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Brief history of the "Belgian School for Jungian Psychoanalysis" by Jean Marie Spriet, co-founder of the School.

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The new only starts after the old has been accepted (C.G. Jung)

I am not a historian and will therefore not rely on documents from the archive or on testimonials from those who have witnessed the development of the Belgian School for Jungian Psychoanalysis.


To briefly outline history I will instead follow the thread of my memories of the steps that a group of young psychotherapists undertook the end of the 1960s. We were formed at the Charles Baudouin Institute in Génève, which was open to the works of Freud and Jung and where young people sought to deepen their knowledge of the work of these two authors in order to investigate to what extent this could help them in their daily clinical practice.


This group was open to the different trends of psychotherapy of that time, with the emphasis primarily on reading and studying the works by authors who were known in the French-speaking world. All members of this group were members of the Baudouin Institute. Eleven of these members left the Institute to establish a Belgian association. This was recognized by the IAAP (International Association for Analytical Psychology, based in Zurich) at the Rome Congress in 1977.


Under the impetus of Michel Graulus, countless evenings of reading and clinical discussions were organised in which the participants were introduced to Anglo-Saxon authors. We discovered the works of M.Klein and of Balint, Fairnbairn, Kohut, Kernberg and later of Bion, Grotstein and others. As a result, we were able to distance ourselves from a number of applied theoretical views, such as the notion of the "analyst who has been perfectly analysed", the "analyst who knows" and the "resistance of the analysand".


'Scientific' formulations which at that time were widespread about the archetype, repression, kinship structures, and the neutrality of the psychoanalyst which seemed to us to bring little or no clarification to the increasingly severe pathology of patients with narcissistic and borderline personality disorders, with which we were being confronted more often.


From humble and respectful listening that does not rely too much on theoretical concepts (and is not built on too many illusions) we see psychotherapy primarily and above all as a human relationship, in which two adults meet with the split, denied, idealized; all parts of their personality. It is only possible to overcome such defenses - partly and always with the necessary fragility - within an authentic relationship of the two participants.


Substantial differences of opinion between the participants in these reading groups led some to leave the association and found the "Belgian School for Jungian Psychoanalysis", which was recognised by the IAAP   in 1995. This name, which at first sight might seem strange, refers to both Freud's psychoanalysis and Jung's analytical psychology, with which the founders wanted to express their desire for openness to different psychotherapeutic traditions.


It was a painful break that prompted each of us from then on to listen to those who disagreed with our interpretations and our points of view; to recognise, acknowledge and accept our mistakes. This often helps to deepen a relationship that makes everyone more aware of their defensive and inhibitive behaviour.


I want to conclude by saying that this vibrancy in the formation of psychotherapists, through the confidential discussions and in mutual respect, always seemed to us an essential part of the human adventure that we have experienced. Such a training process in which the egos are constantly being questioned is delicate but also enriching for those who commit to it.


The essential function of an institution is that it provides a framework within which development can take place. If there is no room for development, the framework is only an academic, often rigid structure, which is stuck in its certainties.


I hope that the image I have painted does not reflect too much of my personal view of the history of the School and that other participants will be able to identify with it in part and come up with other complementary or contradictory points of view.


J.M. Spriet

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