There was, on the part of the therapist, evidence of warm interest in the individual, and thoroughgoing acceptance of the self and of the behavior as they existed initially, in the intermediate stages, and at the conclusion of therapy. It appears reasonable to say that the therapist established certain definite conditions of interpersonal relations, but since the very essence of this relationship is respect for the person as he is at that moment, the therapist can hardly be regarded as a cultural force making for change.
We find ourselves forced to a third type of explanation, a type of explanation which is not new to psychology, but which has had only partial acceptance. Briefly it may be put that the observed phenomena of changes seem most adequately explained by the hypothesis that given certain psychological conditions, the individual has the capacity to reorganize his field of perception, including the way he perceives himself, and that a concomitant Or a resultant of this perceptual reorganization is an appropriate alteration of behavior. This puts into formal and objective terminology a clinical hypothesis which experience forces upon the therapist using a client-oentered approach. One is compelled through clinical observation to develop a high degree of respect for the igo-integrative forces residing within each individual. < )nc comes to recognize that under proper conditions the Self is a basic factor in the formation of personality and In flic determination of behavior. Clinical experience would strongly suggest that the self is, to some extent, tin architect of self, and the above hypothesis simply puts I bin observation into psychological terms.
In support of this hypothesis it is noted in some cases that one of the concomitants of success in therapy is the realization on the part of the client that the self has the capacity for reorganization. Thus a student says:
You know I spoke of the fact that a person's background retards one. Like the fact that my family life wasn't good for me, and my mother certainly didn't give me any of the kind of bringing up that I should have had. Well, I've been thinking that over. It's true up to a point. But when you get so that you can see the situation, then it's really up to you.
Following this statement of the relation of the self to experience many changes occurred in this young man's behavior. In this, as in other cases, it appears that when the person comes to see himself as the perceiving, organizing agent, then reorganization of perception and consequent change in patterns of reaction take place.
On the other side of the picture we have frequently observed that when the individual has been authoritatively told that he is governed by certain factors or conditions beyond his control, it makes therapy more difficult, and it is only when the individual discovers for himself that he can organize his perceptions that change is possible. In veterans who have been given their own psychiatric diagnosis, the effect is often that of making the individual feel that he is under an unalterable doom, that he is unable to control the organization of his life. When however the self sees itself as capable of reorganizing its own perceptual field, a marked change in basic confidence occurs. Miss Nam, a student, illustrates this phenomenon when she says, after having made progress in therapy:
I think I do feel better about the future, too, because it's as if I won't be acting in darkness. It's sort of, well, knowing somewhat why I act the way I do... and at least it isn't the feeling that you're simply out of your own control and the fates are driving you to act that way. If you realize it, I think you can do something more about it.
A veteran at the conclusion of counseling puts it more briefly and more positively: «My attitude toward myself is changed now to where I feel I can do something with my self and life». He has come to view himself as the instrument by which some reorganization can take place.
There is another clinical observation which may be cited in support Of the general hypothesis that there is a close relationship between behavior and the way in which reality is viewed by the individual. It has many cases that behavior changes come about for the most part Imperceptibly and almost automatically, once the perceptual reorganization has taken place. A young wife who has been reacting violently to her maid, and has been quite disorganized in her behavior as a result of this antipathy says: After I... discovered it was nothing more than that she resembled my mother, she didn't bother me any more. Isn't that interesting? She's still the same.
Here is a clear statement indicating that though the basic perceptions have not changed, they have been differently organized, have acquired a new meaning, and that behavior changes then occur. Similar evidence is given by a client, a trained psychologist, who after completing a brief series of client-centered interviews, writes:
Another interesting aspect of the situation was in connection with the changes in some of my attitudes. When the change occurred, it was as if earlier attitudes were Wiped out as completely as if erased from a blackboard.... "Vhen a situation which would formerly have provoked Я given type of response occurred, it was not as if I was tiinpted to act in the way I formerly had but in some way found it easier to control my behavior. Rather the new type of behavior came quite spontaneously, and it was only through a deliberate analysis that I became aware that I was acting in a new and different way.
Here again it is of interest that the imagery is put in terms of visual perception and that as attitudes are «erased from the blackboard* behavioral changes take place automatically and without conscious effort.
Thus we have observed that appropriate changes in behavior occur when the individual acquires a different view of his world of experience, including himself; that this changed perception does not need to be dependent upon a change in the «reality», but may be a product of internal reorganization; that in some instances the awareness of the capacity for reperceiving experience accompanies this process of reorganization; that the altered behavioral responses occur automatically and without conscious effort as soon as the perceptual reorganization has taken place, apparently as a result of this.
In view of these observations a second hypothesis may be stated, which is closely related to the first. It is that behavior is not directly influenced or determined by organic or cultural factors, but primarily (and perhaps only), by the perception of these elements. In other words the crucial element in the determination of behavior is the perceptual field of the individual. While this perceptual field is, to be sure, deeply influenced and largely shaped by cultural and physiological forces, it is nevertheless important that it appears to be only the field as it is perceived, which exercises a specific determining influence upon behavior. This is not a new idea in psychology, but its implications have not always been fully recognized.
It might mean, first of all, that if it is the perceptual field which determines behavior, then the primary object of study for psychologists would be the person and his world as viewed by the person himself. It could mean that the internal frame of reference of the person might well constitute the field of psychology, an idea set forth persuasively by Snygg and Combs in a significant manuscript as yet unpublished. It might mean that the laws which govern behavior would be discovered more deeply by turning our attention to the laws which govern perception.
Now if our speculations contain a measure of truth, if the specific determinant of behavior is the perceptual field, and if the self can reorganize that perceptual field, then what are the limits of this process? Is the reorganization of perception capricious, or does it follow certain laws? Are there limits to the degree of reorganization? If so, what are they? In this connection we have observed with some care the perception of one portion of the field of experience, the portion we call the self.
PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES C. G.Jung (1921) Translation by H. Godwyn Baynes (1923)