Excerpt – Chapter X
SYNCHRONICITY and PSYCHOTHERAPY
“One reason content is all-important in therapy is that the content of a human being
experience constitutes a good deal of what makes him a unique individual. Uniqueness
in turn is a quintessential aspect of what constitutes a creation, because to be one of a
kind is to be truly new with respect to the world of events and objects. One can be new
in relation to a particular context, or in relation to what one was before, but something
unique is new in relation to the known universe. Consequently, content of therapy and
of a particular human being’s experience is inextricably involved in the creative process.”
Albert Rothenberg M.D. 1
Still what Jung labeled as Freud’s concretistic terminology and personalistic view of
the unconscious manifests Freud’s awareness that authentic transcendental experiences
and insights [‘spirituality’] are anchored in the individuals’ personal life history and its
instinctual roots. Psychoanalysis, I believe, shares with modern existentialism the tenet
that superpersonal and transcendental aspects of human existence and unconscious and
instinctual life [so much stressed by Jung] can be experienced and integrated
convincingly – without escapist embellishments, otherworldly consolations and going off
into the clouds – only in the concreteness of one’s own personal life, including the
ugliness, trivialities, and sham that go with it. It would seem that Jungian psychology and
psychotherapy jump all too readily from the here-and –now of individual life, from
concrete personal experience, to the collective unconscious myth, archetypes, religiosity,
and “spirituality” – as refuge and healing visions to cling to, leading easily to evasions
and hypocrisy instead of to genuine transcendence or in psychoanalytic terminology, to
sublimation and true ego expansion.
Hans W. Loewald M.D. 2
The philosopher, William James, a pragmatist through and through, believed that ideas are a dime a dozen. For him, what makes one idea (theory) better than another is its “cash value” or practical usefulness. 3 Implied in the term ‘cash value’ is the assumption that while all ideas (theories) work for some persons, the selection of what theory to use at any specified time with a particular patient is which theory works best. The criterion for ‘which works best’ is derived from the particular goal of treatment.
As a sample of one, this author has no doubt about the practicalusefulness of hisnaturalistic theory of ssynchronicities applied to understanding the nature of and uses put of some synchronicity ‘material’ spontaneously rreported by some patients. However, to generalize these positive results to all of humanity is a grandiose leap. Thus, iin the service of objectivity this chapter will apply Williams’ synchronicity theory in the course of his working with i three synchronicity prone patients.
Before discussing my work with some synchronicity prone patients I think it valuable to outline some notable differences between the Jungian supernatural perspective and my own naturalistic perspective.
A Summary of Williams’ Major Findings
Some Observations About Synchronicities
Synchronicities are markers of significant psychological change.
Synchronicities are markers of problem resolution in coded form.
The change associated with synchronicities is a greater cohesion of the self structure, and
expansion of consciousness, a greater tolerance for ambivalence, and complexity, and a strengthening of the autonomous ego function of synthesis resulting in notable signs of integration of a person’s powers.
The ‘message’ embedded in the coded synchronicity is a self generated communication for the purposes of furthering one’s self development in the areas of being and doing.
Synchronicities illuminate how a person generates his or her own meaningful connections as a byproduct of their developing awareness and utilization of what I refer to as “experiential” or “instinctual” logic.