Testy Letter about the Swiss Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Signed by Carl Jung

Item: 20485
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JUNG, CARL. (1875-1961). Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who developed the personality classifications, introverts and extroverts, the theory of the collective unconscious, and archetypes. TLS. (“C.G. Jung”). 1p. 4to. Ascona, August 29, 1946. Jung writes on his personal stationery to Swiss psychiatrist OSCAR LOUIS FOREL (1891-1982). In German with translation.

“I was surprised at your letter. The S.G.P.P. [Swiss Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy] is an association that has never claimed to represent all of Switzerland’s psychotherapists. Being an independent association, not subordinate to any other organization, it has complete freedom to do as it pleases. So if we are asked by psychotherapists from other countries to hold an International Congress in Zürich, it is nobody’s business, nor is our being included as a section of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Everyone who so wishes is free to join our association. The International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, a section which we represent, has not been dissolved yet and we do not see any reason to name delegates other than members of our association. You and other colleagues are at total liberty to found some other organization which then can also join this international organization. As things stand right now, there is no other organization of Swiss psychotherapists that would be ready to join an international society. It is far from our plan to hinder in any way the foundation of such an organization and we would never consider interfering with the affairs of such an organization. I admit that I interpret your odd behavior as interference in the goings-on of the S.G.P.P. to which, as a non-member, you are simply not entitled. Our action is identical with that of the Swiss Academy for Natural Sciences, and nobody disputes their right to organize their own congress. We have always given you the opportunity to take a position toward our organization, and you would have been able to be a member of the international organization. The fact that so many Swiss colleagues did not take that step is not our fault, as you must surely know.

“I admit that I interpret your odd behavior as interference in the goings-on of the S.G.P.P. to which, as a non-member, you are simply not entitled”

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend any other meetings during the Zürich conference…”

Though initially a close follower of Freud, Jung broke with the famous founder of psychoanalysis and pursued his own brand of analytic psychology. In his 1921 work, Psychological Types, Jung laid out his theories on the relationship between the conscious and unconscious. It was also in this work that his famous classification of personality types was explained. Jung continued to develop his ideas about the unconscious, distinguishing between the individual unconscious and a group or “collective unconscious” in which there are archetypes that recur in mythology, art and symbols.

The son of famous Swiss neuroanatomist, psychiatrist and eugenicist Auguste Forel, the young Forel spent his childhood at the Burghölzli psychiatric hospital in Zurich. After studying medicine himself, he practiced psychiatry, meeting Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler and Julius Wagner-Jauregg. He is remembered for diagnosing Zelda Fitzgerald’s schizophrenia after Jung referred her to Forel. He headed several psychiatric clinics in Switzerland and did pioneering work with electroshock therapy. During World War II he collaborated with Swiss intelligence to aid the French resistance. In addition to his books on psychological subjects, he published several books of photography.

Carl Jung

In our uncharacteristic, but noticeably testy letter, Jung defends the SGPP or Swiss Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, which he notes is a member of the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences. At the time of our letter, Jung was president of the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, founded in 1934 by delegates of various national psychoanalytic societies. It eventually evolved into the International Federation for Medical Psychotherapy (IFMP) and, later, the International Federation for Psychotherapy (IFP).

Jung has copied four of his colleagues on this letter including the following three: 1) Swiss psychiatrist Walter Morgenthaler (1882-1965), a student of Freud and Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler. Together with Jung and Forel, Morgenthaler was a member of the Commission on Psychotherapy of the Swiss Society for Psychiatry which put together a report discussed at “an international congress on psychotherapy held in the context of the bicentenary of the Zurich Scientific Society in 1946… the influence of C.G. Jung’s personality on its drafting was considerable,” (Jungian Psychiatry, Fierz). The commission also included 2) German-Swiss psychiatrist Gustav Bally (1893-1966), whose controversial 1934 article in the Neue Züricher Zeitung entitled “Deutschstämmige Psychotherapie” or “German-racial Psychotherapy,” famously criticized Jung’s comments about German and Jewish psychology. Jung issued a rejoinder the following month attempting to clarify his position on current events in Germany. 3) The son of one of Jung’s mentors, Théodore Flournoy, Henri Flournoy (1886-1955), trained with Jung and Freud, before opening his own practice in Geneva and becoming a lecturer at the University of Geneva. Folded with two file holes in the left margin, not affecting anything. In fine condition with a carbon of Forel’s August 23, 1946 letter to Jung.

Testy Letter about the Swiss Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Signed by Carl Jung

$2000 • item #20485

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