March 19-20, 1993: Thomas Patrick Lavin

Lecture: Like a Donkey Between Two Bales of Hay: The Puer and Senex at Midlife

What images can Jungian psychology bring to our understanding of the male mid-life crisis? Sometimes a man in a mid-life crisis feels and acts like as ass between two bales of hay. He can’t totally return to or remain in the bliss of adolescence (what Jung called the Puer Aeturnus) and the calm, deep wisdom of the positive Senex (Jung’s Wise Old Man) seems equally far away. Many men at mid-life feel that they are stuck somewhere in the middle between the effervescence of youth and the inner joy of old age. It’s time to grow into becoming a Wise/Fool but there are no cultural road maps. 

This Friday evening’s lecture will look at the positive and negaive sides of the mid-life crisis by comparing the adolescent identity crisis with the mid-life crisis. We will explore how Jung saw the crises and stages of male development from the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, who saw the metamorphoses of the male spirit in the images of the camel, the lion, and the child. Mid-life is a liminal time in which we begin to look at the process fo self-realization as a mystery and paradox of death and re-birth. Maybe its OK to feel like a donkey between two bales of hay!

Workshop: Fatherhood: A Multi-Imaged Reality

This workshop begins with the premise that there is no one archetypal image of fatherhood. Rather, there are many images of the father which have been mediated by many cultures. Some cultures image the best way of fatering as “Our Father who art in heaven” seen in images like Zeus and Yaweh. Other cultures see the best way of fathering as earth-fathering expressed through images like Hades in ancient Greece and Geb in ancient Egypt. 

We will learn that all fathers are not called to initiate their sons and daughters through making them suffer and that contemperary Abrahams may not be asked to sacrifice their Isaacs. We will examine what role, if any, the father plays. Some of us have been called to be both mother and father/earth and sky to our children and to ourselves. We all need to widen and deepen our images of what an inner and outer father we can become. Feminine-gendered persons are welcome. 


Thomas Patrick Lavin, Ph.D. received his diploma in analytical Psychology from the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. He holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Moral Theology from the University of Innsbruck in Austria. He is a founder of the C.G. Institute of Chigago and served as its first Director of Training. 

Dr. Lavin has received many awards for outstanding work in the area of alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation both as chief clinical psychologist for the US Army in Europe and in civilian practice in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. He now lives and has his clinical practice in Wilmette, Illinois and lectures and consults both in this country and in Europe. 

Like a Donkey Between Two Bales of Hay: The Puer and Senex at Midlife