A measure of our need for integrity, John Beebe writes, is that "we rarely allow ourselves an examination of the concept itself. To do so would betray an unspoken philosophic, poetic, and psychological rule of our culture: not to disturb the mystery of what we desire most."
In this sensitive, broadly ranging, and surprisingly detailed work, Beebe reveals much about the nature of integrity while honoring its central mystery. In the process he clarifies not only the importance, but the psychological meaning of this quality. He presents a way of working in psychotherapeutic relationships not only with integrity, but on integrity.
Starting with a careful examination of integritas, a word that appears to have been introduced by Cicero, Beebe traces the evolution of the concept from a moral and theological notion to a psychological one. He explores the Eastern understanding of integrity, as well, basing his discussion on pre-Confucian manuscripts of the Tao Te Ching.
Viewing anxiety and shame as functions of integrity, he shows the contributions depth psychology can make to integrity's development. He summons the Puritan Forefather as a repressed archetype of integrity, then looks at the ways sex difference and our resulting notions of gender have colored our culture's experience and expression of integrity. He goes beyond C. G. Jung's concept of the anima/feminine principle to present a masculine as well as feminine access to integration and wholeness for men and women. Pointing to the all-important role of the psychological shadow in defining the limits of any moral standpoint, he helps us to locate integrity as the part of a person that is consistent in accepting the ever-shifting wholeness of the total personality.
Drawing on his own years of experience as a psychotherapist, Beebe shows how the holding environment of psychotherapy can use delight and rage, dreams and transference to reveal and foster individual integrity. A fairy tale of healing from the Grimm Brothers draws together the strands of his argument in a powerful call for integrity to be not only the goal but the means of therapy. Integrity in Depth is a ground-breaking work that moves the reader to think in a new way about the psychological basis of moral wholeness.
John Beebe is a psychiatrist and practicing Jungian analyst in San Francisco. In addition to his private practice, he is a clinical assistant professor at the University of California Medical School. He serves as U.S. editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology, is the founding editor of the San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, and has produced three earlier books as editor and co-author.