Undoing dissociation. Affective neuroscience:
a contemporary Jungian clinical perspective



Abstract:  In the last ten years both analysts and neuroscientists have begun to challenge the analytic world to explore the analytic view of the mind in relation to knowledge emerging from the field of neuroscience. I find that ‘in many ways it is Jung's understanding of the mind, the human condition, and the self, that is most compatible with the insights that are emerging from neuroscience today’ (Wilkinson 2004, p. 84). In this paper I consider the insights that neuroscience has to offer us as we seek to work with those patients whose early experience has diminished their capacity to be ‘in mind’ and with it their capacity for reflective self-function, whose defences are dissociative, whose need has been to keep unbearable experience at bay, out of mind. I look first at dissociationist theory and its development, then focus on the insights to be gained from neuroscience with regard to early trauma and its effect on the encoding and recall of memory. Finally, I turn to the nature of cure and argue that hemispheric integration is the key to undoing dissociation and the prelude to individuation.