Tuesday, February 12, 2013

James A. Hall, M.D., 1934-2013

James A. Hall, M.D., 1934-2013
James Hall, M.D., who died on January 22 at his home in Dallas, was a prominent American Jungian Analyst. He graduated from the Jung Institute in Zurich in 1972., He was a founding member and first president of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and the author of important works on Jungian approaches to dreams and interpretation, as well as the introductory text “The Jungian Experience: Analysis and Individuation.” His writings span four decades. 
Following a stroke, James Hall suffered for the last twenty-two years from "locked-in" syndrome. With Patton Howell he wrote the book Locked in to Life, which is described the following way: 
“In 1991 while traveling in his professional capacity of Jungian psychiatrist, James Hall falls ill, beginning the rest of his life as a man who must deal with the limitations of being "locked-in," a form of stroke so devastating and complete that the resulting physical damage is considered a death sentence. In living his life with Locked-in Syndrome, Dr. Hall brings to bear the significant and formidable intellect of his professional training to consider questions, and answers, which only a man of his experience could entertain. James will begin a journey and over time, return to the Beginning of the Universe and find new understanding and his task of redemption. Written with his long-time friend Patton Howell, a forensic psycho-physiologist and President of PEN Texas, in eloquent text unhampered by ego or illusion, Locked in to Life is a book which will change your life in ways you cannot imagine.” 
Together with James Hall, I had the honor to write an article, ‘The Complex and the Object: Common Ground, Different Paths’ (Quadrant, vol. 36:2, Summer 2006, pp. 27-42). 
I pray that James, while bravely struggling when locked-in to life, will find some rest in the soul’s freedom from its earthly trap.

‘The Complex and the Object: Common Ground, Different Paths’


While complex and object are part of everyday psychoanalytic discourse, the meaning of the terms varies with different approaches, and the relationship between the concepts is far from apparent. Specifically, in this paper the Jungian complex and the Kleinian internal object are compared. It is the view of these authors that the internal object is primarily related to the archetypal image, and the internalized object to Jung’s concept of imago. The complex is the central concept that in a well-defined model of the psyche dynamically unites the phenomena described by these concepts. Furthermore, while in neurotic conflict the struggle between the ego and autonomous complexes takes place on the battlefield of the subjective psyche, in the personality disorders the complex is projected ‘wholesale’ onto the external object, turning the other into a ‘complex-object.’


The complex and the object have traveled along noticeably different paths through the history of psychoanalytic and clinical development.

While the complex was a central idea in the early conceptual space of psychoanalysis, it has since been reduced to a single core complex, carried by Oedipus. Even in Jungian psychoanalysis, which Jung at one point considered calling Complex Psychology, the complex has lost some of its vigor. Although Jung, in contrast to Freud, accounts for a large or even an infinite number of complexes, the concept is less in use today than in the early 1900s, when by means of the Word Association Test a plenitude of complexes were traced down and extracted from their hideaway behind every galvanic skin response. Since then, the complex has by and large been discarded in the shadow – which of course is the appropriate place for complexes, as they thrive and grow most significantly in the dark, outside of consciousness. Yet, the repressed tends to reappear, and as indicated by recent literature, the complex reemerges from the shadow (cf. Dieckmann, 1999; Shalit, 2002; Singer & Kimbles, 2004).

In comparison, the object has become a dominant in the collective consciousness of psychoanalysis. “‘Object’ was the term chosen by Freud to designate the target of the drives, the ‘other,’ real or imaginary, toward whom the drive is directed,” writes Mitchell (1981, p. 375).

While Freud did not use the term internal object, he did describe phenomena such as internal ‘voices’ and images (ibid.). Particularly in the aftermath of Klein, the term has become part of everyday psychoanalytic discourse.

We find that the two concepts, the Jungian complex and the post-Freudian internal object, while not identical, share common ground and embrace a shared space. James Hall says, “Object-relations theory is very close to Jungian theory in its conception of intrapsychic objects, which behave with some of the attributes of part-personalities. In this regard, the term intrapsychic object resembles Jung’s picture of a personified complex described in his doctoral dissertation in 1902” (1991, p. 49).

Does this mean that the complex and the object describe the same phenomenon, and are merely dialects of different psychoanalytic tongues? Are they manifestations of different perspectives on the same structure of the psyche? Or, are the complex and the object truthfully different psychic structures and phenomena?

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