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By the time this issue of the Journal is published, my tenure as Editor-in-Chief will have come to an end and I will have handed over the reins to my successors, Susanna Wright and William Meredith-Owen, together with Linda Carter who continues as US Editor-in-Chief.

There are several other editorial changes as well and it is good to know that I will be leaving the Journal in the hands of a strong and capable team. Stefano Carta joins us as European Deputy Editor and Patricia Vesey McGrew has moved from Book Review Editor to become US Deputy Editor. Joe McFadden will follow Patricia as the new Book Review Editor. We say goodbye to Norah Smith, a long-term member of the UK Editorial Board whom I would like to thank for her contribution to the Journal over many years. Ann Casement has also left the Editorial Board but will continue her sterling service as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board.

The five and a half years of my Editorship seem to have passed very quickly. I took on the role with no particular intention other than to maintain the high quality of the Journal I had inherited to the best of my ability. It is interesting to find that I have nevertheless contributed to the character and ethos of the Journal as a natural consequence of the editing process, which is inevitably shaped by one's own character and personal interests. More generally, I see this as an example of the way the self is expressed in action beyond the awareness and control of the ego. One theme that has emerged is the value of continuity and change. I have felt a responsibility to preserve the traditions of the Journal's clinical orientation and the creative synthesis of Jungian and psychoanalytic ideas that resulted in the emergence of the ‘developmental school’ of Jungian analysis, while ensuring that this is kept fresh and alive by being open to change as new perspectives arise. My predecessor, Jean Knox, herself a major contributor to the developmental model, had been keen to open up analytical psychology to new thinking in related fields of enquiry and I have sought to continue this. Perhaps then, the concern with continuity and change is itself part of the Journal's tradition.

This concern has also been apparent in the three international conferences that have taken place during my tenure. The first of these, in Orta, Italy, in 2008 was on the theme of ‘Tradition and Creativity’; the second, in San Francisco in 2009 was on ‘The Transcendent Function Today’ while the third, in St. Petersburg in 2011, was on the role of the ‘Ancestors’, thus again picking up the theme of the past in the present, a central element of the analytic process itself. Plans are now well advanced for the Journal's next conference in Boston in April 2013 on the theme of ‘Attachment and Intersubjectivity in the Therapeutic Relationship’ (www.jungianconferences.com), a return to a directly clinical theme with a focus on recent research on the impact of early development.

Together with my U.S. Co-Editors, Michael Horne and Linda Carter, I have been keen to extend the Journal's international reach. Our publishers, Wiley-Blackwell have facilitated this by making the Journal available in libraries all over the world through consortium arrangements and we now have Assistant Editors across five continents as well as active links with Japan, Russia and Eastern Europe. This has helped to open up the Journal to a greater awareness of socio-cultural influences on personal development and is reflected in many of the papers published over the past five years, including two in this edition: Elena Pourtova considers the role of nostalgia in post-Soviet culture while Megumi Yama discusses the diffuse quality of consciousness in Japan, contrasted with the more clear and specific consciousness of the West. Such cultural differences often present a challenge to the Editors, requiring us to take a more critical self-reflexive view of our own cultural presuppositions. Nevertheless, we hope to make the pages of the Journal accessible to newly emerging groups of Jungian analysts across the world such as those in Russia and China, while maintaining the high academic standards that are the guarantee of the Journal's prestigious reputation.

Another perennial theme taken up by several papers over the past few years has been the effort to re-evaluate Jung's archetypal hypothesis in the light of more recent scientific knowledge from other disciplines. This discussion is linked to the importance of emergence theory as offering ways of thinking about archetypes that do not depend on a priori structures. We are currently planning a ‘virtual’ edition of the Journal that will gather together the seminal papers on this theme that have been published in the JAP over the past decade or so and make them freely available on-line.

Two papers in this edition are concerned with re-evaluation of other areas of Jung's work: Angela Connolly critiques Jung's ahistorical approach to alchemy and shows how the historical development of alchemical images reveals their cognitive aesthetic function in enhancing awareness of psychic states. By contrast, Kesstan Blandin shows how Jung's typological distinction between introversion and extraversion has been strikingly borne out by recent scientific research on the neurobiological correlates of temperament. The other two papers in this edition, both concerned with trauma, are firmly in the Journal's clinical tradition: Sharn Waldron explores the image of the ‘black hole’ in the psyche and the need for a real object to escape its pull, while Marcus West analyses the way traumatic relationships can be re-enacted in the therapy with the analyst in the role of ‘bad object’.

One of the rewards of editing the JAP comes from the necessity of engaging with the great variety of papers submitted. Having to grapple with subject areas that take me out of the comfort zone of the familiar has greatly enhanced my own knowledge and understanding and I am grateful both to the authors and to our excellent team of peer reviewers, whose expertise in areas such as complexity theory, philosophy, art, neuroscience and research methodology is invaluable to the Editors and much appreciated. The greatest joy of all for me, though, has been the editing process itself and especially the detailed editing work that can sometimes turn rough diamonds into sparkling jewels. As an author myself, I know how painful this process can be, so I thank all those authors I've worked with for bearing with the demands of revising their original submissions: I hope they feel the results have been worth it.

Finally I want to thank my Co-Editors. I have very much enjoyed working with two U.S. Editors-in-Chief - Michael Horne until 2010 and Linda Carter since then and the Journal's stalwart, long-serving Managing Editor, Pramila Bennett, whose loyalty and devotion to the Journal are well-known and without whom I simply would not have been able to do the job. It's been a terrific journey and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.