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Psychology's Dream of the Courtroom
Mogenson, Greg
Spring Journal and Books - OOB / Softcover / 2016-11-01 / 1935528777
Archetypal (Jungian) Psychology
reg price: $48.50 our price: $ 43.65
228 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Psychology and the law have long maintained a collegial association with one another as adjacent disciplines. In the criminal justice system, for example, psychologists and psychiatrists serve regularly as expert witnesses, providing insight into the motivations and mental status of accused and convicted persons. But what about the reverse of this relation? What contribution has “the law” made to the work of analyst and patient in the consulting room? And what insights may be drawn from putting psychology itself on trial?In this ground-breaking book, the use of legal metaphors and the courtroom analogy by Freud, Jung, and psychology more generally are examined in relation to the practice psychotherapy and analysis. In this way, psychoanalysis and analytical psychology are shown in fresh perspective to be disciplines of truth in the spirit of a trial or court proceeding.

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Like a good crime lawyer, the author of this book, Jungian analyst Greg Mogenson, picks up on a clue from C. G. Jung and follows its lead to the prosecution of his case. Jung had compared the process of psychotherapy to “an endless inner trial in which [each person] is his own counsel and ruthless examiner.” Mogenson notes that since the beginning of psychoanalysis therapists have often been called upon by lawyers to give evidence concerning the mental status of accused persons. But the invitation of Jung’s clue reverses the process and looks for contributions that the law has made to the work of analysts and patients. The book cites Freud’s and Jung’s extensive use of the legal metaphor for the analytic work, much more extensive than has been reported before. It also tells about the invoking of the courtroom analogy by patients and therapists in actual cases, as well as in literary texts. The result is that Mogenson’s argument presents psychotherapy as a bringing of ego to justice, that is, to the truth of soul. All of this makes for most fascinating reading—like a crime novel!—and the prosecution of the author’s case produces many surprising psychological insights by way of the legal metaphor. In several senses of the phrase: Psychology is on trial.

What is the nature and truth of psychology? Such a question is rarely asked, rather, taken for granted, remaining unthought, unconscious. Mogenson’s work takes up the question, seeking to restore to psychology its nature as the logos of the psyche or soul. Through the mediating notions of the “dream of the courtroom” and criminality – to which, both literally and metaphorically, Freud and Jung referred and alluded – the author reflects psychology back into itself, into its essence. For psychology needs to base itself upon its truly internal other, “the courtroom.” With an original, seminal, and forensic acuity of mind, he explores whether psychology measures up to the truth of its existing, living concept. Mogenson acts as both a prosecutor against the insipid “pop” psychologies that confuse emotionalism for soul and as a defence counsel for the soul as both psychology’s subject and object. Following Jung, he reminds us that psychology is the soul speaking of and from itself. To state his case, he draws on the works not only of Freud and Jung, but of Hegel, Nietzsche, Kafka, and the contemporary Jungian analyst, Wolfgang Giegerich. The “courtroom” notion demands of one’s thinking a rigour and discipline, for what is at stake is nothing less than truth. The author with his subtlety of mind proves himself well up to thinking through to the dialectical truth of psychology as the soul’s uroboric self-relation and self-reflection.

In this original, challenging and masterful work, Greg Mogenson reaches into the depths of his imaginal life. Following Jung and Giegerich—but perhaps more importantly, an inner figure stimulated by the prosecutor Jack McCoy, from the popular TV series Law & Order—Mogenson puts psychology on trial, indicting and prosecuting it, and finding it guilty. He holds it accountable for betraying soul, for falling prey to a personalistic and cultural bias, a logos-less conception of man that does not do justice to truth. Mogenson challenges psychology to face its otherness by encountering the archetypal metaphors and language of law and order. In so doing, he calls psychology back to itself to restore justice, human dignity, and the integrity of the soul. Mogenson is the real McCoy.

It is truly astounding to learn from the wealth of examples that Mogenson unearthed how frequently and poignantly the psychological mind has been informed by the courtroom metaphor with all its ramifications. And it is fascinating to see how his psychological intelligence manages to overcome the innocence of the usual clear-cut opposition of ‘criminal’ and ‘judge’ and to exhaust the speculative potential of each of the many aspects of this rich metaphor. Above all, we see how his in-depth comprehension of psychology’s dreaming of “the law” makes psychology come home to itself. Mogenson’s book is not only “about” psychology. From the beginning to the end it is itself psychology in action and thus can serve as a kind of practical training course for both intelligent beginners and experienced psychologists.

A masterly indictment of Psychology’s having given up on itself as a discipline of truth and mutated into the personalistic therapy that is generally practiced today. Mogenson’s witnesses against this trend include Plato, Hegel, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kafka, Heidegger, Freud, Jung, Giegerich, Girard, and Žižek. The book brilliantly prosecutes its case by correlating the speculative logic of Psychology and the Law. It is essential reading for practitioners of those disciplines as well as for thinking readers from every walk of life.


Sources and Abbreviations
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Law & Order Meets Freud & Jung: The Trials of Analysis
Chapter 2: Before The Bar of The Notion
Chapter 3: Speculative Judgment
Chapter 4: From Onslaught to the Witness Box Repercussions to Truth: Psychology as Counsel for the Defence
Chapter 5: Criminality and Psychology
Chapter 6: Psychology’s Dream of the Courtroom in the Light of the Logic of Crime
Chapter 7: Crime and Truth
Chapter 8: Once More the Shine on Binder’s Head
In Lieu of an Afterword
About the Author

About the Author:

Greg Mogenson is a registered psychotherapist and Jungian psychoanalyst practicing in London, Ontario, Canada. He is the editor of The Studies in Archetypal Psychology Series of Spring Journal Books as well as a founding member and Vice-President of The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority. The author of numerous articles in the field of analytical psychology, his books include A Most Accursed Religion: When a Trauma Becomes God; Greeting the Angels: An Imaginal View of the Mourning Process; The Dove in the Consulting Room: Hysteria and the Anima in Bollas and Jung; Northern Gnosis: Thor Baldr, and the Volsungs in the Thought of Freud and Jung, and (with W. Giegerich and D. L. Miller) Dialectics & Analytical Psychology: The El Capitan Canyon Seminar.

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