and synthetic. Grounded in observation and open to revision (heuristic), his theories employ comprehensive (synthetic) explanations that respect the totality and diversity of psychological dynamics. Singular explanations—the hallmark of reductionistic theories—are generally eschewed. Yet understanding archetypal dynamics demands a great deal of intuition and faith. For example, while most analysts develop the ability to recognise archetypal dynamics at work, how many would feel comfortable specifying their mechanics? Perhaps chaos theory, which has explained the mechanics of some previously indecipherable dynamics in physics, can fill in some of the gaps. If so, understanding the mechanics of Jung's phenomenology of the psyche can adumbrate some useful techniques available to the analyst. It is the premise of this essay that one such technique is the analysis of defences.

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