The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedIra Progroff
Title QuotedSymbolic & the Real: A New Psychological Approach to the Fuller Experience of Personal Existence
Date (Year/Month/Day)1966/06/24
ImprintNew York : McGraw-Hill. 1963
QuotationDo you remember that some time ago you sent me a book of Ira Progoff, The Symbolic and the Real, and asked me to comment on it for one of your friends? I have no idea how long ago it was, but at the time I said I would write a comment if and when I got around to reading the book. Well, I am reading it now. So here is my comment, for what it is worth, and very late in the day too. Essentially I agree with your own idea. The principles given in the book are excellent. This is a very good approach, especially all he says about the negative and diagnostic type of analysis which just binds people more firmly to their obsessions. His idea of a positive therapy which loosens up the flow of psychic and living dynamism is fine. On this score the book is very worthwhile. The application of the principles is good too. The only problem I have is with the relative banality of the symbols of his patients, which seem to me to be rather a letdown. I have noticed this before with the Jungian approach. Exciting theories, and then stupid mandalas by the patients. It is true perhaps that they cannot connect with traditional archetypal material, but it would certainly be a good thing if they could. It is much richer than what these patients are digging out "¦
JournalThe School of Charity: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Renewal and Spiritual Direction.; Selected and edited by Brother Patrick Hart. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1990, p. 308-09
Link to Merton's Copy