‘Behind a man’s actions,’ Jung once wrote, ‘there stands neither public opinion nor the moral code, but the personality of which he is still unconscious. Just as a man still is what he always was, so he already is what he will become.’ For many, the psychological theory underlying such a statement amounts more to a philosophy than an everyday system for healing the mentally distressed. As a result many doctors have regarded Jung’s ideas as ‘too mystical’ for clinical application. ‘Better left on the book-shelf for intellectual psychotics,’ as one ‘behaviourist’ put it.
But according to this latest book by Anthony Stevens, a new mood of sympathy toward Jung is growing within the psychiatric establishment, at the expense of the behaviourists. The ontological slant of this strand of analytical psychology is at last forging an imprint on the hard-headed pragmatists.