Growing Up Jung: Coming of Age as the Son of Two Shrinks


Wild personal history meets irreverent survey of Jungian psychology in this memoir about growing up as the son of two shrinks.
As the son of two Jungian therapists, the young Micah Toub got a double dose of insight, ranging from the flaky to the profound. Dreamwork, archetypes, conflict resolution, the mind-body connection?Toub?s childhood was a virtual laboratory of psychology. Enriched with excerpts from Carl Jung?s own memoir, and informed by readings and conversations with ...

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Wild personal history meets irreverent survey of Jungian psychology in this memoir about growing up as the son of two shrinks.
As the son of two Jungian therapists, the young Micah Toub got a double dose of insight, ranging from the flaky to the profound. Dreamwork, archetypes, conflict resolution, the mind-body connection—Toub’s childhood was a virtual laboratory of psychology. Enriched with excerpts from Carl Jung’s own memoir, and informed by readings and conversations with Jungian gurus and unbelievers alike, Growing Up Jung examines the pros and cons of Jungian philosophy while tackling the question: is it possible for the spawn of two shrinks to reach adulthood mentally unscathed?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Canadian journalist Toub writes "The Other Half," a biweekly column for Toronto’s Globe and Mail about male-female interactions, psychology, and human behavior. Toub grew up in a tract housing suburb of Denver with two Jungian psychologists for parents, so he has particular childhood memories of dream interpretations, free associations, and describing shapes in the plaster of the ceiling. His New Age parents brought him into contact with the post-Jungian Arnold Mindell: "I like to refer to him as my parents’ ‘former guru.’?" In Toub’s family, self-reflection was a highly valued trait, and throughout this engaging and illuminating memoir he interweaves his own autobiographical reflections with the writings of Arnold, Freud, and Jung. Where Jung found connections between physiology and the psyche, Mindell linked psychology and quantum physics, and regarded one’s life and the environment as a manifestation of the unconscious. With such concepts permeating pages on "Synchronicity and the Meaning of Love," "The Oedipus Complex," and "Getting Laid the Jungian Way," Toub writes with wit, humor, and a penetrating honesty as he examines his family life, his relationships with various women and his marriage, along with sexual fantasies, masturbation, the I Ching, and meditation. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
The son of divorced Jungian therapists overanalyzes his childhood. Globe & Mail relationship columnist Toub explores his upbringing and sexual forays through a psychotherapeutic lens. "All parents . . . mess with their kids' heads," he writes. "My parents' being psychologists only changed the language of it." Toub grew up in an eccentric, cerebral family in which morning dream analysis was par for the course and members said things like, "I am angry with you right now because the part of me represented by you is not being allowed to emerge into consciousness." A protegee of famed psychotherapist Arnold Mindell, his mother left his father after meeting another man, and Toub chose to live with his father. There's plenty of great material in the author's past, and there are flashes of truly funny and outrageous dialogue. However, the memoir becomes mired in too much self-reflection, a stagnant structure and weak character development. Instead of telling a chronological story that might have illuminated how he came to be who he is, Toub opts to tell readers, at every turn, how his current research on Jung and Freud intersects with his adolescent experiences. For instance, he explains a two-year sexual relationship with another teenage boy as a "textbook example of how mother-son closeness leads to homosexuality." (The author is now married to a woman.) His existential stasis-torn between pleasing his parents and casting off their rules and interpretations of everything-finally led him to see a therapist of his own. But despite stabs to take the reins of his life, Toub confesses, in the context of trying to cure a physical remedy by thinking about its symptoms, "I'd rather just continue feeling sorry for myself than admit it's me who is causing the illness."Uneven and glib.
Carolyn See
There's nothing more endearing than a family memoir in which the author is actually fond of his family. It's rare; it's close to miraculous…I hated to see this book end. I loved every person in it, from the wistful dad with his "fluffy-edged" voice, to Toub's kind and darling mom, his tolerant and loving ex-wife, even that volcanic teenaged sister, who refused to tell stories about the ceiling. Growing Up Jung is a gem.
—The Washington Post
William Porter - Denver Post
“[A]n alternately funny and serious romp through [Toub’s] youth and young adulthood, with dinner-table conversations featuring parental inquiries into his latest dreams. . . . Toub is a good [writer], with a sharp eye for detail and wry sense of humor.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393067552
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/16/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Micah Toub grew up in Denver, Colorado, and now resides in Toronto, Canada, where he writes a biweekly column on relationships from a male point of view for The Globe & Mail and blogs for Psychology Today.

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Table of Contents

1. The Marginalized A Terrorist in the Family
2. Dreambody The Volcano on My Father’s Nose
3. The Oedipus Complex My Mother’s Small Lover
4. Anima Getting Laid the Jungian Way
5. Relationship Synchronicity and the Meaning of Love
6. The Shadow My Archetypal Lust for Violence
7. The Ally A Spirit Guide in the Suburbs
8. Individuation The Elusive Conclusion

From the Hardcover edition.
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