chapter  9
33 Pages

On the frustration of archetypal intent

Although fears are commonly expressed for the health of Western society, it is still fortunately true to say that the majority (albeit a shrinking majority) of our children grow up in reasonably stable families where they receive care which is ‘good enough’ from both parents.1 Developmental psychology is sufficiently advanced for us to know that such children are likely to enjoy mental health in that they are free of incapacitating neurotic symptoms, and that they tend to become secure, self-reliant adults who display social maturity through their ability to be helpful and co-operative with others. It is these characters that psychiatry and the various schools of analysis regard as ‘normal’: psychoanalysts speak of them as possessing a ‘strong ego’; Kleinians consider them to have ‘introjected a good object’; in Erikson’s terms, they have established ‘basic trust’; Fairbairn would have described them as displaying ‘mature dependence’ (i.e. we all need people we know we can ‘depend on’, but without being anxious or compulsive about it, without ‘clinging on’ to them); for Bowlby and the attachment theorists, they have succeeded in constructing a representative model of themselves as being able to provide self-help and as being worthy of receiving help from others should the need arise. In Jungian terms, they are well started on the path to individuation.