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Kirsch, T.B. (1996). A Brief History of Analytical Psychology. Psychoanal. Rev., 83(4):569-577.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Review, 83(4):569-577

A Brief History of Analytical Psychology

Thomas B. Kirsch, M.D.

In addition to Jung's role in the history of psychoanalysis, there is also a separate history of analytical psychology that is rarely told but of considerable interest. Both Freud and Jung grew up at a time of rapid cultural change, and they were both part of, and catalysts for some of the defining moments of this century. Jung, 19 years Freud's junior, was born in 1875 and died in Zürich in 1961, having lived at the same residence on the Lake of Zürich from 1909 until his death.

Jung trained in medicine at the University of Zürich, graduating in 1900 and becoming Eugene Bleuler's chief assistant at the Burghölzli Hospital until 1909, when he resigned to go into full-time private practice. Jung and Freud first met in 1907 and quickly formed a close relationship. Jung became the “crown prince,” was the first president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, and they travelled to America together in 1909. The breakdown of their relationship has been extensively and controversially documented and is the starting point for this brief history of analytical psychology. Hence, the years 1912-1913 would be a good place to begin.

Jung had just written Psychology of the Unconscious, later revised as Symbols of Transformation. In this book Jung analyzed the fantasies of a young American woman whom he had never seen. He used many anthropological, literary, and religious comparisons to explain and interpret the fantasies. He posited a primary cultural or religious level to the psyche as being as foundational as the sexual or aggressive levels. This broadened use of the term “libido,” plus the personality conflicts between himself and Freud, forced Jung eventually to withdraw from the official psychoanalytic fold.


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