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This Jungian Life

Author: Deborah Stewart, Lisa Marchiano, Joseph Lee

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Eavesdrop on three Jungian analysts as they engage in lively, sometimes irreverent conversations about a wide range of topics. Join them for discussion of news events, family dynamics, personal issues and more as they share what it’s like to see the world through the depth psychological lens provided by CG Jung. Half of each episode is spent discussing a dream submitted by a listener. Lisa, Joseph and Deb went through their Jungian training together, becoming friends and developing working partnerships. Now they are engaged in a new creative venture with a spirit of adventure and hope you will join them.
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The archetype of the father is associated with gods, kingship, and other images of authority and order. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the father complex is powerful. In its negative aspect it may arise from a father who was experienced as absent, emotionally unavailable, passive, critical or abusive. Jung’s father complex influenced his adult relationship with Freud, to whom he wrote, "Let me enjoy your friendship not as that of equals but as that of father and son." Although the eventual break with Freud caused Jung years of inner turmoil, he later realized that they were also the deep source of all his subsequent work. Similarly, Charlotte Bronte and her sisters were able to use their father wounds for their literary creativity. Although healing the father complex can be difficult, taking on this inner task can provide energy for living more fully, freely, and individually.    Dream I woke up in a large, 3 story wooden house that was inhabited by 3 or 4 other people. One was a film director who was coaching a rather unwilling, melancholy actress. I explored the different areas of the home and came to the conclusion that this building was too old, and was being deconstructed for something new. The floorboards creaked, and the walls were peeling off the way tree bark does. After coming downstairs, back to the first floor, and walking down the main hallway, a knock sounded at the front door. First, I looked through the peephole. A grungy looking middle-aged man with short, grey hair and a week old beard stood, impatiently waiting. I opened the door, and he abrasively brushed past me, he was wearing a long, worn, dark gingerbread colored raincoat. At this moment, the importance of the decaying house vanished behind me, along with the strange director and actress. I was led down a short set of stairs to a jungle sized backyard wet with snow. I stood alone now, gazing at the canopies. In the distance, something caught his eye. An animal, alone amidst the fog & snow. A black panther stood, staring at me. I was afraid, and buried myself in the snow as the black panther came running full speed towards me. As this situation began to fade, I woke up in a hospital where I was being shown that his hip had been injured.   References Lisa's article "Marrying Mr. Rochester: Redeeming the Negative Father Complex" For a PDF copy, please email thisjungianlife@gmail.com The Chenoo William Ronald Dodds Fairbairn, Scottish psychoanalyst Von Franz, Marie-Louise. The Cat Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre and other works.  
Episode 084 - Anger

Episode 084 - Anger

2019-11-0701:14:561

Anger is a core human emotion. Newborns express instinctual cries of protest, and many a mythological god has wreaked archetypal havoc. Cultural norms around anger range from keeping a stiff upper lip to highly extraverted forms of expression. There are overall differences in how men and women tend to express anger; differences in temperament as well as situational stressors contribute to the intensity and frequency of angry feelings. Anger, like other emotions, is a source of information: it tells us when we feel violated in some way, and is linked to self-preservation. If fiery feelings can be understood first as a call to containment and self-reflection rather than reaction, it can fuel strategic thinking, emotional maturation and productive action.   Dream I was in a national forest alone, wandering around. I spotted a giant bird lying face down in a clearing. It had dark purple feathers on its back, and I knew I should try to collect some, since that is what my sister would do. I reached over and quickly pulled a handful out. I got three purple feathers. The bird turned out to actually be alive. It jumped up and I jumped back in fear, dropping the feathers on the ground. There were three people in the distance, that I couldn’t visually see but I understood them to be my classmates. They exclaimed, “she is so crazy to do that.” I wanted to get the feathers back, but I was too afraid and ashamed to get them.    References Lerner, Harriet. The Dance of Anger (Amazon).  Winnicott, Donald Hate in the Counter-Transference. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pmc › articles › PMC3330380
People have reported experiences with ghosts from antiquity; Jung documented his encounters with mysterious sensed presences. How do we make meaning of such experiences? Are they visitations from external beings? Could they be related to unconscious reactions to toxic substances, auditory subtleties, or erratic electromagnetic fields? Neurological evidence links the stimulation of specific brain regions to feeling a ghostly presence. Stress, extreme hunger, physical hardship, loss, isolation, sleep deprivation, and mental illness also correlate to ghostly experiences, perhaps related to a lowered threshold of consciousness. Although there is no scientific proof of ghosts, age-old belief in soul survival extends credibility to the existence of ghosts. Jung offered no definitive answer to this question but felt that since the unconscious possesses subtle powers of perception it could project a visionary picture of a psychic situation. Ultimately, experiences of ghosts are, like dreams, psychic facts.   Dream "I'm at my aunt's house. I'm sleeping there, and my daughter is having a sleepover with her friend in a different room. When she wakes, she comes over for a good morning hug and a kiss. I think about how nice that is. I'm drawing something on a piece of paper - two treasure chests, and some other things. I'm very intent on showing her the two treasure chests. I draw lines around one to show it's glowing. I think she'll be interested in them."   References Seven Sermons to the Dead: Jung’s visionary material published in an appendix to his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Wolfgang Pauli: theoretical physicist and pioneer of quantum physics with whom Jung met and worked. Henri Corbin: a French philosopher, theologian, and professor of Islamic Studies; the mundus imaginalis refers to an imaginal level of reality that animates all life. 
The question of whether, when, and what psychoactive medications may be helpful is both big and ambiguous. Mental distress has always been strongly influenced by cultural filters and subjective perceptions. Whereas a person might once have sought to placate a god, sufferers today may turn to medical management rather than mining their psychological symptoms for meaning. In his autobiography Jung describes his years of mental turmoil—and that they became “the prima materia for a lifetime’s work”; his Red Book documents his encounters with the unconscious in compelling and artistic detail. There is much evidence of the potential suffering holds for self-awareness and psychological depth – and it is also important to acknowledge that judicious use of today’s medications can relieve unnecessary or pointless suffering. No matter where on the spectrum of severity emotional illness may lie, psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle, and relationships can all play a role in recovery and growth. Dream “I am walking toward a large concrete structure with an unbelievably fit, handsome and powerful man. He appears to be my friend although I am envious of his physical attributes. We climb into a small passage that leads to a clearing in which undulating hills descend into a body of fast-moving water. I am immediately struck that there is a goal or intention to swim across this water and scale a flat concrete wall which is about 100 feet up, facing us across the body of water. My companion says, “I've got this,” and “I do things like this all the time.” He jumps in the water at the exact moment I become aware of holes in the wall which then begin to fire cannonballs. I rush back to where we began to avoid the cannon barrage, but also (it seems) to “watch” the negotiation of the obstacle. I am now with another man who is soft and slightly overweight. I ask him where the best place to watch this endeavor is and he leads me up a stairwell to a room that contains two old CR TVs. One is large and a smaller one is on top of the larger. The room has a greenish-yellow carpet and it looks very much like the late ’70s or early ’80s. I feel sorry for the man because in that moment I realize this is all he can afford. Next, I am struck with an awareness that the fit man has successfully completed his endeavor – although I did not see it happen. I then become aware that the room adjacent to the one I am in is filled with two groups of women. The first group are sitting at a table conducting what appears to be an executive meeting. The second group are on the floor engaging in a yoga class. My wife is among the women doing yoga and her cousin is among the executives. I suddenly am struck by the realization that I am only wearing a t-shirt and I’m naked from the waist down, and I fear they will discover this.”   References Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis (Amazon). Whitaker, Robert. Anatomy of an Epidemic (Amazon). Perry, John. The Far Side of Madness Lingiardi & McWilliams. Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, Second Edition Jung, C.G. The Red Book.
Episode 081 - Empathy

Episode 081 - Empathy

2019-10-1701:06:141

Empathy, the ability to feel into the suffering of another, is an intrinsic part of being human. We have such a capacity to imagine others’ experience that we react physiologically and emotionally to painful situations even in film. We are surprised, sometimes shocked, when the empathy we expect in a given situation is not forthcoming. Although empathic deficits create wounding, an overly empathic stance can also be problematic, fostering psychic stasis. Jung related empathy to the causal, or “mechanistic” aspect of analysis, in which painful past experiences are traced to their origin in order to more fully integrate feelings, expand consciousness, and depotentiate a complex. However, Jung also emphasized the “abstract,” or “final-energic” direction of traumatic experience, which is more objective and relates to achieving a state of equilibrium. We are thus asked to hold the tension between empathy for feelings—our own or another’s—and a more objective stance toward meaning, choice, and action. Dream I'm standing somewhere that is slightly above the level of the ground, and looking down on an alley that has water below. I know I have come to get into the water, but while looking at the way to get to the water is very steep and harsh. So I think of jumping. The water is very, very clear, and I see that after a few meters on the side of the wall that I'm standing on, it gets very deep and blue. So I think it might be very dangerous, if I throw myself in, and can't swim. I don't believe anyone will be able to either find me or help me get out of the water. So I don't jump. But for the rest of the dream I continue carrying a secret with myself that I should have jumped, but I haven't. It feels like having to do something, but not doing it.
A planned, collaborative termination is the ideal way to bring a depth-oriented therapeutic process to a close. The client may have resolved a problematic life issue and/or have achieved an abiding sense of wholeness. When both partners feel the client’s sense of completion and readiness for a new phase of life, this kind of termination can feel like a graduation, albeit with the poignancy farewells also entail. There are also less satisfying endings for both therapist and client. The fit between therapist and client may not be good enough to form a strong bond; illness, death or a geographic relocation may derail the process; interpersonal conflict may fail to be resolved; or financial difficulty may impose a premature ending. Jung compares a depth psychological process to combining chemicals in a vessel: although the goal is change in the service of individuation, both people are always affected.  Dream "I'm a student in a classroom. I recognize one student, someone I know who, like me, has a talent for deception and manipulation, but he is malicious and I am not...I've put a lot of work into not letting these aspects of myself run amok. This student is clearly not interested in the class and doesn't want to be here. I then realize this is a sort of "personality" class that we've been assigned because of our troubling traits. The teacher (a female I don't recognize) is on the verge of tears as she flips through a stack of papers which I understand to be transcripts of conversations between this other student and people he's treated badly...using their secrets against them, things like that. Another student leans over to me and whispers "she's going through yours next" and I say "but I don't do things like that". The teacher looks up at me still visibly upset, about to cry. She says to me "You're supposed to come back next week, right? Well, don't come, I don't have time to spend on a MAILBOX student like you" and I say to her "The way you're feeling right now, I've been making people feel like that my whole life and I'm very sorry."
The death of a loved one is a loss that is part of the human condition and is universal. The Stranger -- mortality -- confronts us with a new need to accept the reality of our loss and pain, a process that can include ambivalent feelings. Relief and anger can be mixed with love and grief. Altogether, we must adjust to an absence where once there was presence, relearn how to experience the world of relationship, and perhaps take on new life responsibilities at a time of emotional turmoil. Ego may find itself first helpless, then bereft of the soul and spirit needed to reweave life and meaning. There is also the need to balance one’s continuing internal connection with the deceased and the task of moving on with one’s life in a fulsome way.   Dream “There was a man (though he seemed not simply a man but some combination creature or child like or otherworldly-maybe something that can turn into something else) and he was lying down and sort of whimpering. He was wearing a long light colored robe. Then I realized that on his side he had a large gaping wound and rotting flesh and there were birds, many, families of birds feeding on his flesh. He was in great pain but also kind of trance like and internal. I had to help him. It was a grave situation. He couldn’t help himself. He was helpless. He seemed pathetic. It would be a really long painful death. I didn’t know what could help but thought maybe if I took a hose and I could force the birds off with water. I did that and maybe someone was helping me because as I hosed it seemed there were another set of hands “cleaning” or holding the birds that came off. It was arduous. I thought it was a great infection and how could I get him or it to a hospital. Then I woke up.”   References Olson, Susan. By Grief Transformed: Dreams and the Mourning Process (Amazon) Blackie, Sharon: If Women Rose Rooted: A Life Changing Journey to Authenticity and Belonging (Amazon) https://www.griefshare.org
Episode 078 - Infertility

Episode 078 - Infertility

2019-09-2600:57:051

Hey TJL Fans, There’s a great Jungian conference in Minneapolis MN this November 1 & 2. Here’s a link to the flyer and since it’s by ‘invitation only’ just say, “This Jungian Life sent me” and you’re in! https://irsja.org/irsja-invitational-conference/ We three will be attending and if you see us be sure to say hello. Cheers Lisa, Deb, & Joseph   INFERTILITY: When the Mother Archetype Fails to Constellate Medical technology has given the problem of fertility a scientific veneer. Our Promethean ability to manipulate gestational mysteries has wrested power from what was once the domain of the gods. Fulfillment of the promise of pregnancy seems to lie within reach, although it may entail incurring financial debt and enduring intense emotional cycles of desire, hope and disappointment. Holding the tension between the fire of psychic activation and physical incarnation is an age-old theme. Many fairy tales begin with a couple going to great lengths to fulfill their longing for a child, only to then confront the shadow aspects of desire. Human fertility is not limited to the physical gestation of a baby. Its essence, creativity and futurity, also includes ideas, energy, and goals. New life does not come from the conscious side of the personality alone.   Dream “I’m visiting a childhood friend and his Father. He has joined the military, and killed a lot of People, which has led to a nasty drinking habit. We drink together. He has formidable skills with a rifle. We wrestle together (for fun). I win. I give him a piece of advice: "make sure you know why you kill People before you kill them" the Dream ends when I realize I can’t drive home because I’ve been drinking. Considering a taxi, but too expensive.”
Complaining is universal, perhaps, like gossiping, one of the first uses to which developed language was put. Overall, a complaint can refer to a perceived legal injustice, medical symptom, or other personally painful matter. The chronic complainer feels a lack of agency, and implicitly pleads for emotional support and/or effective action from another. A complaint may therefore range from a request for empathic engagement to an effort to assign responsibility to others. Listeners have a felt sense of a complaint’s legitimacy; we resonate to injustice and its reparation in the tale of The Goose Girl. We feel exasperation with the heroine’s petulant entitlement in the tale of The Princess and the Pea, and take satisfaction in the punishment of greed in The Fisherman and His Wife. A chronic complaint is a call to identify and understand an underlying problem rather than externalizing it.   Dream “There was a man (though he seemed not simply a man but some combination creature or child like or otherworldly -- maybe something that can turn into something else) and he was lying down and sort of whimpering. He was wearing a long light-colored robe. Then I realized that on his side he had a large gaping wound and rotting flesh and there were birds, many families of birds feeding on his flesh. He was in great pain but also kind of trance-like and internal. I had to help him. It was a grave situation. He couldn’t help himself. He was helpless. He seemed pathetic. It would be a really long painful death. I didn’t know what could help but thought maybe if I took a hose I could force the birds off with water. I did that and maybe someone was helping me, because as I hosed it seemed there was another set of hands “cleaning” or holding the birds that came off. It was arduous. I thought it was a great infection and how could I get him or it to a hospital. Then I woke up.”   References Video: It’s Not About the Nail (YouTube). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg Sieff, Daniela. Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma (Amazon).
Episode 076 - Animus & Anima

Episode 076 - Animus & Anima

2019-09-1201:10:211

Although these Jungian concepts have become familiar psychological terminology, they remain difficult to understand. According to Jung, animus and anima are innate psychic structures shaped significantly by the archetypal world, whereas the shadow is predominantly shaped by personal experiences of ego formation. Whereas shadow tends to be rejected, animus and anima fascinate and attract. Although images like sol / luna or yin / yang amplify the a priori nature of these inner opposites, the animus corresponds to the paternal Logos and the anima to the maternal Eros. Parents are the first external experience of this innate predisposition, and a developmental psychic trajectory may be inferred from mythology and individual dream images. Animus and anima represent adaptation and attitude to the inner world; they serve as the bridge to the collective unconscious and are experienced as “other.”  Dream In the first scene, my guy and I are watching each other masturbate over Skype. He's in his house and he ejaculates on his real wood floor. In the second scene, we're in my parents' house; they aren't there but there are children's toys around. He masturbates himself and ejaculates on their laminate wood floor. I'm anxious about this and clear up. In the third scene, I arrive in a cavernous Victorian public restroom below ground level, in London. The first chamber is a men's urinal and lots of men are pleasuring each other, it's a lively scene and they invite me in but I refuse. I move to another chamber, which is a spa, but I don't go in. In between the two chambers is a lecture theatre, and my guy is giving a work presentation to an audience. He doesn't acknowledge my arrival and I sit next to the projector under the raked chairs where the audience is sitting, and watch him present. He won't be able to see me, as he'd be blinded by the projector, but I can see him.  References: Anima and Animus by Emma Jung
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Comments (4)

Love Life

one assumption made that being a slob is low functioning. is it?

Apr 22nd
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Daniel Taylor

This episode reminded me of the concept that God, as an architype, is possibly being replaced with other types or images. For example, the idea that sacredness as being applied to many nonreligious ideas, like food or politics or even morality, like do no harm is, maybe, a reflection of our secular society and the idea that God, whether consious or unconscious, is an important part of being human. By that I mean, that the idea of God or God himself is a need or a manifestation of our need for a God.

Mar 11th
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Daniel Taylor

ok, the only issue I have with this discussion, is that maybe it's possible that the only power a person may have is to cut off ones family of origin. If a parent or any individual in any relationship refuses to modify their perceptually abusive behavior the person repetitively abused may have no other choice, but to remove themselves from that behavior.

Mar 5th
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Vanessa Hannah Bright, LAc, LP

What an incredible podcast, thank you for taking the time to produce it. It is immensely inspiring and enriching.

Aug 27th
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