Monday 5th June
Dr Ernst Falzeder (UCL) ‘How Jung Became the First President of the International Psychoanalytical Association’
It shocked Freud’s closest followers at the time that he wanted, in 1910, a Swiss gentile to become lifetime president of a new international organization of psychoanalysts. This talk sketches the background and repercussions of this “coup.”
SELCS Common Room (G24)
University College London
The April 2017 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Guest edited by Sarah Marks, this special issue explores “Psychotherapy in Historical Perspective.” Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Psychotherapy in historical perspective,” by Sarah Marks. Abstract:
This article will briefly explore some of the ways in which the past has been used as a means to talk about psychotherapy as a practice and as a profession, its impact on individuals and society, and the ethical debates at stake. It will show how, despite the multiple and competing claims about psychotherapy’s history and its meanings, historians themselves have, to a large degree, not attended to the intellectual and cultural development of many therapeutic approaches. This absence has the potential consequence of implying that therapies have emerged as value-free techniques, outside of a social, economic and political context. The relative neglect of psychotherapy, by contrast with the attention historians have paid to other professions, particularly psychiatry, has also underplayed its societal impact. This article will foreground some of the instances where psychotherapy has become an object of emerging historical interest, including the new research that forms the substance of this special issue of History of the Human Sciences.
“The action of the imagination: Daniel Hack Tuke and late Victorian psycho-therapeutics,” by Sarah Chaney. Abstract:
Histories of dynamic psychotherapy in the late 19th century have focused on practitioners in continental Europe, and interest in psychological therapies within British asylum psychiatry has been largely overlooked. Yet Daniel Hack Tuke (1827–95) is acknowledged as one of the earliest authors to use the term ‘psycho-therapeutics’, including a chapter on the topic in his 1872 volume, Illustrations of the Influence of the Mind upon the Body in Health and Disease. But what did Tuke mean by this concept, and what impact did his ideas have on the practice of asylum psychiatry? At present, there is little consensus on this topic. Through in-depth examination of what psycho-therapeutics meant to Tuke, this article argues that late-19th-century asylum psychiatry cannot be easily separated into somatic and psychological strands. Tuke’s understanding of psycho-therapeutics was extremely broad, encompassing the entire field of medical practice (not only psychiatry). The universal force that he adopted to explain psychological therapies, ‘the Imagination’, was purported to show the power of the mind over the body, implying that techniques like hypnotism and suggestion might have an effect on any kind of symptom or illness. Acknowledging this aspect of Tuke’s work, I conclude, can help us better understand late-19th-century psychiatry – and medicine more generally – by acknowledging the lack of distinction between psychological and somatic in ‘psychological’ therapies.
The September 2015 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Among the articles in this issue are ones on Carl Jung (above) and his investigation of his cousin’s mediumship, the epistemological problems of incorporating possession into the DSM, a case study of a museum of mental health care history, and much more. Full titles, authors, and abstract follow below.
“The epistemological significance of possession entering the DSM,” by Craig Stephenson. The abstract reads,
The discourse of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM reflects the inherently dialogic or contradictory nature of its stated mandate to demonstrate both ‘nosological completeness’ and cultural ‘inclusiveness’. Psychiatry employs the dialogic discourse of the DSM in a one-sided, positivistic manner by identifying what it considers universal mental disease entities stripped of their cultural context. In 1992 the editors of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders proposed to introduce possession into their revisions. A survey of the discussions about introducing ‘possession’ as a dissociative disorder to be listed in the DSM-IV indicates a missed epistemological break. Subsequently the editors of the DSM-5 politically ‘recuperated’ possession into its official discourse, without acknowledging the anarchic challenges that possession presents to psychiatry as a cultural practice.
Location: UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Room 544,* 5th Floor, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ (map)
The function of the symbol in Goethe, Cassirer, Jung and Klages
This paper will try to outline the ways in which three 20th-century thinkers take up and develop the notion of the symbol proposed by Goethe in his writings. How do a philosopher, a psychoanalyst, and a ‘biocentric metaphysician’ use Goethe’s notion in their respective intellectual systems? What are the specific characteristics of their use of this notion? And to what extent do all three draw on Goethe’s morphology to define what it means to live in a world?
Location: UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Room 544,* 5th Floor, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ
The Path of the Serpent: Gnosis, Alchemy and the Esoteric Antecedents of Analytical Psychology
C. G. Jung influentially asserted that the alchemical corpus constituted the missing link in an ‘uninterrupted intellectual chain’ leading from ancient Gnosticism to his own analytical psychology. Nevertheless, recent studies in the history of Western esotericism have problematised both Jung’s interpretation of alchemy and his historiography. Although certain doctrines and practices within the ancient Gnostic milieu can legitimately be considered distant precursors to analytical psychology, in this seminar we will discover that the chief conduit of their transmission to modernity was the Kabbalah in its Jewish, Christian and post-Christian occult incarnations. Particular attention will be directed to techniques for the attainment of heavenly ascent, conceived as a reversal of the cosmogony in the microcosm of the human body and depicted within Gnostic and Kabbalistic traditions – as in Indo-Tibetan Tantra – as ‘the path of the serpent’. Although it would be misleading to use the term ‘alchemy’ to describe what is essentially a species of theurgy, we will also explore the emergence of nineteenth-century Freemasonic and Theosophical notions of ‘spiritual alchemy’ from the Christian Cabalistic tradition of conceiving this heavenly ascent in alchemical terms. As I will argue, it is this alchemically conceived theurgy rather than alchemy per se that truly constitutes the ‘secret thread’ of esotericism leading to Jung’s work.
The recently released second issue of a new journal, History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History, contains a number of articles relevant to the history of psychology. In particular, three articles deal with the history of psychoanalysis. Of these, one uses material culture to interrogate the case work of Jung and Freud, and two others address aspects of the recent history of neuropsychoanalysis. A further article traces the history of addiction, from its initial status as a moral disorder in the late-nineteenth century to its contemporary casting as a disease of the brain. Titles, authors, and brief excerpts follow below.
“‘I suffer in an unknown manner that is hieroglyphical’: Jung and Babette en route to Freud and Schreber,” by Angela Woods. (See photo, left.) The article begins,
To begin: two fragments. The first is an embroidered jacket. It belonged to a woman called Agnes Richter who lived in an Austrian asylum in the late 1890s. In the words of artist Renée Turner, the jacket is “embroidered so intensively that reading is impossible in certain areas. . . . Words appear and disappear into seams and under layers of thread. There is no beginning or end, just spirals of intersecting fragmentary narratives. She is declarative: ‘I,’ ‘mine,’ ‘my jacket,’ ‘my white stockings. . . .’, ‘I am in the Hubert-us-burg / ground floor,’ ‘children,’ ‘sister’ and ‘cook.’ In the inside she has written ‘1894 I am / I today woman.'” Re-embroidering the laundry number printed on her jacket, “something institutional and distant” is transformed “into something intimate, obsessive and possessive.” She transcribes herself. This is “hypertext”; this is “untamed writing.”
The History of Psychology Centre of British Psychological Society (BPS) has just announced its fall seminar series on the History of the Psychological Disciplines. The first event of the series will take place October 26, 2011 at 6pm. Martin Liebscher (left), of University College London, will be speaking on “Where Zarathustra Meets the Furor Teutonicus and the Puer Aeternus: C.G. Jung’s Reading of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” The abstract reads,
For five years, from 1934 to 1939, C.G. Jung held a seminar series on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra at the Psychological Club Zürich. Originally outlined as an introductory course into Analytical Psychology, the seminar is also a depiction of Jung’s development of thought, especially the extension and refinement of his archetypal theory. Historically, this epoch saw National Socialism coming to power in Germany, and Jung reflects these events throughout the seminar series. A close reading of Jung’s interpretation of Zarathustra can therefore shed a light on his reception of fascism and his heavily criticised attitude towards National Socialism.
Additional talks for the fall term are still TBA. Full details of the series, including Martin Liebscher’s talk, can be found here.
In the most recent episode of the BBC Radio 4 program, “Great Lives,” American comedian Ruby Wax and analyst Andrew Samuels (U. Essex) are interviewed by Matthew Parris about the theories of the famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. The discussion initially aims at promoting the Jungian approach and at entertainment. But it eventually arrives at some interesting historical matters and it is sprinkled with clips of Jung himself being interviewed by John Freeman in 1959.
“AFTER FREUD LEFT: Centennial Reflections on His 1909 Visit to the United States.”
An international symposium, October 3-4, 2009, at the New York Academy of Medicine.
Leading scholars in the history of psychoanalysis and American intellectual history will reflect on what happened to Sigmund Freud’s ideas in the United States in the century after he left New York following his only visit to the New World, a visit that became an iconic event in American history. Continue reading Cenetennial of Freud’s Clark U. Lectures→