Trauma and the Soul: Psychoanalytic Approaches to the Inner World An Interview with Jungian Analyst Donald Kalsched A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.
Trauma is an injury to the capacity to feel, says Jungian analyst Donald Kalsched, who has specialized in the field of trauma for decades. He describes trauma as something that occurs when we are given more to experience than we can consciously bear, especially if we lack resources to help metabolize the feelings that emerge. For example, a child in an emotionally illiterate family who has no place to turn for support may be traumatized by certain events.
Yoga is often praised for its far-reaching effects on nearly every aspect of the human being. The physical practices create health in the body. Breathing practices can alleviate stress and anxiety. Devotional practices inspire community and meditative practices can help to calm the mind. It sure seems like a one-stop-shop for all things awesome. But, years ago, I discovered a glitch in the system.
One of the benefits of depth psychological traditions is that they can be applied to understanding what it means to be a self or soul in this world, and to think about others who have led the way. “We stand on the shoulders of so many giants,” insists William James Jones, who completed his dissertation research on the process of self-actualization to receive his Ph.D. in the Clinical Psychology program at Pacifica last year.
In the process, Jones realized he was interested in self-actualization long before he knew the term for it. As a young boy from the streets of Chicago who didn’t really have his father growing up, he looked up to some of the strong figures in his community—including his mother, teachers, coaches, pastors, and priests—for inspiration. He was keenly interested in what it means to be a man with excellence—to really lead the life he is capable of, he realized. That desire sparked his curiosity about who exhibits the kind of traits he aspired to, prompting him to ask, “Who am I at the deepest levels, and what's my purpose in life? What's the meaning of all this?”
A guest post by professor Maren Tonder Hansen, M.Div., Ph.D.
My professional training and interests gravitate toward the many intersections between psychology and religion. As a young woman, I studied for the Unitarian ministry, earning a Master of Divinity. Through coursework at the Graduate Theological Union, I explored not only religion, but also the psychology of Jung, dream analysis, and devoted a semester to training in hospital chaplaincy. In my experience, the depth dimensions of psychology and religion enriched and informed each other.
On Friday, March 3, 2017 Jean Houston came to Pacifica to present Emerging Myths, Emerging Archetypes: Everyday Life in the Quantum Universe for the Friday evening salon series. The Friday evening salon series takes place the Friday evening before a Saturday The Pacifica Experience: A One-Day Introduction to Pacifica's Graduate Degree Programs.
We are excited to offer the full recording of Dr. Houston's lecture.
Tonight in Dreamland: Archetypal Perspectives a New Play co-written by Award-Winning TV Writer Cheri SteinKellner & Visionary Jean Houston A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.
The hit television series, Cheers, was a staple for many of us in the 1980s and early 90s. Sitting down in the front of the TV to catch a good laugh was sometimes the highlight of a busy week. Little did I know that decades later, I’d be having a conversation—about depth psychology—with on one of the award-winning writers of the series who is pursuing a degree in the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Cheri Steinkellner has an impressive number of awards, including Emmys, Golden Globes, and Tony among them as a writer/producer on a number of shows, including the Broadway hit, “Sister Act, the Musical.”
Soul-centered Action: A Call to the Collective Belief in the Possible Human and the Possible World An Interview with Dr. Jean Houston A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.
Jean Houston is almost legendary in popular culture for her passionate engagement, poetic rhetoric, and her poignant appeal for transformation and belief in what she calls “the possible human,” also the title of one her nearly 30 books. One of her many current projects is the collaboration and production of a play which will be previewed at Pacifica Graduate Institute on March 4. “Tonight in Dreamland,” a “serious comedy” as Houston refers to it, was written with Cheri Steinkellner, an award-winning writer and producer of a multitude of plays and TV shows (including the hit series, Cheers), and who is also currently a student in the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life program at Pacifica.
“The question of vocation is crucial, and choosing the right one requires listening to the voice within. The root of the word “vocation” is Latin for voice. Learning to trust that inner voice in the face of economic and social pressures that might urge otherwise is an act of courage. Accessing that courage is key to finding the voice” ~ Dr. Joseph Cambray, Provost
Many of us actively seek to connect with our inner voice and calling, in guiding us on our life’s journey. Determining a graduate program that brings meaning and embraces our calling takes time, research, and a dedication to our self and making a difference. Whether seeking to enhance an existing career, beginning a new vocation, or striving for personal transformation and development, Pacifica’s graduate degree programs will further you on the path. By following the institute’s motto “animae mundi colendae gratia”, which in Latin means “for the sake of tending the soul in and of the world”, Pacifica’s students become pioneers in the field of depth psychology through the lens of the various specializations and interdisciplinary curriculum that each program provides.
Every once in a while, a term emerges on the horizon of my awareness which I find strikingly beautiful. In this case, it is the “image-making capacity of soul.” The language of soul is symbol, and symbol shows itself in image—including dream images, fairy tales and myth, or even art, Mary Harrell, Ph.D., explains in her recent book, Imaginal Figures in Everyday Life: Stories from the World Between Matter and Mind. Ultimately, this language of images is soul manifesting in a way people can understand, and without that image-making capacity, people can’t come to terms with the unconscious, Harrell insists.
Depth Psychology is often associated with “soul.” Many great thinkers in the field have shared some important thoughts on the topic, and perhaps none more so than psychologist and author, Thomas Moore, whose best-selling book, Care of the Soul, is one of the most recognized and appreciated works on the topic. Thomas Moore is speaking at the upcoming Climates of Change conference in celebration of Pacifica’s 40th anniversary in April 2016.
When I sat down recently with Thomas to discuss the topic of soul and spirituality, my first request was that he elaborate on the difference between spirit and soul. Moore’s understanding of the topic is rooted firmly in the past, going back to some of the earliest teachers of soul. While he explained his perception of the difference between spirit and soul in some detail, what struck me is that soul thrives on the “holy” and that there is a “non-human” dimension to it.