"Tom Kirsch's unique life as a Jungian spans much of the history of analytical psychology which he both witnessed first hand and helped shape. His gifts of seasoned insight, finely tuned feeling and a keen eye for specific historic detail makes this volume a rare and significant contribution." — Tom Singer, M.D., Jungian analyst, editor of The Cultural Complex
"In our age of sophisticated internet technology, where communications tend to brevity and lack literary sophistication, Tom Kirsch’s memoir, A Jungian Life, is a breath of fresh air, and a precious gem for the Jungian community. Kirsch traces with mastery and sensitivity his life as a Jungian analyst from family origins close to Jung developing into a lively lacework of connections within the Jungian world from both well-established Societies to the burgeoning of new groups across the world interested in Jungian psychology. He balances well the relationship between the personal and the professional offering the reader thought-provoking opportunities to read between the lines for common themes including the shadow of our theoretical controversies and the personal disagreements within our profession. It is a moving, revealing and well-written memoir and I recommend it highly to all those who wish to know more about our ancestors and their effects on the development of the theory and practice of Jungian psychology." —Jan Wiener, Director of Training, Society of Analytical Psychology, London and Vice-President, IAAP 2010-2013
From conception until the present, C.G. Jung, his ideas, and analytical psychology itself have been a central thread of Thomas B. Kirsch’s life. His parents, James and Hilde Kirsch, were in analysis with C.G, Jung when he was born, and he was imaged to be the product of a successful analysis. At an early age, Dr. Kirsch was introduced to many of the first-generation analysts who surrounded C.G. Jung, and over time became acquainted with them. Later, in his roles with the IAAP, he gained a broad knowledge of the developments in analytical psychology, and through both his early family history and in his later professional life, Dr. Kirsch worked closely with many analysts who were integral in forming the foundations of analytical psychology.
Dr. Kirsch graduated from Yale Medical School in 1961, did his residency in psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University, and then spent two years with the National Institute of Mental Health in San Francisco. He completed his Jungian training at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco in 1968. In 1976 Dr. Kirsch became president of the Jung institute in San Francisco, and in 1977 he was elected second vice president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology, or IAAP, the professional organization of Jungian analysts around the world. As vice president and then president of the IAAP for eighteen years, he traveled the world and was able to meet Jungian analysts from many different countries. This position allowed him to serve a missionary function of sorts in new areas like China, South Africa, Mexico, Russia, and other former Soviet Eastern Bloc countries. In A Jungian Life, Thomas B. Kirsch reflects upon his entire existence which has been intimately involved with C.G. Jung and analytical psychology.