Synchronicity as A Basis of Analytic Attitude

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Abstract

My aim is to describe Jung's approach to the experience of the chaotic, which could equally be termed the irrational, the non-ego, the unordered or prima materia, and to extract from this a clinical approach to the analytic patient which, in Jung's own writings, is often more implicit than explicit. My interest in this enquiry arises from the clinical experience of the unconscious in the form of transference/ countertransference, involving relentless pressure on both analyst and analysand to attempt to impute meaning and order. I examine Jung's work ‘Synchronicity: an acausal connecting principle’ and extrapolate from it what I think to be its unique contribution to hermeneutics - the ontologically-based concept of a psychoid understanding of meaning and pattern. In the second part of the paper, I discuss the application to analytic work of Jung's hermeneutic approach. I look at how analysts relate to meaning in terms of their relationship to theory. I illustrate this by comparing two short psychoanalytic papers on aggression, an instinct which is often seen as engendering splitting and which tends therefore to promote the dissociations which Jung was trying to address in ‘Synchronicity’. I then illustrate with clinical material how Jungian analysts might relate to meaning in their approach to the patient. Together, these form the basis of what is commonly called ‘analytic attitude’, which I see as the basis for a distinctively Jungian identity for analytic practice.

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