Jung’s Memories Dreams Reflections 4

“In many cases in psychiatry, the patient who comes to us has a story that is not told, and which as a rule no one knows of. To my mind, therapy only really begins after the investigation of that wholly personal story…. In therapy the problem is always the whole person, never the symptom alone. We must ask questions which challenge the whole personality.” C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 138.

How often is the actual story of the patient ignored by “mental health providers” today? Jung makes this claim that therapy only begins with the personal story after relating an unusual case from early in his days as a psychiatrist for inpatients. He tells of a woman patient admitted with depressive symptoms. She gets diagnosed schizophrenic and is given a poor prognosis. Jung decides to develop a relationship with her and see if he can elicit her story. Turns out she has a terrible secret that lived in her and began destroying her psychologically. Once they get to what is tormenting her, she recovers and leaves the hospital.

We are each a complex amalgam of factors, from genetic predisposition to emotion to spirituality and everything in between. Therapy has to let in all the factors, and the whole person, who is greater than the sum of those factors.

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