Claudio Mele Bastianelli

Freud and Jung. An Unexpected Encounter

We are at the beginning of the 1920's, when Freud is initiating his first elaborations on the death drive, a new and definitive structure of the psyche and his third and last theory of anxiety. This is a period of fertile and deep theoretical elaboration in which Freud tries to overcome an important theoretical challenge posed by the discussion and distancing from Jung, whom he considered his successor in the development of the psychoanalytic theory. The concept of a tension and conflict between sexual drive and self-preservation drive, was no longer sufficient to explain the dynamics and functioning of the psychic apparatus.

In that same period Jung was coming out of a deep personal crisis, partly caused by the discussion with Freud. At that stage he experienced an intense and profound confrontation with his unconscious. It was a period of deep introspection in which Jung was in contact with few people, but very creative, in which he wrote “The Red Book”, in which he describes his personal experience, but where we can also observe elements of what would be his future theoretical elaboration.

In this fiction, Jung, and Freud, at the same time (we are in the early 20's) have dreams that they cannot interpret. They ask for support to their closest collaborators to understand them, but they cannot process the dream material.

An unexpected meeting takes place between Freud and Jung in which they decide to talk about their dreams and they realize that they can only be understood if seen as a single product, resulting from the meeting of the expression of the unconscious of two very connected individuals.

From that realization Freud and Jung talk about their recent clinical experience, they also refer to patients that they were able to work together in the past and wonder if they could collaborate again.

Emotions were strongly working in the split between Freud and Jung . In this paper I will elaborate about how emotions could had flowed in the case of this unexpected encounter and how this could had impacted the develop of the psychoanalytic clinic.


Claudio Mele Bastianelli is an Economist, Diploma Candidate in Psychoanalysis in the CG Jung Institute of Zurich, works in a private practice in Zurich with Counselling, in the CG Jung Ambulatorium in Zurich, as a Psychanalyst, in CARITAS, Lörach, Germany with Political Refugees and in the IMD Business School in Lausanne, in the program of Personal Development for the MBA students. For 30 years he worked with finance in an international insurance group, based in Latin America, adapting to different markets, companies and ‘corporate culture’. Over the years, alongside he began to feel the need to develop in a different direction and started an ‘inner research’ to move to a new step in his development. Gradually he realized his vocation for the ‘second half’ of life, and since 2017 is dedicated to supporting others to access inner resources and develop greater self-understanding along their personal and professional journeys. Recent publication includes: Civilization in Transition: The contemporary imperative for an active "Unus Mundus". Presented in the “Conference of the Journal of Analytical Psychology in Sao Paulo (April 2021).”


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