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5.0 out of 5 starsExellent book on what analysis looks like behind the therapeutic door.
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2019
As a new psychotherapist about to embark on my new career, this book was invaluable. I am highly influenced by Carl Jung and Analytical Psychology. This book gives you a great education on what Jungian analysis looks like behind the therapeutic door. Each chapter is a rich gift, and the book will become like an old friend, to read and re-read and consult again and again. I highly recommend this book to therapists serious about doing good work and anybody interested in analytical psychology.
This section presents some facts that will be useful in evaluating the ideas produced by contemporary Jungians. One of the two greatest discoveries ever made in psychology is the importance of unconscious thinking discovered by Freud, even though he did not understand correctly the contents and function of the unconscious. He thought that the unconscious contained repressed unacceptable wishes, was irrational, harbored satanic monsters, was in constant conflict with consciousness, and thus caused mental disorder. The second great discovery is Jung's "compensation" principle, according to which the unconscious compensates the lopsidedness in the conscious attitude. This view opposes Freud's view because it means that the unconscious is rational enough to do the compensation work and helps consciousness instead of fighting it. Colman does not try to evaluate these two opposing views and concentrates on what they have in common, which is the method that they both used to discover the contents of the unconscious, i.e., what Colman calls "psychoanalytic experience."
Freud and Jung had also something else in common besides the method of studying the contents of the unconscious: they used the same mode of thinking. Freud thought that dreams meant wish fulfillment by likening them to daydreams and some psychotic hallucinations. That was a product of the concrete-analogic cognition of the right brain. Jung appears to have conceived the idea of compensation by perceiving analogies between his diagnostic and therapeutic ideas related to the problems of some of his patients (such as the one who relied too much on his father) and the thoughts contained in their dreams. So, the compensation idea too was a product of the analogic cognition of the right brain. This shows that both Freud and Jung had active right brains but arrived at different conclusions using it. And this means that knowledge produced through analogy in the waking state is not sure knowledge and therefore needs to be tested.
When a contemporary psychologist who strives to be more scientific than Freud and Jung conceives an idea through analogy, he or she tests it through research, considering research the only valid method of scientific investigation. Neither Freud nor Jung tried to do that, as Colman rightly remarks. The reason is that research is not an adequate method for studying dreams and symptoms because their experimental production is unfeasible. This is in fact why contemporary psychologists too failed to understand dreams and mental disorders through research. Freud and Jung tried to prove their views by showing that they are useful in explaining the genesis, content, meaning, and function of dreams, and that they can also be used in therapy. This work is done by the left brain by deducing consequences from the views generated through analogy and showing that they serve to explain, predict and control the phenomena. Freud could not profit from this method sufficiently because he had to lie about mental disorders for non-scientific reasons, meaning his shift from the correct seduction theory of hysteria to its fantasy theory. Jung too failed to produce sufficient knowledge because he indulged more hypothetical right-brain thoughts instead of proving his findings through their useful consequences using his left brain, probably because he had a too active right brain.
Contemporary non-Jungian psychologists too failed to solve the problems of dream and mental disorder because they are not familiar with the method of testing knowledge through its useful consequences and even reject it as unscientific when somebody uses it. In reality, this method has been used most expertly by all theoretical physicists in generating the grand theories of physics which shaped most sciences, the technologies, and even the whole of civilization.
As mentioned, research has not been sufficiently fruitful in the study of dreams and mental disorders because these cannot be experimentally produced. Research has one more shortcoming. In research, many samples of the studied phenomenon are analyzed to discover regularities in them. This work is facilitated by the analogic thinking of the right brain which sees similarities. In fact, the process that produces scientific discoveries always begins with perceiving an analogy between otherwise different looking phenomena--as exemplified by Freud's and Jung's works--and continues with the testing of the hypothetical knowledge produced by the analogy. This fact accords with Piaget's (Play, dreams, and imitation in childhood) finding that the complete cognition process begins with the perception of an analogy, and with Kuhn's (The Structure of scientific revolutions) idea that scientific revolutions are realized with the adoption of a new model, or paradigm, which again means using an analogy.
So, research begins with analogic right brain activity and continues using principally analogic right-brain thinking. Therefore research can be considered to be essentially right-brain work which profits also from some deductive left brain thinking, without however using the full power of left brain thinking which is used in theoretical physics to test knowledge through its consequences. This means that contemporary psychologists who see research as the only method of scientific investigation do not use the most advanced method of scientific investigation, namely, building theories and testing them through their consequences. This method can be more clearly described as follows: Consequences are deduced from the theory or hypothesis that is being tested and are compared with consequences deduced from the phenomena through research or ordinary observation. If these two sets of consequence match, the theory is considered as proved, meaning that it can be used in explaining, predicting, and controlling the phenomena as reliably as research results can be. By not using this method--which can be used to study phenomena that are experimentally producible or not--contemporary psychologists fail to profit from the full power of left-brain cognition, keep psychological investigation close to right-brain cognition, and prevent Psychology from becoming a mature science that has proved theories like physics instead of "schools" like the arts and philosophy. Colman's (2010) views on Freud's method of examining dreams, which is used also by Jungians, are evaluated below on the basis of the facts mentioned above.
The evaluation of Colman's views on dreams and dream interpretation
Colman (2010) says, "Analysts are trained to cultivate in themselves and their patients a way of thinking in which the whole of the patient's life can be understood in the same way as dreams--that is, as forms of symbolic expressions." And, "All such interpretations make use of a kind of symbolic imagination in which apparently ordinary events and statements take on additional layers of metaphorical meaning."
The truth is this: The mode of cognition and language of dreams is concrete analogic, not symbolic, because this is the mode of cognition of the right brain which produces the dream thoughts. True symbols do not exist in dreams because they are abstract products that are chosen arbitrarily by consciousness. Only a symbol that is frequently used in the waking state can appear in a dream but as a concrete analogic representation. Just as dream analogies are produced by the right brain, so the interpretation of dreams necessitates the use of the analogical thinking of the right brain. This is the truth behind the obscure statement "to cultivate in themselves and their patients a way of thinking." But, the analyst's waking state right brain cognition differs from the dreamer's mode of cognition in the dream state because of left-brain interference in the waking state, as explained later. So, a dream and its interpretation in the waking state are not products of exactly the same cognition mode, and this is a very important fact which is overlooked by Colman, as explained later.
The term "metaphor" is often used to mean verbally expressed analogies, but many psychologists call dream cognition and language "pictorial metaphoric". Understood in this way, "metaphorical meaning" does not appear "additionally" in dreams, it is what dreams are made of. What is really "additional layers of metaphorical meaning" is in the verbally expressed metaphors which are consciously conceived by the analyst on the basis of dream content and involve left brain contributions.
Colman also says, "science is the expression of a rationalistic mode of thought that is normally associated with waking consciousness, . . . . This is precisely the form of thought that shuts down when we are asleep. So, by definition, dreams do not conform to the ideation (or ideology) of rational consciousness." This view is extremely misleading because it means that dream cognition, which is right brain cognition, is irrational, as believed by all contemporary psychologists, including Jungians like Colman. In reality, this belief contradicts Jung's compensation principle because: If the unconscious is capable of compensating the lopsided in the conscious attitude, as Jung believed, it must be even more rational than consciousness at least under certain conditions and in a certain measure--analogically rational although not logically rational like conscious left-brain cognition. Here, "rational" means "contributing to adaptation, success, and survival, because this is the supreme reason for all responses. Thus, Colman neglects to profit from Jung's most valuable discovery and even contradicts it while trying to discover more complex and mysterious facts. What shuts down during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) dreaming is the abstract logical rationality of the left brain. The existence of the concrete analogical rationality of the right brain is ignored by almost all psychologists; and there is also the genetic rationality of the old brain.
Colman mentions examples of creative dreams and says, "All these dreams suggest a strong link between dreaming and creativity." This is so because dream cognition, which is right-brain cognition, is concrete analogic, and the total cognition process begins with perceiving and conceiving analogies, as Piaget (Play, Dreams, and Imitation in Childhood) found. Moreover, right brain cognition appears to be most creatively productive when it is freed from left brain interference, as happens during the production of REM dreams and symptoms. This creativity of the right brain appears to be due to its ability to examine rapidly an enormous amount of concrete memories of events to discover common features, similarities, regularities, or laws in them. This is called parallel processing and is in reality the automatic version of what is done consciously but sequentially and systematically in research, although using much less sample events than dream cognition can use through parallel processing. Therefore knowledge conveyed by dreams and symptoms can be as reliable as knowledge produced by research and can even be more reliable than it. And this can be true also about knowledge obtained from dream interpretation providing that it is done correctly on the basis of a proved theory. The rationality of the unconscious cognition that produces the dreams and symptoms is admitted by Jung, as implied by his compensation principle and his belief that the unconscious tells the truth. The fact that the cognition mode of the right brain and the cognition process used in research are essentially similar, and the fact they are at least equally reliable are two more facts overlooked by all psychologists, including Jungians. Both dream cognition and research make use of a high number of sample phenomena to reach conclusions, but it can be said that dream cognition uses through parallel processing even more sample facts than research does. Moreover, the unconscious uses also events that are not available to conscious thinking because of repression.
Here is one more of Colman's vague and even misleading ideas: "The understanding of dreams therefore requires a process much more akin to the appreciation of the arts than the discovery of scientific laws." It is true that dream interpretation somewhat resembles art appreciation because dream thoughts are produced completely unconsciously and art works involve products of the unconscious. But it is wrong to consider them identical or nearly so, because dreams deal rationally with the dreamer's problems, whereas art works are more about emotions. Jung's unconscious warned him about this mistake. After he broke away from Freud, he experienced the following hallucination for sometime: He heard a woman's voice telling him that what he was doing was art. His unconscious was trying to terminate the lopsidedness in his conscious attitude, which consisted in deviating from the rationality of the unconscious and busying himself with vague and artistic thoughts. Many Jungians need the same hallucination.
Dreams can be used consciously to discover laws, as happened in the examples mentioned by Colman; and this can happen also in discovering the scientific laws related to mental functioning. But "the [conscious] understanding of dreams [in the waking state]" differs much from the process by which dreams are produced because the efficacy of right-brain cognition is limited by left brain interference in the waking state, as mentioned, and therefore conscious interpretation of dreams does not always produce knowledge that is as reliable as research. Consequently, the knowledge derived consciously from dreams and symptoms have to be considered probabilities and can be used in scientific investigations only as hypotheses that need to be tested. This is true especially in relation to interpretations that are not based on the compensation rule. The next stage of scientific investigation is the testing of the hypothesis or hypotheses generated through analogy, and this can be done in two ways, as explained above.
Talking about creative dreams, Colman says, "these experiences are indicative of a highly purposive intelligence at work beyond the conscious mind that is capable of generating both dreams and creative works of art." The "purposive intelligence" of the unconscious also causes scientific discoveries through dreams.
Colman exposes his unfamiliarity with the method of testing through consequences when he says, "While its conclusions [the conclusions of psychoanalysis] may not be empirically testable and provable, they are subject to critical appraisal and can be altered, not through scientific experiment but in the light of psychoanalytic experience." The conclusions of psychoanalysis, like any other knowledge that cannot be tested through deduction from experimentation and observation in research, can be tested empirically by testing their consequences, i.e., by comparing their consequences with results of research, as explained above. Because he is not familiar with this method of testing which is used in theoretical physics, Colman sees "psychoanalytic experience" as the only source of knowledge about the products of the unconscious but admits that such knowledge is unsure and subject to alteration. He recommends more psychoanalytic experience without saying how one can be sure of having reached correct knowledge. This attitude opens the door to plenty of smart-looking but vague, arbitrary, and even mystic views.
The endless psychoanalytic search for the truth, which can last for decades if the patient can afford it, can be concluded only by making use of the compensation rule and the method of testing through consequences, as explained below.
Jungian interpretation of Freud's dream "Botanical Monograph"
I interpret below Freud's "Botanical Monograph" dream on the basis of the compensation rule to exemplify Jungians' habit of neglecting to develop and to use this rule and busying themselves instead with vague ideas. Jung's clearest dream interpretations are based on the compensation rule: "The relation between conscious and unconscious is compensatory. This is one of the best-proven rules of dream interpretation. When we set out to interpret a dream, it is always helpful to ask: What conscious attitude does it compensate?" (Jung, The Practical Use of Dream-Analysis, in CW Vol. 16).
Jung's dream and symptom interpretations show that (a) what he meant by "lopsidedness" was a harmful failure or mistake, and (b) "compensation" meant either its termination or the limitation of its harmful consequences as in the case of the symptoms of his patient Babette (Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections).
Jung tried to interpret everything in a dream as a compensation of lopsidedness, and whenever he was unable to do this, he made use of ideas such as archetype, mandala, collective unconscious, and alchemical concepts, which are liable to lead to unscientific interpretations. What he neglected to consider is that ideas that do not constitute compensations themselves but serve to find ways of realizing compensation may also be found in dreams. In reality, all dream theorists made the same mistake and tried the solve the problem of dream meaning and function using a single concept, such as wish fulfillment, problem solving, stress reduction, sleep preservation, self-state dream, and so forth.
As mentioned, the compensation rule implies that the unconscious is rational enough to compensate the lopsidedness in the conscious attitude and is even more rational than consciousness at least under certain conditions and in a certain measure. This means that it is possible to discover what other ideas besides compensation can be found in dreams by considering what ideas are consciously and rationally produced in the waking state to realize compensation. This work leads to the following rule:
A dream can contain the following three types of though: (a) the presentation of the lopsidedness that is treated, (b) the explanation of its cause or causes, and (c) the proposed means of compensating it. The dream images have to be interpreted analogically or metaphorically because this is the cognition mode of the right brain which produces them, and this has to be done in the context created by these three types of thought and the dreamer's life experiences. More information about my dream theory developed on this basis can be obtained from my article titled "New Facts about Dreams and psychotherapy Deduced from Jung's Compensation theory" published in 2002 in the Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, Volume 9, Number 2. (Freely accessible online, including the replies of John Beebe and Lionel Corbett and my reply to them)
Here is the "Botanical Monograph" dream: "I had written a monograph on a certain plant. The book lay before me and I was at the moment turning over a folded colored plate. Bound up in each copy there was a dried specimen of the plant, as though it was taken from a herbarium" The events and ideas that Feud associated with this dream, which are mentioned by Colman, and their Jungian interpretations on the basis of the above three rules are below.
". . . the monograph he wrote on cocaine that he hoped would make his name but where his own contribution was eclipsed by a colleague . . ." (Colman, 2010). This is the interpretation of "botanical monograph" by both Freud and Colman, and it evidently refers to a failure or lopsidedness in Freud's conscious behavior instead of meaning compensation. Freud wrongly interpreted "I had written a monograph" as a victory, or wish fulfillment, instead of a failure, as explained below.
Freud wrote his book on dreams in five years, and during the first four years he interpreted dreams just by likening them to daydreams and to some psychotic hallucinations, which constitute wish fulfillments. He completed the book by writing its theoretical parts in the fifth year after he switched from the seduction theory of hysteria to its fantasy theory, knowing that the first theory was right and the second was wrong. He adopted the second theory, which became the basis of the psychoanalytic theory, because (a) everyone opposed the first one, (b) this almost made it impossible for him to continue to practice psychotherapy, and (c) he discovered that he was sexually abused in his childhood and had become neurotic, hysterical. He wrote about these to his friend Fliess. He also thought that the fantasy theory could be used as a means of therapy. So, we can assume that "monograph" referred not only realistically to his work on cocaine but also analogically to his lecture on the cause of hysteria and even to his whole career, because having to switch from the seduction theory to the fantasy theory was a scientific failure or lopsidedness, which he tried to underestimate and ignore. Moreover, he did not realize therapeutic successes using the fantasy theory.
This analogic interpretation of "monograph" accords better with Freud's rule that a dream represents the disguised fulfillment of a repressed or suppressed wish, as Colman expresses when he says, "he [Freud] suggested that [dream] symbols represent not the already known, but the not yet known--they are the best possible representation of an [consciously] unknown [suppressed or repressed] psychic fact." It does not make sense to say that a dream is produced to tell the dreamer what he or she already knows consciously, such as having written a monograph. Similarly, "plant" too has an analogical meaning, which is sex, and refers to Freud's another important failure that he must have tried to ignore, as explained below.
". . . guilt about not bringing flowers to his wife . . ." (Colman, 2010). This association too clearly refers to a failure or lopsidedness, not to any compensation or wish fulfillment; and moreover, it analogically represents in reality Freud's sexual weakness instead of how he felt about not bringing flowers to his wife, because his sexual weakness is a more severe and better repressed failure. He had written to his fiancé that educated people --like him--enjoyed sex less than ignorant people did. In his childhood, he was sexually abused by his nursemaid but did not respond to her as she expected; therefore she accused him of not being able to do anything. He once pissed in his parents' bedroom, and his father told him that nothing good will come out of him. This hurt him very much. We understand that he thought pissing was an act of sex because he wrote that impotent people consider pissing an act of sex. Besides, his father's reaction suggests this interpretation. Consequently, writing "a monograph on a certain plant" refers to his work on sex, and "plant" means sex.
". . . his headmaster's low opinion of him . . ." (ibid.). One more lopsidedness.
". . . his failure to identify a plant; his inadequacy at drawing plants . . ." (ibid.). Just more references to failures, where "plant" means sex, and "to identify" and "drawing" mean explaining phenomena related to sex.
On the basis of these associations of ideas, the part of the dream, "I had written a monograph on a certain plant. The book lay before me" can be interpreted as saying: Take a good look at your career which began with your failure to complete your work on the coca plant. "Turning over a folded colored plate" represented Freud's another scientific failure, i.e., his turning away from the correct theory of seduction in favor of the wrong fantasy theory or wish fulfillment theory. "Colored" referred to the fact that seductions were vividly and painfully remembered by his hysterical patients and were deeply felt by Freud when he learned about them.
"Bound up in each copy there was a dried specimen of the plant, as though it was taken from a herbarium." This meant: Your assertions about sex are not based on personal experience and do not express living reality. They are conjectures derived from what others say and do. This interpretation accords also with the "book worm" and "intimate relations with books" associations. So, the dream exposes the major lopsidedness in Freud's life as a man and a scientist and offers no compensation. In fact, he admitted that also some of his other dreams told about his insufficiencies. Such dreams serve to warn the dreamer about his or her failures with the aim of leading him or her to try to terminate them instead of trying to underestimate and forget them.
Colman, like Freud, failed to see all these meanings in the dream, which are exposed by the correct use of Jung's compensation rule. Freud interpreted the dream as meaning: "self-satisfaction, a plea on behalf of my own rights. . . . After all, I'm the man who wrote the valuable memorable paper [on the coca plant]." In reality, this was Freud's conscious thought, whereas the dream is full of references to his failures. The "Botanical Monograph" dream is a warning dream, as noted above.
Strangely enough, Colman does not produce a Jungian interpretation of the dream based on the compensation principle. He examines Freud's analysis of the dream and reaches the following conclusion: "Freud's great insight, `the insight that falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime,' (Freud 1931/1976, 56) turned out not to be, as he thought, his theory--that dreams were the disguised wish fulfillment of instinctual desires--but the method he devised to reach this conclusion" (Colman, 2010). It is not clear whether he subscribes to Freud's interpretation or not. This method consists in using associations of ideas to expose the dreamer's real life experiences related to the dream, which serve to discover its "latent meaning" together with the three types of thought that can be found in dreams. In other words, associations of ideas serve to expose the context in which the analogic expressions contained in a dream acquire meaning. But, this process can continue for a very long time without producing any reliable result, as admitted by Colman when he says that the conclusions of psychoanalysis are "subject to critical appraisal and can be altered [endlessly] . . . in the light of psychoanalytic experience."
Analysis can be concluded only by using the compensation principle. Dreamers and patients may remember their failures, or these can be exposed by free associations, but they ignore the causal functional relation between their failures and their dreams and symptoms, which is exposed by the compensation principle. This relation has to be explained to them and has to be used as the basis of interpretation. Such explanations and the guiding of the dreamer's memories to his or her failures speed up the analytic process. And when correct interpretations are reached, the dreamer/patient produces automatic responses that expose this fact. Even the definitive cure may be realized when the patient becomes aware of the origin, meaning and function of his or her symptoms and dreams because this can make the symptoms unneeded as message carriers. So far, "psychoanalytic experience" that is not guided by the compensation principle has seldom produced good results in therapy no matter how long it lasted. Also, psychoanalytical experience using the compensation rule or not may not suffice to bring about the cure if the failures continue to harm mental health or have harmed it already too much, no matter how long the analysis lasts. In such cases the production of compensatory thoughts and behaviors become necessary as long as the disorder continues, at least to prevent its aggravation.
Under the heading "The Function of Dreaming" Coleman presents several different views and leaves the problem unsolved, as he did in relation to the meaning of dreams. To better understand the function of dreams and symptoms it is necessary to find out why terminating or compensating failures, or lopsidedness, is so important. The facts that (a) dreams and symptoms are produced to terminate harmful failures according to the compensation principle, (b) therefore such failures are the causes of dreams and symptoms and symptoms create the state called mental disorder, and (c) dreams and symptoms serve to terminate the failures mean that non-organic (primary) mental disorders are caused by unbearably harmful failures, and that the ultimate function of dreams and symptoms is to protect mental health. This is the direct logical consequence of the compensation principle and can also be inferred from other facts, such as the development sequences of the various parts of the brain and of their cognitive abilities, for example, as explained below.
The new cortex in the right brain develops faster than the left in childhood and acquires functions and abilities that principally serve to realize protection because this is the main need of the child. The development of the left brain acquires speed after puberty when the need for protection has diminished and abilities that serve to realize successes of all types become needed and are therefore acquired. This explains why the unconscious which produces the dreams and which is the right brain seeks to terminate or compensate failures. This constitutes the neural basis of the compensation phenomenon and shows that the ultimate function of dreams is to protect mental health by terminating or compensating the failures which cause mental disorder. Dreaming appears to have the additional function of structuring the reality analogically, which is done during the 20% of REM sleep which does not produce dreams and maybe also during the whole of REM sleep. This is supported by the fact that new learning increases the duration of REM sleep.
The idea that non-organic (primary) mental disorders are caused by harmful failures is supported by the fact that even the most superficial survey of the literature reveals that all mental patients experienced harmful failures before they became ill. And the phenomenon of experimental neurosis proves that interminable harmful failures can cause mental disorder in animals.
Colman's explanations exemplify Jungians' habit of producing devious, vague, and artistic thoughts using the analogical right brain instead of developing scientifically Jung's great insight, which is the compensation rule, using the logical thinking of the left brain and research results. Consequently, Jungian psychology did not develop sufficiently and is therefore lopsided and is seen as outside of main stream psychology. On the other hand, contemporary main stream psychology too is lopsided because it rejects the method of testing through consequences, which is used in theoretical physics and which has to be used in psychology too in studying mental disorders because their experimental production is unfeasible. Jung and Freud never tried to prove their statements through research like contemporary main stream psychologists try to do. Instead, they tried to test them through their consequences, i.e., through their usefulness in explaining, predicting, and controlling the phenomena related to mental disorders and dreams, as done in proving the theories of physics. They failed because of reasons explained above, not because they used the theoretical method as believed by contemporary main stream psychologists. Also, they lacked the empirical knowledge accumulated since their time. Thus the science of psychology is currently at an impasse concerning the study of dreams, the symptoms of mental disorders, and other automatic products of the unconscious, i.e., the right brain. And a large part of humanity that needs psychological help most does not get it. The remedy is to develop the compensation rule so that it can be used consciously and deductively like a scientific law is used.
The book "Jungian Psychoanalysis," which is edited by Murray Stein and contains Colman's chapter reviewed above, can be very useful in learning about and profiting from the vague ideas that Jungians produce using mainly their right brains, providing that these ideas are correctly interpreted on the basis of the compensation principle developed logically by the left brain, as exemplified above.
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2011
This book is a masterful work that unfolds Carl Jung's genius in a profound and clear manner. For anyone who has interest in Jung's work, the featured in this book have expressed his wisdom with clarity and purpose. As a seeker of truth, I found this to be challenging, refreshing and clear.