|Women often agonize over a single question – am I too selfish? – struggling with the belief that focusing on ourselves is selfish when it comes to spiritual or religious concerns.
All religions instruct us to pay close attention to our intentions and actions in order to become responsible for our ethical and spiritual development. And yet, women have been uniformly discouraged in acquiring a knowledge of self-determination in their major life roles.
This workshop will examine the basic assumption that the mother is the single most important influence on her child’s development (exclusive of father, peers, and the cultural surroundings), and show how and why it is wrong and misleading. Drawing especially on Jung’s theory of the Divine Child archetype and the history of motherhood, the workshop will offer a new interpretation of the traditional fairy tale, Rumpelstilskin to show how and why the idealization of mothers and children serves us so badly. There will be ample time for discussion and a variety of film clips to illustrate the psychological consequences of "hothouse mothering".
Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., is a psychologist and Jungian analyst practicing in Burlington, Vermont. Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont Medical College, she has published ten books, many chapters and articles, and lectures widely on topics of resilience, women’s development, couple relationship, and the interface of contemporary psychoanalysis and spirituality. She is also a a long-time student of Zen teacher Roshi Philip Kapleau.
Her most recent books, published in 1997, are The Cambridge Companion to Jung (edited with Terence Dawson), The Resilient Spirit: Transforming Suffering into Insight and Renewal, and Gender and Desire: Uncursing Pandora. Her popular book You’re Not What I Expected: Love After the Romance has Ended was also recently reprinted in paperback. Other titles include Hags and Heroes: A Feminist Approach to Jungian Psychotherapy with Couples, Awakening to Zen: The Teachings of Roshi Philip Kapleau (edited with Rafe Martin), and Female Authority: Empowering Women Through Psychotherapy. She has just finished Women and Desire: Beyond Wanting to Be Wanted to be published by Harmony Books in 1999.