Living with people is probably the best way to determine their personality, as many college roommates have found out. Unfortunately, living with someone, as a method of personality assessment, takes too long and is fraught with ethical implications. So, how do psychologists measure personality in a reasonable time and without ethical violations?
All of the methods below will be affected by one of the basic problems in any type of personality assessment, namely the discrepancy between self report and actual behavior. This problem may occur without subjects realizing it, and it highlights the fact the we are often unaware of the biases we possess about ourselves. We are often struck by the discrepancy in how others view us compared to how we see ourselves. For example, I was shocked to learn some years ago that students find me a fearful stimulus, because I consider myself as easy going and pleasant. My colleagues all laugh when I tell that story, so I guess they do not find me that easy going and pleasant either. Now, I take extra effort in the first few classes to appear less scary.
The problem of self-report and actual behavior may also be created intentionally. Often, we take pains to present a certain image to the rest of the world, and that image may not reflect our actual personality or behavior. Dating, for instance, has been criticized because people tend to try to project an image, rather than their true selves, while dating. When I have interviewed, for example, I wear a suit or a sport coat. But they are the only suit and sport coat I own. When I wear them on campus, jaws drop and people ask me why I am wearing them. More seriously, criminals and mental patients may have good reason to cover up their true natures and intentions in order to be discharged from prison or therapy, respectively. With the above in mind, let's examine a few methods for studying personality.
At first glance, an interview may not seem like a very sophisticated method for determining personality. However, a skilled interviewer may be able to determine and infer much from a short interview. Interviews come in two basic types. The structured interview treats all interviewees as similarly as possible in order to assess differences among them. Employment interviews or college admission interviews may be seen as structured interviews. Unstructured interviews are less rigid by definition. An interviewer conducting such interviews may allow each interview to follow its own unique path. Interviewees may be encouraged to pursue topics they have brought up. In the hands of practiced interviewers, unstructured interviews allow deeper penetration into the personality than do structured interviews. All serious decisions concerning therapy, admission to mental health in-patient therapy, or other such situations nearly always include one or more interviews.
Rating scales have been developed to provide a tool for quickly determining both your own personality and the personality of others. Rating scales of self are particularly subject to problems relating to self-knowledge. In other words, the better you know yourself, the better the rating will be. The same logic applies to ratings of others. An interesting problem with ratings, in general, is the halo effect. The halo effect states that extreme scores on one rating will affect nearby subsequent scores in the same direction. So, an extreme negative rating on an item will bias the next several items in a negative direction. The effect also holds for extreme positive ratings. In essay tests, you can exploit the halo effect by submitting your best answer first. Do not try it with me because I read essay tests by the question, not by the student, so that I may control for the halo effect.
Personality inventories have been discussed earlier. They include the 16 PF, the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), the CPI (California Personality Inventory), and many others. All of these techniques ask subjects a great many questions in a pencil-and-paper format, and then the answers yield scores on a number of scales. Those scale scores are usually reported in a standard way with lines connecting them, thus, the "personality profile." The MMPI also includes scales designed to check for random responding and faking "tough" or "nice." One should not rely on scores on inventories as the only method of assessment. But when used correctly, they provide a valuable shortcut to a quick view into an individual's personality.
Projective techniques originally stemmed from psychoanalytic theory. They were designed to tap into a person's unconscious without that person being aware of such probing. The most famous such technique is the Rorschach Inkblot test (see Handout 17 4). Subjects are asked to describe all of the possible things they perceive a particular inkblot to be. Responses are analyzed according to a prescribed method. Another projective test is the TAT or Thematic Apperception Test. In the TAT, subjects are shown a series of pictures of ambiguous situations. They are then asked to tell a story about the people in the picture: Who are they, how did they get there, what are they doing, what is going to happen? Suppose, for example, a picture of two women walking down a country road at sunset toward a small house in the background, is shown. If a subject says that they live in the house, are mother and daughter, they just had dinner, and are enjoying a quiet evening's walk, that is one thing. But, if the story is that the two women's car broke down nearby, they are walking toward the house for help, but will not get it because they will be harmed, then those two stories might prove useful in further questioning of each subject. Finally, the Draw-a-person type of test asks subjects to draw themselves, their family members, or even their houses. Their drawings are then interpreted. One 6-year-old girl I tested drew her parents and siblings as huge, and herself as very small. I interpreted that as a reflection of her perception of her role in the family. Projective tests can be very useful in individual cases, but are usually not used in making comparisons between subjects.
* Personality Tests on the WWW--index, basic, short, links, graphics
o Offers 21 links to on-line personality tests. Includes tests for type-A personality, left or right brain, assertiveness, and others. http://www.2h.com/Tests/personality.phtml
* Spending Personality Self-Test--interactive, basic, medium, links
o Page contains on-line version of commercially available test users may take in order to analyze their spending habits. http://www.ns.net/cash/selftest/selftest.html
* Somatic Inkblot Series--index, adv., short, links, graphics
o Home page of the Somatic Inkblot Series, dedicated to the use of projective techniques. The page has links to sample inkblots, a journal, membership information, and others. http://www.owt.com/sis/
* Keirsey Temperament Sorter--interactive, interm., long, links
o Users may take this personality test based upon Jung's theories. The test yields 16 combinations of personality types. http://www.keirsey.com/cgi-bin/keirsey/newkts.cgi
* Axiom Software Ltd.--index, basic, short, links, graphics
o Home page of provider of personality-profiling test, DISC, page has links to information on personality profiling and other topics. http://www.axiomsoftware.com/default.htm
* The Personality Tests--index, basic, short, links, graphics, Java
o Links to on-line interactive personality tests includes: Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Enneagram, Personality Profile, Color Test, and the Maykorner Test (requires Java). http://www.freshy.com/personality/index2.html
Senin, 15 Oktober 2007
Living with people is probably the best way to determine their personality, as many college roommates have found out. Unfortunately, living with someone, as a method of personality assessment, takes too long and is fraught with ethical implications. So, how do psychologists measure personality in a reasonable time and without ethical violations?
The structure of the personality in psychoanalytic theory is threefold. Freud divided it into the id, the ego, and the superego. Only the ego was visible or on the surface, while the id and the superego remains below, but each has its own effects on the personality, nonetheless.
The id represents biological forces. It is also a constant in the personality as it is always present. The id is governed by the "pleasure principle", or the notion of hedonism (the seeking of pleasure). Early in the development of his theory Freud saw sexual energy only, or the libido, or the life instinct, as the only source of energy for the id. It was this notion that gave rise to the popular conception that psychoanalysis was all about sex, sex, sex. After the carnage of World War I, however, Freud felt it necessary to add another instinct, or source of energy, to the id. So, he proposed thanatos, the death instinct. Thanatos accounts for the instinctual violent urges of humankind. Obviously, the rest of the personality would have somehow to deal with these two instincts. Notice how Hollywood has capitalized on the id. Box office success is highly correlated with movies that stress either sex, violence, or both.
The ego is the surface of the personality, the part you show the world. The ego is governed by the "reality principle ," or a pragmatic approach to the world. For example, a child may want to snitch a cookie from the kitchen, but will not if a parent is present. Id desires are still present, but the ego realizes the consequences of brazen cookie theft. The ego develops with experience, and accounts for developmental differences in behavior. For example, parents expect 3-month infants to cry until fed, but, they also expect 3-year-olds to stop crying when told they will be fed.
The superego consists of two parts, the conscience and the ego-ideal. The conscience is the familiar metaphor of angel and devil on each shoulder. The conscience decides what course of action one should take. The ego-ideal is an idealized view of one's self. Comparisons are made between the ego-ideal and one's actual behavior. Both parts of the super-ego develop with experience with others, or via social interactions. According to Freud, a strong super-ego serves to inhibit the biological instincts of the id, while a weak super-ego gives in to the id's urgings. Further, the levels of guilt in the two cases above will be high and low, respectively.
The tripartite structure above was thought to be dynamic, changing with age and experience. Also, aspects of adult behavior such as smoking, neatness, and need for sexual behavior were linked to the various stages by fixation. To Freud, fixation is a measure of the effort required to travel through any particular stage, and great efforts in childhood were reflected in adult behavior. Fixation can also be interpreted as the learning of pattens or habits. Part of the criticism of psychoanalysis was that fixation could be interpreted in diametrically opposite fashion. For example, fixation in the anal stage could lead to excessive neatness or sloppiness. As noted earlier, Neil Simon's play, "The Odd Couple", is a celebration of anal fixation, with Oscar and Felix representing the two opposite ends of the fixation continuum (Oscar-sloppy, Felix-neat).
We stated earlier that the ego's job was to satisfy the id's impulses, not offend the moralistic character of the superego, while still taking into consideration the reality of the situation. We also stated that this was not an easy job. Think of the id as the 'devil on your shoulder' and the superego as the 'angel of your shoulder.' We don't want either one to get too strong so we talk to both of them, hear their perspective and then make a decision. This decision is the ego talking, the one looking for that healthy balance.
Before we can talk more about this, we need to understand what drives the id, ego, and superego. According to Freud, we only have two drives; sex and aggression. In other words, everything we do is motivated by one of these two drives.
Sex, also called Eros or the Life force, represents our drive to live, prosper, and produce offspring. Aggression, also called Thanatos or our Death force, represents our need to stay alive and stave off threats to our existence, our power, and our prosperity.
Now the ego has a difficult time satisfying both the id and the superego, but it doesn't have to do so without help. The ego has some tools it can use in its job as the mediator, tools that help defend the ego. These are called Ego Defense Mechanisms or Defenses. When the ego has a difficult time making both the id and the superego happy, it will employ one or more of these defenses:
arguing against an anxiety provoking stimuli by stating it doesn't exist
denying that your physician's diagnosis of cancer is correct and seeking a second opinion
taking out impulses on a less threatening target
slamming a door instead of hitting as person, yelling at your spouse after an argument with your boss
avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects
focusing on the details of a funeral as opposed to the sadness and grief
placing unacceptable impulses in yourself onto someone else
when losing an argument, you state "You're just Stupid;" homophobia
supplying a logical or rational reason as opposed to the real reason
stating that you were fired because you didn't kiss up the the boss, when the real reason was your poor performance
taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety
having a bias against a particular race or culture and then embracing that race or culture to the extreme
returning to a previous stage of development
sitting in a corner and crying after hearing bad news; throwing a temper tantrum when you don't get your way
pulling into the unconscious
forgetting sexual abuse from your childhood due to the trauma and anxiety
acting out unacceptable impulses in a socially acceptable way
sublimating your aggressive impulses toward a career as a boxer; becoming a surgeon because of your desire to cut; lifting weights to release 'pent up' energy
pushing into the unconscious
trying to forget something that causes you anxiety
Ego defenses are not necessarily unhealthy as you can see by the examples above. In face, the lack of these defenses, or the inability to use them effectively can often lead to problems in life. However, we sometimes employ the defenses at the wrong time or overuse them, which can be equally destructive.
Sigmund Freud's Theory is quite complex and although his writings on psychosexual development set the groundwork for how our personalities developed, it was only one of five parts to his overall theory of personality. He also believed that different driving forces develop during these stages which play an important role in how we interact with the world.
Structural Model (id, ego, superego)
According to Freud, we are born with our Id. The id is an important part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic needs met. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and therefore the child cries. When the child needs to be changed, the id cries. When the child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold, or just wants attention, the id speaks up until his or her needs are met.
The id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction. If you think about it, babies are not real considerate of their parents' wishes. They have no care for time, whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing, eating dinner, or bathing. When the id wants something, nothing else is important.
Within the next three years, as the child interacts more and more with the world, the second part of the personality begins to develop. Freud called this part the Ego. The ego is based on the reality principle. The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run. Its the ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.
By the age of five, or the end of the phallic stage of development, the Superego develops. The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.
In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too strong, impulses and self gratification take over the person's life. If the superego becomes to strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals, would be judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions with the world. You'll learn how the ego maintains control as you continue to read.
Freud believed that the majority of what we experience in our lives, the underlying emotions, beliefs, feelings, and impulses are not available to us at a conscious level. He believed that most of what drives us is buried in our unconscious. If you remember the Oedipus and Electra Complex, they were both pushed down into the unconscious, out of our awareness due to the extreme anxiety they caused. While buried there, however, they continue to impact us dramatically according to Freud.
The role of the unconscious is only one part of the model. Freud also believed that everything we are aware of is stored in our conscious. Our conscious makes up a very small part of who we are. In other words, at any given time, we are only aware of a very small part of what makes up our personality; most of what we are is buried and inaccessible.
The final part is the preconscious or subconscious. This is the part of us that we can access if prompted, but is not in our active conscious. Its right below the surface, but still buried somewhat unless we search for it. Information such as our telephone number, some childhood memories, or the name of your best childhood friend is stored in the preconscious.
Because the unconscious is so large, and because we are only aware of the very small conscious at any given time, this theory has been likened to an iceberg, where the vast majority is buried beneath the water's surface. The water, by the way, would represent everything that we are not aware of, have not experienced, and that has not been integrated into our personalities, referred to as the nonconscious.
David B. Stevenson '96, Brown University
Freud advanced a theory of personality development that centered on the effects of the sexual pleasure drive on the individual psyche. At particular points in the developmental process, he claimed, a single body part is particularly sensitive to sexual, erotic stimulation. These erogenous zones are the mouth, the anus, and the genital region. The child's libido centers on behavior affecting the primary erogenous zone of his age; he cannot focus on the primary erogenous zone of the next stage without resolving the developmental conflict of the immediate one.
A child at a given stage of development has certain needs and demands, such as the need of the infant to nurse. Frustration occurs when these needs are not met; Overindulgence stems from such an ample meeting of these needs that the child is reluctant to progress beyond the stage. Both frustration and overindulgence lock some amount of the child's libido permanently into the stage in which they occur; both result in a fixation. If a child progresses normally through the stages, resolving each conflict and moving on, then little libido remains invested in each stage of development. But if he fixates at a particular stage, the method of obtaining satisfaction which characterized the stage will dominate and affect his adult personality.
The Oral Stage
The oral stage begins at birth, when the oral cavity is the primary focus of libidal energy. The child, of course, preoccupies himself with nursing, with the pleasure of sucking and accepting things into the mouth. The oral character who is frustrated at this stage, whose mother refused to nurse him on demand or who truncated nursing sessions early, is characterized by pessimism, envy, suspicion and sarcasm. The overindulged oral character, whose nursing urges were always and often excessively satisfied, is optimistic, gullible, and is full of admiration for others around him. The stage culminates in the primary conflict of weaning, which both deprives the child of the sensory pleasures of nursing and of the psychological pleasure of being cared for, mothered, and held. The stage lasts approximately one and one-half years.
The Anal Stage
At one and one-half years, the child enters the anal stage. With the advent of toilet training comes the child's obsession with the erogenous zone of the anus and with the retention or expulsion of the feces. This represents a classic conflict between the id, which derives pleasure from expulsion of bodily wastes, and the ego and superego, which represent the practical and societal pressures to control the bodily functions. The child meets the conflict between the parent's demands and the child's desires and physical capabilities in one of two ways: Either he puts up a fight or he simply refuses to go. The child who wants to fight takes pleasure in excreting maliciously, perhaps just before or just after being placed on the toilet. If the parents are too lenient and the child manages to derive pleasure and success from this expulsion, it will result in the formation of an anal expulsive character. This character is generally messy, disorganized, reckless, careless, and defiant. Conversely, a child may opt to retain feces, thereby spiting his parents while enjoying the pleasurable pressure of the built-up feces on his intestine. If this tactic succeeds and the child is overindulged, he will develop into an anal retentive character. This character is neat, precise, orderly, careful, stingy, withholding, obstinate, meticulous, and passive-aggressive. The resolution of the anal stage, proper toilet training, permanently affects the individual propensities to possession and attitudes towards authority. This stage lasts from one and one-half to two years.
The Phallic Stage
The phallic stage is the setting for the greatest, most crucial sexual conflict in Freud's model of development. In this stage, the child's erogenous zone is the genital region. As the child becomes more interested in his genitals, and in the genitals of others, conflict arises. The conflict, labeled the Oedipus complex (The Electra complex in women), involves the child's unconscious desire to possess the opposite-sexed parent and to eliminate the same-sexed one.
In the young male, the Oedipus conflict stems from his natural love for his mother, a love which becomes sexual as his libidal energy transfers from the anal region to his genitals. Unfortunately for the boy, his father stands in the way of this love. The boy therefore feels aggression and envy towards this rival, his father, and also feels fear that the father will strike back at him. As the boy has noticed that women, his mother in particular, have no penises, he is struck by a great fear that his father will remove his penis, too. The anxiety is aggravated by the threats and discipline he incurs when caught masturbating by his parents. This castration anxiety outstrips his desire for his mother, so he represses the desire. Moreover, although the boy sees that though he cannot posses his mother, because his father does, he can posses her vicariously by identifying with his father and becoming as much like him as possible: this identification indoctrinates the boy into his appropriate sexual role in life. A lasting trace of the Oedipal conflict is the superego, the voice of the father within the boy. By thus resolving his incestuous conundrum, the boy passes into the latency period, a period of libidal dormancy.
On the Electra complex, Freud was more vague. The complex has its roots in the little girl's discovery that she, along with her mother and all other women, lack the penis which her father and other men posses. Her love for her father then becomes both erotic and envious, as she yearns for a penis of her own. She comes to blame her mother for her perceived castration, and is struck by penis envy, the apparent counterpart to the boy's castration anxiety. The resolution of the Electra complex is far less clear-cut than the resolution of the Oedipus complex is in males; Freud stated that the resolution comes much later and is never truly complete. Just as the boy learned his sexual role by identifying with his father, so the girl learns her role by identifying with her mother in an attempt to posses her father vicariously. At the eventual resolution of the conflict, the girl passes into the latency period, though Freud implies that she always remains slightly fixated at the phallic stage.
Fixation at the phallic stage develops a phallic character, who is reckless, resolute, self-assured, and narcissistic--excessively vain and proud. The failure to resolve the conflict can also cause a person to be afraid or incapable of close love; As well, Freud postulated that fixation could be a root cause of homosexuality.
The resolution of the phallic stage leads to the latency period, which is not a psychosexual stage of development, but a period in which the sexual drive lies dormant. Freud saw latency as a period of unparalleled repression of sexual desires and erogenous impulses. During the latency period, children pour this repressed libidal energy into asexual pursuits such as school, athletics, and same-sex friendships. But soon puberty strikes, and the genitals once again become a central focus of libidal energy.
The Genital Stage
In the genital stage, as the child's energy once again focuses on his genitals, interest turns to heterosexual relationships. The less energy the child has left invested in unresolved psychosexual developments, the greater his capacity will be to develop normal relationships with the opposite sex. If, however, he remains fixated, particularly on the phallic stage, his development will be troubled as he struggles with further repression and defenses.
Now we turn to developmental theories, and the most famous, historically, is psychoanalytic or Freudian theory. This theory sprung from Freud's observations of adults' recollections in therapy of their lives. Children were not directly observed. Although Freud's theory has been roundly criticized for its lack of scientific character, it does stand however as a grand metaphor for describing personality.
Freud's theory has three main parts, the stages of development, the structure of the personality, and his description of mental life. Here, the stages of the personality will be discussed.
Again, only from adult recollections did these stages emerge. The first stage is the Oral Stage. It runs from birth to age 2. In the oral stage infants and toddler explored the world primarily with their most sensitive area, their mouths. They also learn to use their mouths to communicate. The next stage is the Anal Stage. In the anal stage, children learned to control the elimination of bodily wastes.
The Phallic Stage (3-5 years of age) is probably the most controversial. The word phallic means penis-like. In this stage, children discover their sexual differences. The controversy comes from Freud's description of the Oedipus (for males) and Electra (for females) complexes, with their attendant concepts of castration anxiety and penis envy, respectively. Those complexes lead, according to Freudian theory, to normal differentiation of male and female personalities. The defense mechanism of repression was invoked to explain why no one could remember the events of this stage.
The phallic stage is followed by a Latency Period in which little new development is observable. In this stage, boys play with boys, and girls with girls, typically. Sexual interest is low or non-existent.
The final stage is the Genital Stage. It started around 12 years of age and ends with the climax of puberty. Sexual interests re-awaken at this time (there were sexual interests before, dormant and repressed from the phallic stage).
Neo-Freudian approaches added more stages (Erikson) and/or altered Freud's emphasis on psychosexual development. Those approaches will be discussed on a below.
Freud's Stages of Development--tutorial, basic, short, links. Provides capsule descriptions of Freud's stages of development: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. http://idealist.com/children/freud.html
by Jean Chiriac, President of AROPA
Freud's self-analysis started in the mid 1890's to reach its climaxes in 1895 and 1900. In certain authors' opinion, it was continued up to his death in 1939. Nevertheless, we have to set a clear boundary between the time of Freud's discovery of the Oedipus complex and other essential contents of psychoanalysis and routine self-analysis he performed to check his unconscious psychic life.
The first phase is full of unexpected aspects and inventiveness - the productive, creative stage. The second becomes an obligation derived from his profession as a psychoanalyst.
Freud's discoveries during his first stage of self-analysis are known to have been included in two of his main books: "The Interpretation of Dreams" and "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life".
"The Interpretation of Dreams" provides plenty of Freud's dreams in his own interpretation, among which the famous dream of Irma's injection, which he considers a key issue in understanding the mysteries of dream life. It opens Chapter II ("The Method Of Interpreting Dreams: An Analysis Of A Specimen Dream") and provides material for an analysis covering several pages ahead.
Just as Freud himself maintained, the analysis of the dream is not complete but it was here that Freud for the first time asserted that dreams are the disguised fulfilment of unconscious wishes.
The explanation of the dream is quite simple: it tries to hide Freud's lack of satisfaction with the treatment given to a patient of his, Irma, and throw the guilt of partial failure upon others, exonerate Freud of other professional errors it also hints at.
Dream interpretation also provides a dream psychology and many other issues. The volume is extremely inventive and rich in information, and, in its author's view, it is his most important work.
"The Psychopathology of Everyday Life", offers Freud room to focus on the analysis of faulty and symptomatic actions, the important thing to emphasize here being that this volume represents Freud's transfer from the clinical to normal life - it proves neurotic features are present not only in sickness but also in health. The difference does not lie in quality but in quantity. Repression is greater with the sick and the free libido is sensibly diminished. Therefore, it is for the first time in the history of psychopathology that Freud overrules the difference between pathology and health. That makes it possible to apply psychoanalysis to so-called normal life...
* Discovery of the Oedipus Complex
The discovery of Oedipus' complex is indicated in a historic letter Freud wrote to Fliess, his friend and confidante.
I have found, in my own case too, [the phenomenon of] being in love with my mother and jealous of my father, and I now consider it a universal event in early childhood, even if not so early as in children who have been made hysterical.
Freud adds a few more important details to his confession:
If this is so, we can understand the gripping power of Oedipus Rex, in spite of all the objections that reason raises against the presupposition of fate; and we can understand why the later «drama of fate» was bound to fail so miserably.
The Greek legend touches upon an urge "which everyone recognizes because he senses its existence within himself. Everyone in the audience was once a budding Oedipus in fantasy and each recoils in horror from the dream fulfillment here transplanted into reality, with the full quantity of repression which separates his infantile state from his present one."
Together with these remarks, essential for psychoanalytic practice and theory, the buds of applied psychoanalysis also emerge. Freud links the Oedipus complex to Hamlet.
Fleetingly the thought passed through my head that the same thing might be at the bottom of Hamlet as well. I am not thinking of Shakespeare's conscious intention, but believe, rather, that a real event stimulated the poet to his representation, in that his unconscious understood the unconscious of his hero. (1)
In its monograph of Freud's biography, Peter Gay asserts that "The method Freud used in his self-analysis was that of free association and the material he mainly relied upon was that his own dreams provided". But he didn't stop there: "[Freud] also made a collection of his memories, of speaking or spelling mistakes, slips concerning verse and patients' names and he allowed these clues to lead him from one idea to the other, through the "usual roundabouts" of free association." (2)
One of the most beautiful examples of self-analysis can be found in his letter to Romain Rolland, entitled "A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis".
The disturbance occurred as follows: In the summer of 1904, after prolonged hesitation, Freud suddenly traveled to Athens in the company of his brother Alexander. Once up on the Acropolis, instead of the expected admiration, he was enveloped by a strange feeling of doubt. He was surprised that something he had been learning about at school really exists. He felt divided in two: one person who empirically realized his actual presence on the Acropolis and the other that found it hard to believe, as if denying the reality of the fact.
In the mentioned text, Freud tries to elucidate this feeling of strangeness, of unreality. He then showed that the trip to Athens was the object of wish mingled with guilt. That was a desire because, from his early childhood even, he had had dreams of traveling expressing his wish to evade the family atmosphere, the narrow-mindedness and poverty of living conditions he had known in his youth.
On the other hand, there was also guilt, as for Freud going to Athens meant getting farther than his own father, who was too poor to travel, to uneducated to be interested in these places. To climb the Acropolis in Freud's mind was to definitely surpass his father, something the son was clearly forbidden to. Let us resort to Freud's own words:
But here we come upon the solution of the little problem of why it was that already at Trieste we interfered with our enjoyment of the voyage to Athens. It must be that a sense of guilt was attached to the satisfaction in having gone such a long way: there was something about it that was wrong, that from earliest times had been forbidden. It was something to do with a child's criticism of his father, with the undervaluation which took the place of the overvaluation of earlier childhood. It seems as though the essence of success was to have got further than one's father, and as though to excel one's father was still something forbidden. ("A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis".)
Fliess' friendship certainly provided Freud the dialectic relationship that psychoanalytic dialogue (or rather monologue) allows. Fliess was the "idealized other", the one who supposedly knew and understood (even appreciated) the analyst's efforts. In fact, self-analysis is of course only possible by projection.
In his letter of November 14th 1897, Freud wrote: "Self-analysis is impossible in fact. I can only analyze myself by means of what I learn from the outside (as if I were another). Were things different, no disease would have been possible otherwise but through projection".
* The Difference between Self-analysis and Introspection
The practice of introspection has its origins in St. Augustus' Confessions. It is thus defined as an analysis of our mind's contents that are directly accessible and ethical in character as it launches a debate on the relationship between moral man, which he longs to be, and immoral man, which he is by birth.
Augustin does not understand dreams and thinks it is God who is responsible for their emergence. There is no trace here of any knowledge of the unconscious mind, of the way it works works. This is the field of Christian psychology which only assumes a horizontal dimension of analysis.
Self-analysis does not deal with known things any more. Having known facts as a starting point, the self-analyser goes deep into the world of his unconscious life and leaves aside the ethic criterion for a while. Conscious psychic manifestations are connected to their unconscious roots and can be explained through the latter.
In this self-analysis God vanishes and with him the guilt of the self-analyser. Moreover, the investigation of unconscious needs resorting to the special investigation methods psychoanalysis has introduced: free associations, dream-analysis, work with slips and symbols, etc.
In short we may say that whereas introspection does nothing else but (re)integrate us into the level of our social values, psychoanalytic self-analysis offers us the opportunity of a radical change in our inner and outer being from the perspective of a reevaluation of these social values .
1. October 15, 1897, Masson, J.M. (1985) (Ed.) "The complete letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess", 1887-1904. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
2. Translation by M. Cristea.
*Translation by Mihaela Cristea
Rabu, 15 Agustus 2007
By Jean Chiriac, President of AROPA
The most striking crisis of modern religious feelings today may be its inability to define the image of God from a theological, moral and cult related perspective.
For some people, God is anthropomorphic and governs mortals' lives from his heavenly abode; for others, he is a metaphysical spirit or entity, a principle, cosmic energy, universal conscience, the very carbon as the elementary structural unit of matter. In one word, God may be anyone and anything.
The more serious thing is that by applying a kind of unifying rule to all these states, people go further to apply the peculiarities of a mystic God to all its expressions. That is how total confusion is brought about with regard to the object of faith.
Secondly, faith itself as finality , a horizon of expectance and hope is ambiguous.
Christian faith, as well as all archaic faith in general, leads to redemption: Resurrection, Eternal Life, the Happy Isles, etc. Primitive populations' faith is related to the relationship with the tribe's ancestors or totemic symbol and brings about protection, well being and health. The same is true for rudimentary faiths.
For modern man though, faith brings redemption no more - it is a profession of faith and no one wonders about its finality. Faith becomes a social emblem , just like citizenship or ethnic background, for instance.
This very confusing context regarding faith, its finality and object makes one wonder about the contribution psychoanalysis can make to the study of these issues.
My opinion is that psychoanalysis may partially touch on all these aspects. It can tell us a lot about unconscious resources of faith, of its finality and object. Up to one point, it can even interfere with the much "stickier" field of religious experiences. Let us remember Freud, so convincingly writing about the oceanic feeling, underlying all religious experience, which he reduces to the newly born's diffuse and confused perception in its first moments of life ("Civilization and its Discontents" - 1930).
Posted by eastern writer at 16.06
What we should take into consideration when we confront
the difficulties in children's behavior.
By Jean Chiriac, President of AROPA
One of the applications of psychoanalysis is in the field of children's education. This field could be divided in several categories: psychoanalysis of the child up to five years, psychoanalysis of the puberty and the one of the teen-age. Each of these stages, as we could expect, presents their own peculiarities and difficulties. We wouldn't insist upon each of them, but we'll try to sketch the trends in approaching child's problems.
The development of psychoanalysis during the first decades of the last centuries, the increase of the number of the adherents to its techniques led to a sort of excessive appreciation of its virtues. Soon, psychoanalysis was thought to understand everything, and especially to interfere in every sphere of human life with an absolute authority. The alarm signals of the specialists who were not psychoanalysts and were severely criticizing the superficiality of the psychoanalysts, who were approaching fields that exceeded the proper therapy in a one-sided and even nonscientific manner, didn't come to any echo for a long time. Psychoanalysis claimed for a prominent position, if not even the main position in the study of mythology, religion, sociology, anthropology, work of art, etc.
Also in the field of education and pedagogic the involvement of psychoanalysis generated specific works. For example: Stekel's book, one of the first disciples of the Freudian psychoanalysis: "Psychoanalytical Recommendations for Mothers". The work abounds in suggestions and guidelines addressed to mothers, things that seem to be consecrated by experience and which are above any doubts.
When we read such books, we could think that psychoanalysts finally worked out the toilsome matter of child's education.
The same happens with the works of A. Adler, who later on deviated from the Freudian movement, but didn't gave up that attitude of omniscient sufficiency concerning the education problem. Everyone who reads Adler's books and has some acquaintance with psychoanalysis is stricken by the many and grievous errors made by the author when he approaches children problems. Adler's mistakes also result from his ardent wish to see that his working assumptions are confirmed rather than to have a natural scientific relationship with the studied phenomena, as a cautious observer.
The enthusiasm manifested by the psychoanalysts when they hasten to annex the field of child's education, which was justified when psychoanalysis was spreading due to the originality of the new discoveries, is not justified in reality. I mean that leaving out the indications and suggestions that come from the common sense experience (such as: it's not right to beat the child because he revolts and, moreover, this is a cruel and blameworthy method, etc.), those which could be derived from the psychoanalytical theories could hardly be taken into consideration seriously. I don't mean to say that Freud's sexual theory that also embraces infantile sexuality is improper. The infant child really has a curiosity concerning the anatomy and activity of his/her sexual organs, curiosity that could become unhealthy when repressed. However, this curiosity is not, in most cases, anything else but curiosity or, as it was also called epistemophily. Psychoanalysts did not profoundly approach the exploring curiosity. Or it was here and there connected or derived from the interests of sexual nature...
In other words, I want to say that the psychoanalytical works dedicated to the education of the child are not by far so complete as they seem to be. The classical works were written under the momentary impulse of the first psychoanalytical discoveries and are characterized rather by a prepossessed spirit than by a scientifical one. They are more useful to the promotion of psychoanalysis to the great public than to the psychoanalytical knowledge itself. Consequently, they couldn't be taken into consideration.
The later works also bear the consequences of the same error: the dogmatical application of the psychoanalytical theory. The well-known work of Françoise Dolto is also included to this category!
The conclusion called for is that we could not expect these works to give us some collections of counsels in readiness, which are generally valid and applicable to the sphere of child's education. Those parents who wish to rise to the emergency of their difficult task wouldn't find inside these books a complete lesson that could be learned by heart. Child's education is a living and direct process, which requires our total, physical and spiritual participation and calls for an opening toward its problems, which is free from any preconceived ideas, even psychoanalytical. This opening that reminds, in fact, of the attitude of the psychoanalyst – reserve/caution, suspended/poised attention – imposed by Freud himself, is useful for exploring the significance of the infantile behavior. Of course that our experience with our own unconscious protects us against the counter-transference, namely the temptation to project upon our child our own childhood experiences, our expectations, which were those of our parents, etc., but this experience results from our own analysis rather than from the analysis of someone else (even children). Consequently, it's obvious that a parent who wants to help his/her child should, first of all, know and be able to analyze himself/herself.
- Self-analysis also brings up our memories from our childhood. Meditating on them, with the mind of the nowadays adult, we could better understand the significance of the psychological mechanisms that operate in the first years of life and are expressed by drams, delusions, and various symptoms. The self-analysis is by this way the starting point in the extremely difficult process of child's education.
- In the second place, we should give up by any means to the dogmatical ideas concerning education. All the automatic goads such as: "you should do this or that", must be filtered by the faculty of reasoning: why do we have to do this thing or that thing? The collective experience also collected a lot of worthless stuff, which has to be eliminated if we want to have a sound relationship with our child.
- In the third place, last but not least, we need genuine love for the child. Love gets to know in other ways. It has something magical and saving when it's exercised freely, without any dogmatical constraints. Love is the most reliable path to know the needs of your fellows. If there is no love or compassion, our mind will try to fill this void of relationship with well-known things, which are often, as we tried to show here, totally erroneous.
Experience proves that child's education shouldn't be established on a priori ground. The knowledge in this delicate field is extremely flexible. Therefore, when we deal with works concerning this field, even reference works, we should act extremely cautiously.
Paper published on this site.
Translation by Ochea Corina
Posted by eastern writer at 16.05
By Jean Chiriac, President of AROPA
What is a symbol? For Freud it has always been a one-term comparison. For example, if we compare a hat to a cloud, the cloud is the symbol replacing the hat as its perfect substitute. As a result, symbols can be interpreted – both those in dreams and those brought about by free associations or coming from cultural and spiritual representations.
In his work "Introductory Lectures of Psycho-Analysis" (1916-1917), Freud provides us with a list of symbols that may occur in dreams, compared to sexual elements (symbols are not all sexual, of course). Generally speaking, they may be classified as objects and actions evoking or representing sexual life, sexual arousing, the anatomy of sexual organs, their behaviour (such as the erection of the male genitals). Here are a few examples:
Books quoted in this paper
- Sigmund Freud:
Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis
- C.G. Jung:
Psychology of the Unconscious: A Study of the Transformations and Symbolisms of the Libido
The male genitals, then, are represented in dreams in a number of ways that must be called symbolic, where the common element in the comparison is mostly very obvious. To begin with, for the male genitals as a whole the sacred number 3 is of symbolic significance. The more striking and for both sexes the more interesting component of the genitals, the male organ, finds symbolic substitutes in the first instance in things that resemble it in shape - things, accordingly, that are long and up-standing, such as sticks, umbrellas, posts, trees and so on; further, in objects which share with the thing they represent the characteristic of penetrating into the body and injuring - thus, sharp weapons of every kind, knives, daggers, spears, sabres, but also fire-arms, rifles, pistols and revolvers (particularly suitable owing to their shape). In the anxiety dreams of girls, being followed by a man with a knife or a fire-arm plays a large part. This is perhaps the commonest instance of dream symbolism and you will now be able to translate it easily. Nor is there any difficulty in understanding how it is that the male organ can be replaced by objects from which water flows - water-taps, watering-cans, or fountains - or again by other objects which are capable of being lengthened, such as hanging-lamps, extensible pencils, etc. A no less obvious aspect of the organ explains the fact that pencils, pen-holders, nail-files, hammers, and other instruments are undoubted male sexual symbols.
The female genitals are symbolically represented by all such objects as share their characteristic of enclosing a hollow space which can take something into itself: by pits, cavities and hollows, for instance, by vessels and bottles, by receptacles, boxes, trunks, cases, chests, pockets, and so on. Ships, too, fall into this category. Some symbols have more connection with the uterus than with the female genitals: thus, cupboard, stoves and, more especially, rooms. Here room-symbolism touches on house-symbolism. Doors and gates, again, are symbols of the genital orifice. Materials, too, are symbols for women: wood, papery and objects made of them, like tables and books. Among animals, snails and mussels at least are undeniably female symbols; among parts of the body, the mouth (as a substitute for the genital orifice); among buildings, churches and chapels. Not every symbol, as you will observe, is equally intelligible. (Freud - Complete Works. Ivan Smith 2000. All Rights Reserved.)
Nevertheless, there are symbolic circumstances reiterated in all people's dreams and, in Freud's perspective, they all bear the same significance. Dreams of flying, for example, fall into this category and are explained by sexual type contents too:
…Dreams can symbolise erection in yet another, far more expressive manner. They can represent the sexual organ as the essence of the dreamer's whole person and make him himself fly. Do not take it to heart if dreams of flying, so familiar and often so delightful, have to be interpreted as dreams of general sexual excitement, as erection-dreams. Among students of psycho-analysis, Paul Federn has placed this interpretation beyond any doubt; but the same conclusion was reached from his investigations by Mourly Vold, who has been so much praised for his sobriety, who carried out the dream-experiments I have referred to with artificially arranged positions of the arms and legs and who was far removed from psycho-analysis and may have known nothing about it. And do not make an objection out of the fact that women can have the same flying dreams as men. Remember, rather, that our dreams aim at being the fulfilments of wishes and that the wish to be a man is found so frequently, consciously or unconsciously, in women. Nor will anyone with knowledge of anatomy be bewildered by the fact that it is possible for women to realize this wish through the same sensations as men. Women possess as part of their genitals a small organ similar to the male one; and this small organ, the clitoris, actually plays the same part in childhood and during the years before sexual intercourse as the large organ in men. (Freud - Complete Works. Ivan Smith 2000. All Rights Reserved.)
* Jung's opinion
It is interesting to see the way in which the theory on symbols and symbolism is different in Freud and Jung. Jung is known to have been Freud's disciple for a long time, even the follower appointed to carry on his work. Nevertheless, Jung took another way, accusing the excessive involvement of sexuality in etiology. Later on, he focussed on the study of the archetypal unconscious. The symbol was the object of extended study. In Jung's opinion, the symbol shows some unknown reality. There is no comparison here to replace an object with its substitute. For Jung, the symbol refers to a psychic content that has never been the object of personal experience. The symbol of the cross, for example - which, may we add, can get a sexual significance with Freud - with Jung it undoubtedly refers to the idea of conjunctio, a unification of contraries, where antagonistic elements, specifically conscious and unconscious merge in a unity that goes beyond the boundaries of human consciousness. The symbol therefore describes an experience (or the bias to one) of extreme complexity including but not limited to instinctual life.
Sexuality in itself is the symbol of a different reality not limited to instinctual life. Jung makes open reference to that, which has in fact led to his separation from Freud and the Freudian movement. Here we quote an excerpt from his work "Psychology of the Unconscious: A Study of the Transformations and Symbolisms of the Libido."
There certainly exist dreams and typical dream patterns whose meaning is easily unravelled if considered in the perspective of sexual symbols. We could use this way of seeing things without necessarily concluding that the content thus expressed is itself of sexual origin. We know that language is full of erotic metaphors that may be applied to contents that have no relationship with sexuality whatsoever. At the same time, we are aware sexual symbolism by no means implies that the concern that used it were sexual in nature itself. Sexuality is one of the most significant instincts and it makes the basis and cause for the countless emotions, which are known to persistently influence language. Emotions and sexuality cannot be entirely identified as they may come from a certain conflicting situation: for example, the preservation instinct may also give rise to numerous emotions.
The following dream belongs to a woman and it is less complicated: she can see Constantine's triumph arch. There is a cannon at the front, a bird on the right and a man on the left. The cannon is thundering, the missile hits her and goes into her pocket, into her wallet. The dreamer holds the wallet as if there were something precious inside. The image then fades and all she can see is the cannon with Constantine's adage written above: "In hoc signo vinces". The sexual symbolism of this dream is extremely clear to substantiate the naive person's bothered wonder. If one proves the dreamer herself is unaware of the dream's sexual allusions and that these compensate for a gap in her conscious guidance, then the dream is actually interpreted. If, on the contrary, that is a current interpretation and familiar to the dreamer, it then is no more than meaningless repetition. In such case we have reason to suspect that sexual symbolism is used as dream language just as any other manner of speaking". ("Psychology of the Unconscious…").
To conclude, we may say that, whereas in Freud's opinion symbols refer to some sexual content, Jung thinks the symbol, without completely excluding sexuality, requires a much more complex reality. It is of course hard to admit that the cross, the central symbol of Christianity, could be reduced down to some sexual interpretation. The cross is a cuaternity and, referring to that notion we may add speculations related to the philosophy of elements that was familiar to Ancient Greece but also to Middle Ages alchemy. The same cross (the swastika) evokes a turn (an alternative movement) familiar to Taoist philosophy - the movement of the Heaven or the Tao of Heaven – where Yin and Ying principles succeed to each other. The cross is finally a reference to Christ's crucifixion, a central symbol of normative and esoteric Christian belief.
Translation by Mihaela Cristea.
Posted by eastern writer at 16.03
By Ovidiu Dima
Jesus healing a blind man
Therapy by faith is no late discovery. It pervades the "New Testament", related as it is to Jesus Christ's life and divine mission on Earth. The Holy Books are abundant in stories of miraculous healing performed by Jesus and his disciples. Their authors mainly quote those cases when Jesus approaches his "patients" by asking: "Do you trust me I can heal you?"
Right after the healing (quite often performed in the absence of patients themselves, by means of a human agent confident in Jesus' charisma), Jesus would say: "It's been your faith that has saved you". What do his words mean?
Belief in Jesus and his healing capacities involve some strong emotional excitement, some devotional fervor. That which psychically characterizes the faith phenomenon is the strong stimulation of the Eros - a sublimated Eros, of course, freed from its sexual function. That Eros in fact represents the agent and vehicle of healing.
The transfer of love stimulated by Jesus' charismatic person (but also by that of nowadays' therapists, people with a reputation and a public image) is also known to therapy by hypnosis. Psychoanalysis itself is well acquainted with emotional transfer and its beneficial effect on the patient. In one of his letters to his younger fellow scientist Jung, Freud stated that the main agent for the healing of neurotic people is the fixation of the unconscious libido - providing the strength necessary to the "perception and translation of the unconscious".
In other words, where there is love on the patients' part, one can notice their beneficial participation in the healing process. After all, Freud would conclude, what we are dealing with here is healing by love. And this specific healing shows that "neuroses depend on erotic life".
The above also simply demonstrate the range of diseases accessible to therapy by faith. Jesus' "patients" mostly suffered from diseases palsy, blindness, psychomotor disabilities, etc.
Whereas today almost all specialists have agreed on the psychic nature of these diseases in biblical casuistry, they say, we are dealing with neurotic disorders and mainly hysteria.
The fact that these specific diseases (hysteria) have to do with disorders of the Eros is no more novelty to anyone. Therefore, the deliverance of the Eros from traumatic or moral inhibitions is the main credit of therapy by belief.
Collective healing by hypnosis
A collective healing by hypnosis performed by a hypnotherapist
There are diseases in the Holy Books, nevertheless, that cannot be reduced to some traumatic etiology - the so-called initiation disorders. But we shall deal with these on a later opportunity.
We shall limit ourselves now to saying that love (with or without some material object) generally has therapeutic value. Where there is love, there is little room for neuroses. And love can be stimulated by faith. Faith in Jesus, in his beneficial charisma or in the healing "abilities" of a therapist in flesh and blood.
Paper first published in OMEN - Psychoanalytic Journal , no. 1, 1998.
Translation by Mihaela CristeaPs
Posted by eastern writer at 16.02
By J.C. Popa
After Freud's example, psychoanalysis is well known to have adopted a critical, atheist position towards religion. The following fact is less known: the atheism of psychoanalysis does not originate in some nihilistic, irrational opposition to religion. It springs from two important considerations that the present article is going to explain.
* From obsessional neurosis to religion
First of all, experience acquired in psychoanalytic therapy - and we mean obsessional-fobic neuroses mainly - has revealed striking similarities between ritual-religious behavior and the conduct of obsessive neurotic persons. Hence, the widely spread assertion that religion is nothing but obsessional neurosis stretched to collective scale. The overestimation of mental activity, of wish, more specifically the belief in the power of thoughts to materialize concrete realities can in fact be found in both the obsessive neurotic person and in animist magic practices, expanded in the ritual of prayer. Neurotic persons are obsessed with the materialization of their hostile wishes and defend themselves against such threats by assuming defensive psychic positions, in fact truly extremely intricate rituals associating the weirdest of superstitions. We can meet similar in religious practices, with one amend though: with religious ideology, evil is projected outside the individual, personified in satanic, demonic images. The exteriorisation of the intra-psychic conflict (1) gives way to the illusion of a life and death struggle between the worshipper and autonomised Evil. Biblical tales about demonized people and exorcising rituals also present in Christian Church are the practical consequences of this ideology.
It was then shown that belief in an anthropomorphic, almighty God originates in impressions and feelings in the individuals' childhood that were initially related to their parents' images. Children feel vulnerable confronted with surrounding nature and therefore they look for refuge next to their parents, endowed with supernatural powers. The fact that we can find belief in God with adults too should not come as a surprise. Adult life is no less exposed to real and imaginary dangers! Adults' extended knowledge on nature and society does not shield them from anxiety; on the contrary: the more they know, the more they can realize the void of their knowledge. Hence the need for divine protection and the restoration of infantile relationships - endowed with religious significance - with parental imago.
The fact that, at the beginning, the child does not make clear distinction between maternal and paternal protection explain both the equal distribution of religions of the Mother and the ambivalent character of God - Father (He is merciful, forgiving but also rough, uncompromising, a tyrant and a devastator). Is it no surprise for us that in many religions God is even called "Father"? We could add: an idealized father mainly preserving His numinous qualities (2).
As already shown in short, experience psychoanalysis acquired in the therapeutic field can pretend some reevaluation of religious conduct. It is as true, at the same time, that it does not consume all deeds of religious life. In this sense, Jungian psychoanalysis, seemingly going beyond the "limited" perspective of Freudian psychoanalysis, has identified the archetype of religious life in human soul. This archetype, (= pattern of behavior) is the empirical basis C. G. Jung laid his entire conception of individuation on (3). We conclude that, from the perspective of psychoanalysis, the revision of religious experience has imposed an atheist attitude with regard to religion centered on the deification of parental image. This has to do with the same complex of ideas, representations and mystic rituals related to the exacerbation of obsessional neurosis.
* Scientific Exigency
Secondly, we have to demonstrate that psychoanalysis participates in the so-called scientific mentality. It lays stress on the investigation of phenomena, on the rational reflection on their nature. Rejecting the famous saying "Trust and don't search", scientific exigency focuses on what we call "research". In addition, it includes the possibility to reproduce similar phenomena, according to natural laws derived from studied phenomena. When the famous French doctor Charcot was able to hypnotically induce certain hysteria symptoms to his patients, he then scientifically proved that hysteria is no organic disturbance (even if it assumed a certain constitutional bias towards such manifestations). The influence of this demonstration, quite amazing at the time, was also felt in the elaboration of psychoanalytic methods and theories. Speculating things a little, we could say that psychoanalysis wouldn't have been born unless Freud the scientist had witnessed these demonstrations himself (4). The psychiatry of the time had been engulfed in materialist conceptions maintaining that neurotic disturbances - that were to be studied of psychoanalysis later on - were due either to patients' simulations or to symptomatic effects of their "burdened" heredity or to somatic lesions as yet undiscovered.
To conclude, let us formulate things as follows: psychoanalytic practice and experience, scientific exigency are responsible for assuming an atheist position with regard to psychoanalysis. But we then saw that the atheism of psychoanalysis is no parti pris once and forever. Psychoanalysis takes no glory in the unconditioned repression of belief in God. The entire Jungian work, in the field of religious life archetype, of the individuation process show the extremely up-to-date and concrete way in which psychoanalysis understands to creatively approach the problem of religion.
1. The outward projection of Evil is a vivid phenomenon also present in neurotic disturbances, mainly in psychotic ones. In paranoid delirium, for instance, the patient has the sharp feeling of some prejudice, some evil made to him from the outside. The patient ascribes his own feelings to characters in their own social sphere.
In religious conduct, the outward projection of Evil spares the human subject an explanation with his/her own moral censorship. Even more, this procedure offers an extremis solution towards humans' moral rehabilitation: if Evil is projected, then it can also be symbolically suppressed by means of the scapegoat practice, for instance, or by exorcising and purification rites, so widely spread in religious communities.
The Good too is sometimes projected, in instances when we are told that the divine being is the expression of the highest perfection (it does not participate, in any way, or only transitorily, to our earthly condition). In that case, the exigency of becoming morally perfect (as in the urge: "Be perfect as your Father in the Heavens!"), imposes on the individual the illusion of some future rehabilitation depending on his/her efforts in belief and prayer.
2. The term "numinous" refers to those aspects inspiring paroxysmal feelings in the series terror - ecstasy.
3. The process of individuation refers to the accomplishment of the Self in Jungian understanding. A process of conjunction of the contraries, of union between conscious and unconscious, in short of unification of the being. This process is not restricted to moral integration - it also involves emotional integration.
4. Between 1885-1886, Freud had a stage with Charcot in Paris. He presents the vivid memories from his scientific evolution in his later writings and autobiographical specifications
*Translation by Mihaela Cristea.
Posted by eastern writer at 16.01
A definition of the fairy-tale should include the idea of artistic creation and also the one of aspiration of the human soul. Therefore, a collective aspiration which found a way of expressing itself through what we call fairy-tale (a form of written and oral literature).
Of course, another characteristic feature of fairy-tale is its fantastic structure. In fairy tales we find supernatural beings and experiences. That's why fairy-tale had among its functions one related to the pleasure of following stories in which the borders of the sensitive world are overreached.
Although, beyond its fantastic character we find aspirations without anything fantastic, shared by people (or by collective soul).
In the fairy-tale "Youth without Aged and Life without Death" we find collective and individual aspirations. The hero's birth in this fairy- tale brings about the messianic expectances of the people: people hoped to have an intelligent/enlighten ruler as Emperor Solomon, says the fairy- tale. But the hero doesn't taste the public life and chooses the search of immortality as the ideal of this ego.
The fairy-tale explains us that at birth the child was crying in his mother's belly and that's why, in order to calm him, he was promised youth without aged...
At the age of adolescence he refuses any social temptation and asks his parents to keep their promise. Thus he goes in search of this ideal, helped by the fantastic horse and by many other magic instances.
At first sight, the analysis of this fairy- tale doesn't raise any difficulties - it is not about unconscious desires, but about clear ideals.
But psychoanalysis doesn't linger on the level of the ego's analysis. It pierces through the crust of appearance and deepens in the investigation of the unconscious processes. There, in the depth of the unconscious mind it finds the resorts of the conscious world, of the motives consciously stated.
In our case, the hero's desire must be understood differently as relating to his refuse to grow up. The title of the fairy-tale may be also translated as it follows: "Forever Youth". But what does this mean?
A life fixed at the first years level, when the child lives in osmosis with his mother, who offers him protection and food without asking nothing in exchange. His whole libido has as object his own body as a source of pleasure with the occasions of satisfying the organic needs and of cultivating the erogenic zones. At this level sexuality is not yet genital. We have, thus, the pre-eminence of partial instincts.
All psychoanalysts do not, of course, admit this interpretation. Jung would certainly reject it, accusing it of reduction, and proposing a totally different one, in which the characters and the conflicts of the fairy-tale are symbols of our inner world.
The wolf as prima materia devours the dead King; in the background: the sublimation of prima materia and the king's rebirth.
Jung states explicitly that fairy-tales as well as myths are collectively elaborated fragments of some inner experiences which are alike in all respects with what he called individuation process.
Thus, to give a single example, the emperor in the fairy-tales is not a substitute for father (as at Freud), but a symbol of Jungian's SELF. This symbolic figure describes or personifies an autonomous complex of archetypal nature, which comes from the depths of the collective soul to get control over the subject's ego.
The symbol of the emperor is extremely often used in alchemist literature where it gets various meanings. There, for example, it represents an Ego incarnation which changes during the individuation process -in symbolic terms it dies in order to rebirth, renewed. In this way, in the work "Psychology and Alchemy" we see an illustration which bears the following significance: The wolf as prima materia devours the dead King; in the background: the sublimation of prima materia and the king's rebirth.
The king's rebirth - under the shape of the king's young son - represents the Ego's rebirth that was restructured through the infusion of a new spirit-ghost. It is the crowning of the individuation process, when the ego integrates the contents of the archetypal and personal unconscious.
Paper by Jean Chiriac
Translation by Nicoleta Onisoru
Posted by eastern writer at 16.00
There is a branch of psychoanalysis that we can hardly connect with the neurosis or its therapy. This is called applied psychoanalysis . It was Freud's contribution that laid its foundations - Freud being the author of some famous extra-clinical works like "Delusions and Dreams in Jensen's Gradiva" (1907), "Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood" (1910), "Totem and Taboo" (1912-1913), etc. They dealt with mithology, anthropology, religion and biography of famous persons.
Many specialist are actually still wondering whether psychoanalysis has the right to interfere into fields that has nothing to do with the psychoclinical work. In fact, this question doesn't takes into account since - willingly or not - all human activites share a fundamental element, that is the human soul. Or the human soul or psyche (since they are identical) are the very objects of psychoanalytic interest.
Otherwise, Freud had to study mythology, for example, because, even from the very beginning of the development of psychoanalysis, there were some persons of his circle that drew his attention to some striking similarities between the results of the clinical research and the mythological motifs and the religious ideas.
Posted by eastern writer at 15.59
Psychoanalytical casuistry is the most exciting domain of psychoanalysis. And that is because when reading a case analysis, we are usually inclined to apply psychic investigation methods upon ourselves and ponder on the conclusions.
case analysisThe casuistry published for the use of our readers, nevertheless, is no easy job. For lay audiences personally inexperienced with psychoanalysis, many of its statements may seem risky. That is why case reporting requires a lot of skill, the more so as the unconditional discretion rule must also be met!
In addition, the conditions for web publication impose a limitation of editing space and no comprehensive account of the analyzed individual' personal history will therefore be available. Everything is limited to a few hints the author of the article (and of the analysis too) provides hoping to render an as complete image as possible of the analyzed individual's psychic background. AROPA
A Case with a Legacy
The best method to acquire the psychoanalytical technique is to allow yourself to be psychoanalyzed. Just as with swimming, there's nothing you can do unless you go beyond theoretical information and dare dive to see the why and the how for yourself...
No matter how much we tried to simplify things, when the uninitiated are introduced to psychoanalyzed cases, we have to keep in mind that eloquence alone cannot replace the live experience of self-analysis. Our readers will certainly understand the impediment.
An example of successful analysis in record time will get us somewhat acquainted with the psychoanalytical technique. Several other illustrations will follow, without pretending to bring the subject to a close…
Ours is the case of a lady we shall call Amelia, about 35, married and the mother of a 10-year old; she works for an important company in X. The woman complains of a troublesome symptom: persistent insomnia. "persistent", as it defies any kind of conventional treatment. "Night after night, I make desperate efforts to sleep". She succeeds towards dawn, when, actually exhausted, she finally falls asleep.
To her sleeplessness, there adds a weird mood of apprehension, an uneasiness psychoanalysts use to call anxiety. My question is:
- What brings about this condition?
- Something like an anticipation; as if I were expecting something and were not sure what...
- Would you please try to remember some circumstance when you experienced the same thing? I insist.
- Exams, maybe, when I was at school? Or, Christmas Eve rather, when I used to wait for Santa. Or, why not, when I would plan a trip or a celebration and would eagerly count every minute to it...
- Any trouble at work, I ask, any tests, exams for a higher position or things like that?
- None, came the unwavering reply, nothing special.
I then inquire about Amelia's economic standing. I find both she and her husband earn enough to make a decent living. There would be room for some additional income, though. "You know how it goes", she adds, " the more you have, the more you want".
I consider the associations Amelia has made concerning her anxiety. Exams, Christmas, Santa, family celebrations and reunions with friends etc. Anxiety is obviously a state of anticipation, just like when you are looking forward to an extremely important event you crave for. But what could that event be? Let us also keep in mind her insomnia, suggesting the same powerful, irrepressible experience. Sleeplessness and anxiety go hand in hand. Both are indicative of an intense concentration of emotions towards a certain direction we expect a lot from...
Psychoanalysts often need moments of insight, more precisely the feeling they know what a certain case is about. Theirs is an intuitive job (which we also call empathy ). That "clairvoyance" urges us to articulate it and, obviously, ask patients the key question giving instant clarification to the nature of their disturbance. In this case, the question I asked was:
- Do you happen to have a dying relative, are you looking ahead to some inheritance?
The answer was immediate, betraying Amelia's bewilderment:
- Yes! It's my uncle, she assured me, he's over 80 and he's awfully rich!
- Are you his heiress?
- His one and only heir!, she specified.
- Your case is solved then, I replied. Your eagerness to get the inheritance is to blame for both your insomnia and your anxiety. Given your uncle's age, you think the long dreamed-of moment for getting your heritage is drawing nearer by the day. Hence your anxious anticipation and sleeplessness, betraying your wish for this moment to arrive as soon as possible, just as you used to eagerly wait for your Christmas presents.
NB: Not all psychoanalyzed cases are solved on the first session. The case above was a "fortunate case", which is a rare occasion. But let us keep one thing in mind: although aware of her own wish (to lay hands on the inheritance), the patient was unable to relate it to her symptoms; hence her concern for her own health. The meaning of her symptoms clarified, Amelia was reassured (the enigma of the disease itself is reason for concern) and she was finally able to get back her wholesome sleep.
Translation by Mihaela Cristea
Posted by eastern writer at 15.59
By Jean Chiriac
Generally speaking, death cannot be represented in dreams as such, as it is no psychic content to be experienced, lived. Hence the conclusion that, when dreams about dying do occur, we have to interpret this in a completely different direction.
Personally, I have had no such dreams but seemingly dreams about dying are not infrequent. We have to conclude that such dreams are also part of the category of collective dreams, shared by many people.
Another dream about dying is that when one is aware of one's invisibility, at the same time being able to watch what everybody else is doing. The explanation would be that there are people who would like to put their fellows' love on trial and therefore produce dreams picturing themselves as dead, in order to be able to see the others' reaction. There are also sadistic persons willing to emotionally blackmail their fellows and whose dreams simulate death in order to receive more affection. Such persons displace what they would like to do in real life to the province of dreams. Nevertheless, in dreams about dying (sometimes symbolic death, as in dreams about invisibility) death is just a tool dreamers use to meet their own affection needs related to their likes.
There are yet dreams about the death of others - more or less close people. When dreaming about the death of close people, we have to discover some adverse feelings. Dreamers re-enact these feelings of adversity for relatives and friends, etc, in their dreams (feelings usually placed in one's childhood). Such feelings nevertheless are only very rarely present under their real shape and therefore corresponding dreams have to be interpreted in a different manner too.
When dealing with dreams about dying we also have to take into account the symbolism of death. Death is a structural transformation of the being - during the Ego development process we often undergo successive symbolic deaths and re-births: something of us is dying and another thing is emerging.
Death in dreams finally may point to a contrary meaning: birth, life, etc. In this context, this specific aspect should be considered in the interpretation of death.
Translation by Mihaela Cristea
Posted by eastern writer at 15.58