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Stone, M. (2002). MATHERS, DALE. An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology. London & Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge, 2001. Pp. xvi + 282. Pbk. £ 16. 99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(4):641-643.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(4):641-643

MATHERS, DALE. An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology. London & Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge, 2001. Pp. xvi + 282. Pbk. £ 16. 99.

Review by:
Martin Stone

Edited by:
Barbara D. Stephens and Susanna Wright

Meaning and purpose have always been central to Jung's thinking, and his emphasis on them in his work with patients is one of the aspects which distinguishes his thinking from traditional psychoanalysis. This difference was the focus of many of the first-generation Jungian analysts who had analysed with Jung, better known examples being The Myth of Meaning by Aniela Jaffé, From Freud to Jung by Liliane Frey-Rohn, and several of Gerhard Adler's essays (for example, ‘On the question of meaning in psychotherapy’ in Dynamics of the Self).

In Jung's psychology the very concept of meaning is embedded in his theory of archetypes and the collective, and the complex dynamics of this interaction have become the study of Dale Mathers’ new book on the subject. The journey he takes us on is by no means straightforward, as befits the complexity of the subject, and the structure of his book has analogies with the structure of an analysis, unfolding slowly and indirectly from chapter to chapter, circling round the ideas and concepts in meandering spirals, guiding us through a maze, not knowing in advance whether the turning will lead us clearly forward, or into another dead end which needs to be explored to know and understand it better.

Through this exploration we are led into a greater understanding of how analytical psychology can help us find individual meaning and social purpose in our lives, and how to face the inevitable suffering that comes from ‘meaning disorder’.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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