Fall 1997 Season Program

Speaker: Christina Middlebrook

Seeing the Crab: A Memoir of Dying Before I Do

We all fear “seeing the crab,” for a diagnosis of cancer that has spread is a nightmare come true. Facing the reality of terminal illness is the greatest challenge for families, friends and persons living with metastatic disease. “I had to get to know this cancer, this vile crab, and make it pare of who I am,” says Jungian analyst, Christina Middlebrook.

How do we take in information about ourselves that we abhor? Should we include the knowledge and fear of illness in the picture we paint of our lives? Or should we keep it off the page? What about other traumatic life events? How does one move beyond them?

Christina Middlebrook’s Friday evening lecture will discuss how healing occurs, the New Age tyranny regarding “positive thinking,” and the incumbent misunderstanding of the reality of the psyche, Death, the Mind/Body connection, and the Cancer/War metaphor. She will also address how such expieriences fit Jung’s theoretical framework. Are his ideas more applicable in theory than in reality?

We all fear “seeing the crab,” for a diagnosis of cancer that has spread is a nightmare come true. Facing the reality of terminal illness is the greatest challenge for families, friends and persons living with metastatic disease. “I had to get to know this cancer, this vile crab, and make it pare of who I am,” says Jungian analyst, Christina Middlebrook.

How do we take in information about ourselves that we abhor? Should we include the knowledge and fear of illness in the picture we paint of our lives? Or should we keep it off the page? What about other traumatic life events? How does one move beyond them?

On Saturday Christina Middlebrook will lead a workshop of personal excercises and group discussion. The workshop will focus on how individuals can integrate life events that are ego-alien. The aim of the workshop is to increase skills for integrating traumatic life events.

Christina Middlebrook, M.A. lives with advanced breast cancer. She is a Jungian analyst and author of the book, Seeing the Crab: A Memoir of Dying Before I Do. She trained at the C.G.Jung institute of San Francisco where she currently serves on the training faculty. She was born in Illinois, received her B.A. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Middlebury College, Vermont. She received an M. A. in psychiatric social work from the University of Chicago. She has been in private practive in San Francisco since 1972, and currently lives there with her husband and children.

The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling

The Soul’s Code, James Hillman’s best-selling book, sets out a new theory based on an old idea: Plato’s understanding that the soul of each of us is given a unique daimon before we are born, and it has selected and image or pattern that we live on earth. Hillman’s acorn theory is about calling, about character, about innate image. To uncover our unique, innate image he urges us to set aside the psychological frames that are usually used and mostly used up. They do not reveal enough. Instead, the acorn theory dares us to envision biography in terms of beauty, mystery and myth. It challenges the prevalent paradigm that reduces biography to genetics and environment. It lifts the pall of victim mentality and posits a psychology of childhood that embraces pathology as well as imagination. In this evening’s lecture, Dr. Hillman will read from The Soul’s Code and expand upon his acorn theory.

James Hillman, Ph.D. (1926–2011) studied at, and then guided studies for, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Editor of Spring Publications, he founded a movement toward archetypal psychology. He authored The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling , and Re-visioning Psychology, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Speaker: Mario Jacoby

Anxiety and the Myth of the Dragon Fight

The dragon fight is always the deed of a mythological hero. Yet the hero gets “bad press” nowadays. He is associated with the “macho ideal” of a one-sided male orientation. However, all of us, women and men, need the courage to deal with and overcome, if possible, destructive forces, whether they appear in the outer world or within us. Very often the dragon is a symbol of our anxiety and our imprisoning psychic complexes. As an archetypal model, therefore, the myth of the dragon-fight never loses its relevance. In this lecture Dr. Jacoby will give it a new and contemporary interpretation.

In the workshop the discussion will focus on the symbol of the dragon fight as we encounter it in our daily life and in the practice of the psychotherapist. The dragon to be fought may show itself in its poisonous effect, consisting in an overdose of fear, guilt or shame that constantly undercuts one’s sense of self-esteem. It is the question of how to deal with and overcome fears that prevents us from leading a full, satisfactory life. Examples from analytic practice will also be discussed.

Mario Jacoby, PH.D. is a training analyst, lecturer and member of the Curatorium (Board of Directors) of the C.G. Jung institute in Zurich, where he has a private practice. He has lectured throughout Europe, the United States, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand and is the author of numerous articles and books. Available in English are The Analytic Encounter, Longing for Paradise, Individuation and Nacissism and On Shame and the Origins of Self-esteem.

Speaker: Lionel Corbett

A Depth Psychological Approach to the Divine: A New Myth of God

We are sadly in need of a new concept of divinity; the old idea of God as a divine parent, judge, or celestial mechanic no longer serves. Many people with a strong sense of the sacred no longer find this dimension within traditional religious systems. However, new forms of the sacred are to be found in areas such as relationships, the natural world, the body, our psychopathology and within the spontanous products of transpersonal levels of the psyche. This lecture will describe some of the implications of the idea that attention to the larger psyche is becoming a new religious practice.

The Religious Function of the Psyche

For many of us, traditional concepts of God and the religious systems on which these ideas are built have less and less meaning. But if we nevertheless have a profound sense of the sacred in our lives, we need a language and approach that deals with sacred experience without trying to confine it within a Judeo-Christian model. This workshop will describe a depth psychological approach to spirituality that is based purely on personal experience and individual psychology, without recourse to theological and other preconceived ideas about the nature of God.

Dr. Lionel Corbett trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and as a Jungian Analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His primary interests are: the religious function of the psyche, especially the way in which personal religious experience is relevant to individual psychology; the development of psychotherapy as a spiritual practice; and the interface of Jungian psychology and contemporary psychoanalytic thought. Dr. Corbett is a professor of depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Santa Barbara, California, where he teaches depth psychology. He is the author of numerous professional papers and four books: Psyche and the Sacred; The Religious Function of the Psyche; The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice, and most recently The Soul in Anguish: Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Suffering. He is the co-editor of: Psyche’s Stories; Jung and Aging;  Depth Psychology, Meditations in the Field; and Psychology at the Threshold.

Speaker: Michael Conforti

The Complex: An Attractor Site in the Psyche

Jung’s theory of the complex suggests that it operates as a compelling matrix of experience, drawing to it, much like the force of a magnetic field, experineces and symbols expressive of a specific archetype. In this evening lecture, Michael Conforti will present theoretical and clinical material to illustrate how the complex works to constellate archetypal material in the form of dreams and synchronicities within an individual’s life.

The Role of Space and Time in the Puer Aeternus Archetype

After a theoretical and clinical presentation on the nature of archetypes and archetypal fields, we will examine the specific nature of the puer and puella archetype. Described in literature and film as the eternal child and the Peter Pan Syndrome, this archetypal configuration stands in a dramatic alignment to the Self, wich often results in a creative yet troubled relationship to the world of matter, time and space. Through the presentation of clinical material, Dr. Conforti will explore the typical ways the puer expresses itself in dreams, personal relationships, career choices and financial concerns. Drawing on Marie Louise von Franz’s and Jung’s work on the Puer and contributions from the new sciences, Dr. Conforti will present ways of understanding the archetypal challenges of the puer as they struggle with the integration of matter and psyche.

Michael Conforti, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst and founder and Director of the Assisi Conferences. He is a faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute in Boston, the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York and a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Masters Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch, New England. He is also a visiting lecturer at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich and has conducted workshops for many Jungian organizations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and South America. He is the author of Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche (Spring Publications, Dallas, 1999).