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This chapter provides a sympathetic portrayal of Carl Jung, without glossing over his shortcomings and transgressions. It also explores the backgrounds, mindset, and aspirations of Jung and Freud that led to their attraction to each other, and ultimately their conflicts and the near-disastrous dissolution of their partnership. The chapter also covers the influences Otto Gross, Jung’s multi-year struggles with a near-psychotic state, his process of recovery, his exploration of various mystic traditions on the one hand, and the overlap between his thoughts and quantum physics on the other. It ends with a brief description of Jung’s influences on various new age and modern self-help movements. The chapter also discusses Jung’s complicated relationships with Sabina Spielrein, Toni Wolff, and his wife, Emma Jung, linking his attractions and attachments to major “anima” figures in his adult life with his lonely childhood, the deprivation of maternal attention, and his disappointments with a weak father.
Freud was addicted to cocaine and nicotine, Jung was psychotic for several years, and Margaret Mead remained closeted throughout her lifetime. Yet, adversities notwithstanding, they all made monumental contributions that still shape our view on ourselves and the world. This book includes biographies of fifteen modern explorers of the mind who altered the course of history. All of them were wounded healers who made great discoveries while struggling with traumatic life crises and emotional problems in their personal lives. Full of unexpected twists and turns, their life stories alone are worthy of our attention. In linking their maladies with their creativity, showing the vulnerable and human side of these giants, this book makes the greats approachable and illuminates their scientific findings through narrating their life stories.
Best known for his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl was a prodigy who became interested in psychotherapy in his high-school years. He was briefly associated with Freud’s and Adler’s groups, but soon departed from both to develop his own treatment methods. During World War II he was incarcerated in various concentration camps, and narrowly escaped death in Auschwitz, only to face the reality that practically all of his family members had perished and he was utterly alone in the world. Writing about his Holocaust experiences saved him from despair and suicide, and helped him to develop a method of therapy based on man’s “will to meaning,” which he called “logotherapy.” Frankl’s insight on the primacy and indispensability of meaning and meaning-making in life has had profound influences on subsequent developments in existential-humanistic psychotherapy, as well as on understanding mental health issues in refugees and survivors of traumatic life experiences. The chapter ends with discussions on the importance of finding meaning in work, creativity, spiritual merging, and love, as well as in suffering (transcendental meaning).
Sullivan was one of the most influential American psychiatrists active in the early twentieth century. His contributions included establishing a standard method for psychiatric interviews and demonstrating the importance of milieu and psychosocial interventions in the care of first-break schizophrenic patients. He was also one of the founders of interpersonal psychoanalysis, emphasizing the importance of psychosocial forces in shaping personality development and in the pathogenesis of psychiatric illnesses. His uncanny aptitude in working with psychotic patients was linked to his lifelong struggle with homosexual impulses and addiction problems. His profound sense of “marginality” may have been rooted in his difficult childhood, growing up as the only child in an Irish catholic family isolated in a protestant rural New England town. The chapter also includes a brief discussion of the long struggle of mental health professionals toward “depathologizing” homosexuality.
Known for the concept of the “trauma of birth,” Otto Rank’s contributions to the fields of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have largely been obscured. Rank came from an impoverished family with an alcoholic father, and was sent to a trade school to become a locksmith. However, his unique insight into applying psychoanalytic concepts in understanding philosophy and art caught the attention of Freud, who supported him in his college education and graduate studies. Freud hired him to be the secretary of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, where he functioned as Freud’s “right hand man” for close to twenty years. Intriguingly, his “breaking away” from Freud’s circle coincided with Freud’s diagnosis of oral cancer and near-death from surgical complications. Ostracized by orthodox Freudians, he nevertheless was able to further explore pre-Oedipal issues and the significance of separation anxiety. He developed his patient-centered, brief psychotherapeutic approach, with particular focus on the “here and now” and on patients’ autonomy and self-healing potential. His ideas heralded the later developments of client-centered therapy, existential-humanistic therapy, and Gestalt therapy.
Melanie Klein was the first child psychoanalyst who delineated the rich and astounding inner lives of infants and young children and demonstrated the fundamental importance of mothers’ roles in human development. She was one of the founders of the “object relation theory” school, and her concepts – including “projective identification,” “depressive position,” and “paranoid-schizophrenic position” – have remained influential in clinical practice. Klein grew up in an impoverished immigrant family and suffered from multiple losses during her childhood and young adulthood, including the death of her father and two of her siblings. During most of her adult life, she was weighed down by a very difficult marriage, as well as estrangement from her own children. Her decades’ long fights with Anna Freud made life even more difficult for her (and for others). Yet, she survived it all and went on to make major contributions. This chapter provides a sketch of Klein’s life, focusing on various difficulties confronting her throughout her life, and their relationship with her insights and contributions.
A Welshman striving to make it in the English world, Jones’ path toward leadership in the international psychoanalytical movement was long and strenuous. Although not as innovative compared to others included in this volume, he made unique contributions in bringing psychoanalysis to the English-speaking world. On the brink of WWII, he risked his life to go to Vienna, already occupied by the Nazis, where he managed to convince the dying Freud to leave Austria for London. Personally responsible for bringing both Melanie Klein and Anna Freud to England, he was caught in the middle of vicious fights between these two powerful women and their followers, and barely survived a near-fatal heart attack. From age seventy to his death at seventy-nine, Jones labored at completing the 1500-page, three-volume Sigmund Freud: Life and Work, which remains the only officially authorized biography of Freud.
William James was one of the most influential American psychologists and philosophers. His writings remain thought-provoking and relevant more than a century after his death. His seminal ideas range from free will, determinism, the nature of consciousness, the mechanisms responsible for our emotions, religious and spiritual experiences, psychic phenomena, and the veracity of mediumship. This chapter focuses on what is less well known, that behind the appearance of success he lived a life burdened with recurrent depression, hypochondria, and myriad physical afflictions, most of them psychosomatic in nature. His search for a career path was long and torturous. At different stages in his life, he was a frustrated artist, a reluctant physician, and a drifter. He found his calling in teaching. His lifelong search for the nature of the mind and the soul was deeply entangled with his father’s, whose tragic and accidental loss of a leg in childhood led to a relentless lifelong quest for “real” answers. The chapter also touches on Ralph Waldo Emerson, his godfather, and includes brief descriptions of William James’ famed novelist brother, Henry James, Jr., as well as his sister, Alice James, the brilliant reclusive diarist.
This chapter starts with a description of Adler’s personal and family backgrounds, including growing up in the shadow of a high-achieving and popular older brother; life-threatening and disabling illnesses during his childhood; struggles to enter and complete his medical school education; dissatisfaction with academic medicine focusing on diseases instead of patients; his egalitarian medical practices; and his involvement in social and public health reform. It also includes narratives of Adler’s marriage with his Russian Jewish wife, who had strong socialist commitments, as well as their relationship with various communist revolutionaries. It then describes Adler’s association with Freud and their eventual separation, the evolution of Adler’s theories and practices, the differences in the temperament and orientations between Adler and Freud, and the continuing mutual influences between Adler and Freud even long after their break-up. It ends with a discussion of Adler’s role in and contribution to the field of psychotherapy and the mental health movement.
This chapter traces the author’s intellectual and professional development, in both Taiwan and the USA, and describes how his lifelong search for a better understanding of the human mind sustained his fascination with the genesis of the thoughts of major schools of depth psychology, especially in the context of the life experiences of their founders. This search led to the realization of “wounded healer” as a unifying theme for the strivings and insights of these pioneers.
Books focusing on Sigmund Freud are voluminous; dedicated scholars have spent their lives combing through every detail of his life and contributions, and controversies surrounding his relationships with his followers, colleagues, and patients. However, there has been very little focus on his addiction to cocaine. Even less attention has been paid to his dependence to cigars, which persisted despite the development of oral cancer and numerous surgeries. This chapter focuses on his life vis-à-vis these highly addictive and dangerous substances, discussing their significance in the context of his personality, childhood experiences, and career trajectories. The main purpose of the chapter is to use this dimension of his life to highlight his remarkable strength as well as his vulnerability, and to demonstrate that suffering (childhood adversities and career disappointments) often go hand in hand with unyielding striving leading to remarkable achievements.
Fromm-Reichmann was one of the most famous and respected therapists specializing in the psychoanalytical treatment of schizophrenic patients. In popular culture, she has been enshrined as the heroic and talented psychoanalyst in the book and film I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. The author of the book, Joanne Greenberg, indeed was a patient of Fromm-Reichmann’s, who not only completely recovered from her devastating illness, but went on to lead an extremely successful and productive life. In contrast, Fromm-Reichmann’s life was laden with trauma, disappointment, and loneliness. As the oldest child of a domineering mother and an ineffectual father, she grew up at a time of great social upheaval. She was raped in the street as a teenager. Her marriage to Erich Fromm, possibly the only person she had ever loved, proved a disaster due to Erich’s betrayal. The role of her “woundedness” in making her an effective therapist is explored in this chapter. Also discussed are questions regarding the prognosis of schizophrenia and the effect of psychotherapy, especially psychoanalysis, with severely mentally ill patients.
Milton Erickson is the most famous contemporary hypnotherapist, as well as a legendary psychotherapist. At the age of seventeen, he narrowly escaped death from poliomyelitis, but continued to suffer from residual paralyses that worsened later in his life. This chapter relates how such experiences taught him the power of the unconscious mind and the trance state, and led him to pursue a career in hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. It also discusses Erickson’s view on trance, his relationship with Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, and his influences on a new generation of innovative psychotherapists. Also covered are discussions on the nature, origin, and importance of the “altered state of consciousness,” the importance of such phenomena vis-à-vis the evolution of our species, as well as the role “altered state of consciousness” has played in the history of psychiatry.
Famous for concepts such as “identity crisis” and the eight life-stage psychosocial development model, Erik Erikson was born to a Jewish mother and a father whose identity was never revealed. He became a drifter and wandered the countryside for seven years before training and analysis by Anna Freud. Moving to the USA to escape Nazi persecution, he became the first child psychoanalyst in the Americas, and one of the key players of the “neo-Freudian” movement. Drawing on his own struggles with identity confusion while growing up and adjusting to American life, he wrote a series of books detailing the importance of identity in personality development and successful adjustment in life. He also coined the term “moratorium” to emphasize the need for time for adolescents and young adults to search for their own directions. His tomes on Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi have been bestsellers and are still regarded as classics. These books eloquently illustrate the role “identity crisis” played in shaping the lives and acts of prominent historical figures who profoundly changed the course of human history.
This chapter starts with a discussion of the pervasiveness of adversity, the universality of healing practices, and the thesis that the impulse to heal and care is deeply rooted in human nature. It reviews the historical, anthropological, and contemporary literature on the concepts of “wounded healers” and “creative illnesses.” The chapter briefly describes the structure of the book, and the biographies included. This is followed by a discussion of potential negative effects of traumatic life experiences on therapists and the need for cognizance, as well as resilience and support in transforming vulnerability into empathy and strength. It is proposed that theories and practices of different schools of psychology evolved as ways for their founders and practitioners to solve challenges in their own lives and thus could best be understood and appreciated when seen in that context. This is one of the reasons we should pay attention to these founders’ life stories, providing us with nuances, helping us to avoid simplistic and rigid interpretation of abstract thoughts distilled from real-life experiences.