Spring 2011 Season Program

Speaker: Charlotte Mathes

Archetypal Aspects of the Mourning Process

In Jungʼs last active imagination in The Red Book, Christ offers Jung “the beauty of suffering.” These paradoxical lines are not popular in todayʼs Western culture, nor are they very comforting to one who is deep in grief. More than likely after great loss, we lose our commonsense and faith in lifeʼs predictability. Sometimes all we believed in comes into question and we feel as if we have no standpoint. Mourning takes place in a period of liminality, a marginal phase when we cannot go back in time and we do not know what lies ahead. This time of life is mostly painful and chaotic. Yet countless ordinary people who have worked through grief testify that they wouldnʼt return to how they were, psychologically or spiritually, before their ordeal. In this presentation, we will explore the deep emotions and the wisdom of the heart that can come after great losses, including bodily injury, health, home, and community, separation, and death. We will observe how the work of grief may enhance the individuation process, and, using New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as example, we will ponder how individuation may evolve in a city.

Creativity as Repair and Transformation

In this workshop participants will explore aids to the mourning process by awakening the imaginal realm with various exercises in active imagination. We will attempt to identify our personal myth and look for ways to connect our inner and outer worlds through symbols. In addition, we will see various practical ways we can use to open ourselves to healing and transformative experiences. Although there will be times for discussion and sharing our stories, silence will always by honored. Please wear comfortable clothing; bring journals and any personal art supplies you may have.

Charlotte M. Mathes, LCSW, PH.D., is a certified Jungian analyst, a graduate of the C.G. Jung institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She received her doctoral degree in psychoanalysis from the Union Graduate School in Cincinnati. She is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. She has been in private practice in New Orleans for twenty years. She has recently opened an office in Baton Rouge. She lectures and conducts seminars in Jungian psychology, family therapy, and bereavement. Her book And A Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart: Moving from Despair to Meaning after the Death of a Child was published by Chiron in 2006. Her article “The Soul of New Orleans: Archetypal Density and the Unconscious” has recently been published in Tom Singerʼs Psyche and the City: A Soulʼs Guide to the Modern Metropolis.

Speaker: Lionel Corbett

A Depth Psychology Approach to the Sacred—Spirituality Without a Formal Religious Tradition

n his latest book Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality beyond Religion, Lionel Corbett helps modern people discover the numinous presence of the divine within themselves as they live a busy life filled with secular activities. Dr. Corbett will talk about ways to find spiritually meaningful life without the need to embrace any particular theology. This approach also serves to deepen the spirituality of those who are committed to a religious tradition.

A Depth Psychology Approach to Understanding Suffering and Evil

In the morning, Lionel Corbett will lead a workshop exploring how suffering and evil can be understood through a psychological lens using the stories of Job and Medea, and by considering them as contemporary individuals seeking relief from their own suffering or destructive impulses. Dr. Corbett will explore the relationship between Job’s character structure and his experience of the numinous. In the afternoon, Dr. Corbett will explore the admonition that Jung received from an inner figure (as recorded in his journal, the Red Book) to herald a new spirituality. He will also address the concept of the Self as a “Spiritus Rector” (spiritual guide).

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: John Van Eenwyk

Psychoid: The Chaotic Dynamics of Individuation

The overall theme of the lecture and workshop this weekend will be the way in which the chaotic dynamics of the individuation process originate in the body. Chaos refers to those highly de-stabilizing disturbances in our lives that contribute to growth and stability. We’ll see how these disturbances resonate with the unconscious, operate throughout our lives, and express themselves symbolically. Recognizing and understanding their symbolic expressions allows us to move beyond those patterns that keep us stuck, freeing us to participate in the unconscious chaos at work in our lives.

Jung and Jungians have always been fascinated with that which exists beyond consciousness. What is the unconscious? How can we perceive and decipher its symbolism? How can ego and unconscious work together to further individuation?

We’re not the only ones interested in the unconscious, science is, too. Recent discoveries in genetics, microbiology and biochemistry have increased our understanding of the most basic dynamics of physical processes, especially those that influence how we perceive, process and respond to the world around us. Psycho-neuro-endocrinal-immunology, for example, studies how the nervous, endocrine and immune systems interact with psyche.

Jung referred to that part of the psyche where mind and body overlap as psychoid; In the psychoid realm of the psyche, mind and body influence and modify each other.

Tonight we’ll review how the smallest molecules have enormous effects on us. We’ll see how physical processes possess a consciousness greater than the ego’s. Finally, we’ll compare current research with that of the alchemists, particularly how the “organic alchemy” of today exactly parallels the inorganic alchemy of years past.

Psychoid : The Chaotic Dynamics of Individuation

We’ll begin our day with a review of chaos theory, and then look at how the unconscious deals with life’s challenges, both before consciousness forms and afterwards, in those instances when consciousness can neither understand nor cope with the chaos of life.

How do unconscious adaptations to previous problems influence our perceptions and behaviors today? By bringing consciousness to bear on our patterns of perception and behavior, we’ll identify unconscious adaptations that were once brilliant solutions to intractable problems but have since become problems themselves as our life situations have changed.

While all interactions with the unconscious involve pathos, this will not be a group therapy session. Rather, it will be a time filled with all the humor, fascination, fun, befuddlement, amazement, and mutual discovery of dealing with the unconscious, which always has the best of intentions, but not always the most flexible of approaches. That’s why it needs an ego to modify it.

In this workshop, we’ll fill that need.

John Van Eenwyk, PHD, is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. His teaching career began at Harvard University, where he was a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Social Relations. He has taught psychology at Northwestern University and at the C. G. Jung Institutes in Zurich and Chicago. Currently, he is a Clinical Instructor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a Senior Analyst at the Pacific Northwest Society of Jungian Analysts.

Speaker: Glen Slater

Technology and Soul: Living at the Turning Point

Technology brings many gifts, but the constant innovation and change have a psychological cost. We can become disoriented or distracted and lose sight of the inner compass. Finding our direction in these liquid times is a challenge—a challenge that’s only going to deepen . . .

Until recently, our gadgets have remained largely external and have not directly altered our basic nature. Today, however, we stand on the threshold of reengineering our essential being. For large numbers of people cyberspace has already begun to replace everyday life. Devices designed to further the adaptation of mind and body to the computer world are already in the works. Chip implants beneath our skin will soon be commonplace. Around these innovations lies a sea of developments in psychotropic medication, genetic engineering, plastic surgery and robotics, all aiming to transform the very fabric of our existence.

The impact these changes will make on the psyche is an unexplored question. Uncovering the shadow side of this ultimate makeover seems critical, but simply turning back may not be an option. How then are we to respond?

Jung was leery of technology. He once said, “civilized man . . . is in danger of losing all contact with the world of instinct,” adding that this loss “is largely responsible for the pathological condition of contemporary culture.” In this lecture Jung’s understanding of instinctual life and psychological wellbeing will be discussed in light of impending technologies. We’ll try to find our psychological feet in the face of this tinkering with Nature.

The history of psychopathology is curiously linked to industrialization and the mechanizing of life. In this workshop we’ll take a look back at the cultural-historical weave of technology and depth psychology, and then consider how Jungian perspectives have been working to compensate for the culture’s increasing speed and incessant innovation. Together, we’ll reflect on ways to preserve soul in the face of these changes and explore how technology might support rather than erode our psychic foundations. Cinematic images will be used to aid this exploration.

GLEN SLATER, PH.D., has a background in both religious studies and clinical psychology. He teaches Jungian and archetypal psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California. He edited and introduced the third volume of James Hillman’s Uniform Edition, Senex and Puer, as well as a volume of essays by Pacifica faculty, Varieties of Mythic Experience, and has contributed a number of articles to Spring journal and other Jungian publications—several in the area of Jung and film.

Light-Hearted Evening and Annual Member Meeting: Living Good Dreams

OFJ members and their guests are invited to our annual meeting.  The keynote speaker for this event will be poet and essayist, KIM STAFFORD, PHD, speaking on “LIVING GOOD DREAMS.”  FRIDAY, MAY 6, 7:00 TO 9:30 PM, AT THE FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, COLLINS HALL, 1838 SW JEFFERSON, PORTLAND.  This is also an opportunity to meet the board, honor our volunteers, and find out about next fall’s speakers. Light refreshments will be served.

Kim Stafford is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, and author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft. He approaches writing as a chance to set down stories we have carried into poems, essays, radio commentaries, blessings, rants, parables, and other forms of  “tikkun olam,” the healing of the world: “In our time is a great thing not yet done. It is the marriage of Woody Guthrie’s gusto and the Internet. It the composing and wide sharing of generous expression in the voices of many for the needs of all.”