Friday, November 28, 2008

Two new Inner City publications

Inner City Books has added two new titles to their extensive list of publications of Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analyst. 

Jung Uncorked Book Three: Rare Vintages from the Cellar of Analytical Psychology

Decanted with commentaries by DARYL SHARP

ISBN 978189457242. (Book 3) Index 128 pp. 2008. $25.00
C.G. Jung died in 1961 at the age of 86, but his legacy lives on. His writings are like fine, full-bodied wines-they mature with age, as do we all if we pay sufficient attention to ourselves.

This book continues the acclaimed series explicating different essays in Jung's Collected Works (CW) together with the author's experiential commentaries on their psychological significance and contemporary relevance. The selections here are of course just the tip of the wine cellar, so to speak, that is Jung's legacy and, by extension, the backdrop to the attitude toward the psyche that generally informs the modern practice of analytical psychology.

Jung Uncorked now comprises three Books. In order to cover Jung's wide range of interests, the chapters in each book deal with one essay from each volume of the Collected Works, sequentially from CW 1 to CW 18. Book One explicates and comments on essays from CW volumes 1-9i. Book Two does the same with CW volumes 9ii to 18. Book Three begins anew, with these contents:

1) Cryptomnesia, 2) On the Doctrine of Complexes, 3) On Psychological Understanding, 4) Freud and Jung: Contrasts, 5) The Battle for Deliverance from the Mother, 6) Psychological Types, 7) The Synthetic or Constructive Method, 8) The Stages of Life, 9i) Concerning Rebirth
Daryl Sharp is a Zurich-trained analyst, publisher of Inner City Books, and author of many other titles in this general Series. He lives and practices in Toronto, Canada.

Title 123 in the Series: STUDIES IN JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY BY JUNGIAN ANALYSTS


Body and Soul: The Other Side of Illness - 2nd Edition

by Albert Kreinheder
ISBN 9781894574259. Index. 128 pp. 2008. $25.00
Informed by the author's personal experience of cancer, arthritis and tuberculosis over many years, Body and Soul is unique, unlike anything Inner City has ever published. Unusual in both style and tone, it is essentially a feeling-intuitive approach to physical illness, dramatically illustrating the symbolic attitude, individuation and active imagination with the body.

Body and Soul reflects a life well and truly lived in relation to the Self. It is deceptively simple and straight from the heart: no nonsense, no footnotes.

From the Foreword by William O. Walcott:

"Amazingly, in this day of psychobabble passing for science, Kreinheder has written a supremely readable book (many chapters read like prose poetry) about the body and the psyche without it being 'psychological.' He understood that the essence of human experience is not psychological and rational; it is something ineffable and immediate, passionate and painful, spiritual and profane, that must be both endured and celebrated.

"This book is a last testament of a dying man, a man with profound insight-but it is about life and living."

Albert Kreinheder, Ph.D., was a Jungian analyst in Los Angeles for more than 25 years. He studied English literature at Syracuse University (B.A. and M.A.) and received a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Claremont Graduate School. Over the years he served the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles as Director of Training, Chairman of the Certifying Board and President. He died of cancer in 1990, at the age of 76.

Title No. 124 in the Series: STUDIES IN JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY BY JUNGIAN ANALYSTS

Order by calling Toll Free Canada & the US 1-800-228-9316, International calls: +1-831-238-7799.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Donkeys & Elephants Unplugged: The Psychology of

What better way of celebrating the end of an era than by paying tribute to the Elephant!

Jungian Psychology Unplugged: My Life as an Elephant by Daryl Sharp is a warm, humorous, entertaining and beautifully written book that gives an overview of Jungian Psychology . . . That's right, warm, humorous, entertaining, beautifully written, and a psychology book.

My Life as an Elephant is comprised of six chapters. Chapter one addresses Jung's Basic model of Psychological Types. Chapter two deals with 'Getting to know Yourself' and explains the basics of archetypes and complexes, persona, shadow . . . Chapter three, 'The Unknown Other' is about projection and identification, including the challenges involved with intimacy and relationships. Chapter four deals with the 'Anatomy of a Midlife Crisis' which is most often fueled by the need to develop a relationship with one's self, or with the unexpressed aspects of our personalities that have not been honored and given a voice earlier in life. In chapter five Daryl Sharp writes about the analytical experience, including his own, which I found most refreshing. All to often, one will pick up a psychology or self-help book in hopes of finding a recipe to improve one's life. That's not what happens in Jungian Psychology Unplugged: My life as an Elephant. Instead, in vulnerable fashion, Daryl Sharp shares some of his more personal moments during the period when he was seeking council. The author well knows that another person's recipe is worthless when it comes to finding one's self and living an authentic life, and he doesn't pretend to be an authority and try to prove otherwise. Chapter six is about Psychological Development, the process of becoming more conscious by developing a relationship to one's soul. Sharp addresses the need to be true to our vocations, our true callings in life, and venerates those who have the courage to do just this--listening and being true to one's inner voice.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Intimacy, Fear and Creativity

by Lawrence H. Staples
author of Guilt with a Twist

The resistance a patient experiences in painting on this canvas that lies between him and the analyst, or in attempting otherwise to paint or write while in analysis, is similar to what artists experience when they encounter a block. They have touched and activated some thought or feeling that scared them. They will remain blocked until the unconscious thought or feeling is made conscious and dealt with. What scared them often turns out to be a fear that is appropriate to and belongs to childhood, but that continues unconsciously. What scares artists and causes them to block is often the fear of revealing in their art a secret about themselves. It is a fear of self-revelation, a fear of revealing something that was dangerously unacceptable to their parents. They are not conscious of what is frightening them because the fearful thing might seem silly or frivolous. Dealing with this issue is the job of analysis. Analysis tries to depotentiate these fears, allowing the individual to see them for what they are, often just a spook.

The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for WholenessI have worked with a number of creative people who entered analysis because they were blocked. Something had frightened them or hurt them or made them feel so vulnerable that they could no longer risk going outside the fence, where the opposites they needed for their creative work were. Their need for safety was keeping them in the safe zone. Thus, they were separated from the stones they needed to finish the work they had started. Usually, with sufficient encouragement and mirroring, their comfort level with the opposites returned and they were able to go back outside, where lay the stones needed to complete their job.

A letter from a former patient, a multi-talented artist who had finished his work with me, helped make me more conscious of and understand more fully the etiology of the resistance to and the blocking of our creative work, whether in analysis or in other art forms. This former patient shared with me the profound insight that what blocks us in our art is essentially what blocks us in our relationships.

He was struggling with his painting when he wrote to me: “Our talks about the fear of intimacy in relationships come to mind when I find myself frustrated in my creative work and begin to think to myself, ‘Yeah, it is just getting difficult and you want to bail out on something that you actually have feelings for and are afraid of going deeper.’” He had perceived a connection between creative work and relationships that is far from obvious. Reflecting on his comments, I realized how rich his insight was.

Reflecting on his comments, I realized how rich his insight was. He was right; it is fear of intimacy that blocks our commitment to and deep engagement to both art and relationships. Intimacy means fully revealing and expressing our selves to others. It is intimacy, deep self-revelation that renders both art and relationships authentic. We resist intimacy and the authenticity it produces because we fear fully revealing our selves to others. We are afraid we will be unacceptable, criticized, and rejected. And we fear revealing ourselves to our self.

Because our art is a reflected image of our selves, the potential rejection of our art is as terrifying as the potential rejection of our selves in a relationship. Rejection is a threat of annihilation in both. No wonder we are tempted to hide our selves or to run away or, as my patient remarked, “bail out” of both. No wonder we are tempted to keep our paintings, our writing, or other artistic output safely ensconced out of sight in a drawer or cupboard. No wonder it keeps us from submitting our art for exhibition or our writing to a publisher. Even worse, it is often what separates us from our paintbrushes, word processors, or other tools of the trade.

Instead of doing creative work and exposing it to the world we go drinking, fishing, or screwing. Such diversions, if they replace our creative artistic work, eventually result in thoughts of suicide. There is only one way to relieve or expunge those thoughts—creative production. If we are lucky, we eventually will be able to engage in both authentic art and authentic relationships before we die.

Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean WayThe idea of revealing our selves to others is like parading naked before others, and both are scary. It makes no difference whether this revealing of ourselves is represented in a physical, mental, spiritual, or symbolic form. We fear the guilt and shame that will ensue if any representation is judged to be bad. It is a feared attack on our self-worth, on the very foundations of our being. It is the ultimate block to our creativity or activity, or at least, that is how it seems. This fear is one reason why it is often easier to be successful in conventional terms—in business, law, or medicine—than to be successful in art or relationships. Being successful in conventional areas often depends upon concealing large parts of one’s self, while success in art most often involves revealing large parts of one’s self. Thus, the very thing that makes bad art and bad relationships may make good business.

My patient’s note crystallized for me the important connection between art and relationships. The more I thought about what he said the more I could see that they have much in common. Both good art and good relationships depend on and result from a creative activity that flows from our deepest realm. They are, in fact, identical from the standpoint of the underlying creative principles and processes that give them life. They are similarly conceived, formed, and developed. It follows, then, that good art and good relationships depend on the same things, and they both require creative effort of the highest order, effort that may be intense and may need a prolonged gestation period. And they both require profound intimacy, both with one’s self and others, if they are to be really good.

We create great relationships only when we fully reveal our selves; we create great art only when we truly reveal our selves. Art and relationships require the same nutrients to grow. If we want our art and our relationships to be strong and beautiful, we must feed them intimacy, which is what makes both of them thrive. Thus, the quality of our art and the quality of our relationships depend on the degree to which we accomplish this feat of intimate self-revelation. The more that they reflect our selves the better they are.

This is why we simultaneously both fear and fall in love with our relationships and our art. We see our selves in both of them. Christ’s command that we love our neighbors as our selves would be a meaningless and empty phrase if we could not first love our selves. We cannot love our selves if we cannot know our selves. Both relationships and art help us know our selves by mirroring and reflecting back to us who we are.

As we have noted, however, life presents us with a great paradox. We fear deeply the very thing that we need if we are to create good art and good relationships. Artist’s block and lover’s block flow from the same pool and result from the same dynamics. For reasons described throughout my book we are frightened by the impulse to reveal our selves fully, because it always means revealing the unacceptable parts of our selves. To find and reveal our selves fully, we must breach the fence with which convention surrounds us, and incur guilt. Doing this requires great courage and a high tolerance for pain.

It is painful because to do so is to expose parts of our selves that got us into trouble with or caused us to be rejected. There was trouble when we expressed unacceptable feelings, like: “I am afraid” or “I need you” or “I miss you” or “Please leave the lights on” or “Please don’t leave me alone” or “I hate you” or “Go to hell.” There is a huge range of negative feelings that were disallowed and we are afraid to expose them because we do not want to be rejected by touching the same hot stove that burned us when we were kids. We want people to love our art and us, but we fear that they will reject both if we truly reveal who we are and what we feel. How could we feel otherwise? That was a burn that still hurts.

Parents were our first image of God, and we harbor well into adulthood, mostly unconsciously, the thought that they are God. For this reason, we viscerally experience the acknowledgment, acceptance, or expression of the forbidden feelings and values as a transgression of God’s will. It is easy to understand why it is so difficult to undo the early damage that parents inflicted and that interfere with our deep need for intimacy. Even the parents themselves were unaware of what was going on.

Relevant is a dream of an analysand several years ago. In the dream, he went into the bathroom at night, in the dark, and stepped on glass that his mother had broken, but not swept up. He cut his feet badly. It cut him and wounded him in an important place: his standpoint. Insecure and domineering parents often cannot tolerate their children subscribing to or expressing a standpoint different from theirs; they demand orthodoxy of feelings, values, and viewpoints. They thus cut the child off from large areas of himself. The cut, as seen in the dream, must heal if the child is to find and know himself fully, develop his own individual standpoint, and express himself intimately in both art and relationships. Whether a cut or a burn, the sensitive wound does not want to be reopened and the fear of pain keeps us at a distance from important parts of our selves.

Thus, to avoid the frightful intimacy that involves fully revealing our selves, we kid our selves into thinking that our art and our relationships depend on finding the “right” person or the “right” art form. We believe that both the problem and its solution lie “out there” instead of “in here,” in our selves. Our capacity for intimacy depends on our capacity to find and accept within our selves the forbidden feelings that we rejected. We simply cannot intimately reveal to others feelings that we our selves do not accept. Finding and accepting those forbidden feelings involves a long process of introspection that is not for the faint of heart.