Depth Psych Book Reviews
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Depth Psych Book Reviews
Book Reviews for Jungian, Archetypal, Depth, & Eco Psychologies
Curated by Bonnie Bright
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Depth Insights » REVIEW of Carol S. Pearson’s “Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within. Using the Power of Story to Transform Your Life” by Dennis Patrick Slattery

Depth Insights » REVIEW of Carol S. Pearson’s “Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within. Using the Power of Story to Transform Your Life” by Dennis Patrick Slattery | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Many years ago in a section entitled “Altruism and Ecstasy” in The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By, Carol Pearson was already seeding the underworld of mythic consciousness with the figure named in her new study, Persephone. 


She wrote in her earlier volume, which has undergone numerous printings, that “The Greek Eleusinian mysteries explained the origin of the seasons through the myth of Demeter, the grain goddess, and her daughter, Persephone” (Pearson, 1998, p. 125). She goes on to relate the consequences of Persephone’s abduction by Hades and her mother’s grief, which led to a barren earth and a famished population. 


Zeus finally had to intervene to return Persephone to the upper world, but with the proviso, since she had eaten one pomegranate seed in the land of her abductor, that she would spend part of each year in Hades’ precinct... (Click title for more)

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Climate scientist-turned-psychologist seeks paths toward more compassion for the earth | NCR

Climate scientist-turned-psychologist seeks paths toward more compassion for the earth | NCR | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

In his book Facing Climate Change: An Integral Path to the Future, Kiehl explores the worlds of science, Jungian psychology and Buddhist philosophy in an attempt to offer hopeful ways in which we can change to break free of our old patterns to create a new story filled with compassion for the earth.

At one point in Facing Climate Change, Kiehl discusses the “Earth Destroyer” myth, written more than 2,000 years ago by the Roman poet Ovid in Metamorphosis.

Looking for ways to go green? Check out our FREE flyer, "5 ways to conduct an eco-friendly parish meeting."

The myth tells of a man who wants to build the largest house in town. To complete his ambitious project, he cuts down the largest tree in the sacred forest -- an action he took despite a warning from Demeter, the forest goddess, that he would suffer for his deed. Foreshadowing... (Click title for full article)

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The Sleeping King Alchemical Symbols as Manifest in Dream, Alchemy, & Creative Work — by Gary T. Bartlett

The Sleeping King Alchemical Symbols as Manifest in Dream, Alchemy, & Creative Work — by Gary T. Bartlett | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

The king is the central person of order within a kingdom; the medium through which the upper and lower worlds are connected to the middle world of mortal reality. Speaking of the centrality of kingship, John Weir Perry, in Lord of the Four Corners: Myths of the Royal Father (1966) tells us that:

In the symbolic cosmos, the locus of most supreme and intense powerfulness was the axial center, and any figure or object occupying this position became thereby highly numinous and evoked feelings of awe and reverence. For not only was this the focal point at which the world’s powers were concentrated, but even more significantly, it was the connecting link between the three planes of existence, the sky world, the world of man, and the underworld. (pp. 18-19)

The king is also, as the generator and vehicle of the law, the establisher of the boundaries of the realm. This is not a mere geographical feat, but one of cosmic and psychic (Click title to read full article)

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Eva Rider's curator insight, February 27, 6:36 PM

Wonderful exploration of the King Archetype and one that is worth rekindling in these times.

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Review - Constructing The Self, Constructing America

Review - Constructing The Self, Constructing America | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Psychotherapist and historian Philip Cushman views person and culture abiding within one another in gradual, constant flux. In this "strange, unorthodox" and remarkable book, he relates the evolution of psychotherapy from Freud to the present in the context of social change from Victorian to post-modern culture. By the same token he portrays psychotherapy as simultaneously determined by, and influential in, the cultural milieu. This will annoy therapists who see themselves as occupying a scientific perch nicely insulated from social pressure, governed by universal, immutable truths about human nature.  It will also challenge historians who sniff at psychological theory without knowing how deeply it has affected their terrain.

 

Cushman writes about the "empty self," the self as commodity created and fulfilled by what he sees as a social milieu emphasizing individualism, consumption, political ignorance, advertising and marketing.

 

Psychotherapy--and its relationship to the United States--is anything but simple; it is one of the most complex, colorful, and strange artifacts of the modern era.  It is a social institution with many theoretical frameworks, ideologies, and guilds. It features some of the most varied and creative ideas of the last 150 years. Its practitioners have developed some of the most unusual... (Click title for more)

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Review: "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle

Beneath the surface, everything is connected with everything else and also connected to the Source of all life. When you first hold on to an object without naming it, you feel its essence, which is the same as your essence or Being.

 

When you do not cover the world with words, a miracle of newness and freshness is experienced by your essential self. One must disentangled oneself with all the forms that one has been mixed up with of so far. This disentanglement is what this book is all about. The faster one labels things the more intelligent one becomes, but the less wisdom one has.

 

The Illusion of self. The words “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine” are the most frequently used and also the most misleading. “I” embodies the primordial error, a misconception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the ego. This illusory sense of self is according to Albert Einstein “an optical illusion of consciousness.” That illusory self then becomes the basis for all further interpretations or rather misinterpretations of reality, all thought processes, interactions, and relationships ... (Click title for more)

 

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Dimitris Tsantaris's curator insight, July 14, 2014 3:51 PM

Even if it flirts with commercialised/pop new-ageism, Tolle's "A New Earth" is a great book with very interesting and useful concepts.

John Donovan's curator insight, September 17, 2014 5:14 AM

Great book. Just being is so much better than I am. 

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Three Jungian Books on the Stages of Life

Three Jungian Books on the Stages of Life | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Jung wrote his important essay on The Stages of Life eighty years ago. Daniel Levinson and other life span researchers have called him 'The Father of Life Cycle Studies'.
Three books are briefly presented below, that study aspects of the cycle of life from a Jungian persepctive. Read more


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Sophia: Gnostic Archetype of Feminine Wisdom

Sophia: Gnostic Archetype of Feminine Wisdom | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

The Gnostics recognized the condition of exile as more than an event in history.  They saw it as having a profound cosmic and even transcosmic dimension.  The human spirit, they held, is quite literally a stranger in a strange land.  "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child," laments the American spiritual.  The Gnostics would have agreed and might have been tempted to replace "sometimes" with "always".

 

The exile may indeed find himself in a dark land, but his very awareness of the darkness can also reveal a light on the path to freedom.  So also, the awareness of our alieness and recognition of our place of exile for what it is are the first great steps on the path of return.  We begin to rise as soon as we realize that we have fallen.
The predicament of exile and alienation is not confined to humanity nor does it originate at the human level.  Long before there was a cosmos as we know it, a great drama of exile and return was played out in the story of the divine feminine being named Sophia.  Having resided in the lofty height of eternal Fullness... (Click title to read full article)

 

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Eva Rider's curator insight, February 28, 2014 11:55 PM

A History of Sophia

Kati Sarvela's curator insight, March 9, 2014 11:50 AM

My Inner Wisdom was called Sophia in my self-reflective journaling process :D!

 

Eva Rider's curator insight, February 27, 6:41 PM

This book is at the top of the list.

 

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Joseph Campbell | The Power of Myth | Review and summary | Tom Butler-Bowdon

Joseph Campbell | The Power of Myth | Review and summary | Tom Butler-Bowdon | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

The Power of Myth (1987) Joseph Campbell (with Bill Moyers)

 

This is a red-blooded book from a man who lived a very full life. Campbell was essentially a storyteller, spending his days uncovering and telling old stories that he felt had the power to soak up the alienation of technological society. Though he was a respected academic mythologist, Campbell also played a key role in the creation of a definitive modern tale, Star Wars. Director George Lucas said that Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces (1949) was the catalyst in dreaming up the film, and that the inspiration for Yoda, the ancient and wise one, was Campbell himself.

 

Campbell's big question was: 'How can myth be powerful for a person living today?' Are our lives really comparable to the amazing characters that appear in these old stories? He believed... (click title to read more)

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Jung, Synchronicity, And Human Destiny

Jung, Synchronicity, And Human Destiny | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Synchronicity refers to the underlying cosmic intelligence that synchronizes people, places and events into a meaningful order. We experience synchronicity when an outer event corresponds to our inner thoughts, perceptions or feelings. - Law of Time

 

Carl Jung is the Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist that founded “analytical psychology,” as well as the extravert and introvert psychological types.

 

Analytical psychology focuses on the whole of the human being, believing that the unconscious mind is the primary source for healing and is vital to the development of an individual’s soul. Unlike many psychologists and scientists, Jung believed the world of dreams, myth, and folklore, should be...(click title for more)

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Ensoulment and Synchronicity: Concepts from "Cosmos and Psyche" by Richard Tarnas

Ensoulment and Synchronicity: Concepts from "Cosmos and Psyche" by Richard Tarnas | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

In his 2006 book Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Rick Tarnas suggests that the western mind has catapulted us away from a fundamental cosmos where everything was ensouled, alive, and animated by meaning and archetype.


Our modern mindset is, instead, to attempt to control and manipulate our environment, making us the active subject in any interaction, and the things we see around us the passive object. Tarnas suggests “disenchantment” refers to the way the world is objectified, thereby denying subjectivity. “Objectification,” he contends, “denies to the world a subject’s capacity to intend, to signify intelligently, to express it's meaning, to embody and communicate humanly relevant purposes and values” (p. 21). 


 By objectifying the world around us, we enable ourselves to believe that we can manipulate and determine our own existence, giving us greater freedom and autonomy. Seeing oneself as the only source of life and intelligence in a universe that is increasingly dead and soulless leaves... (click title to continue)

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C.G. Jung and His Jewish Colleague, James Kirsch: An Extraordinary Exchange

C.G. Jung and His Jewish Colleague, James Kirsch: An Extraordinary Exchange | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it
This book takes one on that journey in a most spirited and intelligent exchange between two fierce souls who dedicated their lives to exploring the innermost secrets of the interplay between the human, the divine, and the demonic.

 

The Jung-Kirsch Letters: The Correspondence of C.G. Jung and James Kirsch (Routledge, 2011) is one of the more amazing books to surface in recent publishing history. This book will not be a bestseller and may only be read by a handful of people who are interested in the extraordinary history of ideas and the world that flows through it. But, this correspondence is recommended to anyone who actually cares about how the modern exploration of psyche unfolded in the early and mid twentieth century.

 

The relationship between Jung and Kirsch as revealed in this exchange of letters is highly complex. At times it reads as a privileged communication between doctor and patient. At other times, Jung appears as the...

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"The Cycle of Life" by Jungian Analyst Erel Shalit

"The Cycle of Life" by Jungian Analyst Erel Shalit | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

"The perspective of life as a cycle lived through its stages enables us to bring the archetypal and the personal dimensions together."

 

It is the child's slow separation from the Great Mother archetype that allows him to incorporate the powerful unconscious energies of this symbol into a developing ego. The next stage, the "puer," or troubled teenager, carries this process further, adding the "fire" of his or her growing awareness of Eros to the "dismemberment" of the "unconscious" contents of the archetypes so that the ego can use their energies. A successful transition to adulthood entails a completion of the ego's ascendancy. But the ego must learn to surrender its role as "king" once old age begins.
The author engagingly illustrates Jung's conceptions of the power of the archetypal...

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The Dream And The Underworld by James Hillman

The Dream And The Underworld by James Hillman | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

There’s been a deep shift in my thinking over the past five or so years, and this book has been a crucial pivot. It’s Hillman’s most “extreme” book, pushing his impatience with modern psychology’s “developmental” bias to counter-intuitive and provocative limits. His central contention is that psychology has followed Freud’s tendency to betray the unconscious rather than moving past it. The depths of the psyche are hauled into the light, sacrificed on the ego’s altar. Hillman forcefully and brilliantly argues:

It is this dayworld style of thinking—literal realities, natural...

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C.G. Jung: A Biography in Books by Sonu Shamdasani - Review by Lance S. Owens MD

C.G. Jung: A Biography in Books by Sonu Shamdasani - Review by Lance S. Owens MD | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

 Using a dazzling alliance of texts and images, all bound up with stunning scholarship, Sonu Shamdasani has concocted the most important biographical study of Jung published in a generation.  And to boot, the book is beautiful – another exemplar of publishing art from W. W. Norton and Mondadori Printing in Italy (who produced The Red Book: Liber Novus).  In sum, C. G. Jung: A Biography in Books radiates a rare quality I can only call “delight.” It will enchant anyone interested in the life and work of Jung.

    By the evocative act of turning the first pages of this book, Shamdasani magically conjures us into Jung’s private library for an extraordinary session of show andtell.  We sit by Jung’s desk.  He pullsvolumes from the shelves and opens long locked drawers full of private notebooks and manuscripts.  He lays them before us, lets us thumb them....(Click title for full article)

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Technology As Symptom And Dream by Robert D Romanyshyn « Book Review

Technology As Symptom And Dream by Robert D Romanyshyn « Book Review | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Technology as Symptom & Dream is another matter. Nearly two decades old now, for the most part it reads to me as a freshly revelatory unfolding of ideas and perspectives about the “big story” of technology. 


Being concerned with this deeper view of technology’s entanglements with human history, it suffers not one bit from the dazzling tech advances that have come to light since its publication. Indeed, while a 21st century postscript to a new edition might be of interest, such a move may actually detract from the impact of the book’s central thesis. 


Romanyshyn examines sci-fi futurology with enough insight and attention, and taps deeply enough into the roots of technology’s role in human culture to make any net- and biotech-era “updates”, if not irrelevant, at least unnecessary. (Click title to read the full review)

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The Therapy Room and the Interactive Field: Dr. Joseph Cambray, Author of "Synchronicity" - includes audio interview

The Therapy Room and the Interactive Field: Dr. Joseph Cambray, Author of "Synchronicity" - includes audio interview | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Through clients’ dreams and through certain events in their lives, it is possible to see how the unconscious is mobilized and activated. More, there is a field that transpires between the therapist and client—what Jung himself might have described as “a multi-dimensional field within the limited frame of our own sensory perception.”

 

Therapists hone certain skills and processes that enable them to tune into what’s emerging into the field between the two individuals. As images arising in the therapy begin to create resonance, it enables us to perceive how the archetypal field is... (Click title for more)

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Jung on Active Imagination: Key readings selected by Joan Chodorow

Jung on Active Imagination: Key readings selected by Joan Chodorow | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Book review by Tasha Tollman

 

Joan Chodorow, dance therapist, analyst and analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco combed through volumes of Jung’s writings and lectures to bring us this collection of Jung’s writings on Active Imagination. Fascinating for me was the insight into the many different names Jung used for this process – transcendent function, picture method, active fantasy, active phantasying, trancing, visioning, exercises, dialectical method, technique of differentiation, technique of introversion, introspection and technique of the descent – before settling on the term Active Imagination.

 

Chodorow introduces the topic, beginning with Jung’s ‘Confrontation with the Unconscious’, following his break with Freud in 1912/1913.  During this period Jung entered a period of disorientation and intense inner turmoil: 

“He suffered from lethargy and fears; his moods threatened to overwhelm him.  He had to find a way, a method to heal himself from within. Since he didn’t know what to do, he decided to engage with the impulses and images of the unconscious.” (p.1)...(Click title for more....)


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maria taveras's curator insight, November 29, 2014 4:04 PM

Joan Chodorow is a colleague whose work I respect and value deeply. Dream  Art: Art, Active Imagination and the Creative Process is a paper which evolved once I had read and understood  Chodorow's work of "Jung on:  Active Imagination." Thank you, with gratitude for all of your contribution to Depth Psychology. Maria Taveras, Jungian analyst.

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Memories, Dreams, Reflections: A Rare Glimpse Inside Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung’s Mind

Memories, Dreams, Reflections: A Rare Glimpse Inside Iconic Psychiatrist Carl Jung’s Mind | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it
"…the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."

 

In the spring of 1957, at the age of 84, legendary psychiatrist Carl Jung (July 26, 1875–June 6, 1961) set out to tell his life’s story. He embarked upon a series of conversations with his colleague and friend, Aniela Jaffe, which he used as the basis for the text.

 

At times, so powerful was his drive for expression that he wrote entire chapters by hand. He continued to work on the manuscript until shortly before his death in 1961. The result was Memories, Dreams, Reflections — a fascinating peek behind the curtain of Jung’s mind, revealing... (Click title for more)

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Eva Rider's curator insight, June 21, 2014 12:47 AM

This is Jung's only autobiography and it continues to live and deepen our understanding into the humaness that was Jung and offer solace for those of us who seek meaning to the mysteries of the soul throughout life and beyond. I have it at my fingertips always.

 

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Introduction to the Special Edition on Thomas Berry's The Great Work

Introduction to the Special Edition on Thomas Berry's The Great Work | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

In The Great Work Thomas Berry invites a deep reflection on our current ecological and cultural predicament. The move through this era of enormous cultural transition, from a period of human devastation of the Earth to—potentially—a period of benign presence, is the ‘great work’ that we must undertake if we are to fulfil the historical exigencies of our time.

 

Thomas Berry, cultural historian, is a remarkable and influential thinker on the complexities of this era and the requirements of a viable future. Berry, a Catholic priest, trained in the classical traditions of theology, immersed himself in a comprehensive investigation of the phenomenon of religion, and in particular Eastern religions. He taught Eastern religions at several U.S. universities prior to founding the PhD program in The Histories of Religions at Fordham, from 1966-1979. Berry has written several books on Eastern Religions, such as Buddhism and The Religions of India,1 and during the past few decades has addressed his work to the magnitude of the crisis facing Western civilization.

 

To situate the essays within The Great Work as well as the responses to the book, it may be beneficial to know some of the key influences that have shaped Berry’s perspectives. Over the course of a lifetime, Berry has developed a deep appreciation for the intense and specific human experiences that give rise to distinct religious traditions and expressions. He could see that particular and penetrating  (Click title to read the full article)

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The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife

The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

I’ve recently read Jungian analyst James Hollis’s book, The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife. It is one of the best books on this developmental phase, and its many opportunities, that I’ve read. The author says that childhood lasts until around age 12, the first adulthood from around ages 12 to 40, and the second adulthood–if a person chooses to progresss–from around age 40 to old age.

 

Many people never pass from childhood to adulthood developmentally, but are overgrown children, and many people never pass from the first adulthood into the second, and thus have unlived lives.


 Hollis writes that the middle passage presents us with the opportunity to reexamine our lives and to ask, “Who am I apart from my history and the roles I have played?” It is an occasion for redefining and reorienting the... (click title for more)

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Eva Rider's curator insight, November 19, 2014 2:15 AM

James Hollis" excellent and acclaimed study of the midlife passage.

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Book Excerpt: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ursula King

Book Excerpt: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ursula King | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

" 'Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock: you who yield only to violence, you who force us to work if we would eat.

 

" 'Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untamable passion: you who unless we fetter you will devour us.

 

" 'Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever newborn; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth.

 

" 'Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who by overflowing and dissolving our... (click title for more)

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Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma--Jerome Bernstein

Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma--Jerome Bernstein | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

In facing the crises of the twenty-first century, we need, more than ever, works such as Jerome Bernstein's remarkable and prophetic Living in the Borderland. This book enables us to believe in the possibility that our disastrous western culture can be healed.

 

For Living in the Borderland is one of those rare texts that is so deeply immersed in a lifetime of clinical practice and research that it transcends boundaries between disciplines, between social groups and even between humans and nature. Bernstein demonstrates that the borderland, of consciousness, of cultures, of so-called 'sanity', of the margins cultivated between nature and human, is a place of potential redemption.

 

In so doing, Living in the Borderland shifts the foundations of western epistemology in favour of restitution to native repressed cultures such as the Navajo. It fosters postcolonial justice, clinical revolution and the glorious possibility of saving the planet from the dominant group's predilection for species suicide... (click title for more)

 

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Eva Rider's curator insight, February 27, 6:39 PM

Deep thanks to Bonnie Bright for pointing the way to this exploration as we traverse these times to together on the Borderland.

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Book Review: Field, Form, and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature, and Psyche

Book Review: Field, Form, and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature, and Psyche | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

What do the migratory flight patterns of arctic snow geese, the growth of a wild mushroom, the development of type 2 bipolar disorder, the emergence of heroin addiction, and the formation of a psychotherapeutic relationship have in common? They all represent the expression of purposive and meaningful forms that invite us to greater understanding and awareness of the inner and outer worlds.

 

In this important book Michael Conforti suggests that all systems in the natural world, including the expression of human behavior, are generated by the deep and timeless structures that Jung referred to as the archetypes of the collective unconscious and the form-generating or morphological fields they manifest in the material world. Borrowing from other domains such as self-organization and chaos theory, classical psychoanalysis, quantum physics, and molecular biology, the author articulates a way of deeply apprehending the processes involved in the creation of form, order, and meaning. This book will challenge and reward any clinician who seriously engages with it...

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A Review of Deirdre Bair's "Jung: A Biography"

A Review of Deirdre Bair's "Jung: A Biography" | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it
CARL JUNG'S relationship with Sigmund Freud was probably doomed from the start. They met in Vienna on March 3, 1907, after having corresponded for a year. Freud sought a gentile to champion his "Jewish science." Jung yearned for an influential father figure; Freud anointed Jung "his scientific 'son and heir.' "

 

In 1910, according to Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," Freud made a request: "Promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. . . . We must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark." Against what, asked Jung. "Against the black tide of mud . . . of occultism."

What did Jung's face look like at that moment? After all, not only did Jung have growing misgivings about Freud's theories of...

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Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation?

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation? | Depth Psych Book Reviews | Scoop.it

Central to systems science is the idea of integration, an idea that Siegel works to capture in principle and use in practice. Central to Siegel’s thesis is the idea that well-being is a function of the interdependence between mind, brain, and relationships.

 

He draws upon systems science in an effort to explain how an embodied mind is shaped by evolved biological structures, processes, and functions that influence the ongoing ebb and flow of emotion, cognition, and behaviour; and he describes how interpersonal dynamics co-function in this context to shape patterns of physical, mental, and relational health. Siegel highlights how an awareness and understanding of system...

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