Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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The concept of the self is relatively new within psychotherapy. It is largely due to the writing of Carl Jung who sought a word other than ‘soul’ to describe the whole nature of an individual beyond the tripartite structure of Ego, Superego and Id proposed by Freud.

In the last two decades the term Self has been made into compounds like ‘self-worth’ and ‘self-esteem’ but these concepts are not what Jung had in mind. The notion of Self is how we experience our inner core, and is not dependent on social issues or interpersonal dynamics.

Self for Jung is the totality of the human experience and includes the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions. He objected to Freud’s persistent view that creativity in the realm of art was an unconscious means of displacing otherwise unmanageable states of mind.

Jung accused Freud of reductionism and offered a more embracing vision of the full human experience. Some critics have argued that in so doing Jung was coming to terms with his father, a pastor, and rejecting the relationship with Freud, his former analyst and “second father”.

While Freud confessed to not having experienced the kind of oceanic consciousness that others claimed to have, he maintained a life-long friendship with Ludwig Binswanger, who maintained a spiritual interpretation of psychic existence.