W-05: Approaching Infinity: Contemporary Analytic Work with a Spiritual Perspective

Mark Sullivan PH.D., MFT

Where Sigmund Freud oriented to helping patients achieve psychic “health”, Carl Jung and Wilfred Bion both looked more to helping patients become who they really are. Both thinkers thought in terms of an ever-present struggle within each person to come more fully into being. In this seminar, we look at the way Jung and Bion, in different ways, each have contributed to an emerging contemporary approach to analytic work, where the task is less about developing insight into one’s issues than it is about wresting oneself from the infinite into a more incarnate form that expresses one’s truer, deeper self.

This task of becoming has historically been viewed through a religious lens as a struggle between man and God. Jung was the first depth psychologist to think about the religious instinct in the human soul instead of dismissing religion as “superstitious.” He took the man-god relationship in mythology as reflecting the relationship between the finite conscious self and the infinite unconscious depths. He called it the ego-self axis.

The CG Jung Institute of San Francisco presents Approaching Infinity. In this seminar, we flesh out the psychological and spiritual meanings of the ego-self axis with examples from music, poetry, and art as well as from psychoanalysis. Together, we reflect on the ways that we encounter our very painful human limits on the way to becoming more of who we can be.

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Dr. Mark Sullivan:

Mark Sullivan, Ph.D., MFT is an analyst member of the Jung Institute of San Francisco where he teaches in the public programs and the analytic training program. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkley, CA.  He practices in Oakland and San Francisco where he sees individual adults, teens, and children as well as couples.

**Click Here to Purchase Webstreaming Video or CE Credits**

$36.99 per person for Webstreaming Video
$89.99 per person for Webstreaming Video and 4.5 hours of Professional Continuing Education Credit
[includes Webinar viewing & re-viewing, brief exam & 4.5 CE Credit Certificate]


California BBS CertifiedThis courses meets the qualifications for 4.5 hours of continuing education credit for MFT’s & LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. (Provider #4958) Please contact your state (or international) licensing board to determine your board’s specific requirements.

The AsheNBCC Certifiedville Jung Center is a National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) – Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC – approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible of all aspects of the program. (Provider # 6594)


Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, participants will be able to:
1)  identify and describe in detail 4 specific spiritual movements commonly seen in both patients as well as therapists seeking more emotional wholeness.
2)  identify in specific and concrete ways factors in the transference/countertransference that prevent patients from advancing in psychotherapy.
3) compare and contrast the differences between a left brain and right brain framework as a client is working on such areas as imagery, poetry, and music.

**Click Here to Purchase Webstreaming Video or CE Credits**

Seminar Outline:

Introduction and Overview – 30 minutes
– The four calls to becoming an individual that underlie depth psychotherapy
– How those calls also underlie most spiritual traditions
– Differentiating depth psychotherapy as a spiritual discipline from other disciplines in the way that psychotherapy focuses on the individual becoming himself or herself as opposed to other goals like becoming a member of a group or adhering to specific laws of a tradition.

1. The first call:  the call to go within – 45 min
– Cave paintings at Lescaux with a discussion about the spiritual exercise of “becoming.”
– Jung’s discussion of the progressive nature of the unconscious and its place in development as well as the role of reflection and turning inward in all spiritual traditions, including depth psychotherapy

2. The second call:  the call to go within -45 min
– Temple of Epidauros in Greece and the celebration of Aesclepius as the first physician healer god including the use of dream incubation.
– Navajo sand paintings
-The analytic frame as an example of creating sacred space in a contemporary way

3. The third call: to seek and find oneself in relationship to another – 45 min
– Bion’s concept of “O” and  the role of consciousness and reflection in incarnating the infinite unconscious into a finite form as the pathway to becoming oneself through the activity of two minds coming together in psychotherapy
– People in various states of emotion in relationship to another, including a brief discussion of attachment and loss and the possibility of experiencing and holding those emotions in a safer way in depth psychtotherapy.
– The priest, rabbi, or spiritual teacher contrasted with the psychotherapist.
– Levinas and recognizing the divine spark in the other as opposed to losing oneself in merger
– A brief naming of Jung’s notion of the defense against becoming an individual through a projection of the Self on the teacher and/or the assumption of the role of “wise woman” or “wise man” in a similar defensive posture
– A brief mention of Bion’s notion of attacks on K and attacks on growth as an aspect of the growing process

4. The fourth call:  the call to find and recognize something larger than our egos that both guides and frustrates our conscious intent or will -45 min
-Painting of Saul/Paul being thrown from his horse
– The role of emotion in frustrating and guiding our will and the place of emotion in depth psychotherapy
– Projecting into the other in depth therapy
– The transference/countertransference as a contemporary example of the fourth call

5. Left and right brain integration of this model; 30 min
– Several examples of music of Jung’s ego/self axis as a way towards a brief experience of the four calls Subject/Object splits in gender identity
– Discussion and questions


Brown, L. J. (2012), Bion’s discovery of alpha function: Thinking under fire on the battlefield and in the consulting room. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 93: 1191–1214.

Canda, E. R., & Furman, L. D. (2009). Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Practice: The Heart of Helping: The Heart of Helping. Oxford University Press, USA.

Lemma, A. (2008) The Analytic Frame and the Analytic Attitude, in Introduction to the Practice of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, West Sussex, England. ch 3.

Mann, G. (2000), Transformational, conservative and terminal objects: the application of bollas’s concepts to practice. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 17: 3–16.

Rogers, C. (2012). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Sermabeikian, P. (1994). Our clients, ourselves: The spiritual perspective and social work practice. Social Work, 39(2), 178-183.

Stein, M. (2010). Jungian psychoanalysis: Working in the spirit of Carl Jung. Open Court Publishing.

Teich, H. (2012). Solar Light, Lunar Light: Perspectives in Human Consciousness. Fisher King Press.


Aron, L. & Starr, K. (2013) A psychotherapy for the people: Toward a progressive psychoanalysis.  New York: Routledge.

Borenzweig, H. (1984). Jung and social work. New York: University Press of America.

Danto, E. A. (2011). Psychoanalysis and Social Work: A Practice Partnership.Social Work Treatment: Interlocking Theoretical Approaches, 374.

Enns, C. Z. (2004). Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: Origins, themes, and diversity. New York: Haworth Press.

Target Audience: MFTs, LCSWs, LPC’s, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Counselors, Therapists and others wishing to gain a deeper understanding of Jungian Psychology
Continuing Education Course Schedule: 1. View video seminar 2. Review supplemental material (if present) 3. Take post-seminar exam 4. Fill out evaluation survey
Instructional level for Counselors, Social Workers and Psychologists: Intermediate Practitioner
Course Delivery Format: All Asheville Jung Center lectures are primarily online seminars and are essentially Non-Interactive except for email communication with us.
Course Completion Requirements: In order to receive CE credit for this course, participants must: pay the appropriate CE fee, view the entire seminar, review any supplementary materials if appropriate, complete a course evaluation (on line), and pass a brief online examination on the material. Certificates can be downloaded immediately after passing the exam. All CE recipients must attest that the name and license number on the certificate matches the person completing the materials.
Commercial Support for CE Seminar: None
Approval Information by Jurisdiction: Asheville Jung Center seminars often have participants from across the United States as well as 50 other countries. Seminars are approved for continuing education by the National Board for Certified Counselors as well as the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Please consult your state’s licensing board to verify that you may use these credits professionally.
Deadline for Cancellations or Refunds: Please request any cancellations for refunds at least 24 hours prior to a seminar being presented for the first time. Refunds for seminars that have already occurred and access has been already granted cannot be accepted unless there is a technical or other superseding problem with it. Contact us at info@ashevillejungcenter.org
ADA Accommodations: Asheville Jung Center seminars may be viewed from any home computer with appropriate internet access. If you have a disability that would interfere with your viewing a seminar on your computer, please contact us and we can look at all available formats. info@ashevillejungcenter.org
Complaints or Grievances: Please contact us at info@ashevillejungcenter.org for any complaints or grievances. Click here to see our grievance policy.
Contact information: Please contact us via email at info@ashevillejungcenter.org

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