Depth Psychological Approaches to Suffering

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 27, 2016 9:31:49 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

We are all intimately familiar with suffering. And, while we might wish it away when it is painfully present, it is a normal part of human life, Dr. Lionel Corbett, M.D., Jungian analyst and professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute reminded me when I recently sat down for a depth discussion with him on the topic.

Etymologically, the word “suffering” comes from two Latin roots: sub—meaning “under”—and ferre, meaning “to carry or bear,” as in “to bear a burden.” But suffering is not necessarily pathological, Lionel insists. The root of the word “suffer” is also the root of the English word “fertile,” so it is also related to the idea of bearing fruit. Psychologically, then, suffering can produce something; it’s not random or meaningless, nor merely something to get rid of. In reality, it can act as either a fertilizer or a poison. It can be harmful or it can be helpful, but we need a framework by which we can understand it.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Trauma, Pacifica Events, Psychology

Dr. Tina Stromsted, a scholar and practitioner integrating body, mind, & spirit

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 18, 2015 2:23:13 PM

For the November, 2015 Public Program Coming Home to the Body: The Legacy of Marion Woodman, a conference co-sponsored with the Marion Woodman Foundation, Pacifica welcomed a group of scholars and practitioners who honor the connection between the body and psyche. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in lectures, movement workshops, and connect with like-minded individuals who hold sacred the dynamic interplay between body, soul, and mind. One of the scholars and speakers from the weekend was Dr. Tina Stromsted, who is involved in many organizations working to bring this work out to the wider community. The following is the introduction speech from Dr. Rae Johnson, Chair of Pacifica's Somatic Studies Specialization, welcoming Dr. Tina Stromsted to the stage for her plenary session Stars Beneath the Sea: The Gifts of Marion Woodman.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Pacifica Events, somatic bodywork

The Wandering Heroine: A Quest of a Different Kind

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 26, 2015 3:00:00 PM

A guest post by Jody Gentian Bower, Ph.D. The initial quote is from her book Jane Eyre’s Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story.

"The Aletis represents a feminine archetype every bit as important as the masculine archetype of the hero. This is why people keep writing her story, trying to put down in words something felt and understood unconsciously, something important about women."

Ever since Joseph Campbell published The Hero with a Thousand Faces in 1949, the story of the Hero’s Quest has informed the thinking and writing of countless authors, scriptwriters, folklorists, mythologists, and depth psychologists. Campbell’s work forms one of the pillars of education at Pacifica Graduate Institute and continues to be amplified by and inspire the work of many Pacifica students and faculty.

The Hero is almost always male, however, and so there has been a concurrent effort to either re-vision the Quest story from a female perspective, or to find another story that fits a woman’s journey to individuation better. Works such as The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock and The Bridge to Wholeness by Jean Benedict Raffa fall into the former category, while Christine Downing, Jean Shinoda Bolen, and Clarissa Pinkola Estés are examples of authors who have sought wisdom in myths and folktales featuring goddesses, princesses, and witches.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, The Psyche, literature

Psyche's Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 28, 2015 1:06:00 PM

A guest post by Elizabeth Éowyn Nelson. The following is excerpted from her book Psyche's Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power.

1

LOST KNIFE

Simple things are always the most difficult.

—C. G. Jung, Alchemical Studies

At dusk, the silence of the lonely rooms grows thick. A young woman walks down the broad stone corridor, caressing the smooth glass of the oil lamp in her hands. The viscous liquid sloshes lazily from side to side as she enters their room. She knows he won’t arrive for many hours yet, not until it is dark. It has always been this way. With trembling hands, she sets the lamp behind the luxurious bed and gently touches the cold black wick. Then she turns her attention to the knife.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Psychotherapy, Mythology

Are Immediate Response Technologies Psychologically Damaging?

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Apr 22, 2015 5:27:00 PM

There are all these tweets, but no one stops to listen to the birds song. -Mark Kelly, Pacifica's Lead Reference Services Librarian

I feel guilty sometimes working in the social media space of marketing. I wonder if I am I just flooding the internet with more babble, creating 'noise'. Am I a modern day Hermes only producing "instant forms of secular messages rather than spiritual or mythic messages"? And the truth is sometimes I myself want to unplug from my own social media accounts because it's overwhelming.

Sigh.

The immediate response technologies that we have today are amazing though. 

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Posted in: The Psyche, Technology

Human Vocation: 4 Resources for Discovering Your Dharma

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 26, 2015 1:03:00 PM

Are we following our inner calling and giving our best self to society?

Dr. Bernardo Nante, founder and president of the Fundación Vocación Humana (Human Vocation Foundation) was a recent guest lecturer at Pacifica. This fifteen-minute lecture from Dr. Nante explores the meaning of vocation and how a person can begin to 'hear' their inner calling. Utilizing forgotten resources Dr. Nante attempts to recover the wisdom of our elders of the past helping us to follow our dharma and reach the full potential of our being.

Click the read more button to view the video. 

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Posted in: The Psyche, transformative

Going for the Gold: A Psyche-Centered Education

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 13, 2015 12:48:00 PM

A guest post by Dr. Aaron Kipnis, Ph.D.

For many people, a graduate degree marks one of their greatest achievements. As the first in my family to gain one, some described my journey from high school dropout to PhD as, “going for the gold.” How did high attainment come to be associated with gold? Why don’t we tell Olympic athletes to: “go for the stainless steel?” It’s shiny too—but gold prevails.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Mythology, transformative

The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 5, 2015 12:09:00 PM

A guest post by Dr. Susan Rowland. The following is excerpted from The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung

 

"A psychologist, C. G. Jung was acutely aware of the difficulty of writing about nature. To him, the unconscious is how non-human nature inhabits human beings. Unfortunately, the non-human and the unknown psyche are territories resistant to everyday language.

Here is an example of Jung's use of nature as a simile, a kind of metaphor using `like' or `as':

The moment one forms an idea of a thing. . . One has taken possession of it, and it has become an inalienable piece of property, like a slain creature of the wild that can no longer run away.
(Jung 1947/1954/1960, CW8: para. 356)

Jung is looking at the nature of the psyche and how it can be captured in writing. After all, to write about the psyche is to fall into a trap. Only the psyche itself, meaning all the properties of the human mind, conscious and unconscious, can reflect upon the psyche. There is no standpoint outside the psyche from which to view it with scientific detachment. If there is a nature of the psyche, it is one in which we are always enmeshed.

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Posted in: The Psyche, C.G. Jung, nature

Heartbreak: Recovering from lost love and mourning, Part I

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 10, 2014 7:30:00 AM

A guest post by Ginette Paris. The following is excerpted from her acclaimed book Heartbreak: New Approaches to Healing - Recovering from lost love and mourning.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Trauma

Violence in America; 5 Forms Embedded in Our Psyche

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 19, 2014 9:00:00 AM

A guest post by Fujio Mandeville

There are many ways to think of and experience violence: we can consider it as war, brutal acts upon our person; as passive forms of violence that is expressed as oppression, impoverishment, or the marginalization of those in a particular class, gender or ethnicity; or as disturbances within our personal and collective psyche. Regardless how we view this phenomenon, we cannot ignore it nor can we resist it. Violence, whatever its form, is complex and mythic -- deeply embedded within our psyche.

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Posted in: The Psyche