“The more personal a problem is, the more universal it is.” – Carl Jung
Once when speaking at a rehab center, I drew a diagram on the board to explain the fundamental, emotional cause of alcoholism. One of the patients, who didn’t look like he had been sober two days, became irritated because I had the gall to encapsulate every alcoholic in, as he put it, “a stupid diagram.”
I was ready for this objection since my professor raised it a few weeks prior—though he didn’t put it as elegantly. So I gave the disheveled interlocutor my response:
“Not only can I encapsulate every alcoholic in this stupid diagram, but I draw the same diagram for drug addicts;
“I draw the same diagram for the meek and unassertive;
“I draw the same diagram for patients who have clinical depression, social anxiety, PTSD, and OCD;
“I draw the same diagram for anorexics, perfectionists, and anyone else who doesn’t feel good enough;
“I draw the same diagram for patients who cannot form secure, honest relationships;
“I draw the same diagram for approval seekers, codependents, and pushovers;
“I draw the same diagram for patients whose life is in turmoil yet they have no idea why;
“I draw the same diagram for patients who succumb to victimhood and blame their problems on parents and society;
“I even draw the same diagram for patients who are doing well and only looking for ways to improve their lives outside of their present awareness.
“The more we think our problem is special, the less it’s special. The more we think we’re alone in our dysfunction, the less we’re alone. The more personal our problem is, the more universal it is.”
Though psychologists have recognized this paradox, no one has, until now, developed a coherent theory of psychology to explain why it is. Freud failed. Ellis failed. And since every psychologist today takes after either Freud or Ellis, they would fail if they did try.
Man’s Guide to Psychology presents man’s psychology as an integrated, systematized field of study. Using the tools in this book, we are able to, for the first time, look beyond the subjective experience of who we are to the theme of what we are—the fundamental principles of psychology.
It’s worth repeating: “The more personal a problem is, the more universal it is.”
And I would add, the more universal a problem is, the easier it is to overcome.