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Published in Person-Centered Review, 4 (4) (1989) pp. 403-419




                        THE PERSON-CENTERED JUNGIAN


                             Campbell Purton


                        University of East Anglia


In this article I explore some aspects of the relationship between the work of Carl Rogers and  Carl Jung. I consider first some of the interesting similarities between their ideas, and then look at the ways in which their viewpoints are complementary. Next, I discuss how the Jungian conception of the unconscious mind can be related to a person-centered approach, and suggest that it can be accommodated if we extend the core conditions of the person-centered approach to include a condition which I call "openness to the unconscious." I conclude with a discussion  of the relevance these ideas have for therapeutic practice.


Campbell Purton is a counsellor at the University of East Anglia. He teaches adult education classes in philosophy and psychology and is in private practice in Norwich. He holds an M.Phil. degree in the history and philosophy of science from the University of London, and a Ph.D. in the philosophy of psychology from the University of Alberta. He has taught philosophy at the Universities of Alberta, Regina, and St Andrews. He holds a diploma in counseling and psychotherapy from the Facilitator Development Institute, Britain, and has published articles in the Philosophical Quarterly and Animal Behaviour.



In my therapeutic work I am conscious of a dual allegiance. Many years ago—in my late teens—I began to read Jung, and Jungian concepts, such as those of psychological type, the compensatory nature of dreams, the healing power of the unconscious, archetypal images and themes, which became part of the background of my thinking. Later, as a postgraduate student, I had some sessions with a Jungian analyst, which I found very illuminating. I never studied Jung in an academic way, my academic background being in philosophy, but I feel that to some extent I have lived in a Jungian world, a world of experience that fits the Jungian conceptions of life.

When I first considered becoming a therapist, I investigated the possibilities of training as a Jungian analyst. There were practical obstacles to this, but also I had read a number of books by Jungians that seemed to me simply to emulate the master without extending or challenging his ideas. I had the impression of a kind of fossilized Jungianism that didn't appeal to me at all. I was also impressed by a dream I had in which Jungian themes were portrayed in a garishly colorful and superficially attractive way, rather than as deeply true and serious. This dream made a double impression on me. First there was an element of truth in what it portrayed. Second, I think that in trusting the dream and taking it seriously I was being true to the essence of Jung's thought, which I believe involves a distinctive attitude that I shall refer to as "openness to the unconscious."


The practical possibility of training as a therapist in the Rogerian

tradition raised the question of whether such a training could square

with my Jungian background. Reading Rogers, and talking to client-

centered therapists convinced me that it could. Brian Thorne and Aude

de Sousa gave me copies of talks they had given, independently, on

the links between Jung and Rogers, and I found these very encourag-

ing. For example, in his talk on "The Two Carls" Brian Thome (1983)

gives a list of quotations from the two men such that only someone

very familiar with their writings could tell which extract comes from

which pen. However, I think that the relationship between Rogerian

and Jungian ideas is not a simple one, and in this article I will consider

separately, the following: (1) areas in which there seems to be a

remarkable commonality of thought, (2) areas in which the Jungian

and Rogerian approaches complement one another, and (3) ways in

which Jungian ideas can be seen as extending the notion of what is

involved in a being "person-centered."


                        COMMONALITY OF THOUGHT




One of the most characteristic features of the person-centered

approach is the insistence that clients know best what their situation

is, and what they need. It is not for the therapist to impose his or hei

conceptual scheme on the client. Jung shares this basic attitude. For

example, he remarks (1984, p. 3):


    In analysis we must be very careful not to assume that we know all

    about the patient or that we know the way out of his difficulties. If the

    doctor tells him what he thinks the trouble may be, he follows the

    doctor's suggestion and does not experience himself. .. It is important

    that the doctor admits he does not know.


Similarly Jung (1935, p. 5) remarks "If I wish to treat another

individual psychologically at all, I must for better or worse give up

all pretensions to superior knowledge, all authority and desire to





Rogers (1975) remarks: "I've come to realize that techniques are

definitely secondary to attitudes; that if a therapist has the attitudes

we've come to regard as essential probably he or she can use a variety

of techniques." A parallel quotation from Jung (1934b, p. 159):

Whether he likes it or not, the doctor and his assumptions are involved

just as much as the patient. It is in fact largely immaterial what sort of

technique he uses, for the point is not the technique but the person who

uses the technique.




Rogers (1959, p. 203) speaks of "incongruence between self and

experience . . . a discrepancy frequently develops between the self as

perceived, and the actual experience of the organism." In the course

of therapy a client often


  learns how much of his behavior, even how much

  of the feeling he experiences, is not real, is not something which flows from

  the genuine reactions of his organism, but is a facade, a front, behind which

  he has been hiding. He discovers how much of his life is guided by what he

  thinks he should be, not by what he is. (Rogers, 1961, p. 110)


This "facade" is close to what Jung calls the "persona" (both writers

have used the term "mask" in explaining the concept):


   The persona . . . is the individual's system of adaptation to, or the

   manner he assumes in dealing with the world . . . One could say, with

   a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not,

   but which oneself as well as others think one is. (Jung, 1950, p. 122)


Jung develops the theme of the divided personality in ways that go

far beyond this, and it is worth noting that for Rogers, too, personality

divisions do not exist simply between "self-concept" and "organismic

experience," but between various parts of the personality as a conse-

quence of that primary division: "He can no longer live as a unified

whole person, but various part-functions now become characteristic"

(Rogers, 1959, p. 226).




Rogers (1959, p. 196) says of the "actualizing tendency":


 This is the inherent tendency of the organism to develop all its capac-

  ities in ways which serve to maintain or enhance the organism. . . . It

  involves development toward the differentiation of organs and of

  functions, expansion in terms of growth, expansion of effective-

  ness . . . It is development toward autonomy and away from heteron-

  omy, or control by external forces.


Jung (1939, p. 275) says of "individuation":


  I use the term "individuation" to denote the process by which a

  person becomes a psychological "individual," that is, a separate,

  indivisible unity or "whole" so far as "in-dividuality" embraces

  our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies

  becoming one's own self. We could therefore translate individuation

  as "coming to selfhood" or "self-realization" (Jung, 1928, par. 266).


Both notions, I believe, involve the idea of a process of change

through which one moves in the direction of a "self" that is not a mask,

and is not divided against itself, a self that is an autonomous whole.


                              COMPLEMENTARY CONCEPTS


Both Rogers and Jung emphasize the importance of the human

individual, but with Rogers the emphasis is on the "individual" (au-

tonomy, internal locus of evaluation, experience, growth, maturity,

etc.) whereas with Jung the emphasis is on the "human" (human

instincts, common archetypal structures, types of personality, shared

responses to situations, human patterns of development, etc.) To

emphasize only these aspects would be to caricature either side: the

idea of a shared humanity runs all through Rogers's work, and Jung

emphasizes the intrinsic value of the individual. Yet it remains the case

that Rogers does not have much to say about what we share as human

beings, whereas Jung can lose track of the individual in the world of

the archetypes. It seems to me that these different emphases bring with

them different strengths and weaknesses in practice.


A science fiction fantasy may help to clarify this. Suppose that a

Rogerian and a Jungian are transported to a distant planet (call it

Alteros) and are requested by the indigenous beings to continue with

their work as psychotherapists. The indigenous beings are very differ-

ent from humankind—they are persons, but not human persons. They

are aerial nocturnal creatures whose mating arrangements involve

relationships between four different sexes, they sleep on the wing (like

an albatross), and contact with water is fatal to them. Now the

Rogerian will not be disturbed by the radical differences from earthly

experience; he (or she) can continue to listen, try to empathize, and be

congruent and accepting. The Rogerian will be open to this strange

new world and will need to be more of a Rogerian than ever he (or

she) was on Earth.


The Jungian will be fascinated by the differences between human

and Alterosian forms of experience. Here is a world that is archetypally

different from the human world. What kinds of projections go on when

there are four sexes rather than two? What happens to dream symbol-

ism when the element of security and safety is air, when consciousness

is linked with night, and sleep with day? What role will water imagery

play in the imagination of these creatures? And what will fulfill the

roles that water images play in human imagery? The Jungian will want

to read up on Alterosian myths and folk tales; he or she will want to

get a better feel for how the shadows generally fall in the psyches of the Alterosians.


The approaches of the Jungian and the Rogerian are different, but complementary. The Rogerian is likely to miss a great deal that the Jungian sees, simply because the Rogerian is relying purely on his (or her) own experience and not making use of the accumulated wisdom of Alteros. (As Karl Popper used to say in his lectures on the philoso-

phy of science, "If each of us had to start where Adam started, then we would not have got further than Adam”).(1) The Jungian, on the other hand, is likely to be so entranced by the collective Alterosian psyche that he or she may be insufficiently open to Alterosians as people, and to the individual differences between them. (2)

     From a person-centred point of view, the problematic issue is that if a therapist is sympathetic to Jungian ideas he or she may be inclined to impose a conceptual scheme on the client rather than work from within the client’s framework.  Yet, while it is true that Jung provides something like a list of archetypes, a classification of personality types, and a set of relatively fixed dream symbols, I do not think that there is any evidence that Jung “imposed” this scheme on his clients.  In the case of dream symbolism and archetypal imagery he makes his therapeutic stance very clear.  He remarks that “if there were no relatively fixed symbols, it would be impossible to determine the structure of the unconscious” (Jung, 1933, p. 25).  But this is in the context of acquiring psychological knowledge.  He goes on to say:


     It is advisable, for the purposes of therapy to look for the meaning of symbols as they relate to the conscious situation – in other words to treat them as if they were not fixed.  This is as much to say that we must renounce all preconceived opinions, however knowing they may make us feel, and try to discover the meaning of things for the patient.  (Jung, 1933, pp. 26-27)


     Similarly, the idea of “psychological types” may seem to conflict with the Rogerian emphasis on the uniqueness of the individual.  Yet if we look closely at Jung’s own way of approaching typology there seems little cause for concern.  Jung did not see typology as a rigid classificatory system, but as a general means of orientation in the landscape of the psyche:  “The four functions are somewhat like the four points of the compass; they are just as arbitrary and just as indispensable”  (Jung, 1933, p.108).  In a late interview, he said:


     My scheme of typology is only a scheme of orientation.  There is such a factor as introversion, there is such a factor as extroversion.  The classification of individuals means nothing, nothing at all.  It is only the instrumentarium for the practical psychologist to explain, for instance, the husband to a wife or vice versa.  (Jung, 1957, p. 305)


     It is only when the concepts, which are for Jung useful psychological instruments, get turned into a dogmatic system, that the Rogerian and Jungian paths must diverge.  In other words it is not the existence of a conceptual scheme that is the problem, but how one uses it.  There is an important general point here.  It is not uncommon to hear that we should approach our clients with no preconceptions, with no conceptual scheme at all.  It seems to me that this is impossible, and that the therapist who claims to do it is in fact unconscious of what his or her preconceptions are.  Nor does it help to say that we should have as few preconceptions as possible – how do you count preconceptions?  Rather, I think, we need to be aware of what our preconceptions are.  Instead of trying to eliminate them, they need to be focused on, developed, brought out into the open.  It is only then that they can function effectively as tentative hypotheses, as initial ways of orienting that are always subject to correction, refinement, or rejection. 


     The work of Karl Popper (1959, 1963) and of later writers such as Kuhn (1962) and Feyerabend (1970) has shown how inadequate is the view that scientific knowledge begins with experience.  It begins rather with assumptions, with hypotheses, with theories, which are accepted until they conflict with experience, or with other accepted theories, or are found to be internally inconsistent or unfruitful.  It is unscientific to cling to a theory dogmatically, but this is not to denigrate theory; it is to criticise the way in which the theory is held.  I believe that the same applies in therapy; that is it is not theories and preconceptions that are harmful; rather it is their employment in an authoritarian or dogmatic manner.





     I want now to address the crucial issue in the relationship between the Jungian and Rogerian viewpoints, which I think takes us beyond the commonality and complemetarity discussed here.  This is the issue of the “unconscious mind.”  In brief what I shall suggest is that if we follow up Roger’s (1980, p. 106) theme that “our organisms as a whole have a wisdom and a purposiveness which goes well beyond our conscious thought," we arrive in the area of what Jung calls the unconscious, and that we then have some rethinking to do about what it means to be person-centered.


It will be useful to begin with Rogers's (1980, p. 151) own com-

ments on the theme of unconscious feelings and thoughts. He writes:


  First, empathy dissolves alienation. For the moment, at least, the recipi-

  ent finds himself or herself a connected part of the human race. Although

  it may not be articulated clearly, the experience goes something like

  this: "I have been talking about hidden things, partly veiled even from

  myself, feelings that are strange — possibly abnormal — feelings I have

  never communicated to another, nor even clearly to myself. And yet,

  another person has understood, understood my feelings even more

  clearly than I do."


  It is his {L. L. Whyte's] theory, in which he is not alone, that great steps

  in human history are anticipated, and probably brought about, by

  changes in the unconscious thinking of thousands and millions of

  individuals during the period preceding the change . . . For me, this

  line of thought is wholly congenial. I have stated that we are wiser than

  our intellects, that our organisms as a whole have a wisdom and pur-

  posiveness which goes well beyond our conscious thought (Rogers,

  1980, p. 106).


  I believe that the next great frontier of learning, the area in which we

  will be exploring exciting new possibilities, is a region scarcely men-

  tioned by hard-headed researchers. It is the area of the intuitive, the

  psychic, the vast inner space that looms before us . . . There is a

  growing body of evidence, which is hard to ignore, that shows capacities

  and potentials within the psyche that seem almost limitless . . . It

  appears that our inner world is continually up to something we know

  nothing about, unless we shut off the outer stimuli. (Rogers, 1980,

  pp. 312-313)


This idea of a vast inner world that is "up to something we know

nothing about" is not a new one. Lancelot Law Whyte (1960) traces

something of its history in his important study. The Unconscious

Before Freud. A quotation from Schopenhauer, whose thought was a

major influence on Jung, may help to give something of the flavor of

this conception:


  Let us compare our consciousness to a sheet of water of some depth . . .

  Judgments, sudden flashes of thought, rise from these depths unexpect-

  edly and to our own astonishment. A letter brings us important news

  not previously expected, and in consequence our ideas and motives are

  thrown into confusion. For the time being we dismiss the matter from

  our minds, and do not think about it again. But on the next day, or on

  the third or fourth day, the whole situation sometimes stands distinctly

  before us with what we have to do in this case. Consciousness is the

  mere surface of our mind, and of this, as of the globe, we do not tarow

  the interior, but only the crust. (Schopenhauer, 1966, pp. 135-136)


Jung's ideas are not a variation of Freud's; they belong in a much

broader tradition of thought that runs through the work of Kant,

Schopenhauer, von Hartmann, and Nietzsche, a tradition that cannot

easily be dismissed. I suggest that Rogers's remarks quoted here are

also at home within this tradition, in spite of the utterly different

background of his thought.


In the person-centered tradition it is fair to say that the unconscious

has been largely neglected. Person-centered therapy tends to assume

that the "person" is a conscious organism that may to some extent have

misrepresented its own states, but which, given suitably facilitative

conditions, can regain full conscious functioning. In other words there

are aspects of thought and feeling of which one is not fully aware, but

this is seen as an unfortunate falling away from one's potential nature

as a fully conscious, fully responsible being. This view of the person,

which has been explored in detail by existentialist thinkers, especially

Sartre (1943/1966), was clearly Rogers's own view in his earlier work.

The passages that I have quoted from Rogers's more recent writings

are evidence of the evolution of his ideas along a path that I believe

brings him much closer to Jung than one could reasonably claim on

the evidence of his earlier writings. The crucial idea in Rogers's later

writings is summed up in the remark quoted earlier that "our organisms

as a whole have a wisdom and purposiveness which goes well beyond

our conscious thought" (Rogers, 1980, p. 106). I think that it is this

notion with which the person-centered tradition has yet to come to

grips. For if there is such unconscious wisdom and purposiveness, then

in conceiving of our relationship to the client only in terms of what is


conscious, or on the borderline of consciousness, we are not relating

to the whole person.

To be fully person-centered, I suggest, requires in addition to the

core attitudes of empathy, acceptance and congruence, an attitude that

could be called "openness to the unconscious." This attitude is asso-

ciated with the recognition that there is much more to the person than

what that person is conscious of. Thus the central theoretical issue lies

in how we conceive of the person. We can see the person in broadly

existentialist terms as a free, conscious, responsible being who may

unfortunately not live up fully to being what he or she could be.


Alternatively, we can see the person as an essentially mysterious

creature whose consciousness and responsible activity arise from a

background of unconscious activity and purposiveness whose nature

can only be hinted and guessed at. Jung's view is clearly closer to the

second of these pictures, although he is far from dismissing conscious-

ness and responsibility. There are indications in the quotations I have

given that Rogers too was moving in this direction, but it would be a

pity if thinkers in the person-centered tradition spent the next few

decades retracing a path that Jung has already traversed. The concepts

that Jung developed in his exploration of the unconscious may be

inadequate or in some ways misleading, but they are fruit of many

years of struggling—both personally and intellectually—with "the

unconscious," and they are worthy of our consideration.


                        CONSEQUENCES FOR THERAPY


It may be asked whether the bringing together of Rogerian and

Jungian themes is a purely theoretical matter, or whether it has

implications for therapeutic practice. I think myself that the latter is

the case, and that it may be possible to develop a variety of person-

centered therapy that gives due respect to both Rogers and Jung.


I see this Jungian person-centered therapy as grounded in the

Rogerian conditions of empathy, acceptance, and congruence. The

additional element from the Jungian tradition is the attitude that I call

"openness to the unconscious." Jungian theory comes into the picture

only by way of giving some conception of what it is to which we are

being open. Some specific topics may help to explain what is involved:




The theme of trusting one's organic self, one's human nature, is

central in the Rogerian therapy (Rogers, 1961, p. 194). Jung, in

parallel, speaks often of the psyche as a self-regulating system. Yet,

while the basic attitude of trust in natural processes is fundamental,

there may well be circumstances in which it helps to know a bit about

that nature that one is trusting. Blind faith is not always the best attitude

in complex situations. As Rogers (1980, p. 118) has observed, pota-

toes, like people, grow in all kinds of unpropitious situations. They

have an inner potential that may well be trusted to secure survival in

adverse circumstances. Yet it may sometimes help to know some

botany, some details of the natural growth processes in the potato, the

way in which different kinds of soil and other aspects of the environ-

ment affect growth, and so on. Inshort, one might say that some

knowledge of the potato "archetype," far from interfering with a

loving trust in the potato's growth, may well enhance and give sub-

stance to that trust. Jung would argue that just as there are natural

patterns in the life of plants, patterns that have evolved over millions

of years to give the extraordinarily well-adapted growth we observe,

so there are similar patterns in the lives of human beings. We can trust

these patterns, and the feelings and intuitions associated with them,

because they have been "tested" over a period of some two million

years (Jung, 1936, p. 88). This is not to say that our trust will not

occasionally be misplaced. It is a mistake to think that biological

adaptations always work, but the built-in promptings of our nature

should be listened to at least as much as our conscious reasoning. Thus

I would see the Jungian element in therapy here as giving context and

substance to the Rogerian notion of "trusting the organism." The more

the therapist knows of the ways of the u.nconscious — through experi-

ence, and study of literature, myth, religion — the more readily will he

or she be able to "trust the organism."




In one of his last papers, Rogers (1986, p. 25) wrote of his relation

to a client: "What I wish is to be at her side, occasionally falling a step

behind, occasionally a step ahead when I see more clearly the path we

are on, and only taking a leap when guided by my intuition."

Such taking of leaps guided by intuition raises important questions

for the person-centered approach. There is first the question of whether

the therapist can ever "see the path ahead." Rogers clearly believed

this to be possible, and it seems to me that there is no difficulty in

principle in understanding how such intuitive knowledge is possible.

Leaving aside the possibility of paranormal communication, it seems

to me that intuition is largely a matter of perceiving the pattern and

significance of things, and is not essentially mysterious. There may be

all sorts of cues one is picking up. One may have had experience of

people in similar situations in the past; there may be echoes from one's

own experience, and so on. The Jungianwill add that another source

of intuitive knowledge lies in the fact that, as human beings, client and

therapist share all manner of archetypal patterns of thought and

feeling. One may know "intuitively" where a client is going partly

because one knows through being human oneself the sorts of tracks

that human beings follow.

Granted that the therapist may beable to see the path ahead, and

may be able to see it more clearly than the client does, the question

remains of what the therapist is to do with such knowledge. I do not

think there is any simple answer to this question; my point in raising

it is to draw attention to the fact that the question arises for the

person-centered approach as much as for the Jungian and psychoana-

lytical approaches. The analytical approaches have the advantage here

of not having any reservations about saying that the therapist can see

the path ahead more clearly than the client can. Hence they can

straightforwardly get down to the problem of whether or how the

therapist is to share his or her insight with the client. The classical

person-centered approach, it seems to me, is so concerned about the

dangers of forcing therapeutic interpretations onto the client, that it

can pretend that the therapist is not ever able to see the way ahead

more clearly than the client is. Thus it seems to me that the person-

centered approach may in this respect be able to learn something from

how the analysts approach the problem.


                      THE CLIENT'S UNCONSCIOUS


There can be no evading the issue that "being open to the uncon-

scious" makes a difference in how a therapist sees a client. For once

we think in terms of "the unconscious," we open oufselves to the idea

that much else is going on in the session than those things of which

either therapist or client is consciously aware. In relating to the client

a Jungian will want to relate to the unconscious as well as the conscious

side of the client's personality. This means that it will be natural to

give special attention to such things as dreams, fantasies, and projec-

tions, which from a Jungian point of view are our chief means of

contact with the unconscious.


Dreams will be given special significance, since the dream provides

a view of the client's problem that is different from his or her conscious

view, yet is still an aspect of the client's view. If someone's conscious

view of his or her difficulty is adequate he or she probably will not

come for therapy. People tend to come for therapy partly because they

need a new slant on their situation. But, from a person-centered point

of view, they need a new slant that comes from themselves, not from

the therapist, and it is precisely this that the dream can supply. Needless

to say, a person-centered Jungian approach to dreams will not involve

pushing interpretations onto the client. Rather it will proceed along

the lines that Jung (1934a, 1938, 1940) employed, exploring the mean-

ing for the client of each dream image, and considering how the atti-

tudes expressed in the dream relate to conscious attitudes. Exploring

dreams in a person-centered way is a topic that has recently been

discussed by Jennings (1986), who also points out (p. 313) how the

neglect of dreams in person-centered therapy can disrupt the condi-

tions of congruence, acceptance and empathy.


Another manifestation of the unconscious is seen in projections.

One of Jung's central ideas is that we tend to see in others those aspects

of ourselves of which we are unconscious. This has become a familiar

enough idea with respect to emotions such as anger, but Jung holds

that whole aspects of the personality can be seen in projection on

another person if they are not adequately integrated with one's own

conscious experience. Among the possibilities for projection are as-

pects of oneself that are seen as appropriate to the opposite sex, and

that therefore tend to be repressed. In the case of a man, this projection

of his feminine side onto a woman can result in a compulsive attach-

ment, which from the conscious point of view can seem absurd.

Further, Jung holds, it is not just repressed aspects of ourselves that

are projected. There are also those aspects of the personality that he

calls "archetypal." For example, there is, according to Jung, a "built-

in" feminine aspect to the male personality that Jung calls the "anima."

When this very deep aspect of the personality is projected it can make

a woman seem for the moment entirely magical, "the girl of his

dreams." It would take too much space to explore in any detail here

Jung's conceptions of "archetypes" and "projection," but if there are

realities corresponding to these ideas I think it is important for thera-

piststo know something about them. To be open to these manifesta-

tions of unconscious thought and feeling makes a difference in one's

relationship with a client.


For example, a client of mine began to speak of a girl, who had

rejected him, as if she were "more than human," that it was "more like

relating to a goddess than to a human being." This captures very much

the flavor of the anima as portrayed by Jung (1940):


   With the archetype of the anima we enter the realm of the gods. . . the

   anima is the serpent in the paradise of the harmless man with good

   resolutions and still better intentions, (p. 77)


   As long as a man is unconscious of his anima she is frequently

   projected upon a real woman, and the man's fantasy equips her with

   all the fascinating qualities peculiar to the anima. (p. 23)


I think it was important in my relationship with this client that I had

no difficulty in taking his vision of the girl-as-Goddess seriously.

Because the theme of the anima was familiar to me I had no tendency

to dismiss this vision as a misperception of the situation, or as merely

a projection of his feminine side.


From a Jungian point of view there is more to the anima than this.

Part of what is projected is the man's feminine side, but mixed with it

is the vision of the archetypal feminine which, in Jung's view, is not

a matter of individual psychology but is an aspect of collective human

nature. Thus, in entering into some kind of relationship with the

archetype, one is making contact with something that goes beyond the

personal or individual. Images such as that of the anima touch us at a

deep level in the way that stories, poetry, or music can. They can, for

the moment, lift us out of our personal concerns, and link us in what

lies beyond the individual. "And you are the music-while the music

lasts" (Eliot, 1944, movement 5). I believe it is very important for a

therapist to be able to relate to such aspects of the client's unconscious,

difficult though these things are to conceptualize adequately. If he or

she cannot do so, then, as Jennings argues, the core conditions of the

person-centered approach are likely to be jeopardized.




If the unconscious is a reality it follows that therapists bring to the

session many attitudes and feelings of which they are not conscious.

The congruence condition of Rogerian therapy clearly requires that

therapists be in touch as much as possible with their subliminal

feelings, a point that has been noted by Maria Bowen (1986, p. 300):


  When therapists are not in contact with their own fears, needs, attach-

  ments, and aversions, and other unconscious forces, these forces can

  interfere insidiously with the client's process. Interventions that divert

  the client from the course that is subliminally uncomfortable to the

  therapist become frequent. Highly charged emotional issues such as

  sexuality, illness, and death become particularly absent from therapy,

  even though they might be central in the client's life at the moment.


The person-centered Jungian has to function with the knowledge

that there will always be much in his or her therapeutic relationships

that is unconscious, and much that will remain so. Thus there will

always be the possibility that the client will touch on areas of the

therapist's unconscious that will make it impossible to work effec-

tively with the client and may even result in the relationship being

damaging to the client. I think this is a possibility that the therapist

needs to bear in mind however much he or she consciously pursues

the ideals of congruence, empathy, and acceptance.





My purpose in this article has been to draw attention to the similar-

ities between the ideas of Rogers and Jung, and to suggest how in other

respects their ideas are complementary. There remain, of course,

significant differences between the two, but I think that a deeper

exploration of the Jungian concept of "the unconscious" together with

a fuller development of the Rogerian concept of the "wisdom and

purposiveness of the organism" could lead to a creative synthesis of

the two approaches.



1. I remember this remark from Pepper's lectures at the London School of Economics in the late 1960s. I believe it also appears in one of his published works, but I have been unable to trace the reference.

2. In a memorial article on Jung, Michael Fordham (1975, p. 109) tells of a mealtime conversation at the Jungs' home. Jung had been holding forth about children, when Emma Jung interrupted, "You know very well that you are not interested in people, but in your theory of the collective unconscious," and Jung munched the rest of his meal in silence.




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