The True Practice of Psychology

The true practice of psychology is human and responds compassionately to the needs of individual human beings. I thank God for people who are more interested in human beings than in systems, for, as Jung said, any large system has the moral capacity of a violent beast. Or, as Jesus said, “The letter of the law kills, but the spirit of the law gives life.”

Every man whose fate it is to go his individual way must proceed with hopefulness and watchfulness, ever conscious of his loneliness and its dangers. The peculiarity of the way [. . .] is largely due to the fact that in psychology, which springs from and acts upon real life, we can no longer appeal to the narrowly intellectual, scientific standpoint, but are driven to take account of the standpoint of feeling, and consequently of everything that the psyche actually contains. In practical psychology, we are dealing not with any generalized human psyche, but with individual human beings and the multitudinous problems that oppress them. A psychology that satisfies the intellect alone can never be practical, for the totality of the psyche can never be grasped by intellect alone. Whether we will or no, philosophy keeps breaking through, because the psyche seeks an expression that will embrace its total nature. (C. G. Jung, Collected Works Vol. 7, para. 201).

The highest order of relating to others is love, which does no harm to one’s neighbor; and there is no system in the world that is better than that.

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