My first post on “A Dangerous Method” looked into the depths of the film to see what it could teach us both about the nature of individual therapy and the psychological character of major life transitions. This post looks at two other insights that the film offers about major life transitions and the nature of the individuation process. Both are in the latter part of the film, where, for a time, Jung the healer becomes one who is himself in need of healing.
Here are two further important aspects of Jung’s psychological development portrayed in the film.
3. Often Growth is Preceded by Depression
At the end of the film, in his last encounter with Sabina Spielrein, we become aware that Jung is suffering from acute depression. What the film only explores in a cursory way, though, is the way in which this experience of depression and going into the depths of the “night sea journey” eventually leads Jung to a closer and different relationship to himself, the discovery of hitherto unknown parts of his psyche, and eventually to the development of what we know today as his unique psychological perspective.
Jung’s experience highlights an important truth. Depression involves a submergence of the person into his or her unconscious depths. But if we can have the courage to go into our depression as Jung did, we often find that it contains within it the very things that the soul needs for its renewal.
4. Everyone Needs an Individual Way Forward
The film ends at the very beginning of a vital stage in Jung’s personal journey. He has broken with Freud, and ended the relationship with Spielrein. Implied, but not stated, is that the next few years of Jung’s life will involve an inward journey of the most profound kind, that will ultimately be chronicled in his great Red Book, and, later in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams and Reflections.
This aspect of Jung’s journey sheds much light on each of our individual journeys. For when we are confronted with the profoundest types of crisis in our lives, only an individual answer will suffice, as Jung came to know well. There is a definite type of crisis that is only resolved by a very individual encounter with the unconscious, and within it, the as yet undiscovered aspects of the self.
Wishing you every good thing on your own individual journey to wholeness,