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Solomon, H.M. (1991). Archetypal Psychology and Object Relations Theory: History and communalities. J. Anal. Psychol., 36(3):307-329.

(1991). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 36(3):307-329

Archetypal Psychology and Object Relations Theory: History and communalities

Hester M. Solomon, M.A., M.Sc.


In this article I will reflect on the history-separate and overlapping-and thus the possible communalities between the theory of archetypal psychology on the one hand and object relations theory on the other. I will suggest that this involves us in considering two basic philosophical dispositions that have permeated Western culture since the nineteenth century, and thus inevitably our own thinking as analytical psychologists. These are:

1.   Hegel's dialectical vision concerning the processes of change;

2.   the notion of deep structures, particularly that of psychological deep structure.

Each concept has made an important addition to the philosophical bedrock which underpins the ways of thinking about human nature and development that we call analytical and psychoanalytic theory. They are especially useful when we come to think about the differential roles of inner and outer influences in the development of personality, their combination, interaction, and relative importance, as primary to the structure and contents of the personality from birth through to maturity.

The first, the dialectical vision, grew up in Europe, especially in Germany, at the time of the Romantic revolution. It was expounded by the German philosopher Hegel and translated into the realm of social, political, and economic change by Marx and his followers. I consider that the Hegelian notion of dialectics and dialectical change permeates the theories of Freud and Jung and their followers, steeped as they all were in the German-speaking culture of their times.


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