November 9-10, 2007 David Rosen


It is well known that self-disclosure in journals and autobiography in general promotes emotional and physical health. On Friday evening, Dr. Rosen will illustrate the healing value of writing a personal narrative in the form of autobiography with a single case-study: himself. He will demonstrate the process of writing a memoir as a "haibun"-a combination of prose and haiku about his life-long pilgrimage to the center of profound mystery. His own autobiography (presented as an inner and outer journey based on his life-review, an analysis of interviews with family and friends, as well as dreams and experiences recorded in journals since his eighteenth year) emerged as a painful yet healing experience. When such a review is carried out in an honest and thorough way, one’s lost soul can find its way home. As the Zen writer Matsuo Basho revealed: "Each day is a journey and the journey itself home," an insight echoed by Soen Nakagawa Roshi: "If you cannot return home, your self is not your true self."


The Saturday workshop will involve both active imagination and writing personal narrative. This autobiographical exercise will explore one’s purpose and meaning, that is, one’s personal myth. This work will be shared with the group by those who wish to, and serve as a form of creative exercise that by healing painful episodes from the past, we enable more fulfillment in future years. We are then freed to approach the present with Soren Kierkegaard’s incisive observation- "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards"- to guide us to draw on the past to live within a more individuated consciousness.


DAVID ROSEN, M.D., trained as a psychiatrist at the Langley Porter Institute in San Francisco and as a Jungian analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. As a Professor of Humanities in Medicine at Texas A & M University, his research interests include analytical psychology, the psychology of religion, depression, suicidology, healing, creativity, and the psychosocial, psychiatric, and human aspects of medicine. Among his eight published books areTransforming Depression: A Jungian Approach Using the Creative Arts, The Tao of Jung: The Way of Integrity and his newest book, The Healing Spirit of Haiku, co-authored with Joel Weishaus in 2004.

The Healing Value of Personal Narrative: How Writing One’s Memoir Facilitates Individuation