Who is My Jung? / Henry Abramovitch

Abstract: “Who Is My Jung?” describes the author’s personal journey toward Jung and his individuation as a Jungian. It confronts Jung’s anti-Semitism and also his need to invent a new therapy for each patient. The author stresses the important role of therapeutic space and places renewed attention on how we write about patients.

Active Imagination

I want to start with an active imagination.

Imagine you are sitting in a chair. You look up and see Jung sitting opposite. How do you feel? What does he say to you?

The theme of “Who is my Jung?” is borrowed from a conference in London whose papers were published in the Journal of Analytical Psychology. 2 Jung is often quoted as saying, “Thank God I am not a Jungian!” By that he meant we must neither idealize Jung nor rely only on him, but develop our own personal approaches to working with the unconscious. Individuation is a lifelong process not only in our own personal development, but also in our clinical work where we must individuate, becoming the therapists we are meant to be.

Finding Jung

My relationship with Jung began when I was a graduate student at Yale University. I was very interested in a combination of psychology and anthropology, my twin passions. Just as analysts must undergo the rite of passage of analysis, so, too, must anthropologists undergo the transforming experience of field work. My professor turned my attention to Madagascar, the island continent, and the country of Malagasy Republic, which was almost unknown then. 3

I found my place in Madagascar’s East Coast Rain Forest. I saw amazing rituals: spirit possessions and healing ceremonies. I saw secondary burial rituals in which the bones of a dead relative were dug up and the soul of the deceased became one of the ancestors, followed by the most joyous dancing I have ever experienced. Later I read in Memories, Dreams, Reflections that Jung described “the unconscious” as “[corresponding] to the mythic land of the dead, the land of the ancestors” (Jung 1961, 216). I understood then that this was the reality I had been living. At one point in Madagascar I began to experience visions. Whether this was due to the intensity of my experiences, or to poisoning (which is the community’s way of dealing with “strangers” and “enemies”), was never established.

When I did return to university, I sought help from the student counseling service and saw a quite decent Viennese psychoanalyst who was interested in my hidden aggression toward my mother but seemed not to know what to do with the visions. Fortunately, I was discussing these visions with another professor who said, “You would be a good candidate for Jungian analysis.” Jung had never been mentioned in my lectures or seminars, even though he had given his famous Terry Lectures at Yale. There was only one analyst in the area, so I traveled to see him. When we began to talk about visions and dreams, I knew I had come home. Later I moved to Israel and continued analysis with another American who had known Jung personally and been one of the first graduates of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zürich. Thus, I could trace my symbolic descent and direct lineage to Jung. In many societies, this gives one prestige and status. But although I liked many of Jung’s ideas very much, I never had a strong personal transference to him, as some disciples did.

Years later, when I was applying to train as a Jungian analyst, I suddenly had serious doubts. I was making a commitment to stay in analysis, to make not only a serious financial commitment but also to take away precious time as the father of my growing family. Was this the right decision? On the night before my final interviews, I had a dream.

I was walking in an old historic European city with high stonewalls through narrow alleyways. Suddenly, I see steps going up to a beautiful old wooden door. I knock at the door. Jung opens the door and invites me in. He shows me glass showcases of beautiful objects. He pulls back the glass, takes an exquisite object out, and places it in my hand.

I knew I had to do the training! Because of the dream, I have always felt at home in Jung’s world, despite his limitations as a person owing to his remarks on women, Jews, homosexuals, blacks, and so on.

Jung’s Anti-Semitism

For me as a Jew, the issue of Jung’s anti-Semitic remarks has always been present in the shadows. In 1934, Jung wrote about “Jewish psychology,” saying that Jews had never produced a cultural form of their own but had always fed off of host cultures (1934/1970, CW 10, ¶165). Also he hadn’t spoken out publicly against the great evil that appeared in the form of National Socialism. During my training, my professors at Yale challenged me: “How can you be a Jungian when you are a Jew?” and “Don’t you know he was a Nazi?” Even my teachers in my analytic training in Israel were very ambivalent and felt much closer to Erich Neumann than to Jung. Tom Singer, the Jewish analyst from San Francisco, has said, “To be a Jungian was to betray being Jewish/Freudian. Being Jewish/Freudian was to betray being Jungian” (Singer 2012, 81). Although space does not permit me to expand on this, I always felt a need to confront Jung about what he had done. I was very surprised to learn from Murray Stein that in his training Jung’s anti-Semitism (or racial bias) never came up.

Murray Stein and I subsequently wrote a play, The Analyst and the Rabbi, based on the historic encounter between Jung and Rabbi Leo Baeck in Zürich in 1946. The play was performed, made into a movie, and published as a book. 4 In the first scene, Jung comes to see Rabbi Baeck at his hotel in Zürich. Jung knocks on the door, but Rabbi Baeck refuses to see him (Stein and Abramovitch 2019). Part of me feels similarly. I am so angry at Jung that I don’t want to speak with him. But another side knows the right thing to do is to let him in and to confront him, as Rabbi Baeck did. I think that many people make a mistake when they do not confront those who have hurt them, who are often unaware of their hurtful behavior. Then the hurt festers, and there is no possibility for reconciliation.

We know from Gershom Scholem’s letter to Aniela Jaffé, Jung’s secretary and a Jewish analyst, that Jung said, “Ich bin ausgerutscht” (“I fell off the path”) (1984, 97–98). The metaphor of falling off the path is taken from skiing or hiking in the alps, which would be part of Jung’s core Swiss identity. It implies that there is a moral track that Jung should have followed, but without noticing, unconsciously, he slipped and went off the track. When Jung meets Rabbi Baeck, he comes to understand that he was unaware of the process in which he was involved until it was too late. We do know that Jung made private apologies to specific individuals (for instance, James Kirsch and others), but he refused to make a public apology. Why he did not make a public apology remains a matter of controversy, but it does count against him.

However, in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung recounts near-death Kabbalistic visions that he said were “the most tremendous things I have ever experienced” (1961, 295). In the play, we have Rabbi Baeck suggest that perhaps these visions brought him into contact with his Jewish soul. They certainly connected him to a deep layer in his unconscious where he was one with the Jewish mystic Rabbi Simon ben Jochai, who by tradition was the visionary creator of Kabbalah. At the end of the play, Rabbi Baeck shows a way forward with his reference to the Kabbalistic notion of tikkun olam, indicating the possibility of repairing the world.

I can see this tikkun olam in how photographs of Jung changed over time. As a young man, he seems fierce, uptight, and judgmental. In his later years, he looks serene yet playful, a smiling wise old man who does not take himself too seriously. I also believe there is an element of tikkun olam in his process of individuation. Individuation, which means knowing yourself more and more, always involves confronting the shadow. The individual’s work with the shadow also detoxifies the collective shadow, as illustrated in the Kabbalistic doctrine that the holiest sparks can only be found and redeemed in the dark side. Similarly, not only did Memories, Dreams, Reflections show Jung’s remarkable personal journey, but reading it also made it possible for me and many others to feel that we, too, might be able to set out on a journey. Even in his late book on flying saucers I sense his search for the self in unexpected places.

I am drawn to the topic of brothers and sisters. I came to realize that Jung’s personality was deeply influenced by his sibling identity, which is discussed in detail in my book Brothers and Sisters: Myth and Reality (Abramovitch 2014). Jung was most clearly a replacement child, born after three previous newborns had died in which his mother’s unresolved grief was folded into his psyche. His psyche may have been centered on an absence: the dead siblings he never knew (Schellinski 2019). Jung hints at the intensity of his experience as a replacement child in The Red Book (2009, 296). His lifelong ambition and impressive creativity may have been a way to prove himself worthy and unique in his own right, resolving for all what he could not resolve for himself.


Jung influenced me in many different ways but most clearly through his illuminating understanding of innate human difference. His theory of psychological types and functions is something that inspires me personally, interpersonally, and clinically. It forms the basis of one of the “big 5,” the personality clusters given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5), and also in the most widely used psychological test in the world, the Myer-Briggs Personality Inventory created by a mother-daughter team. For me, Jung’s theory provided a simple but profound way to understand myself as an extraverted, intuitive type, with feeling and thinking auxiliaries that were developed over time but a very inferior sensation function. It helped me understand why new ideas come easily to me but why I struggle to change a light bulb. Moreover, I realized that my journey toward individuation lay through embracing my inferior function and not over-relying on my natural strengths. Likewise, I understood that my natural extraversion needed to come to terms with my secret introversion so that I could be happy by myself, alone, not dependent on others but, in the words of the best-selling book, Quiet (Cain 2012).

The theory of psychological types also provides a striking critique of the traditional theory of transference. Although few people believe it today, Freud claimed that the analyst should be a blank screen. But analysts can never be neutral, since they are seeing and speaking through their psychological type. I try to understand patients’ tendencies without pigeon holing them. I try to speak in a language that is right for them. If I give an interpretation and it is not received or is rejected or does not penetrate, I wonder if I have said it on the wrong axis: judging instead of perceiving, feeling instead of sensation. I search for the metaphorical language that makes sense to them. I try to adjust the approach, often with good results. I think much greater attention needs to be paid to how we give interpretations, not just to their content.

I admire Jung when he says that we have to invent a new therapy for each patient, to personalize it and not rely on technique. “If one can speak of a technique at all, it consists solely in an attitude” (Jung 1973, 234). Jung said that the analyst

must have no fixed ideas about what is right, nor must he pretend to know what is right … If something which seems to me an error shows itself to be more effective than a truth, then I must follow up the error, for in it lie power and life which I lose if I hold to what seems to be true. (2014, 245)

Although there are dangers in such freedoms—wild analysis or unethical violations of boundaries—this saying gave me courage to do something I would otherwise never have done.

Temenos Regained

Ruth’s case was one I did not want to take. 5 I received a telephone call from an elderly colleague. She asked me to see Ruth as a personal favor, just for a consultation and to refer her on. Her only daughter had been killed in a traffic accident, and she was in despair. My colleague was worried about her. Would I see her? I often like to play therapeutic matchmaker. Reluctantly I agreed. I was afraid that I would be dealing with an acutely suicidal patient and thought of Martin Buber’s words, “What do we expect when we are in despair and yet go to someone?” That was the inspiration for the opening active imagination. Buber answers his own question: “Surely a presence by means of which we are told that nevertheless there is meaning” (1973, 46). What presence could I offer?

The woman who arrived was not who I had expected. She was a heavyset woman in her seventies who sat down tentatively. She began speaking of going to a psychiatrist who, after a few sessions, declared her a hopeless case. She said she was not suicidal and even had at times a joie de vivre, when she was taking photographs or looking after her many pets or wounded strays. Until recently, she had volunteered at a local zoo and her dream had been to run a shelter for wounded animals. She spoke openly about the death of her daughter, but as often happens in analysis, the actual details emerged only much later.

This is what happened: Her daughter was traveling on her motorcycle with her fiancé to visit his mother for her birthday. When her scarf blew off, she wheeled back to retrieve it and was killed instantly by an oncoming semi-trailer. The fiancé had emerged unscathed and appeared at her doorstep to tell her the bitter news. “All my life,” she said, “I had been afraid I would lose her. Even when she was small, whenever she would let go of my hand, I was terrified I would never see her again. Now what I had feared most, has happened.” I experienced Ruth in countertransference like Lot’s wife, psychically frozen in the process of looking back at the trauma (Abramovitch 2020).

The sudden death of her daughter, however, was not an isolated tragedy; it was only the most recent in a series of awesome losses. Ruth’s mother and younger brother died at Auschwitz. Her father survived but cut off all contact after telling her she was not his biological daughter but the result of his wife’s adultery. Her older brother was killed in a work-related accident. Her first husband died from a degenerative neurological disorder. Her second husband and father of their daughter divorced her and disappeared. She was a person without living relatives. In Hebrew, there is a special term for such a person, galmud, or galmuda in the feminine, one who is “alone and abandoned.” Appropriately, the word is only found in the book of Job (3:7). I often feel that what protects analysts from psychic infection, or secondary trauma, from the horrifying narratives of our patients, is that we have heard worse. Here was a case of loss, repeated loss, beyond imagination. I felt that I had been chosen to be her therapist and could not refer her to someone else.

At first the sessions did not flow but jerked with a staccato intensity. She spoke, at the beginning, of her teacher, later a famous writer, who received her as a refugee in Israel. He had written a book of memoirs that referred to Ruth solely in a single phrase, ironically, describing how they were riding a motorcycle together. Her pain at being so dismissed, reduced to a half sentence, was the first time she showed any hint of emotion. Through active imagination, we revisited her homes in Berlin and Prague, her youth, her mother, and then finally she began introducing me to her daughter, whose presence would overwhelm the space between us.

Nature documentaries and her animals provided the warmth and acceptance she did not get from people. Analysis became what she called her “island of sanity” and often her only human contact during the week. We started saying goodbye in French, a la prochaine, and I understood that partings were literally and symbolically in a foreign language. Will there be a next time? That was the existential question. Slowly, slowly, a kind of trust was built up, until kairos (a sudden window of opportunity) intervened.

After much deliberation, I decided that I should take a mini-sabbatical of three months to begin in a year’s time. I stopped taking new patients. I was working toward ending with others and offered referrals to those still in the midst of their journey. I was trying to do the decent thing. I dreaded telling her but knew I had to. When I told her of my plans, she said, straightforwardly, “Do you care about me?” and immediately added, “Then how can you go?” My leaving, I felt, would undo all the hard work we had done together, reawakening her profound abandonment anxieties. Indeed, she reacted immediately with the fear that I would never return. I felt as though the vessel of work that had been built up bit by bit was being smashed to pieces.

Daniel Stern who speaks of the “now moments” in analysis tends to discuss positive, life-enhancing moments of courage, when the therapist leaves the script and ventures into unexplored territory with positive results. But there are deeply destructive “now moments”—shadow moments when the analyst knows that something deeply unhealing has occurred. At that moment, I felt that I was Kali, the destroyer.

How could I leave for my mini-sabbatical and yet not leave? How could I go without her feeling abandoned once again or, worse, that the trust which had been carefully created was a profound trick? I felt helpless. I needed inspiration. Intuition. Then the kairos opportunity appeared.

I discussed my dilemma with my analyst group, Bitter Lemon, so-called in honor of the Schweppes drink we traditionally consumed. There, I heard from a fellow analyst, herself a child survivor of the Holocaust, how she had dealt with a fragile patient, also a child Holocaust survivor. When this analyst was away, she had allowed the patient to continue to visit the therapeutic space during her absence. Here, I felt was inspiration. But how could I raise the issue that so fundamentally violated the basic element of the frame? Yet, as if her unconscious had heard my thoughts in a participation mystique, she asked me at the very next session, “Who will be looking after your plants?” Emboldened by what I had heard, I asked if she would like to care for them in my absence. She said, “Yes.”

Before I left, I gave her a key to my office on the understanding that she would water the plants and be able to come to my office when she wished. I left. She came, watered the plants, and used the room for quiet solitude and meditation in a sanctified space, like sitting in an empty church. When I returned, she expressed gratitude that I had trusted her to come and look after the plants. She said how it had helped her through the painfully long absence. Her ability to keep my plants alive allowed both of us to experience a transformation.

Clearly, I do not advocate giving the keys of the clinic to our patients. For most patients, it would be highly inappropriate, if not damaging to the therapeutic process, or worse. Had I heard that a colleague had done so, I would seriously question his clinical competence, or even his sanity. But for Ruth, imagination, intuition, and inspiration came together to allow a dramatic exception of what I have come to call temenos regained.

Working with Ruth also changed how I have envisioned analysis. I used to think that analysis had a goal, such as individuation, somewhere in the future, when the person blossoms into a life of fullness. That is wonderful if it happens. But working with Ruth, I understood that the future was not the goal, expanding the present was. Sometimes the key moments of analysis are not with the analyst, but when the patient is able to experience the presence of the analyst in his or her absence. Jung, who showed so much inner fortitude in exploring new pathways in depth, gave me the courage to find this creative solution for an extraordinary situation.

Full and Empty Space

Ruth’s reactions pushed me to consider more deeply the influence of the physical space where analysis takes place. I realized that my work was not only influenced by Jung’s ideas but also by how he arranged his therapeutic space. In terms of the philosophy of decorating clinical space, there are two schools of thought: the empty space and the full space. The empty space is derived from a desire for tzimtzum. Tzimtzum is a kabbalistic idea that God had to reduce Himself to allow space for the world to be created. In a similar fashion, analysts should reduce themselves to allow maximum space for the patient’s unconscious projections and fantasies. This school strongly recommends a strict minimalism. Nina Coltart, a leading British psychoanalyst, follows this train of thought: “I think a bare wall allows for freer fantasy in the patient and I would certainly always choose to have white walls as my personal preference” (1993, 30). Pictures, she says, can evoke transference reactions or reveal intrusive aspects of the analyst. Minimalism is rationalized by allowing the patient full reign for fantasy, but it may also evoke an impersonal emotional atmosphere that interferes with therapeutic process. In addition, how will the analyst feel sitting all day in white minimalism?

Although many Freudians adopted the empty school, both Freud and Jung exemplified the “full” school. Freud’s office was crowded with innumerable statues and artifacts that he loved and discussed with his patients. Jung’s office was full of ethnographic treasures from his many travels as well as the beautiful stained-glass windows he had made in honor of his daughter’s birth.

My room has a distinctly ethnographic feel. The style of my office is clearly in that “full” tradition. I now want to describe my relationship to a few pictures in my office, which help provide a healing backdrop for the performance of analysis.

The Altar Piece of my Temenos

My true chosen art in my office is a painting by the great Dutch painter Vermeer, called Woman Reading a Letter. 6 The painting depicts a young woman dressed in a blue jacket reading a letter. In the lower foreground, there are a long table and some leather-backed chairs. In the higher background, there is a large map of some far distant land, set on the white wall. Each object is accompanied by its shadows. The intensity of her feelings is conveyed subtly, indirectly in the timeless tension between the woman, the letter, the map, and the chairs. The woman herself may be pregnant, but even this is ambiguous. The spectacular blue is made from lapis lazuli, imported even in the seventeenth century from Afghanistan, giving the hue an inherently international look. The woman is alone in the privacy of her home and yet very much engaged with an absent other. This painting of a woman, pensive, reading, guards and sanctifies my therapeutic space. She is the altarpiece of my temenos.

Jung believed that the image, rather than the word, was the fundamental language of the psyche. Not only do images precede words developmentally, but images remain a universal language in a way that words can never be. The images from the Vermeer painting give the therapeutic space a sense of holiness. For me, this painting is a symbolic representation of the analytic process. The map on the wall represents the need analysts have for a map, or theory, that helps us trace the therapeutic journey. We need to know where we are and perhaps where we are heading. The pregnancy represents the part of the person that is coming into life but is as yet unborn, like when I dreamed I was pregnant during my own analysis. The unconscious, so Jung taught, is always sending us messages, if only we can read them with clarity and serenity. The letter is akin to a message from an intimate but faraway presence. The letter the woman is holding is like a dream or symptom, a message from the unconscious, which seems very far away but, of course, is very close to hand. In the blue lady, the painting draws us, not outward, but inward, toward her inner, expecting space. The map, the woman, and letter are all placed between two chairs. Vermeer certainly could not have known about psychotherapy or analysis, but in this picture, I believe, he has symbolically depicted much of its essence.

There is another image on a different wall; it is a Japanese print from a poster for a 1986 exhibition of woodblock prints at the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, in Haifa. It depicts a large manor house as seen from above so that the viewer can simultaneously see deep inside the inner courtyard as well as its outside defensive roof exteriors. From this “impossible” bird’s eye view, we can see not only the heart of the courtyard but also all the series of defensive roof protectors. This “view” suggests how Jungian psychology takes a peculiar perspective on defenses and resistance. On the one hand, it assumes that people do not naturally resist but want to get better. Their symptoms, rather, are failed attempts at self-healing. On the other hand, when resistance does occur in the therapeutic process, interpreting it directly is usually seen as unhelpful. I do not like it when someone tells me I am being defensive, especially if it is true. Rather, the analyst takes resistance as a sign that something is not sufficiently secure and safe in the therapeutic container, or that the analyst’s style of communication is inappropriate, for instance, the patient perceives me as speaking on the judging axis instead of the perceiving axis. Resistance is, therefore, the responsibility of the analyst. A woman, whom I will call Lisa, spends most of the session giving a detailed list of everything she has done during the week, and any attempt to draw in her feelings is met with “just let me finish”; by the time she has finished, the time is up. I wonder why she is so defensive. I feel desperate, useless perhaps as a result of participation mystique and projective identification. But I have no space to speak.

Then I see the Japanese print. It reminds me I must see into this person’s hidden, unseen inner courtyard, behind their defensive walls. This print gives me inspiration when dealing with a highly defended individual. It reminds me that I must not take a frontal approach, but rather seek a “seemingly impossible” birds’ eye view to see down into the patient’s inner courtyard, where there is a life so different from the outer face of the personality. This print allows me to imagine—to imagine a realm of innerness where the work must take place. Suddenly, I find myself saying, “It must be hard to be vulnerable.” She starts crying silently, then weeping, then sobbing, and says, “I am so afraid.” A connection is made. Without the inspiration and intuition from the Japanese, I doubt it would have happened.

Analysis as Performance Art

Jung speaks to me as artist, especially his work as a sculptor. I am fascinated by the fact that he was a spy for the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), precursor of the CIA, and correctly predicted Hitler’s suicide and subsequent collapse of resistance. He was called “Agent 488,” and his handler, Allen W. Dulles, later remarked: “Nobody will probably ever know how much Prof. Jung contributed to the allied cause during the war” (Bair 2004, 492).

My Jung remained creative unto his death, always examining, always wanting to know more and trying to understand. Besides well-known concepts such as shadow, anima/animus, and self, I am drawn to some lesser known concepts: recollectivization, regressive restoration of persona, the unconscious as the land of the ancestors. But I am also in admiration of Jung the writer; Memories, Dreams, Reflections, I consider, above all, to be his masterpiece. Analysts are extremely reflective. They reflect on what patients are feeling, their own feelings, the therapeutic interaction, and more. But there is one area in which they are surprisingly unreflective, and it is in how they write about analysis. If analysis is like poetry, then most writing about analysis is prosaic prose. Occasionally, a work like Irving Yalom’s Love’s Executioner or Naomi Lloyd’s The Knife and the Butterfly: A Story of Jungian Analysis appears, by writers who convey a vivid near-novel-like experience but with little connection to theory. However, the point of writing is not to give a faithful account, but to convince the reader about the correctness of the theoretical formulation, a tradition that began with the work of Freud and Jung. As Kenneth Spence has shown, the goal of clinical writing is to transform clinical failure into narrative success. Freud himself admitted that he was not a good analyst because he was far too interested in theory. Indeed, the very best analysts are probably people we have never heard of because they were more interested in their patients as people than in writing about them.

But theory is in many respects like the hidden script of analysis—theory not only describes therapy but also implies how things are supposed to unfold. Even Jung who said we had to invent a new therapy for each patient, spoke of the four stages of analysis: confession, elucidation, education, transformation. He compared it to the alchemical process, and even described it as a journey of self-exploration.

Written accounts of analysis usually rely on what literary scholars call “naïve realism” in which the author-clinician dominates the therapeutic space. She has total, omniscient understanding and so symbolically dominates the patient in what may be called a “narrative imperialism.” Case studies simplify and make clinical reality far too coherent. From the point of view of performance art, when I read a really convincing clinical article or book, I now become exceedingly suspicious. Such coherence belongs to theory, not to the lived reality of analysis.

I am also an anthropologist, and I like nothing more than going to funerals to understand how different societies deal with death. Anthropologists also used to believe in naïve realism until post-modernism hit anthropology like a tsunami. Naïve realism reflects the view that an observer perceives the world directly, as it is, rather like the omniscient narrator in a novel. Specifically, it believes that the observer, whether ethnographer or analyst, is able to give an accurate and true account of events. In contrast, post-modernism believes there is no objective reality and claims that knowledge is inevitably a social construction, reflecting the power structure of contemporary elites. Instead of seeking an imaginary Truth, one ought to seek out the dissonant voices below the surface. Anthropologists began to question the text of their ethnographies and understood that their task was supremely more complicated than they had ever imagined. Suddenly, ethnographers understood there was no external eye allowing them to describe cultures as they really were. It also sensitized anthropologists to consider that there were hidden voices that were not being heard and that there was not one authoritative point of view. This led to a fertile and ongoing search for a new form of writing ethnography and a new understanding of how the ethnographer gains his or her authority, how native informants can be involved in the construction of the text, and how they can deal with multiple levels of reality simultaneously. This movement was called Writing Culture. I believe analysts need a similar creative literary revolution, which might be called, by analogy, Writing Analysis. We need to think more about how we present and represent what really goes on in analysis, search for more poetic and multilayered texts, to deconstruct our analytical authority, in essence, to explore and experiment as in performance art.

Conclusion: Who Is My Jung?

Jung is someone who invited me into his house but then inspired me to find my own way. To hear a dream and say “I have no idea what this dream means” and only then begin to work with my patient. Jung does not have to be my hero. I doubt I would like him if we met; but he has shone a light on the psyche and the shadow and the self and revealed the secrets of active imagination, and for that I will be eternally grateful to my Jung.

Notes on contributors

Henry Abramovitch

Henry Abramovitch , professor emeritus, Tel Aviv University, is founding president of and training analyst in the Israel Institute of Jungian Psychology. He is the author of Brothers and Sisters: Myth and Reality (Texas A&M University Press, 2014) and Why Odysseus Came Home Dressed as a Stranger and Other Puzzling Moments in the Life of Great Individuals (Chiron, 2020). With Murray Stein, he is co-author of the play The Analyst and the Rabbi, available as a book and also as a DVD from Chiron. He supervises routers in Eastern Europe and lives and works in Jerusalem. Correspondence: abramh@tauex.tau.ac.il.


  1. This paper is based in part on a talk given at the Fifth Annual Intensive School in Analytical Psychology for Russian Speakers in Israel, November 3–7, 2019.
  2. Special edition on “Who Is My Jung?” Journal of Analytical Psychology63 no. 3 (June 2018).
  3. In 1975 the Malagasy Republic became the Democratic Republic of Madagascar.
  4. The book and DVD can be found at https://chironpublications.com/product-category/authors/abramovitch-henry/.
  5. Parts of this section are based on my article “Temenos Regained: Reflections on the Absence of the Analyst,” Journal of Analytical Psychology47 (2002): 583–97.
  6. Based, in part, on my article, “Henry Abramovitch on a Beloved Work of Art: The Altar Piece of My Temenos,” Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche9, no. 2 (May 2015): 81–83.


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Jung Journal: Symbol & Culture. Vol. 14 (4): Pages 137-148 | Published online: 08 Dec 2020, https://doi.org/10.1080/19342039.2020.1822127

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