Thursday, March 24, 2022


Laura Martin


Thursday, March 24, 2022

7:30 pm


9:30 pm









Reserve your place at this event


Fundamentals, History of Neurosis, Individuation


The professional life of the term ‘neurosis’ as a medical diagnosis began only about 150 years ago, when the late18th-century Scottish physician William Cullen included it as one ofthe four main categories of illness in his 1769 Synopsis Nosologiae Methodicae, and it may now be on the way out, having been removed from the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III) as a diagnostic category in 1980. This relatively short lifespan is in itself very interesting:what might be considered a mere fact of the condition humaine bursts into being as a psychiatric entity, something to be diagnosed and treated; what has always been around becomes problematic and in need of professional intervention. Paradoxically, the ‘disease’ that is (possibly) universal across time and place may be said to be born of modernity—at least in its modern ubiquity—and to express the particularly modern problem of individuality.

This seminar will focus on what might be called ‘The Age of Neurosis’, that is from the Enlightenment up to the role that this concept or diagnosis plays in the work of CG Jung. Key to Jung’s lifelong work was the problem of overcoming our sense of alienation from ‘spirit’ or ‘the numinous’: neurosis, he said, is ‘the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning’ (Jung 1958: 330-31). Neurosis is not so much an illness for Jung, then, but rather it is a call to action, a reminder that your purpose on this earth is to find out who you are and to become that. Jung calls it ‘finding one’s personal myth’ and generalises the experience as‘individuation’.

After a presentation setting the context of the history of neurosis as a medical diagnosis, clinical work from the presenter and from participants will be discussed, with a focus on how we might best think of this concept in our practices today.


IGAP member


Jung, C.G., ‘Adaptation,Individuation, Collectivity’, CW 18, pp. 449-454 (para. 1084-1106)

---, ‘Ch. 2: The School Years’, in Memories, Dreams Reflections

---, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

---‘Psychotherapists or the Clergy’, CW 11, pp. 327-347 (para. 488- 538)

---, ‘The Symbolic Life’, CW 18, pp,267-290 (para.608-696)


Further Readings:

Ellenberger, Henri F. 1970, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry, New York: Basic Books

Foucault, Michel. 1965, Madness and Civilization. A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Trans. by Richard Howard. New York: Vintage(orig. pub. in French 1961)

Freud, Sigmund. 1964, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Trans. and ed. by James Strachey.New York: Norton (orig. pub. in German 1933)

Hannah, Barbara. 2001, Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination as Developed by C.G. Jung. Wilmette,Illinois: Chiron (orig. pub. 1981)

Latour, Bruno. 1993, We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard: Harvard University Press (orig. pub. in French 1991)

McGilchrist, Iain. 2009, The Master and His Emissary. New Haven and London:Yale University Press

Mitchell, Stephen A. and Margaret J. Black. 1995, Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought. Nocity: Basic Books

Showalter, Elaine. 1985, The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830-1980. New York: Penguin

---. 1997, Hystories. Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture. New York: Picador

Whyte, Lancelot Law. 1960, The Unconscious Before Freud. London: Tavistock Publications