Posts Tagged ‘Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic’

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair Len Cruz, MD, ME “The more I am spent, ill, a broken pitcher, by so much more am I an artist.”      – Vincent van Gogh On Saturday July 27, 2013 from 12:00-2:00 PM the Asheville Jung Center will be presenting a conference titled, Art and Psyche: A  Jungian Exploration  with Murray Stein, Linda Carter, and Lucienne Marguerat.  The conference originates from Zürich, New England, and Asheville.   Registration is still open. One subject that will be explored is the art of Adolf Wölfli In preparation for Saturday’s conference I read two books on art, and one coffee table book compiled from artwork done by persons suffering mental illness.   They are briefly reviewed below. Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts by Penny Lewis is an exceptional book.  Published by Chiron Publications, it is not strictly Jungian.  Ms. Lewis is a dance and drama therapist with Jungian training from the C G Jung Institute of New York.  Written in the 1993, its material remains timeless. Reading Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is like taking a short course in psychoanalytic theory, Analytical Psychology, and Gestalt and the application of these ideas with patients.  Ms. Lewis maintains that “the dance between conscious and unconscious is choreographed in the transitional space of the imaginal realm.” She relies heavily on Mahler, Winnicott, by personal field between patients and therapist.” Section 2 of the book looks at the use of the arts from a perspective of developmental psychology. She leans heavily upon Margaret Mahler, D. W. Winnicott, James Masterson, and Nathan Salant-Schwartz. The rich use of black and white plates combined with a very expansive index, make this book an invaluable resource. With patients who suffered trauma in early childhood, at a time that was preverbal or prior to the appearance of well-developed abstract thinking, the use of arts media can be a powerful tool for the healer.  Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is not a How To book, though the author provides ample illustrations of how she uses art in therapy. It is a clinical treatise, from someone well-versed in several psychotherapy approaches, in which the writer just happens to use the expressive arts media in addition to words. The Creative Soul : Art and the Quest for Wholeness by Lawrence Staples , published by Fisher King Press, is a tightly composed, personal reflection by a seasoned sage and Zürich trained Jungian analyst.  It is precise, yet comprehensive in its treatment of the creative process.  According to Staples, “Psychic tension is at its highest just at the moment preceding creation, just as we experience at the moment of orgasm.” (P.25)  The receptivity to the feminine is vitally important to the creative experience.  Through extremely concise clinical vignettes, poems, short stories, and other examples of artistic creations, Staples explores an impressive expanse of the territory of the creative process.  I have only one critique of this book; it was not long enough.  About one third of the way through the book, Staples introduces a case of a man named Bert, whose story weaves through the remaining pages in an effective, cohesive way.  In just over two pages titled Creativity As An Inner Parent, Staples uses Bert to explain how a good parent can be fashioned through creative expression for individuals whose actual parenting was deficient.  In a section titled Therapy As Art, Staples acknowledges that “Therapists often envy the creative gifts of the people with whom they work.”  He goes on to point out that the work of therapy is itself a creative expression; it is art. Sunshine From Darkness: The Other Side of Outsider Art by Nancy Glidden Smith is simply put a coffee table book.  However, the artists featured in this beautiful volume all suffer mental illness.  The introduction to the book is written by Kay Redfield Jamison, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.  Her pioneering research along, with her testimonial about her own struggles with mental illness, have brought attention to the issue of stigmatization of the mentally ill.  She opens the book with the van Gough  helpful in reducing stigmas.  The featured artists are all Americans.  It appears the book is currently out of print but copies are available on Amazon. by Len Cruz, MD, ME

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The Alchemy of the Black Swan: Nina’s Magnum Opus

Len’s posting last week about the film the Black Swan addresses not only an aspect of the protagonist’s nature, the pursuit of perfection, but it also reflect’s our society’s addiction to perfection. We not only want perfection, we want a shortcut to get there. Over the last few months postings on this blog regarding the Black Swan reveal many different aspects of the film that have touched many people.  Here are a few of the comments: Cynthia commented “Throughout the whole movie we are never sure what is “real”, there is a constant weaving of images from Nina’s internal and external worlds. Nina was under the spell of her mother’s unlived life and needed to breakaway and begin her own life process.”   Constance Myslek-McFadden commented: “To me, the movie was one of the most brilliant, beautiful, psychologically and emotionally accurate and evocative movies I’ve ever seen. I loved it!”   David Pressault commented: I found that the years of training in an aesthetic that is so far removed from the natural tendencies of the body often results in one loosing some basic connection to certain instincts. In a sense, the connection to our body as the animal part of us, so often is lost in ballet training. We will be discussing the Black Swan from many perspectives on Friday. I welcome your thoughts and ideas about what you would like to discuss as there is so much archetypal material from which to draw.  I will be incorporating more of the fascinating and intelligent comments posted on our two blog postings on this film.  The commenters provided varied backgrounds in therapy as well as dance and brought a  richness to the discussion that was brilliant and provocative.  I look forward to that same liveliness and level of participation at Friday’s seminar. If nothing else the Black Swan got us to discuss how a film like this can move us.  The reactions of many to this film were often extreme. Some really loved it and some were repulsed by it, but I did not hear anyone say it was boring or average. We are also fortunate to have a second presenter, Michael DeMeritt, join us.  Michael has been a producer, writer & director on numerous film and television projects over the last 20 years. He is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and has served as assistant director on such well known series as LA Law, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. He has won numerous awards including an Emmy recognition certificate for special effects and currently resides in Los Angeles.  Michael will be adding another dimension to the film analysis, namely an inside perspective on film making. Why has there been so much written about this film?  Why does it provoke such polar and polarizing reactions?  Why do some of us love this film and why do so many of us hate it?  Let’s find out.  Let’s dive into the archetypal themes of the dark feminine, twinship, the shadow and anima/animus. Let’s look into the film from an alchemical perspective to understand the nature of transformation and finally let’s compare this film to Jung’s real life confrontation with the unconscious as described in the Red Book. I look forward to Friday and I hope you can join us. – Dan Ross (Seminar Presenter) [Click here for Registration Page on Upcoming Seminar]

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Eating “The Book of Symbols”

The Asheville Jung Center would like to thank Thomas Singer, M.D. for allowing us to republish his captivating review of The Book of Symbols in our blog.
(Thomas Singer, M.D. is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst with particular interests in contemporary political and social movements. He has written and/or edited several books including the newly published Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis (editor) which has been published by Spring Book Publications, The Cultural Complex (co-edited with Sam Kimbles), The Vision Thing, Who’s the Patient Here? (with Stu Copans, M.D.) and A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Fever: The Official Medical Reference (with Stu Copans, M.D.).
The publication of The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images is the child of an unlikely marriage between ARAS, a hidden gem of an archive, with Taschen, the daring and brilliant world wide publisher of fine art books. The union of ARAS and Taschen is not so strange when one realizes that both organizations are passionate about depth and beauty. Each is willing to spend the time, money, and human energy to bring a unique vision into the world. The result is a gorgeous bargain of a book which follows in the ground breaking tradition of C.G. Jung’s Man and His Symbols. For most of its seventy five year history, branches of what is now known as ARAS (The Archives for Research in Archetypal Symbolism) have pursued its mission in relative obscurity, hidden away in the filing cabinets of a handful of Jungian Institutes. A few years ago, ARAS created ARAS Online by digitizing its collection of 17,000 images and 90,000 pages of cultural and psychological commentary. ARAS Online and its free quarterly ARAS Connections offer stunning public access to the archive. The Book of Symbols is the newest and richest offering of ARAS which is now sharing its treasures and wisdom with the world. The publication of the book represents the culmination of a fourteen year effort by a large team of collaborators who were led by Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin. The emergence of ARAS into more public arenas has caught the eye of both the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. In August, 2010 Arianna Huffington turned to ARAS Online to help understand the symbolic power of Sarah Palin’s identification with the mother bear. And just a few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported with some fascination on the ARAS approach to the archetypal world of images! This is astonishing because ARAS has about as much to do with financial markets as the great German mystic, Meister Eckhart, does with the derivative bond market. According to C. G. Jung “psyche is image” and The Book of Symbols is all about the evocative power of images to move us in profound and mysterious ways. Most books of symbols manage to kill the symbol by reducing it to simplistic equations. The Book of Symbols moves in just the opposite direction by allowing the living symbol to shine through poetic evocations of beautifully chosen images. It follows the lead of Eckhart who taught us that “When the soul wants to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.” The mission of ARAS is to collect and research examples of archetypal symbolism from every culture and every age. For example, if you go to ARAS Online and select “snake”, you will get the following “cultural time line” which displays by culture and age every image in the collection related to “snake”: 2010-12-13-snaketimeline.jpg The Book of Symbols follows this principle of using images from around the world and every era to explore a symbol. Here is a small sampling of images and shortened, accompanying text offered in The Book of Symbols: 1. Creation and Cosmos: Passing through the Fire of Purgatory, manuscript illustration from Dante’s Divine Comedy 15th century C.E. 2010-12-13-image1copy.jpg “In myth and in reality, fire sometimes merely destroys, but often destroys so that from the purified residue or ashy essences a new world may come into being.” 2. Plant World: Pine Trees, detail, by Hasegawa Tohaku, screen. 16th Century C.E. 2010-12-13-image2copy.jpg “With a few brushstrokes, a Japanese painter conveys the strong, standing presence of pines amid the grey mists of winter. Associated with Confucias and the Taoist immortals, the pine is a favorite subject of Chinese and Japanese painters and poets. Because of its hardiness and the fact that it retains its green leaves even through the winter, the pine has become a symbol of long life, immortality, constancy, courage, strength in adversity, and steadfastness unaffected by the blows of nature.” 3. Animal World: The Ba or soul bird from the Book of the Dead of Tehenena, 18th dynasty (ca. 1550-1295 B.C.E.) Egypt 2010-12-13-image3copy.jpg “In our desire for boundless freedom, we identify ourselves with the flight of birds. In our imagination, we transcend the ordinary world by leaving the earth and the weight of the body. Wings lift us.” 4. Human World: The Bleeding Heart (Lamb of God) anonymous, oil on tin, 19th century, Mexico 2010-12-13-image4copy.jpg “Stop the flow of your words, open the window of your heart and let the spirit speak.” Rumi 5. Spirit World: Rock Painting by San Bushmen, South Africa 2010-12-13-image5copy.jpg “In the very earliest time, when both people and animals lived on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal could become a human being. Sometimes they were people and sometimes animal and there was no difference. All spoke the same language. That was the time when words were like magic. The human mind had mysterious power. ….. Nobody could explain this: That’s the way it was.” Translated from Innuit by Edward Field In the early stages of creating The Book of Symbols, one of the contributors dreamt of the emerging book in the following way:
“I am in a library, looking in a reference book. The first page is ‘A’ which has a listing for ‘apricots’ — except the apricots are real and I can take them off the page, put them on a plate and eat them. A man next to me is looking at the entry for ‘beans’ under B and he can do the same thing with the beans.”
Many readers of The Book of Symbols are finding this prophetic dream to be true as they partake of the book as an unexpected and magical feast of living symbols that they can ingest. About the phenomena of the edible book, one can only follow the lead of the Inuit poet and say:Nobody can explain this: That’s the way it is.
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The Female Trickster: A Postmodern, Post-Jungian, Feminist Perspective on a New Archetype

The Female Trickster

For inexplicable reasons, lawyers are the purveyors of some of my recent reading material.  One is Justice Antonin Scalia and the other is Dr. Ricki Tannen, a lawyer who refashioned herself as a depth psychologist.  If the skills of rhetoric and argumentation interest you, then you may enjoy Justice Scalia’s Making Your Case .  Whereas, Dr. Tannen’s, “The Female Trickster”, is a comprehensive revisioning of the trickster archetype through the lens of a feminist, postmodern theorist.  She has published scholarly material in the area of feminist legal theory.  She displays a sound understanding of how patriarchal structures can subjugate the feminine but this is neither a political rant or a stridently feminist contribution.  It is a well crafted, timely addition to the study of archetypal psychology. Books that purport to be post-modern turn me off and to claim the status of Post-Jungian only aggravates this irritation. Ordinarily, the appearance of post-modern, or post-Jungian dissuades me from any further approach.  I am glad I didn’t allow “The Female Trickster: The Mask That Reveals~Post-Jungian and Postmodern Psychological Perspectives on Women in Contemporary Culture” halt my pursuit. Dr. Tannen recently moved to Asheville and I am looking forward to meeting her soon.   She studied law at the University of Florida (my undergraduate alma mater) and has published on various topics in feminist legal theory.  She went on to complete doctoral work at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Depth Psychology. If you are asking why I am featuring this book, it is because when a new, feminist voice appears on the scene, it deserves to be acknowledged.  Tannen’s is a new voice.  Listen to some phrases from her book.  “Tricksters preside over moments of passage, rupture and transformation”.  This is surely not a new idea.  But the female trickster embodies “psychological authority, physical agency, and bodily autonomy”.  That is a revolutionary idea.  Tannen proposes that the subversive, strategic use of humor along with a refusal to identify herself as a victim, are defining features of the female tickster.  Three female sleuths, V. I. Warshawski, Kinsey Millhone, Kate Shugak, serve as three exemplars of the means by which popular literature transmutes “imagination into reality” in ways that transform the individual and collective consciousness.  The books scholarship is broad and imposing enough to justify owning it.  But scholarship alone would not have moved me to devote a blog entry to this book. There are books that proclaim with a deep, authentic voice a message that changes my understanding of the world.  Years ago, In a Different Voice (Gilligan), Women’s Growth in Connection (Jordan, et al), Toward a New Psychology of Women(Baker Miller), and Jane Eyre (Brontë) caused the tectonic plates  of relationship to the feminine to shift.   The Female Trickster joined the canon of writings by women that transformed my appreciation of The Second Sex (this was not meant as commentary, but I could not overlook this title). Is there an archetype associated with the postmodern period?  Is there room for a post-Jungian persepctive?  I am skeptical of any proposition that a new archetype has emerged.  I understand archetype as the substratum of psychic content that cuts across the ages, trascends cultures, and plunges deeper than an historical context can fathom.  But I want to remain open minded to the notion that just as our species evolves (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-we-are-evolving) our psychic structures may be evolving. If I have a criticism of The Female Trickster, it is that the chapter titled “Where have all the virgins gone?” was too brief a survey of the ancestral origins of the female trickster archetype.  I suspect that the female trickster has declared herself in ages past.  The ineffable realms of feminine intuition and ways of knowing has aroused fear and suspicion in patriarchal culture again and again.  Perhaps because the effort to suppress female trickster energy has been so successful, the chapter was as extensive as it could be.  My objection to the concept of a new archetype were mollified by Tannen’s liberal use of phrases like female trickster energy rather than archetype. Tannen uses the Female Sleuth (detective) as an example of the female trickster and she enriches that example with other popular characters from Sex and the City and pop music.  Dr. Tannen has something to say.  It is something profoundly important for our time.  The female trickster is inherently complete and her proclivity for social work in the world is a defining characteristic. I have a personal affinity for the trickster motif and friends, colleagues, loved ones have ascribed trickster qualities to me.  Tannen’s understands the trickster’s clever use of humor that permits simultaneous challenges to the established structures while remaining inbounds.  The Female Trickster is a sort of Summa Psychologica of the female trickster. viewed as one step on the long march toward deeper understanding and integration of the feminine it is worth your attention.  Be prepared for a curried mix of scholarship, personal reflection, and deep psychological insight. Please tender your opinion on the following matters (whether or not you read this book):
  • Is it possible for new archetypes to emerge?
  • How has the trickster archetype or motif (male or female) manifested in your clinical work and in your personal life?
  • What response do you feel to the notion of a female trickster as a discrete entity, recognizable entity?
  • Do you have any personal encounters with the female trickster?
  We are very interested in your thoughts, reflections, and memories of your encounters with the female trickster.   Len Cruz, MD
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Facing Multiplicity 2010 IAAP Congress in Montreal

The International Association for Analytical Psychology’s 2010 Congress in Montreal titled “facing Multiplicity” opened its regular session yesterday.   The world appears to be facing countless tensions arising not only from diversity but the ease with which diverse forces encounter one another in the modern world.  A survey of the speaker’s topics offers a glimpse of the ideas being explored during the Congress.  There are presentations dealing with psyche, nature, and culture.  Carlo Melodia will present today on disassociation and individuation in Pirandello’s One, No-one, One Thousand.  (In Italian)  Tomorrow, Diedre Johnson speaks on “Are the Anima and Animus Worth Salvaging? gender, the ‘Erotic Other’ and the Notion of Versatility”.  “Psychotherapy in a Globalizing World”, “Healing in a Multicultural World” (a panel), “Emergent Psychic Process”, Sustaining Earth,  Sustaining Soul”, Nature or Nurture: Individuation within the Web of Relations in the Universe of Gaia” are some of the titles that caught my attention. If you are not familiar with the IAAP’s website I urge you to visit at www.iaap.org You will find articles and other resources of interest. Len Cruz, MD

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The Mythopoetic Path – A Road Less Traveled

There is an age old battle between the rational and irrational, the logical view versus an artistic or symbolic one. Jung talks of a “Mythopoetic Imagination,” which he saw as severely lacking in our modern culture.  It is what often engages us on  the Jungian path, which stands in stark contrast to our daily & mundane realities. Watch this brief video from our 2nd Red Book seminar (AJC #11) where Dr. Murray Stein introduces the idea of the Mythopoetic Journey. As always, your comments are welcome… ____________________________ ____________________________
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Betrayal: A Way to Wisdom? -by Murray Stein

Betrayal is a hard topic to look at and hold onto for any length of time.  It engenders some  of our most intense emotions.  In this week’s blog, Murray Stein dives into the Christian Scripture and how it deals with betrayal in the Book of Job and the Gospel story.  The following is an excerpt from Dr. Stein’s recent lecture at Jungian Odyssey 2010 in Switzerland: We should not be so surprised by the behavior of the current bankers and money people. In the Christian scripture, the most infamous example of betrayal is Judas, the disciple who handled the finances for the devoted group of disciples around Jesus. In his act of betrayal, when he “delivered up” (in Latin this is expressed by the word tradere, from which descends the English word “betray”) the Lord to the Romans, he displayed for posterity the archetypal image of the flawed Moneyman. Wisdom counsels caution when sitting with people who deal with money. It can be a short step from trust to cynicism when one considers the betrayal behavior of human beings in possession of power through the ages. Power corrupts integrity, as does money, and so does desire in all its forms and manifestations. Desire reaches for gratification, and all too often it abuses the trust placed in position and authority. The current fierce controversy burning through the Catholic Church regarding the trust misplaced in predatory priests, who have abused their sacrosanct positions for sexual pleasures at the expense of children, has led more than a few people to question clerical sincerity at all levels and in all places. Many are leaving the church as a result, and with feelings that can lead to cynicism, sneering angrily at all allusions to any possible goodness in human motives. Especially the abused who have now risen up and are calling for transparency are filled with rage. Will the traumas inflicted upon them as children and youths drive them ineluctably into sheer cynicism? We must recognize that the benefits of the idealizing transference are hard to resist by its beneficiaries, whether they be priests, analysts, weather newscasters, a Miss or Mister Swiss (or America), golf champions, or just simple men or women who are admired and loved too well. Transference objects, be they gods or humans, are dangerous to keep around because of the trust we place in them. The cynic is one who knows this all too well, having been deeply wounded and unwilling to let go of the pain inflicted, but rather hangs on to it and reinterprets the world through the eyes of mistrust, even paranoia. Is there another possible outcome? Can betrayal lead to wisdom instead of to cynicism? This is a possibility I wish to consider, and to that end propose the following: Betrayal shatters images that consciousness has built up into seemingly reliable structures in which one can place faith and trust. Out of this shattering of trusted images, which leads to profound darkness and despair, a light of new consciousness may emerge that we would call wisdom. “In God We Trust” If we take betrayal to the ultimate – its archetypal apex – we have to consider the greatest betrayal of them all, the betrayal of a blameless man by God Himself. I must confess that it will forever remain a wonder to me that the Biblical redactors would allow what appears to be such a subversive work into the canon. Doesn’t this book blatantly question the faith and trust the community is supposed to place in the Lord with whom they have an agreed upon Covenant, a sacred contract of mutuality? Here is the problem. In the fifth Book of the Pentatuch, Deuteronomy, the Lord swears for all to hear: “And because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which he swore to your fathers to keep; he will love you, bless you, and multiply you; he will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples.” (Deut. 7:12-14). This is the promise made by God to Israel. In The Book of Job, however, the Lord unaccountably takes a contrary position. First he praises his servant Job as faultless, hence his enviable prosperity as represented by his ten children, his thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, and she-asses, and his many servants. He is the richest man of the east, and the Lord is pleased to have kept his promise as stated in the Covenant above. But when the wily Satan challenges Job’s sincerity, God easily yields to his doubting thoughts and to Satan’s seduction: “Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life” (Job 2:9). Therewith he delivers his faithful servant Job over into the hands of the archetect of ruin and destruction who is now going to put him to the test. Job has done nothing to call for this unfair trial. Is this not a betrayal of the Covenant? So what is the Bible trying to say with the inclusion of The Book of Job? Let’s remember that The Book of Job belongs to what in Biblical Studies is called Wisdom Literature. We need to consider, therefore, the role of betrayal in the attainment of wisdom. Jung’s “Answer to Job” In his astonishing late work, Answer to Job, Jung draws some startling conclusions from the placement of The Book of Job in the Biblical canon.  Jung puts himself in the position of a psychotherapist listening to a patient’s story. The protagonist, Job, presents himself as an utterly pious man, innocent of any conscious or unconscious faults or sins whatsoever. God agrees with this assessment. As He looks down upon his servant from his heavenly throne, He praises him as a perfect example of virtue and obedience to the laws of the covenant, a wholly pious and blameless man. Satan, the Lord’s sly interlocutor, challenges this perception and offers to put it to the test. He claims that if God’s servant Job is stripped of his possessions, his cozy family, his health and all that has gone into his rich and successful life he will turn cynical, he will curse God, and he will betray his faith and turn his back on the Lord. So God takes the bait and lets Satan do his worst, save only that he spare Job’s life. And thus the horrible story unfolds. Job loses his children, his entire wealth, his very health, and at this point his wife tells him to curse God and die. He refuses and declares in the famous lines: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destoryed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” (Job 19: 25-27) To his friends who come and advise him to confess his sins, arguing that he is being punished for some breaches in his supposed righteous conduct, he turns a deaf ear and stubbornly defends his innocence and faultlessness. Finally the Lord Himself steps into the picture and puts on a great display of majesty and power, showing Job his pitiful smallness as a man compared to His supreme authority as God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Job is silenced. He does not raise the slightest protest or objection to what the Lord has done to him and in no way does he voice an accusation of betrayal on God’s part. Rather, he silently receives this show of power in all humility, after which God restores his wealth, gives him a set of new children, and puts things back in order for him. As Jung the psychotherapist listens to this story, he becomes enraged. He experiences what Michael Fordham called a syntonic countertransference. He speaks up for Job’s repressed feelings of anger and outrage at being so unwarrantedly played with by God. As a deeply tuned and empathic psychotherapist, Jung registers the unconscious feelings of Job, and in his impassioned text he voices them boldly and without reservation. Going a step further in his role as psychoanalyst, he diagnoses this Deity as being dissociated from his omniscience, as split off from his anima (“Sophia”) and from Eros, and as abysmally unconscious and lacking in integration as a personality. Basically, he depicts the Lord of The Book of Job as exhibiting the features of a narcissistic or borderline personality, lacking in reflection and the capacity to contain his impulses, and totally incapable of empathizing with the troubles inflicted by his own left hand (aka Satan) on his victim. In other words, the Lord is made out by Jung to be the Great Betrayer and Job, an innocent victim, the betrayed. And this makes him very angry. He is in the grips of a profound countertransference reaction, and he lets fly with all his emotion. (For this display of raw emotion, Victor White took Jung to task and called it “childish” and a “venting of spleen.”) What happens to Job is not fair, so how can justice be served? Jung asks. God must be held to account. This is the surprising turn of events, unanticipated by the Lord who thought that only Job was being tested, whereas in reality He too is under scrutiny. Justice is demanded, compensation, a balance of accounts. Yes, Job has a replacement family and a new fortune, but this can hardly make up for what he lost. Job may have survived, but now justice must still be done and a new consciousness born. To this end, God the Betrayer must be made to suffer precisely what He has inflicted on the human being, Job. God must become conscious, and the only way to consciousness is through an equivalent experience. Therefore, God must suffer what Job has suffered, namely betrayal of the deepest and most devestating sort. And God must do this to Himself, since no-one could of course do this to Him. Consequently, God incarnates Himself in a man, as Jesus of Nazareth. Jung interprets the story of the New Testament as a direct reaction to the betrayal inflicted on Job. Jesus, the incarnation of God, will experience what Job was made to experience, and through this suffering God will satisfy the requirement of justice and also become conscious. The experiences of betrayal that Jesus is put through – not only that of Judas, which is quite minor by comparison to the betrayal by God as expressed in the words “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” uttered on Golgotha – are God’s sufferings in parallel to Job’s, and these comprise the “answer to Job.” Jesus is the Savior of God in this reprise of the story, not mankind. Like Job, Jesus survives the betrayal in that he resurrects and ascends to heaven. So in neither case does the story descend into cyncism and to complete breakdown of faith and trust, to a vision of reality that is devoid of trustworthiness and in which there is no redemption. According to Jung, God should have attained to wisdom through this experience of betrayal. A psychologist, however, must ask: Are these outcomes satisfactory? Do they convey psychological truth? Or are they illusory, defensive, and a mere flimsy patchwork placed over the deep wound of betrayal? Jung the psychotherapist does not buy into the view that all ends well in these parallel narratives. The betrayal is too deep. (In his writings, Jung rarely speaks of the resurrection and the ascension. Easter is not his favorite holiday. Good Friday is more convincing.) For Jung, who is listening to the story of the Bible unfold from his psychotherapeutic chair, the story of Job ends with the revelation of God’s awesome power that silences the human, and the story of Jesus concludes on the note of betrayal cried out from the cross. He will not be drawn into an illusory solution, a folie a deux with the patient that says everything is OK when in fact it is not. As a psychotherapist, he insists on staying with the nigredo state until it transforms from within. No magical solutions allowed, no easy escapes, no defensive flights into fantasy. The tragedy of betrayal must be fuly digested before it can transform into wisdom. So Jung presses on – again, not as a theologian but as a clinician. One has to come to a state of consciousness that can positively accept and contain evil alongside the good. To simply flee into the good is to set up what Don Kalsched, following Fordham, has called a defense of the self, that is, a defensive structure that is meant to protect the soul from the insult of deep betrayal but does this job at a price too high. The naïve believer in this story’s happy outcome gets stuck in the defense of religious belief in the Good and so cannot cope with the evil within and without. This is a trap with enormous consequences for the individual and for society, as we see in our fundamentalistic age. It isolates the soul from life and from further experience. The consequence is in this sense suicidal. Jung wanted something better for his patient. He wanted to preserve the possibility for life, and to that end he advocated going further into the suffering. Betrayal shatters the precious and often sacrosanct images a person has lived by, hoped in, found guidance from, and trusted. The idealized transference object is broken, and another reality is presented, a reality that shows the shadow beside the persona, the depths of pathology in the human condition alongside its nobility and glory, the destructive element in God beside the creative, the hateful beside the loving. It is a hard vision to bear, but it is the only way to go on from betrayal toward wisdom and to further life. The theological image resulting from this psychotherapeutic analysis and treatment as espoused by Jung is a vision of God as a union of opposites. God is to be seen as a complexio oppositorum, a unified complexity that includes good and evil. I will close with a story that for me illustrates so well the passage from betrayal through darkness to wisdom. “By the time he was fifteen, Elie Wiesel was in Auschwitz…[where a] teacher of Talmud befriended him… One night the teacher took Wiesel back to his own barracks, and there, with the young boy as the only witness, three great Jewish scholars – masters of Talmud, Halakhah, and Jewish jurisprudence – put God on trial, creating, in that eerie place, ‘a rabbinic court of law to indict the Almighty.’ The trial lasted several nights. Witnesses were heard, evidence was gathered, conclusions were drawn, all of which issued finally in a unanimous verdict: the Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, was found guilty of crimes against creation and humankind. And then, after what Wiesel describes as an ‘infinity of silence,’ the Talmudic scholar looked at the sky and said ‘It’s time for evening prayers,’ and the members of the tribunal recited Maariv, the evening service.” (Brown, p. vii) References Brown, R.Mc. 1995. Introduction to The Trial of God by Elie Wiesel. New York: Schocken Books, pp. vii-xvix. Jung, C.G. 1952. Answer to Job. In CW 11. Lammers, A. (ed.) 2005. The Jung-White Letters. London: Routledge.
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Jung’s Shattering Midlife Crisis: A Man’s Plunge into “The Way.”

Jung’s escalating conflict with Freud drives him to the conclusion that his life is dramatically off course and needs imminent change.   In 1913 Jung drops most all of his professional positions and prestige and enters a dark encounter with his soul. Watch this 8 minute video where Dr. Stein describes Jung’s wrestling with his inner demons and finding “The Way.”  This encounter with the unconscious led to his initial  writings in the “Red Book.” How have we had mid life major course corrections? How has your confrontation with your dark unconscious helped you discover your personal “Way”? We invite your thoughts and comments…. – Steven Buser, MD
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Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through: Working with the Shadow

“Everyone carries a shadow”, according to Jung, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” Being an irrational realm, the Shadow is prone to being projected so that our own inferiority ends up appearing to us as a deficiency in the other.  “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” In dealing with Shadow, three phases of our engagement can be seen.  In the first phase, a person is either unaware or so dimly aware that the only evidence that can be detected consists of the projected contents.  These are reflected back to a person in the form of other’s deficiencies.  Another phase consists of revealing of Shadow in its true form, that is, as disowned, unacceptable aspects of the Self.  This is a phase of recovery of projections.  An individual begins to be emancipated from the  enslavement to Shadow.  In the course of this phase the bondage imposed upon others by the projected contents is diminished.  We might compare this phase to the aroma that wafts through the air, it does not sate the appetite but may arouse the appetite for the actual victuals.  Finally, there is a phase that involves integrating Shadow into the personality. Here Shadow becomes integrated into the whole Self.  There is no longer a need to stow The Secret Sharer of our unconscious below deck. In Freud’s essay, “Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through” he offers relevant insights that can be adapted to the work with the Shadow.  In order to adapt Freud’s ideas you must overlook how his thoughts are encased in his theories of psychosexual development.  Patients, according to Freud, begin by repeating.  “As long as the patient is in treatment he cannot escape from his compulsion to repeat and in the end we understand this is his way of remembering.” “…the patient yields to the compulsion to repeat, which now replaces the impulsion to remember.”  Substitute projection of Shadow for repeating in Freud’s essay.  Where you see Freud discussing remembering replace it with the notion of recognizing and recovering the project Shadow elements.  Finally, Freud credits the handling of transference as the main instrument for converting a patient’s compulsion to repeat into a motive to remember.  “One must allow the patient time to become more conversant with this resistance (to remembering) with which he has now become acquainted, and work through it.” What striking similarities exist between Freud’s evolving psychoanalytic techniques and the work with the Shadow proposed by Analytical Psychology.  Both render the unconscious realm as pressing itself upon life in the form of either repetition (Freud) or projection (Jung).  Both assert a critical role for remembering (Freud) and becoming conscious (Jung).  And the notion of working-through (Freud) and integration (Jung) seem to be one in the same.  Both Freud and Jung were pointing toward a cauldron of unconscious, instinctive, irrational psychological stuff that plays out to the detriment of all concerned when it remains unconscious and can be incorporated and dealt with through therapy. Ask yourself what means you have found to work with Shadow.  How do you foster the ability to move from projecting (and repeating to do so) to recovering projections?  How do you encourage the arduous task of helping clients make the journey from repeating to remembering, from  projecting and recovering a projection?  And finally, what have you found helpful with regard to working-through (or integration of Shadow)? References Jung, C.G. (1938). “Psychology and Religion.” In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.131 Jung, C.G. (1951). “Phenomenology of the Self” In The Portable Jung. P.147 See http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/220 for a text of “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad. See http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/201/articles/1914FreudRemembering.pdf for a copy of the essay “Remembering. Repeating and Working-Through:
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