Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Life of Buddha and Individuation

"The life of Buddha is an example of individuation. He was privileged and enjoyed every possible means of comfort and pleasure, sheltered from want. What moved him to want to experience the world beyond his palace? He went into the world of ordinary people and found sickness, poverty, and suffering. It seemed he felt his life was not complete until he had experienced the dark and sordid side of life. Only then could he fulfill his destiny as a spiritual sage. His life illustrates the idea that we are not completed by being good or by having what seems like perfection. Individuation as completion means filling out all of our possible conscious experiences and being aware of our potential, the pleasant and unpleasant, good and bad." Deldon Anne McNeely, Becoming: An Introduction to Jung's Concept of Individuation
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Letting Go of the Way We Wish Things Ideally Would Be

There are many worthy arguments for the existence of ideals. These include the role of ideals as an organizing principle around which people with similar values can gather. Like goals, ideals motivate us.

The need to be Jesus can lead to guilt, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction. The need to avoid the painful guilt of failing to achieve ideals often interferes in very practical ways with career development because they can never be satisfied with ordinary jobs. The shortfall from this ideal is predictable. This unconscious need to be great is often expressed by patients as dissatisfaction with their jobs, or as feelings that their work is meaningless or soulless. Sometimes the complaint is stronger; they feel that they are prostituting themselves. They may feel the same about their colleagues and bosses, who think only of profit. They say they want to do something that helps people or helps the environment or helps bring social justice. They often believe there is a job out there that will permit them to use their talents for some greater good or noble purpose.

Letting go of the way we wish things ideally would be can lead to more human development than the ideals themselves.
Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way

article by Lawrence H. Staples

We would have to be blind, however, not to acknowledge their danger. By definition, when ideals are our guide, we strive for perfection that does not exist in the real world. We strive for something that in the long run will frustrate us and depress us because we will fall short. We will experience failure. Goals are different. Having realistically attainable goals can serve us well.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Good Guilt. . . WHAT IS GOOD GUILT?

Good Guilt is the guilt we incur for the sins we need to commit, if we are to grow and fulfill ourselves. This paradoxical “twist” to the conventional meaning of guilt is the seminal idea behind Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way.

In common parlance, the words “good” and “guilt” don’t belong together. They appear to be contradictory. Personal and clinical experience, however, has repeatedly confirmed for me the useful role of sin and guilt in personal and psychological development. I began to notice that there are times in our lives when the experience of guilt actually was a signal of having done something good, even essential to nurture us. While the guilt probably did not feel like “Good Guilt” at the time of transgression, the “sin” that caused the guilt is sometimes viewed in retrospect as having brought something valuable to our life. Examples might include divorces, separations from partners and friends, giving up family-approved or family-dictated careers, or even marriages that are opposed by one’s family on the grounds of race, religion, gender, or social status. It might also include the expression of qualities previously rejected as unacceptable, like selfishness or the contra-sexual sides of ourselves. Later in life we may look at guilt thus incurred in a different light.

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Click the following link to order online Guilt with a Twist

Friday, July 10, 2015

Guilt’s Unacknowledged Role in Mental Health

from The Guilt Cure 
by Nancy Carter Pennington and Lawrence H. Staples

Guilt’s negative aspects go beyond its deterrence to psychological growth and development. It also affects our mental health and wellbeing. It can make us sick. Guilt is a major cause of depression, anxiety, paranoia and suicide. It is also a significant factor in less common ailments such as hypochondriasis, and other somatoform disorders. This view is not widely held among medical and mental health professionals, despite the fact that they encounter and deal with guilt daily in their practices. In the case of depression, biological and chemical imbalances or psychological factors like loss, grief and failure are emphasized. In our experience, however, these conventional viewpoints both overlook and underestimate guilt’s causal role in these serious disturbances. We have become increasingly conscious not only of the important causal role of guilt in these major psychological disorders but also of the damage it generally inflicts on our mental health and wellbeing.&nbsp

Long before The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders had been conceived, Lady Macbeth’s guilt-induced decline into mental disorder and suicide dramatically and accurately portrayed at the extreme the psychological damage that guilt can inflict on the human psyche. Despite Shakespeare’s vivid and accurate portrayal of the dangerous consequences of guilt, and despite commonsensical grounds for belief that the bard got it right, standard and conventional diagnostic criteria often overlook and underestimate the role of guilt in some of our most frequently encountered psychological difficulties. We can see this blind spot in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This important manual, used worldwide by psychiatrists and psychologists to help them diagnose psychological problems, mentions guilt as a diagnostic criterion only in major depressive episodes, depressive personality disorders, and dysthymia, the latter of which being only recently added to the manual. The insignificance of guilt in the manual’s diagnostic scheme is also suggested by the fact that the word guilt is not even in the index. Nor is it listed as a contributing factor to anxiety. Guilt is certainly not generally perceived as a cause of any mental disorder. However, as therapists we can’t avoid the truth that the mere fact of diagnosing someone with a mental disorder induces guilt. Even the need to come to therapy is itself a source of guilt.

(Masaccio Fresco image from the 
Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria 
del Carmine,  Firenze, Italia
provided via Wikimedia Commons  
[Public domain].)
One cannot help but wonder why the manual does not stress the importance of guilt, because clerics and therapists have been seeing and dealing with guilt, one way or another, for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Perhaps guilt’s role in mental disorders is muted because it has been viewed primarily as a religious construct. Or perhaps guilt is viewed just as a normal feeling, like grief or disappointment. Or, perhaps they view guilt primarily as a positive factor demonstrating the presence of normal conscience. Finally, they may feel guilt is mainly deserved. Normal or not, deserved or not, guilt is a potentially dangerous feeling that is a ubiquitous threat to our mental health and wellbeing. While we cannot fully explain the virtual absence of guilt’s role in the official pantheon of mental disorders, we do know it is a serious threat to mental health.

We know that the diagnosis and treatment of both physical and mental illnesses depends importantly upon naming something for what it is. Calling a spade a spade can often save us, like saying Rumpelstiltskin.(1) Many of us are aware of misdiagnoses of physical illnesses, as, for example, when someone’s edema is diagnosed initially as being caused by heart problems only to learn later that it was caused by cancer of the kidney. Similarly, we often think the cause of our psychological suffering is depression or anxiety. Later, we have often found that depression or anxiety, painful and serious as they may in themselves be, are not the primary cause of our difficulties. We often find this primary cause to be guilt. Unfortunately, guilt often hides and lurks behind these other disturbances and, for this reason, can be extremely difficult to see, at least, initially.

This is not to say that we do not take the depression symptom seriously. We must treat it with all the means at our disposal, including medication when necessary. Although we know that treating the symptom does not work over the long term (eventually we must treat the root cause), it may be necessary to treat the symptom (i.e., the depression) because the symptom might kill the patient before we get to the root cause. In that way, the treatment procedure is analogous to treating alcoholism. Drinking is a symptom of an underlying cause, but if the symptom is not treated early on, then the patient may die before the cause is found and can be treated.

More Praise for Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond

"Shared Realities, edited by Mark Winborn, is a beautiful in-depth study of Jung's (and Levy-Bruhl's) concept of Participation Mystique. It is an important contribution to t.he understanding of a significant and intriguing concept, here presented in its diversity, linking theory with clinical praxis. It is highly recommended and will be an important textbook on the subject.” Dr. Erel Shalit – Jungian Analyst
Author (most recently The Cycle of Life)
Ra’anana, Israel

“Beautifully written and poignantly described, Shared Realities offers the reader diverse, contemporary, and in-depth perspectives on the mystery of the psyche's participation in the analytic relationship. Its richness reaches beyond its relevance and usefulness in the professional/clinical relationship and invites us, also, to wonder about and reflect on the shared realities of personal relationships. This book is an important contribution to analytic work. I felt enriched professionally and personally by it.”
Marilyn Marshall, MA, LPC
Faculty - New Orleans Jungian Seminar
Jungian Analyst

Lowinsky on Grandmothers and The Motherline
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, from The Motherline: 
Every Woman's Journey to Find Her Female Roots

"Standing at the crossings of family history, generational change, and archetypal meanings, a grandmother locates her grandchild in the life stream of the generations. She is the tie to the subterranean world of the ancestors; she plays a key role in helping a woman reclaim essential aspects of her feminine self. Standing close to death, she remembers the dead. She tells their stories, hands down their meanings and their possessions. Often she is the first to tell her granddaughter the stories from her Motherline. Evoking the Eleusinian emotions of the life cycle, these stories return a woman to her place of emergence, reminding her that she is woman, born of woman. Telling these stories enacts an archetypal healing principle found in tribal cultures and in psychotherapy: the 'return to origins.'"
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Mark Winborn presenting at the 2016 IAAP Congress in Kyoto

Mark Winborn, author of the Fisher King Press titles Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond and Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey has had a presentation accepted for the 20th International Congress for Analytical Psychology to be held in Kyoto, Japan August 28th-September 2nd, 2016. The paper is titled “Non-Representational States: The Challenge for Analytical Psychology.” The International Congress is sponsored every 4 years by the International Association for Analytical Psychology and is the largest professional gathering of Jungian Psychoanalysts in the World. The upcoming Congress will make the third consecutive Congress in which Dr. Winborn has been a presenter. IAAP Congress 2016