A Question On Neurosis

In this article on Quilette.com, the author discusses Carl Jung’s experience with neurosis: Jung suffered fainting spells after a playground accident with another boy and he welcomed this opportunity to avoid school.  Then, when confronted by the reality that his illness may be debilitating, he made the decision to “get to work.”  In doing so, his illness went away almost instantly, indicating that Jung was suffering from “neurosis” rather than a truly limiting illness.

The takeaway: “Embracing a status of oppression or affliction can be helpful, as it marshals needed care. However, when held onto too long, it can invite disengagement from life, and an avoidance of one’s fate. Worryingly, it also has negative implications for personal mental health, as it may foster a sense of helplessness.”

My response: This is honestly one of the most well-written articles I have read in years – and that says a lot!  Question: Research does show that subscribing to “psychosomatic” and similar models of self-induced illness (including “neurosis”) does undermine the biopsychosocial model of health and can prevent proper treatment.  This article on the other hand, makes a lot of sense.  How, then, do we identify whether a person is truly suffering and in need of help, from when a person is dealing with a neurosis? What separates the two?

I am putting this here in anticipation of answering my own question.

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