Review of Jung and Phenomenology By Roger Brooke
by Matthew Gildersleeve

“Jung and phenomenology” by Roger Brooke must be congratulated for providing a much needed phenomenological interpretation of Carl Jung’s writing using Martin Heidegger’s philosophy. The importance of the publication of this work can be recognised as (Stenner, 1998, p.1) writes that the application of Martin Heidegger‘s philosophy to the science of psychology would have “profound implications for the discipline”. This book by Brooke was originally published in 1991 and has just been re-published in January 2015, although it was disappointing to read that this book has received minimal revision from its original publication.

Brooke notes, “I decided that we would not revise this book or rewrite it as a second edition” and the extent of Brooke’s revision involves “many changes throughout the text, but they have only been words or phrases that I think could have been more clearly written. I deleted one or two sentences and even a short paragraph from the original text because they seemed to me to be confusing and unnecessary” (Brooke, 2015, p.x). Brooke also says “Certainly I would approach some areas, or chapters, differently, and there are some themes that I would have developed much more thoroughly, but I am satisfied that the book still stands” (Brooke, 2015, p.x). Brooke’s satisfaction with his book is understandable; he has achieved a very important foundation to develop Jung’s work with phenomenology which includes explaining concepts such as psyche, self, individuation, archetypes and the unconscious with Heidegger’s phenomenology. However, in this book review I hope to highlight that Brooke’s achievements have only laid a foundation for this area of work, and that many new insights could have been shown if the 2015 edition had been updated with recent literature relevant to this area of research. This review also aims to demonstrate to the reader that Brooke’s Heideggerian interpretation of Jung can be extended much further by developing a more systematic examination of the implications of Heidegger’s writing for Jungian theory and practice because only “Chapters 5-8 thus constitute a serious effort to rethink basic and classical Jungian concepts with the aid of philosophical phenomenological thought” (Murray, 1994, p.137).

A number of writers have highlighted the need to apply Heidegger’s writing to psychology. For example, (Knowles, 2002) reviewed the literature that has compared the writing of Jung and Heidegger together. Knowles explains the work that has been achieved in English are made of a few dissertations mostly written over 40-50 years ago as well as only the one book by Brooke. Knowles review highlighted the scarcity of research in this area as well as the shortage of published work available to a wide audience that brings Jung and Heidegger’s writing together. In addition, van Deuzen says “Few psychologists and psychotherapists have gone through the trouble of studying Heidegger in any detail” (Letteri, 2009, p.ix) and numerous texts are required to help elaborate his work into psychology and I want to make the point that Brooke’s work has made a significant contribution to filling some of this gap between Jung and Heidegger.

The importance of this book by Brooke can be highlighted by explaining what Heidegger can offer Jung’s writing. This can be articulated by recognising Heidegger’s explicit engagement with psychoanalysis (Heidegger, 2001) in the Zollikon seminars organised by psychiatrist Medard Boss from 1959-1969. As a result of this engagement, Boss developed psychoanalysis with Heidegger’s phenomenology and ontology to establish a new psychotherapeutic method named Daseinsanalysis (Boss, 1963). The Zollikon seminars were published in 2001 and therefore Brooke did not include this publication in his original book in 1991 or unfortunately in the re-publication in 2015. Although Brooke did not include this publication, it is important, as it highlights the ontological significance of his work and that he carries Heidegger own critique of psychoanalysis forward.

In the Zollikon seminars, Heidegger says the creation of the unconscious in psychoanalysis had disastrous consequences as it postulated a hidden entity to explain the mind which could not be perceived and therefore could not be verified. In contrast, Heidegger explains phenomenology allows psychoanalytic theories to be explained using direct evidence found in the phenomena of lived experience. Brooke is not explicit about his agreement with the Daseinsanalytic critique of psychoanalysis, but his consistency is evident when he says “Jung saw as a phenomenologist even as he generally continued to think theoretically as a natural scientist” (Brooke, 1991, p.10). Brooke also recognises “Jung always struggled with the problems of writing” and also highlights that Jung realised his explanation of his ideas were problematic “‘I can formulate my thoughts only as they break out of me. It is like a geyser. Those who come after me will have to put them in order’” (Brooke, 2015, p.2).

Heidegger’s phenomenology allows Jung’s writing on human behaviour to be appropriated and put in order by removing unverifiable, arbitrary and abstract concepts and this is achieved by outlining the horizons within which an individual’s possible ways of existing can be selected. Brooke has recognised this need and has appropriated some of Jung’s writing with Heidegger’s phenomenology which allows the “conceptual monstrosity of inhuman mechanisms” (Cooper, 2003, p.37) to be replaced and to be constructed by remaining with what is immediately perceived and does “not get lost in “scientific” abstractions, derivations, explanations, and calculations estranged from the immediate reality of the given phenomena” (Boss, 1963, p.30).

Heidegger’s criticism towards psychoanalysis “is positive” because it is capable of explaining human behaviour through lived experience rather than from “distant and abstract positions” (Boss, 1963, p.59). As a result, Brooke’s work can be seen to appropriate Jung’s writing positively by avoiding the “dangerous scientific tendency to flee from the immediately given phenomena” (Boss, 1963, p.59). Brooke allows Jung’s work to be articulated and understood through immediate reflective experience of the language of phenomenology. Brooke states this clearly when he says his book “is an attempt to see through Jung’s writings to the phenomena he saw, or, to use a different metaphor, to hear through his words to what he was trying to say, and to express this in a phenomenologically accurate way” and “he lacked the conceptual tools to express his insights in a phenomenologically rigorous way” (Brooke, 2015, p.2).

In the Zollikon seminars, Heidegger also explains that psychoanalysis needs to be grounded in an understanding of the human being as Dasein to apply phenomenology to psychoanalysis. Brooke’s project clearly builds on this aspect of Heidegger’s critique of psychoanalysis as Brooke also argues that Jung’s concept of psyche should be understood as Dasein. For example, Brooke says “psyche as understood by Jung approaches Heidegger’s explication of Dasein, and interpreted in terms of Dasein it achieves ontological and structural clarity” (Brooke, 2015, p.12). Heidegger also explains that the meaning of the human being as Dasein is an openness to existence and Brooke also advocates that Jung’s concept of individuation involves appropriating an openness to possibilities for being in the world because “individuation does not shut one out from the world but gathers the world to oneself” (Brooke, 2015, p.109).

As a result, it can be appreciated that Brooke builds on Heidegger’s critique of psychoanalysis in the Zollikon seminars by covering areas of psychoanalysis that Heidegger did not engage with. Brooke has provided a foundation for future research to explain the writing of Jung with Heidegger. Brooke argues “Jung did not write consistently from any particular perspective, which reflects his continual dissatisfaction with his own formulations” (Brooke, 2015, p.2) and Brooke has provided an important book which starts the ball rolling to provide consistency to explain Jung’s writing in the light of Heidegger’s philosophy. However I want to highlight that there is still much more work in this area of study to pursue and “to reap the tremendously rich harvest” of insights Heidegger can provide to Jung’s writing. For example, (Loparic, 1999) says when Heidegger critiques psychoanalysis he accepts Freud’s observations but these observations need to be translated into a “language of description of phenomena” (Heidegger, 2001, p.345).

Heidegger recognizes that Freud has discovered many ‘ontic’ experiences such as projection, identification, and repression, however for these behaviours to be adequately explained, these discoveries need to be reinterpreted in the light of Heidegger phenomenological ontology of Dasein. Thus, Loparic says all behaviour encountered in psychoanalysis must be understood as “particular modes of being in the world, which make them possible” (Loparic, 1999, p.14) and when these behaviours are explained they form the regional ontology of psychiatry.

Loparic recognises this regional ontology of psychiatry is still lacking and “remains a long overdue desideratum for the disciplinary framework of daseinsanalysis” (Loparic, 1999, p.14). Brooke has gone some way to extending the regional ontology of psychiatry by explaining Jung’s ideas such as psyche, ego, individuation, self, archetypes and the unconscious with Heidegger phenomenology, but there are many other aspects of Jung’s writing that have yet to be translated into the “language of description of phenomena” and “particular modes of being in the world, which make them possible”.

Although Boss has outlined a regional ontology of psychiatry for Freud’s concepts including projection, and repression, and Jung’s concepts of ego, self, individuation, psyche, unconscious and archetypes have received the same attention by Brooke, a phenomenological explanation of a large number of ideas from Jung‘s writing have been unexamined. A short list of these include providing a Heideggerian explanation for Jung’s writing on active imagination, alchemy, transference, dreams, psychic energy, specific archetypes including (hero, mother, trickster, anima, child), the practice of psychotherapy, synchronicity and religious themes contained in volume 11 of Jung’s collected works (Psychology and Religion). Brooke says the concern of a phenomenological interpretation of Jung is “to return to Jung’s texts and the phenomena they reveal” and this review has highlighted a large number of areas in Jung’s work which is yet to be investigated to “bring to light some of these phenomena in a fresh way” by a “return to the things themselves” (Brooke, 2015, p.xvii).

It is also important to note that there are many publications of Heidegger’s missing from Brooke’s reference list. Brooke only references four of Heidegger’s publications out of a selection of over 70 different publications in English translation and with over 100 publications in the Heidegger Gesamtausgabe. It is clear that the full force of a Heideggerian interpretation of Jung’s work is nowhere near complete or exhausted. Brooke also lists 11 convergent themes on page 89 between Heidegger and Jung which are only briefly discussed with typically only one paragraph on each theme. These themes include spatiality, the hermeneutic circle, pre-reflective understanding, ‘ownmost’, bodiless, finitude, imagination, truth and the authentic attitude. These themes can therefore be examined in much more depth and should be extended to the same length or longer than the chapters that Brooke provides on Jung’s ideas of psyche, archetypes and individuation etc.

In conclusion, this review has highlighted some achievements of Roger Brooke’s “Jung and Phenomenology” as carrying Heidegger’s critique of psychoanalysis in the Zollikon seminars forward into the 21st century and by providing a phenomenological critique of Jung’s analytical psychology. Brooke’s work is important as a number of authors have recognised the lack of research that has explained Jung’s work with Heidegger’s philosophy, and “Jung and Phenomenology” has provided a strong foundation for future research in this area of investigation. Finally, this review has also highlighted, that there are many other aspects of Jung’s writing that have yet to be translated into the “language of description of phenomena” and “particular modes of being in the world, which make them possible”, and there has also yet to be through engagement of Jung’s writing with the full force of the Heidegger Gesamtausgabe.


Boss, M. (1963). Psychoanalysis and Daseinsanalysis. New York: Basic Books.

Brooke, R. (1991). Jung and phenomenology. London: Routledge.

Brooke, R. (2015). Jung and phenomenology. London: Routledge.

Cooper, M. (2003). Existential therapies. Sage

Heidegger, M. (2001). Zollikon seminars: Protocols, conversations, letters. Northwestern University Press.

Knowles, D. S. (2002). Along a Path Apart: Conflict and Concordance in CG Jung and Martin Heidegger

(Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute).

Letteri, M. (2009). Heidegger and the question of psychology: Zollikon and beyond (Vol. 200). Rodopi.

Loparic, Z. (1999). Heidegger and Winnicott. Natureza humana, 1(1), 103-135.

Murray, E. L. (1994). Roger Brooke, Jung and Phenomenology. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 25(1), 135-141.

Stenner, P. (1998). Heidegger and the Subject Questioning Concerning Psychology. Theory & Psychology, 8(1), 59-77.


Matthew Gildersleeve  teaches and conducts research with the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He is currently working on a project involving the phenomenological ontology of  psychoanalysis. His past research has included multisensory perception, human factors psychology, human-computer interaction, phenomenology, existentialism and clinical psychology and psychotherapy.