Tag: Depth Psychology

Imagery and symbolism in the therapeutic process


Symbols and imagery educed from the subconscious can be interpreted within the therapeutic process. Existential, humanistic, and phenomenological approaches focus on conceptual, emotional and verbal realities, while transpersonal approaches focus on spiritual longings and experiences as keys to self-actualization. The humanistic movement arose in the early 1960’s out of dissatisfactions with the natural science conception… Read more »

Letter to my father on his 90th birthday


Dad, I would like to say a few words on this occasion of your 90th birthday. Tolstoy begins his great novel Anna Karenina with this famous opening line: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” A couple of sentences you could spend a lifetime pondering without quite figuring… Read more »

From Basic Human Tendencies to Personal Myth


Knud Leem’s 1767 copper carving of a Shaman. Charlotte Bühler’s Theory of Development Charlotte Bühler, a pioneer in women’s adolescent psychology, emphasized the distinctions between humanistic psychology and the Freudian science that had dominated the discipline earlier in her career. She pointed out that development is synonymous with health and self-realization rather than the endpoint… Read more »

Finding Oneself and Creating Oneself: Implications of the Psychotherapy Folklore


“Perhaps, as we say in America, I wanted to find myself. This is an interesting phrase, not current as far as I know in the language of any other people, which certainly does not mean what it says but betrays a nagging suspicion that something has been misplaced.” –James Baldwin (Giovanni’s Room, 1956/1984) “I am… Read more »

Silence, Shunning, and Shying Away: Destroying Personhood and Connection Through Preserving the Peace


“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” My well-intentioned parents repeated this injunction so often to my sister and me throughout our childhood, presumably to discourage us from bullying other children and to encourage us to model pro-social behavior for our peers. Words certainly do deliver deep, emotional wounds that can… Read more »

Holding Fire With Parchment: Personal Power and Greatness Through Soul Loss


Very recently, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, poet and Jungian psychoanalyst, said of the late Robin Williams, “He learned for 63 years of his life how to be ‘the fire handler.’ That is where I would praise him, for what he has managed to do for six+ decades; handle fire, while being made of parchment” (Estés, 2014)…. Read more »

I Am, We Are, This Is Me: The Wounded Healer in Nature and Sacred Community


Janmot’s Poème de l’âme (13): Rayons de soleil. In my personal life beyond my work as a professor and a psychologist, I am blessed to be a member of two loving and healing spiritual communities that feel like a family and tribe, in a deeper sense than I could once have ever imagined. At the… Read more »

Depth Psychology of the Feminine


An image of the goddess Kali. Existential-transpersonal interpretations of the midlife transition that have emerged in the literature in archetypal psychology (Achterberg, 1996; Andrews, 1993; Borysenko, 1996; Greer, 1991; Houston, 1996; Rogers, 1995) depict a non-medicalized view of a woman’s struggle through menopause; the harnessing of intentionality using personal myth; the psychological shift from an… Read more »

Sitting Still: A Shocking Choice


“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote Blaise Pascal. If that’s true, then what are we to make of a recent study showing that people—men especially—so hate being alone with their thoughts that they’ll shock themselves on a battery rather than spend 15 minutes in quiet… Read more »