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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Carl Jung on the patient selecting the symptoms of their disease.




Dr. Evans: Speaking of such psychosomatic disturbances, as, for instance, your experiences
and studies into tuberculosis, do you have any ideas as to why the patient selects this type of symptom?

Dr. Jung: He doesn't select; they happen to him.

You could ask just as well when you are eaten by a crocodile, "How did you happen to select
that crocodile?"

Nonsense, he has selected you.

Dr. Evans: Of course, "selected" in this sense refers to an unconscious process.

Dr. Jung: No, not even unconsciously.

That is an extraordinary exaggeration of the importance of the subject, to say he was choosing such
things.

They get him.

Dr. Evans: Perhaps one of the most radical suggestions in the area of psychosomatic medicine has been the suggestion that some forms of
cancer may have psychosomatic components as causal factors. Would this surprise you?

Dr. Jung: Not at all.

We know these since long ago, you know.

Fifty years ago we already had these cases; ulcer of the stomach, tuberculosis, chronic arthritis, skin diseases.

All are psychogenic under certain conditions.
Dr. Evans: And even cancer?

Dr. Jung: Well you see, I couldn't swear, but I have seen cases where I thought or wondered whether or not there was a psychogenic reason
for that particular ailment; it came too conveniently.

Many things can be found out about cancer, I'm sure.

You see, with us it has been always a question of how to treat these things, because any disease possible has a psychological
accompaniment.

It just all depends upon —perhaps life depends upon it—whether you treat such a patient psychologically in the proper way or
not.

That can help tremendously, even if you cannot prove in the least that the disease in itself is psychogenic.

You can have an infectious disease in a certain moment, that is, a physical ailment or predicament, because
you are particularly accessible to an infection—maybe sometimes because of a psychological attitude.

Angina is such a typical psychological disease; yet it is not psychological in its physical consequences.

It's just an infection.

So you ask, "Then why does psychology have anything to do with it?"

Because it was the psychological moment maybe that allowed the infection to grow.

When the disease has been established and there is a high fever and an abscess, you cannot cure it by psychology.

Yet it is quite possible that you can avoid it by a proper psychological attitude.

Dr. Evans: So all this interest in psychosomatic medicine is pretty old stuff to you.

Dr. Jung: It's all known here long ago.

Dr. Evans: And you are not at all surprised at the new developments . . .

Dr. Jung: No.

For instance, there is the toxic aspect of schizophrenia. I published it fifty years ago—just fifty years ago—and now everyone
discovers it.

You are far ahead in America with technological things, but in psychological matters and such things, you are fifty years back.

You simply don't understand it; that's a fact.

I don't want to figure in a general corrective statement; you simply are not yet aware of what there is.

There are plenty more things than people have any idea of.

I told you that case of the theologian who didn't even know what the unconscious was; he thought it was an apparition.

Everyone who says that I am a mystic is just an idiot. He just doesn't understand the first word of psychology. ~Carl Jung, Evans Conversations, Pages 34-35.