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Episode 082 - Medicating Psyche

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 10/24/2019

IDENTITY CRISIS: When Our Story Falls Apart show art IDENTITY CRISIS: When Our Story Falls Apart

This Jungian Life

How can understanding and reshaping our personal narratives help us navigate and overcome identity crises during major life transitions? A Narrative Identity Crisis occurs when the evolving story we create to make sense of our lives—integrating past experiences, present realities, and future aspirations—becomes disrupted, leading to profound disorientation and psychological distress. This crisis can be triggered by significant life changes, traumatic events, or conflicting social and cultural pressures, causing our coherent self-narrative to fragment. Memory, meaning-making, and emotional...

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Six Swans Jungian Analysis: Transforming Fear into Joy show art Six Swans Jungian Analysis: Transforming Fear into Joy

This Jungian Life

How can we harness inner strength and resilience to transform personal fears and adversities into growth and joy? In our "Six Swans Jungian Analysis," we explore how a fairytale reveals profound insights into transformation, resilience, and the complexities of human emotions. Through a sister's silent endurance, a king's protective instincts, and the ultimate triumph of truth, we can also discover our own inner strength, sacrifice, and personal growth. The fairytale "The Six Swans" teaches us about the enduring human spirit, the transformative power of love, and the journey toward...

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Two Red Books: The Shared Imaginal Realms of Jung and Tolkien show art Two Red Books: The Shared Imaginal Realms of Jung and Tolkien

This Jungian Life

How can the shared imaginal realms of Jung and Tolkien empower us to navigate our personal journeys and transform our understanding of self and community? In exploring the uncanny shared imaginal realms of Jung and Tolkien, author Becca Tarnas uncovers a profound intersection of depth psychology and mythopoeic literature, revealed in their seminal Red Books. Amid the early 20th century's upheaval, both authors undertook personal and universal journeys into the psyche, employing active imagination to engage archetypes such as the shadow, anima, and hero. Their works, brimming with symbolic...

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Encounters with Light: Jung's near-death experiences show art Encounters with Light: Jung's near-death experiences

This Jungian Life

How can near-death experiences challenge and expand our understanding of consciousness and its connection to the transcendent? Carl Jung's near-death experience profoundly deepened his understanding of the psyche and its connection to the universal consciousness, reinforcing his belief in life beyond physical existence. During this transformative episode, he observed Earth from a distance, encountered mystical figures, and experienced a temple-like structure within a meteoric stone, enriching his theories on the collective unconscious and archetypal imagery. This experience left an indelible...

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MARTYR COMPLEX: Selfish or Selfless? show art MARTYR COMPLEX: Selfish or Selfless?

This Jungian Life

How can understanding different aspects of martyrdom help us navigate personal sacrifices and societal expectations in our search for a meaningful life? Individuals with a martyr complex often seek validation for their pain and suffering, which can be a source of protection and nurturing. It can also be a form of manipulation where personal suffering is used to influence or control the reactions of others. This behavior can be harmful, leading individuals to persist in unhealthy relationships or dangerous situations under the guise of nobility or duty. It is important to distinguish between...

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ECLIPSE: archetype of awe, wonder, and triumph show art ECLIPSE: archetype of awe, wonder, and triumph

This Jungian Life

Encountering a total eclipse can evoke a primal connection to nature and the infinite, constellating a deep sense of belonging to the universe and each other. Eclipses profoundly impact observers, evoking awe, transcendence, and a shared sense of unity. These celestial events encourage deep personal reflection and stronger social connections among those who witness them. They transform ordinary moments into extraordinary ones, re-enchanting the world and reinforcing the bond between humanity, nature, and the cosmos. Mysterious and awe-filled, in ancient times, Eclipses inspired myths and...

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Kate Berlant: Art, Psyche, and the Collective Unconscious in DREAM SCENARIO show art Kate Berlant: Art, Psyche, and the Collective Unconscious in DREAM SCENARIO

This Jungian Life

How do dreams intrude upon our Psyche, our roles in others' lives, and our societal identities? "Dream Scenario" is a thought-provoking new film that explores the uncanny power of the collective unconscious to shape culture and be shaped by it. In the movie, Nicholas Cage's character Paul mysteriously starts appearing in others' dreams across the globe. He grapples with the fear of being randomly celebrated by the collective and later demonized. Kate Berlant's role in the film and insights into Jungian analysis and dream interpretation launch our conversation into the growing presence of...

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Why We Make Others Feel Bad: understanding projective identification show art Why We Make Others Feel Bad: understanding projective identification

This Jungian Life

How do we invisibly transfer our emotions to others, and what magic lies in revealing this unseen dance? Projective identification is like unconsciously tossing our feelings into someone else, a behavior first noticed in babies with their moms. It's an invisible way we influence others based on our buried issues, avoiding dealing with our tough emotions by making others express them for us. Facing up to this pattern can help us understand ourselves better and grow. Often, this cycle kicks off with blaming others, triggering a domino effect that reveals deeper, hidden struggles within us....

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Everyday Animism: Did Jung speak to his pots and pans? show art Everyday Animism: Did Jung speak to his pots and pans?

This Jungian Life

How do our interactions with the seemingly mundane objects around us reflect and influence our deeper psychological processes and connections with the broader universe? Jung held a fascinating belief in the soulful essence of inanimate objects. He engaged in daily greetings with his kitchenware at Bollingen Tower, expressing a unique form of animism that extended deeply into his personal and professional life. His collection of beer steins, each with its name, served not only as vessels for drink but as partners in dialogue, reflecting his practice of active imagination. This relationship with...

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VULGARITY: What's Its True Power? show art VULGARITY: What's Its True Power?

This Jungian Life

How does the interplay between vulgarity and societal norms reflect and shape the human experience of freedom, creativity, and psychological depth?   Our collective fascination with vulgarity, obscenity, and profanity lies in the thrill of transgression and the need to articulate the unspoken aspects of human experience. As we navigate social acceptability, the vulgar mirrors our deepest shadow and wildest laughter, a space where sacred and profane dance in the liminal light of truth and rebellion. Engaging vulgarity challenges the rigid confines of propriety. Embracing discomfort and...

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More Episodes

The question of whether, when, and what psychoactive medications may be helpful is both big and ambiguous. Mental distress has always been strongly influenced by cultural filters and subjective perceptions. Whereas a person might once have sought to placate a god, sufferers today may turn to medical management rather than mining their psychological symptoms for meaning. In his autobiography Jung describes his years of mental turmoil—and that they became “the prima materia for a lifetime’s work”; his Red Book documents his encounters with the unconscious in compelling and artistic detail. There is much evidence of the potential suffering holds for self-awareness and psychological depth – and it is also important to acknowledge that judicious use of today’s medications can relieve unnecessary or pointless suffering. No matter where on the spectrum of severity emotional illness may lie, psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle, and relationships can all play a role in recovery and growth.

Dream
“I am walking toward a large concrete structure with an unbelievably fit, handsome and powerful man. He appears to be my friend although I am envious of his physical attributes. We climb into a small passage that leads to a clearing in which undulating hills descend into a body of fast-moving water. I am immediately struck that there is a goal or intention to swim across this water and scale a flat concrete wall which is about 100 feet up, facing us across the body of water. My companion says, “I've got this,” and “I do things like this all the time.” He jumps in the water at the exact moment I become aware of holes in the wall which then begin to fire cannonballs. I rush back to where we began to avoid the cannon barrage, but also (it seems) to “watch” the negotiation of the obstacle. I am now with another man who is soft and slightly overweight. I ask him where the best place to watch this endeavor is and he leads me up a stairwell to a room that contains two old CR TVs. One is large and a smaller one is on top of the larger. The room has a greenish-yellow carpet and it looks very much like the late ’70s or early ’80s. I feel sorry for the man because in that moment I realize this is all he can afford. Next, I am struck with an awareness that the fit man has successfully completed his endeavor – although I did not see it happen. I then become aware that the room adjacent to the one I am in is filled with two groups of women. The first group are sitting at a table conducting what appears to be an executive meeting. The second group are on the floor engaging in a yoga class. My wife is among the women doing yoga and her cousin is among the executives. I suddenly am struck by the realization that I am only wearing a t-shirt and I’m naked from the waist down, and I fear they will discover this.”

 

References
Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis (Amazon).
Whitaker, Robert. Anatomy of an Epidemic (Amazon).
Perry, John. The Far Side of Madness
Lingiardi & McWilliams. Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, Second Edition
Jung, C.G. The Red Book.