Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lionel Corbett on Psychotherapy as Spiritual Practice

"This book makes a case for the idea that psychotherapeutic work has a sacred dimension. I suggest that to view psychotherapy as a spiritual practice is in keeping with its place in our cultural history and with the nature of the work. This is not a new idea; Bion (1979) suggested that psychoanalysis - and I would include psychotherapy in general - is located at the intersection of two axes, the medical and the religious...I offer this book in the service of what Maslow calls 'resacralization' (1971, p. 284), that notion that we can see the person from a spiritual perspective as well as developmentally, genetically, behaviorally, and psychodynamically. To acknowledge that there is a divine element within us, or that each individual is an expression of the Absolute, has implications for our attitude toward psychotherapy...My thesis is that, especially for the religiously unaffiliated, psychotherapy is a valuable resource for addressing the spiritual questions that are likely to emerge when we suffer. At these moments, I suggest that there is no need to speak of psychotherapy and spirituality as if they were radically separate disciplines, because the spirit manifests itself by means of the psyche, producing soulful experience. This kind of spirituality is grounded in the body and in daily life and may have little to do with institutional religion." (pp. 1-2)

Lionel Corbett (2011). The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice. Wilmette, IL: Chiron.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wilhelm Reich on Character Armoring

"In the analysis, the neurotic character traits as a whole prove to be a compact defense mechanism against our therapeutic efforts, and when we trace the origin of this character 'armor' analytically, we see that it also has a definite economic function. Such armor serves on the one hand as a defense against external stimuli; on the other hand it proves to be a means of gaining mastery over the libido, which is continuously pushing forward from the id, because libidinal and sadistic energy is used up in the neurotic reaction formations, compensations, etc."

Wilhelm Reich (1945/1972). Character Analysis, 3rd Edition. New York: Touchstone.
(p. 48)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

C.G. Jung on the Power of Archetype, Word, and Image

This extract is taken from an essay in which Jung is examining the influence of the poet through the lens of Analytical Psychology:

"The impact of an archetype, whether takes the form of immediate experience or is expressed through the spoken word, stirs us because it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own. Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthrals and overpowers, while at the same time he lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring. He transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find a refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night." (p. 82, par. 129)

C.G. Jung (1922) "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry." In C.G. Jung Collected Works Vol. 15, The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Joyce McDougall on Theaters of the Mind

"The conflicts and characters of the past, as well as our own various child and adult selves, are the essential elements that make up our secret scenarios...On the psychoanalytic stage the different theaters and their varied cast of characters slowly emerge. As an analysand begins to have confidence in the analyst's interest and ability to contain the conflicting emotions of love, hate, fear, anger, anxiety, and depression that come to the fore, particularly when fantasies about the analyst and the analytic relationship develop, the I begins to revel the different psychic theaters in which its conflicts are expressed. It also allows the inner characters to be recognized by both analyst and patient. Among the throng appear many different aspects of the self, some idealized and others repudiated by the conscious adult I." (p. 13)

Joyce McDougall (1991). Theaters of the Mind: Illusion and Truth on the Psychoanalytic Stage. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Friday, May 13, 2011

C.G. Jung on Individuation

In the passage below, Jung discusses his concept of individuation - a term he uses to describe the process of psychological differentiation having for its goal the development of the individual personality.

"Individuation has two principal aspects: in the first place it is an internal and subjective process of integration, and in the second it is an equally indispensable process of objective relationship. Neither can exist without the other, although sometimes the one and sometimes the other predominates. This double aspect has two corresponding dangers. The first is the danger of the patient's using the opportunities for spiritual development arising out of the analysis of the unconscious as a pretext for evading the deeper human responsibilities, and for affecting a certain "spirituality" which cannot stand up to moral criticism; the second is the danger that atavistic tendencies may gain the ascendancy and drag the relationship down to a primitive level. Between this Scylla and that Charybdis there is a narrow passage..." (p. 234, para 448)

Jung, C. G. (1966). The Psychology of the Transference. In The Collected Works of C. G. Jung (Vol. 16, 2nd ed., pp. 163-323). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Christopher Bollas on the Past, History and Myth

"Past and history are not the same thing. The past happened. It is composed of events that affected the self, some of which can be remembered, but most of which are outside memory altogether. History is a person's transformation of the past into a story which that person can tell himself or herself. Sometimes the story does indeed derive from the past, but even for the most sincere of analysands, his or her history will be more like a myth.

Christopher Bollas (2009). The Infinite Question. London: Routledge.
" (pp. 30-31).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Don Kalsched on the Defenses of Trauma

"In healthy psychological development, everything depends on a gradual humanization and integration of the archetypal opposites inherent in the Self as the infant and young child wrestles with tolerable experiences of frustration (hate) in the context of a good-enough (not perfect) primary relationship. The child's ruthless aggression does not destroy his object and he can work through to guilt, reparation, and what Klein called the 'depressive position.' However, inasmuch as the traumatized child has intolerable experiences in the object world, the negative side of the Self does not personalize, remaining archaic. The internal world continues to be menaced by a diabolical, inhuman figure. Aggressive, destructive energies - ordinarily available for reality-adaptation and for healthy defense against toxic not-self objects - are directed back into the inner world. This leads to a continuation of trauma and abuse by inner objects long after the outer persecutory activity has stopped." (p. 19)

Donald Kalsched (1996). The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit. London: Routledge.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Heinz Kohut on the Function of Defenses and Resistance

"The so-called defense-resistances are neither defenses nor resistances. Rather, they constitute valuable moves to safeguard the self, however weak and defensive it may be, against destruction and invasion. It is only when we recognize that the patient has no healthier attitude at his disposal than the one he is in fact taking that we evaluate the significance of 'defenses' and 'resistances' appropriately. The patient protects the defective self so that it will be ready to grow again in the future, to continue to develop from the point in time at which its development had been interrupted. And it is this recognition, deeply understood by the analyst who essentially sees the world through his patient's eyes while he analyzes him, that best prepares the soil for the developmental move forward that the stunted self of the analysand actively craves. Such recognition serves the patient better than anything else the analyst can offer." (p. 141)

Heinz Kohut (1984). How Does Analysis Cure? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Milestone for The Psychoanalytic Muse

After just seven weeks of existence The Psychoanalytic Muse has reached 1000 viewings from 21 countries around the world.  Thank you for your interest in the ideas being presented here.