This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
The association method of Professor Carl G. Jung, of Zurich, which I will describe presently, has demonstrated beyond question that the writer has a pronounced psychological "sore spot." In other words, according to this reliable and profoundly instructive diagnostic test method, I am a psychoneurotic. Of this I was glad to learn, for in no other way could I have been so thoroughly convinced of the reliability of the method as a means of obtaining the accurate history of a patient, detecting the "psychic traumas" resulting from painful experiences of his past history, and definitely locating the ideas producing the neurosis.
One hundred "stimulus words" have been formulated by Professor Jung after many years' experience. He tells us that the words are chosen and partially arranged in such a manner as to strike easily almost all complexes of practical occurrence. In this formulary which he has constructed there is a regular mixing of the grammatical qualities of words, which has its definite reasons. In describing his method, Professor Jung says: 1
"Before the experiment begins, the test person receives the following instruction: 'Answer as quickly as possible the first word that occurs to your mind.' This instruction is so simple that it can be easily followed by anybody. The work itself, moreover, appears extremely easy, so that it might be expected that any one could accomplish it with greatest facility and promptitude. But contrary to expectation, the behavior is quite different. The first thing that strikes us is the fact that many test persons show a marked prolongation of the reaction time. This would make us think at first of intellectual difficulties - wrongly, however, as we are often dealing with very intelligent persons of fluent speech. The explanation lies rather in the emotions. In order to under- stand the matter comprehensively, we must bear in mind that the association experiments can not deal with a separated psychic function, for any psychic occurrence is never a thing in itself, but is always the resultant of the entire psychological past. The association experiment, too, is not merely a method for the reproduction of separated word couplets, but it is a kind of pastime - a conversation between experimenter and test person. In a certain sense it is even still more than that.
Words are really something like condensed actions, situations, and things. When I present a word to the test person which denotes an action, it is the same as if I should present to him the action itself, and ask him, 'How do you behave toward it? What do you think of it? What do you do in this situation?' If I were a magician, I should cause the situation corresponding to the stimulus word to appear in reality, and, placing the test person in the midst, I should then study his manner of reaction. The result of my stimulus words would undoubtedly approach infinitely nearer perfection. But, as we are not magicians, we must be contented with linguistic substitutes; at the same time we must not forget that the stimulus word, as a rule, will always conjure up its corresponding situation. It all depends on how the test person reacts to this situation. The situation 'bride' or 'bridegroom' will not evoke a simple reaction in a young lady, but the reaction will be deeply influenced by the provoked strong feeling tones - the more so if the experimenter be a man. It thus happens that the test person is often unable to react quickly and smoothly to all stimulus words.
In reality, too, there are certain stimulus words which denote actions, situations, or things, about which the test person can not think quickly and surely, and this fact is shown in the association experiments."
1 Lectures delivered by Carl G. Jung at the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Clarke University. - Translation by Brill.
In having my reaction test recorded by a physician well qualified to take it, whereas my average reaction time to each of one hundred words was one and eight-tenths seconds, upon the stimulus word "to pray," to which my answer was "religion" (the answer indicating the reaction) and my reproduction "delightful," my reaction time was five and four-tenths seconds.
My impediment in reacting to the stimulus word, "to pray," indi-cated that my adaptation to the stimulus word was disturbed. Hence, as Jung tells us, "the stimulus words are therefore a part of reality acting upon us; indeed, a person who shows such disturbances to the stimulus words is in a certain sense really, but imper-fectly, adapted to reality. Disease is an imperfect adaptation; hence in this case we are dealing with something morbid in the psyche - with something which is either temporary or persistently pathological; that is, we are dealing with a psychoneurosis - with a functional disturbance of the mind. This rule, as we shall see later, is not without its exceptions."
The latter half of the last sentence in the above quotation allows me, perhaps, to believe that I am one of the exceptions. Be that as it may, the history of that complex and the painful sensations caused by its functionating, after 1 was obliged to follow the dictates of my own reasoning faculties and reject the idea of an anthropomorphic deity, and my early religious convictions based upon the conception, completely upset my adaptation to my environment after I had for ten years been engaged in the general practice of medicine.
It may be of interest to the reader to know that I am not consciously aware of this psychological "sore spot" until all of the chapters of this book, except the present, had been written. One can easily see how the emotional element, suppressed and unconscious, fairly glistens from every page, especially where I am fighting against religious teachings based upon superstition and ignorance, and pleading for a religious conception in accord with the teachings of modern science.
The association method of Carl G. Jung, as an incomparable diagnostic psychotherapeutic agency, in enabling one to elicit the history of the patient without his knowledge, and in giving us an insight into his most secretly guarded psychic processes, be these conscious or dissociated, without the prolonged digging into the sexual incidents of the patient's life, as employed by Freud, can be fully appreciated only by one having made employment of this method of diagnostic technics. By it we are enabled to interrogate the patient without his consent, frequently enabling the physician to detect the psychogenetic factors contributing to the development of a neurosis as could be obtained in no other manner.