Jung At Heart

Joy Behar and Me

I like Joy Behar and yesterday I found more reason I like her --

she cites Karen Horney's Neurosis and Human Growth   as the most influential book for her. I read Horney when I was in college. I was delighted to find a woman writing about psychoanalysis and in language I could understand.

Today of course some of her ideas sound dated, as she wrote this book in the early 50s. Still her concept of  "the tyranny of the shoulds" by which she meant

"these back up the development of the idealized self: "You SHOULD be smarter (better, braver, prettier, etc.)." Also called "the tyranny of the shoulds." Shoulds tend to be absolute and unrealistic, very often not even asking the right question: "Am I attractive?" for example often means, "Am I lovable?" When the idealized self's inner dictates are not fulfilled, the person feels like a failure. This is why rigid shoulds can cause self-hatred." (A Karen Horney Glossary)

Thank you, Joy, for reminding me about this book.

The Story We Tell

Human beings are narrative makers. We remember ourselves and our lives in stories -- stories we tell our friends, family, strangers, ourselves. When a new patient comes to me, I say "tell me about yourself" and await the story of this person's life and how it has brought her to me. And if we work together for some time, that story will change so that the story she tells at the end will be recognizable as hers but different in some ways from the tale told at the beginning.

"The universe is made of stories – not atoms" --   Muriel Rukeyser

So, we swim in a sea of stories -- our own and those of the ones around us. And we shape our lives around the story we tell ourself is ours, the story that we live. Think of a person you no doubt know whose life could be summed up in the song title, "I would do anything for love" -- can you begin to see the story he or she is living? And how might that person be able to change the course of the story, write a new chapter if only she knew it was what she is living?

Oh, It's winter

The moon was setting as the sun was rising this morning--

Moonset

The latest storm brought us around 15" of fresh snow yesterday. 


Home

A little while ago, on a day when I was a little bored, I watched a number of episodes of the HGTV show "House Hunters". It was almost addictive, watching couples and families with their list of must haves in a new house -- the house must have a kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. There must be a large "master suite" with an equally large master bathroom. And even the bathroom must have updated fixtures. Even more surprising was the amount of space these people felt they needed. Even couples without children and not planning to have any often wanted four or five bedrooms and 3000+ sq. ft. 

This all brought a favorite book of mine to mind -- House As a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home,  by Claire Cooper Marcus. I like to think about houses and what they say about us. If you haven't read Marcus' book and you share my interest, do read it.

So what does it mean that people want huge kitchens, designed not so much for cooking convenience, as many of these huge kitchens require many steps in order to prepare food simply because they are so large, but as exemplars of luxury and being up-to-date? I am not speaking here of really high end houses -- most of what I saw were for middle to upper middle class people who would not have others preparing food or cleaning for them. And what is it that makes relatively new but white appliances not acceptable? What makes stainless steel so important? What does it mean? What are these people wanting their kitchens to show about them? Is it only about prosperity and success?

Follow-up

A commenter on my post about screening makes an argument in favor of screening and by implication medication for those who would not otherwise seek treatment. As you might guess, I disagreed. Then today Neuroskeptic posted about yet another study showing that antidepressants do not work for mild depression. That study is not news. But he goes on to talk about how we got here in terms of changes in how depression is diagnosed.

" in fact, it's not just not news, it's positively ancient. 50 years ago, at the dawn of the antidepressant era, it was commonly said that most antidepressants don't work in everyone with "depression", they work best in people with endogenous depression, and less well, or not at all, in those with "neurotic" or "reactive" depressions...

"Endogenous" is not strictly the same as "severe", however, in practice, these two concepts have never really been clearly seperated, and they're largely equivalent today, because the leading measure of "severity", the Hamilton Scale, measures symptoms, and arguably these symptoms are mostly (though not entirely) the symptoms of the old concept of endogenous depression. The Hamilton Scale was formulated in 1960 when modern concepts of "minor depressive disorder" and "major depressive disorder" were unknown."

Peace in our time

This is not usual --

the boys


© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.