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course one can refer the patient to him. And Jung in fact did this, mostly with Catholic patients. For the most part, however, theologians today are still too inexperienced to be able to help in any way. For instance, once a peasant woman came to me who from her earliest childhood had had vivid visions, primarily visions of light. She was completely normal. “I went to the minister with this,” she told me, “but, you know, they don’t understand anything about it. The minister even gave me a frightened look, as though I were crazy.” And conversely, it also has happened not infrequently that priests and ministers have been very impressed by the religious visions of people who have consulted them, without realizing that they were dealing with a case of schizophrenia. Since the unconscious of patients spontaneously produces religious symbols and since it is precisely in them that a potential for bringing about a cure lies, the therapist cannot leave them aside. As a result, he often finds himself, willy-nilly, suddenly deeply involved in discussing ultimate religious questions, which formerly were the province of priests and ministers. But that is not all that is meant by the criticism of psychologism. It has another aspect. One repeatedly hears from theologians of both major denominations that in therapy God, Christ, and so on, are devalued into “merely psychological” contents. As Jung never tired of pointing out in his works, this criticism is based on an undervaluation of the psyche. After all, we do not know, and do not even pretend to know, what the psyche is in itself. It is an unplumbable mystery whose bounds we do not know. To speak of it as “merely psychic” is therefore nonsense. Moreover, this contradicts the view of the Christian tradition, which affirms that the imago dei is embedded in the depths of the psyche and is at work there. Moreover, Jung pointed out that in speaking about God images as being based on an archetype, the word “archetype”—since it denotes something that has been shaped—directly presupposes something that has shaped it. He himself was convinced that God is something objective that transcends the psyche. But that was no more than a personal conviction not susceptible to empirical proof. For that reason here is precisely where we find the boundary where psychology leaves off. It endeavors to speak only about that which is empirically provable. Thus it can observe and describe God images in the

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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