This Jungian Life

This Jungian Life Podcast

Eavesdrop on three Jungian analysts as they engage in lively, sometimes irreverent conversations about a wide range of topics. Join them for discussion of news events, family dynamics, personal issues and more as they share what it’s like to see the world through the depth psychological lens provided by CG Jung. Half of each episode is spent discussing a dream submitted by a listener. Lisa, Joseph and Deb went through their Jungian training together, becoming friends and developing working partnerships. Now they are engaged in a new creative venture with a spirit of adventure and hope you will join them.

Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change
We celebrate curiosity’s role in discovery, and regret its potential for damage. Mature curiosity demands that we embrace the confusion, doubt and anxiety inherent in engaging new ideas and complex problems. Social curiosity requires discernment: are we genuinely and empathically interested in others, or simply indulging voyeurism via social media? Curiosity can lead us into thrill seeking, but lack of it dulls our libido for life. Is it grandiosity, ambition, or impulsive desire that is tweaking our intere...

Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals
Jung states “the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neurosis but rather with the approach to the numinous…the real therapy. In as much as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology.” Jung defines numinous as “a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will” that conveys a mysterious yet deeply meaningful message. Numinous experiences happen to us, yet we can approach the numinous by engaging in practices like active imag...

Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation
Jung teaches that soul and spirit have a home in a living body, the font of psyche’s images and means of their incarnation in the world. Embodiment is the ground of being, and engaging the tension between instinct and archetype shapes consciousness and character. Jung identified five instincts: creativity, movement, sexuality/eros, hunger in its many manifestations, and the ability to reflect and make meaning. If Pinocchio’s task was to humanize his instincts, much of modern man’s mission may be to re-estab...


Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing
We all have intuitive experiences, from an occasional hunch to powerful gut feelings. Unconscious intelligence is a storehouse of instincts and wisdoms humankind has accumulated over millennia. We would be lost without intuition and give importance to warnings and inspirations that saved or made the day. We are also skeptical of intuition, which tends to become infused with emotion, superstition, and cultural bias. Altogether, intuition is about the future, from promising possibilities to potential pitfalls...

Episode 127 - Seeking Certainty: The Seduction of Conspiracy Theories
In times of uncertainty truth is hard to discern, collective cohesion frays, and social factions become embattled. Unmediated shadow then seeks expression through the archetypal realm and takes on extra-ordinary attributes. Persecutory mythologies arise, for big psychic situations need big stories to compensate for big feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, and marginalization. Insecurities are projected onto the outer-world as clandestine enemies of mythic proportions: alien rulers, government cabals, and oth...

Episode 126 - The Money Complex: Incarnating Our Dreams
Money reflects our shadows and strengths as much as our bank accounts. Like Hermes, money traverses the realms from Hades to Heaven--money can be a matter of survival, and money can turn dreams into realities. Because money represents value we can acquire, exchange, and store, it can become conflated with our value as persons. Material wealth can become equated with status and self worth—and the lack of it with inadequacy and anxiety. To come into right relationship with money we need to develop a realistic...


Episode 125 - The Provisional Life: Redeeming the Real
The provisional life might be defined as a vague malaise: current relationships, work, and lifestyle feel like placeholders until the ‘real thing’ arrives—someday. If early life circumstances made over-conforming to others’ needs and expectations necessary, persona can be over-developed and shadow denied. The person may orient to external sources for self-definition, acceptance and direction, because deep roots in shadow’s dark, fertile soil of authentic feeling and experience are lacking. The recovery and ...

Episode 124 - Pets: A Lived Relationship with Soul
When far from life in the wild, relationships with animals are often through pets. We find kinship and difference in our friends of very foreign origin. Pets let us be tender, elicit nurturing, and help heal trauma through secure attachment. Our creatures keep our secrets. They accept our lapses and shadows. They invite us to play and appear in our dreams--and when they are gone, we mourn. Henry Beston said, “In a world older and more complete than ours [animals] move finished and complete, gifted with exte...

Episode 123 - Every Hero’s Journey
The hero’s journey has been the stuff of story from earliest times. Today’s popular heroes include Harry Potter, Frodo, Spiderman, Neo, and Luke Skywalker. They are all ordinary guys who suddenly receive the Call to Adventure, mythologist Joseph Campbell’s term for the beginning of the journey. The would-be hero first declines, then answers the call; he suffers tests and trials, succeeds with help from unexpected sources, and returns with the gifts of all he has learned. The hero’s journey is the human stor...


Episode 123 - Every Hero’s Journey
The hero’s journey has been the stuff of story from earliest times. Today’s popular heroes include Harry Potter, Frodo, Spiderman, Neo, and Luke Skywalker. They are all ordinary guys who suddenly receive the Call to Adventure, mythologist Joseph Campbell’s term for the beginning of the journey. The would-be hero first declines, then answers the call; he suffers tests and trials, succeeds with help from unexpected sources, and returns with the gifts of all he has learned. The hero’s journey is the human stor...

Episode 122 - COVERED: An Archetypal Take on the COVID Mask
Masks are the symbol of COVID life, and they have archetypal roots as old as humankind. We ward off evil microbial forces with bandanas, neck gaiters, patterned fabrics, and high filtration medical masks. Masks provide access to our shape-shifting potential, connect us to our instinctual depths, mediate our relationship to the spirits, and open a portal to the mythic realm of story and drama. Masks waft us into new identities: children become superheroes or face-painted animals; women apply make-up, men cra...

Episode 121 - Not Alone: Finding the Inner Companion
When you’re down, and in trouble, and you need some loving care... You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am,  I’ll come running to see you again…you’ve got a friend.  Carole King song   The companion has a beloved place in our hearts. Famed modern-day teammates include Captain Kirk and Spock, Frodo and Samwise, Batman and Robin, and Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The companion serves and supports the hero, contributing quieter gifts of guidance, capability, and devotion. Every companion is an imag...


Episode 120 - Creativity: Drawing from the Inner Well
The root of create, “to bring something into being out of nothing,” echoes divine creation. Ideas arise from mysterious sources, yet creativity is such an intrinsically human function that Jung considered it one of five human instincts, together with hunger, sexuality, activity, and reflection (a function of consciousness). Positive circumstances foster creativity: the ability to engage imagination, seek novelty, hone competency, and pursue autonomous, intrinsically rewarding activities. Stress inhibits new...

Episode 119 - The Religious Attitude: What Do You Worship?
The religious instinct is as basic as the need for food or shelter. Psyche seeks and selects a central, organizing life principle whether consciously or unconsciously chosen. Secular deities range from food, money, or even science, to the gods of addiction; false gods lie behind neuroses and pathology. Traditional religions and cosmologies offer connection to large, well-ordered frameworks of myth and meaning. Realizing one’s place in the context of larger realities has the potential to connect us to myster...

Episode 118 - Dissociation: Encountering Our Inner Exile
Jung discovered the psyche’s dissociative nature through his Word Association Test. Subjects would delay or make nonsensical responses to ordinary words associated with troublesome personal memories or traumas. Dissociation, our autonomous psychic “circuit breaker,” exists on a spectrum from ”spacing out” to disorders that interfere with life functioning. Psychotherapy could be considered the practice of healing dissociations, as treatment entails bringing banished contents into consciousness with feeling a...


Episode 117 - The Transcendent Function: Getting Unstuck
The transcendent function comes in all sizes, from “aha” moments to epiphanies. A new orientation to a dilemma arrives unthought, recognized, and right. Perhaps there is a moment where loneliness gives way to solitude, or heartbreak yields to a larger sense of self. Apprehension of a new attitude--sunlight breaking through clouds--has overcome the impasse, bringing freshness, spaciousness and possibility. Engaging the tension of an emotional struggle without giving in to premature, one-sided action can prep...

Episode 116 - Finding Resilience: A Conversation with Jim Hollis
James Hollis, noted Jungian scholar, teacher and author, joined us to discuss resilience. His new book, Living Between Worlds: Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times, will be available on Amazon in mid-June.   When life rhythms and habits are suspended or upended, we may find ourselves adrift. What supports us then? For most of history institutional religion, tradition, and tribal mythology unified communities and connected members to the transcendent. Today, however, discovering the capacity for cre...

Episode 115 - We Can’t Breathe: Facing the Pain of Racism
Racial injustice takes one’s breath away. It reaches back to the psychic asphyxiations of the Middle Passage, slavery, and Jim Crow—cut-offs from home, family, freedom and justice. Racism persists in systemic inequities and ongoing instances of police violence. The death of George Floyd, handcuffed, pleading, and unable to breathe, has inspired a collective rising in protest against current brutality and historic inhumanity. Breath as essence, consciousness and soul gives voice to lamentation and outrage. W...


Bonus Episode - On Becoming a Jungian Analyst
Many listeners have expressed interest in Jungian analytic training. We welcome those inquiries and outline the prerequisites, practicalities and processes which lead up to and constitute Jungian analytic training--a life path of ongoing growth, challenge and satisfaction. We encourage all who are interested in becoming a Jungian analyst to consult the major Jungian organizational and training resources below, and to research additional educational and Jungian institutes around the world. There are many rou...

Episode 114 - Riots: When the Collective Catches Fire
How can we understand the psychological wild fire of rioting? Jung, who lived through two world wars, understood that mass movements had the power to manifest archetypal energy. The urge to unleash destructive chaos is depicted in mythologies around the world. Early Norse warriors attained battle-crazed states as "berserkers," and Cu Chulainn, a mythological Irish warrior, killed both friends and foe. Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and strife, started the Trojan War, and Kali, a Hindu god whose name der...

Episode 113 - Lockdown: Decoding the Covid Complex
Oppressed, repressed and regressed, the forced restrictions of the Covid Complex have us in its grip. We may see friends and family more often than ever, but only on a screen. Work, school, home, weekdays, weekends—time and tasks slide around like Jello on a hot plate. Loss of structure, variety, movement and touch are destabilizing. Confined to tight physical and emotional spaces, we may collapse into ourselves or lash out at loved ones. We hear contradictory messages on the news and go outside only if mas...


Episode 112 - Midlife Crisis: Renewal or Stagnation
Jung was particularly interested in the second half of life, perhaps because after his own midlife crisis he found himself so surprisingly generative. We tend to spend the first half of life oriented to familial values and cultural norms for success.    Education, work, partnering and child rearing are some of the mile markers for speed and distance on the road of life—until midlife strikes. We may then discover that worldly successes feel flat, or blame discontent on bad breaks.    Although dramatic lifest...

Episode 111 - Jung, UFOs & Aliens: The Truth is Out There
The Pentagon recently released a film of a UFO made by Navy pilots. Although such credible documentation is new, UFO sightings go back to ancient times and surged after World War II.    Interstellar travel then seized the collective imagination, and the ongoing abundance of books, television shows and films signals the emergence of a new mythology. In his treatise “Flying Saucers,” Jung took a phenomenological stance, acknowledging experiences of sightings without concretizing them as physical or dismissing...

Episode 110 - ZOOMing In: Is Psyche Alive Online?
We have moved our lives online. But can we experience authentic human connection through virtual technology? Can we date, mourn, or have psychoanalysis on a screen? If screens offer some surprising intimacies—close-ups of wedding vows and eulogies—they also deprive us of embodied participation. Staying at home has made us newly eager to socialize—separately. Dating means conversation, not cuddling. We enter the homes of colleagues, clients, and even newscasters, but despite this implicit amity we’re not gue...


Episode 109 - Jung & Astrology: Cosmos & Character
Astrology is a 4000-year-old discipline rooted in the mystery of man’s relationship to the universe. It is an archetypal frame for human experience that influenced Jung, depicts our connection to the heavens, and anticipates future trends. We are now beginning an approximately 38-year Pluto-Saturn cycle—and Covid-19 has appeared at its outset. Pluto is associated with the underworld; Saturn is a stern taskmaster and enforcer of boundaries. The virus is forcing us to face fear and death—and also consider wha...

Episode 108 - Authority: Who’s in Charge Around Here?
The dictionary defines authority as the power to “influence or command thought, opinion or behavior.” Authority’s Latin roots are master, leader, author—thus it lives next to its tough cousin, power. Families, organizations, and governing bodies influence and command us, whether slightly or mightily. Authority has legitimacy, from a traffic officer’s directives to a mentor’s wisdom. An authority may reward desired behavior or provide expert advice. We can rebel against authority, be coerced into compliance,...

Episode 107 - Nigredo: Finding Light in Our Darkness
The alchemical term nigredo means black or blackening, and is associated with decomposition and putrefaction. As a psychological state, nigredo is “the great suffering and grief” which the detached forces of nature inflict on the soul. We realize in sorrow that what we thought were truths were illusory. Individuals may have taken pride in their virtues, talents or good fortune; societies may have touted their cultural superiority, military prowess, or wealth. When we are stripped of easy beliefs, we have no...


Episode 107 - Nigredo: Finding Light in Our Darkness
The alchemical term nigredo means black or blackening, and is associated with decomposition and putrefaction. As a psychological state, nigredo is “the great suffering and grief” which the detached forces of nature inflict on the soul. We realize in sorrow that what we thought were truths were illusory. Individuals may have taken pride in their virtues, talents or good fortune; societies may have touted their cultural superiority, military prowess, or wealth. When we are stripped of easy beliefs, we have no...

Episode 106 - When Everything Changes: Is There Opportunity in Crisis?
In the Chinese language, the two characters representing crisis are danger and opportunity. Can that possibly be true of these days of pandemic crisis, with physical, economic, and psychological destabilization? Voices of experience and wisdom speak to us about finding potential in desperate situations. Victor Frankl, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, discovered he had the power to choose his attitude toward brutal circumstances. Erich Fromm felt that isolation and fear could lead either to experienc...

Episode 105 - Ancestors: Our Psychological Inheritance
The archetype of origins is in resurgence since the advent of ancestry-mapping programs. What are the psychological and symbolic meanings of ancestry? Identity is often strongly linked to ancestry in its ethnic and cultural aspects, and as the carrier of personal traits. Genealogy gives rise to meaning-making narratives such as: I get my talent for storytelling from my Irish forebears. Jung knew that family complexes are handed down when he said, “Psychologically, the central point of a human personality is...


Episode 104 - Therapist Disclosures: Withholding or Overloading?
Should an analyst share personal information with clients? Freud believed that the analyst should be devoid of personal presence, so he sat unseen behind his famous couch. Jung realized that regardless of theory, psychotherapy entailed two people in a room interacting.    He likened two personalities to chemical substances: as they combined both would be altered. Jung and his patients interacted face to face, for Jung welcomed the complexities of human relationship. Relational dynamics are the bedrock of th...

Episode 103 - Facing the Fear of Coronavirus: Finding a Grounding Attitude
The word plague derives from the Latin plangere, “to strike the breast as if in lamentation.” The novel coronavirus has visited loss, fear and hardship on many. Nature in her destructive mode can radically disrupt cultural creations and norms and show us how fragile they – and we -- are. We may also find new sources of sustenance within. Dreams, bodywork, and the imaginal realm can help us access a new attitude: a reorientation of purpose, meaning, and consciousness.  “The great events of world history are,...

Episode 102 - Destiny: Are We Fated to Have One?
Questions about fate and destiny have existed for millennia. Fate often refers to unalterable realities, from genes to future events, whereas destiny points to future potential. An acorn’s likely fate is to die on the forest floor, but its destiny is to become an oak tree. Jung understood that “…when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as Fate.” Differentiating from family and collective values, and from the inner world of the unconscious, is what can enable us to change what appea...


Episode 102 - Destiny: Are We Fated to Have One?
Questions about fate and destiny have existed for millennia. Fate often refers to unalterable realities, from genes to future events, whereas destiny points to future potential. An acorn’s likely fate is to die on the forest floor, but its destiny is to become an oak tree. Jung understood that “…when an inner situation is not make conscious, it happens outside, as Fate.” Differentiating from family and collective values, and from the inner world of the unconscious, is what can enable us to change what appea...

Episode 101 - Pessimism: Was Eeyore Right?
“Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” For Eeyore, only perverse possibilities lie ahead, even if they are unknowable. Do gloomy expectations create self-fulfilling prophecies? Or are pessimists more realistic than naive optimists like Winnie the Pooh? Pessimism can be associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. It may also motivate preparation and striving, especially if the pessimist believes he or she can overcome significant obstacles and succeed.    There is a difference be...

Episode 101 - Pessimism: Was Eeyore Right?
“Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” For Eeyore, only perverse possibilities lie ahead, even if they are unknowable. Do gloomy expectations create self-fulfilling prophecies? Or are pessimists more realistic than naive optimists like Winnie the Pooh? Pessimism can be associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. It may also motivate preparation and striving, especially if the pessimist believes he or she can overcome significant obstacles and succeed.    There is a difference be...


Episode 100 - Outrageous! What Drives Shocking Behaviors?
We can all cite examples of behaviors that defy reason and meaning. How can we understand X shouting those things at a party, or the bizarre thing Y filmed himself doing on YouTube? There is a great array of psychological labels for such behaviors, as if pronouncing them “histrionic,” “manic” or even “drunk” explains radical actions and cascades of feelings. The roots of such exaggerated expressions may lie in early relational traumas and attempts to compensate for authentic lacks by appearing uncaring and ...

Episode 099 - Projection: When the Dart Lands
The power of projections to hit psychic targets serves both defensive and integrative functions. Projections are a natural aspect of psychic functioning, as we know from watching children at play: we first see inner images “out there” in order to experience them internally. Projections give shape to affects and archetypal images, from the hero to the healer, the derelict to the destroyer. We also tend to project our shadows outward, attributing disliked or undeveloped aspects of ourselves to others. In The ...

Episode 098 - Climate Change: How Can We Welcome Upsetting Truths?
Recent severe environmental events have made facing climate change urgent. We talk with Jeffrey Kiehl, PhD, climate scientist, Jungian analyst, and author, about bringing a psychological perspective to our present situation and the process of change. (Kiehl’s book is listed below.) The modern myth of infinite growth and limitless natural resources has led to equating consumerism with personal fulfillment. This belief underlies environmental imbalance; a new attitude is needed to restore right relationship w...

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Episode 097 - A Psychology of Redemption
As we grow, unconscious unity becomes differentiated into feeling, ego, personality and desire. As we grow, we will have initiatory encounters with shadow, demanding the sacrifice of innocence and identification with ego. The story of Adam and Eve conceives this archetypal experience as the fall. The stories of Job, Faust and even the children’s tale, The Velveteen Rabbit, tell us how we may achieve redemption from a fall. The fairytale of The Black Princess depicts this vividly as the struggle to engage sh...

Episode 096 - Polyamory: Navigating the Complexities of the Heart
Polyamory, a current phenomenon, endorses open relationships with multiple lovers. The term means many loves, and polyamory strives to legitimize the benefits of non-monogamous romance and sexuality among adults. Jung engaged in an open, extramarital relationship with Toni Wolff. Does polyamory represent an overthrow of outdated cultural mores in an age when sex can be safe? Or is committed, often sanctified bonding a deeply rooted part of human nature and development? There are parallels in the development...

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Episode 095- TRIGGERED: Understanding & Transforming Complexes
When we speak of being triggered, what exactly is it that sends us into a familiar  arc of feeling and behavior we may later regret? That mysterious force seems external and can elude our ability to locate it within. Jung called these autonomous and unconscious incursions complexes, and he discovered them through his Word Association Test. A subject’s delayed or inappropriate reaction to a stimulus word such as tree or house indicated an unconscious disturbance that could then yield to understanding. Comple...

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Episode 094 - Finding Resilience as We Face New Disasters
Although there have been a number of recent destructive environmental events, the duration and devastation of the fires in Australia have made a powerful impact on the collective psyche. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, although disastrous to humans, seem acausal aspects of Nature. Other environmental damage, such as Amazon fires, is caused by human behavior. Australia’s plight, however, calls into blazing question mankind’s relationship with the Great Mother herself. Like the destruction of Sodom and Go...

Episode 093 - Dynamics of Change & Renewal
A new year often symbolizes a new beginning, with resolutions to make specific lifestyle changes related to self-improvement. Research indicates, however, that up to 88% of these resolutions fail. If changes—no matter how worthy--are imposed by ego alone, the unconscious is likely to have its say by rebelling. Meaningful change requires the willingness to sit at the crossroads of inner conflict, steep in its mystery, and honor the opportunity for relationship rather than repression. Contemplation before act...

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Episode 092 - Trickster
The archetype of the trickster shows up in ambiguity, duplicity, contradiction and paradox. Usually depicted as masculine, trickster has been featured in tales worldwide through history. We see him as a boundary crosser, shape-shifting imitator, versatile adapter, and disrupter of norms whose deceptions often backfire on him. Our inner trickster causes ego’s intentions to go haywire, and shows up as slips of the tongue, forgetting something important, or dream behavior that jolts the waking mind. Trickster’...

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Episode 091 - Secrets
Although a secret is usually considered information deliberately kept from others, we also keep secrets from ourselves. Internal secrets consist of emotionally laden knowledge that consciousness represses; the price of such secrets may be a complex or neurosis. Secrets can alienate us from ourselves as well as others, and are often fueled by shame, guilt and fear. Family secrets can be especially burdensome, even toxic. However, secrets can also serve positive purposes. Sharing a secret can strengthen frien...

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Episode 090 - Scrooge on the Couch: How the Numinous Transforms
Something's going on in Scrooges soul...and it's tired of waiting for an invitation. Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, vividly portrays the journey to healing and transcendence. It was written in a fever, released on December 19, 1843, and sold out before Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge’s visitations by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are vivid depictions of the path from trauma to transformation. As in psychotherapy, Scrooge revisits his past; by reclaiming the feelings he exi...

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Episode 089 - Sibling Complexes
Siblings are embedded in the human psyche as they are in life. Even if one lacks siblings, there is ready access to them through friends, fairy tales, myths, and scripture. All feature multiple experiences and examples of sibling solidarity and siblings as shadow carriers. Birth order, sex, temperament, and the quality of parental presence play a part in constellating the intense polarities of sibling relationships: competition and cooperation, admiration and envy, hierarchy and partnership, aggression and ...


Episode 088 - Partings & Farewells
Partings connote a finality of farewell that signifies completion of a relationship. We may part from a stage of life, depart from home or college, or say farewell to a person, process or project. Partings signify the end of a story that has been told and reached conclusion. The Japanese tale of Princess Moonbeam illustrates the importance of accepting a necessary ending: those who could not do so were turned into statues, fixed in eternal stasis. The refusal to part or devaluing its importance may indicate...

Episode 087 - The Racial Complex with Dr. Fanny Brewster
Dr. Fanny Brewster, Jungian Analyst, colleague and friend, joins This Jungian Life to discuss her forthcoming book, The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race. Complexes tend to operate autonomously and unconsciously, have strong feeling-tones, and contain archetypal fuel. The racial complex, a complicated mix of color, class and culture, operates individually and collectively and in multiple ways. Although shadow projection and “othering” are intrinsic to the racial complex, America’s hi...

Episode 086 - Splitting, Polarization & Conflict
It happens all the time: people and problems split into opposing camps, whether the conflict is internal, between partners, in a family or—as we know all too well—between political parties. When positions become polarized conflict ensues, whether between mind and body, partners and families, or value systems and religious affiliations. What makes it possible to reach across the chasm between entrenched extremes? The Jungian concept of holding the tension of the opposites allows energy, like electricity, to ...


Episode 086 - Splitting, Polarization & Conflict
It happens all the time: people and problems split into opposing camps, whether the conflict is internal, between partners, in a family or—as we know all too well—between political parties. When positions become polarized conflict ensues, whether between mind and body, partners and families, or value systems and religious affiliations. What makes it possible to reach across the chasm between entrenched extremes? The Jungian concept of holding the tension of the opposites allows energy, like electricity, to ...

Episode 085 - Healing the Negative Father Complex
The archetype of the father is associated with gods, kingship, and other images of authority and order. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the father complex is powerful. In its negative aspect it may arise from a father who was experienced as absent, emotionally unavailable, passive, critical or abusive. Jung’s father complex influenced his adult relationship with Freud, to whom he wrote, "Let me enjoy your friendship not as that of equals but as that of father and son." A...

Episode 085 - Healing the Negative Father Complex
The archetype of the father is associated with gods, kingship, and other images of authority and order. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the father complex is powerful. In its negative aspect it may arise from a father who was experienced as absent, emotionally unavailable, passive, critical or abusive. Jung’s father complex influenced his adult relationship with Freud, to whom he wrote, "Let me enjoy your friendship not as that of equals but as that of father and son." A...


Episode 084 - Anger
Anger is a core human emotion. Newborns express instinctual cries of protest, and many a mythological god has wreaked archetypal havoc. Cultural norms around anger range from keeping a stiff upper lip to highly extraverted forms of expression. There are overall differences in how men and women tend to express anger; differences in temperament as well as situational stressors contribute to the intensity and frequency of angry feelings. Anger, like other emotions, is a source of information: it tells us when ...

Episode 083 - Ghostly Encounters
People have reported experiences with ghosts from antiquity; Jung documented his encounters with mysterious sensed presences. How do we make meaning of such experiences? Are they visitations from external beings? Could they be related to unconscious reactions to toxic substances, auditory subtleties, or erratic electromagnetic fields? Neurological evidence links the stimulation of specific brain regions to feeling a ghostly presence. Stress, extreme hunger, physical hardship, loss, isolation, sleep deprivat...

Episode 082 - Medicating Psyche
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 Boo...

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Episode 082 - Medicating Psyche
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 Boo...

Episode 081 - Empathy
Empathy, the ability to feel into the suffering of another, is an intrinsic part of being human. We have such a capacity to imagine others’ experience that we react physiologically and emotionally to painful situations even in film. We are surprised, sometimes shocked, when the empathy we expect in a given situation is not forthcoming. Although empathic deficits create wounding, an overly empathic stance can also be problematic, fostering psychic stasis. Jung related empathy to the causal, or “mechanistic” ...

Episode 080 - When Therapy Ends
A planned, collaborative termination is the ideal way to bring a depth-oriented therapeutic process to a close. The client may have resolved a problematic life issue and/or have achieved an abiding sense of wholeness. When both partners feel the client’s sense of completion and readiness for a new phase of life, this kind of termination can feel like a graduation, albeit with the poignancy farewells also entail. There are also less satisfying endings for both therapist and client. The fit between therapist ...


Episode 079 - Grief & Bereavement
The death of a loved one is a loss that is part of the human condition and is universal. The Stranger -- mortality -- confronts us with a new need to accept the reality of our loss and pain, a process that can include ambivalent feelings. Relief and anger can be mixed with love and grief. Altogether, we must adjust to an absence where once there was presence, relearn how to experience the world of relationship, and perhaps take on new life responsibilities at a time of emotional turmoil. Ego may find itself...

Episode 079 - Grief & Bereavement
The death of a loved one is a loss that is part of the human condition and is universal. The Stranger -- mortality -- confronts us with a new need to accept the reality of our loss and pain, a process that can include ambivalent feelings. Relief and anger can be mixed with love and grief. Altogether, we must adjust to an absence where once there was presence, relearn how to experience the world of relationship, and perhaps take on new life responsibilities at a time of emotional turmoil. Ego may find itself...

Episode 078 - Infertility
Hey TJL Fans, There’s a great Jungian conference in Minneapolis MN this November 1 & 2. Here’s a link to the flyer and since it’s by ‘invitation only’ just say, “This Jungian Life sent me” and you’re in! https://irsja.org/irsja-invitational-conference/ We three will be attending and if you see us be sure to say hello. Cheers Lisa, Deb, & Joseph   INFERTILITY: When the Mother Archetype Fails to Constellate Medical technology has given the problem of fertility a scientific veneer. Our Promethean ability to ma...


Episode 078 - Infertility
Hey TJL Fans, There’s a great Jungian conference in Minneapolis MN this November 1 & 2. Here’s a link to the flyer and since it’s by ‘invitation only’ just say, “This Jungian Life sent me” and you’re in! https://irsja.org/irsja-invitational-conference/ We three will be attending and if you see us be sure to say hello. Cheers Lisa, Deb, & Joseph   INFERTILITY: When the Mother Archetype Fails to Constellate Medical technology has given the problem of fertility a scientific veneer. Our Promethean ability to ma...

Episode 077 - Chronic Complaining
Complaining is universal, perhaps, like gossiping, one of the first uses to which developed language was put. Overall, a complaint can refer to a perceived legal injustice, medical symptom, or other personally painful matter. The chronic complainer feels a lack of agency, and implicitly pleads for emotional support and/or effective action from another. A complaint may therefore range from a request for empathic engagement to an effort to assign responsibility to others. Listeners have a felt sense of a comp...

Episode 076 - Animus & Anima
Although these Jungian concepts have become familiar psychological terminology, they remain difficult to understand. According to Jung, animus and anima are innate psychic structures shaped significantly by the archetypal world, whereas the shadow is predominantly shaped by personal experiences of ego formation. Whereas shadow tends to be rejected, animus and anima fascinate and attract. Although images like sol / luna or yin / yang amplify the a priori nature of these inner opposites, the animus correspond...


Episode 075 - Negative Mother Complex: When Our Painful Childhood Owns Us
Healing a Negative Mother Complex As the mother is the generator of life and usual primary attachment figure, the mother complex is universal. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the mother complex is especially powerful. In its negative aspect, it may arise from a mother who was experienced as uncaring, attacking, possessive, withholding, absent, or wounded. It is likely to show up in relationships with others and in the relationship with oneself. Fairy tales like The Raven...

Episode 075: Negative Mother Complex: When Our Painful Childhood Owns Us
Healing a Negative Mother Complex As the mother is the generator of life and usual primary attachment figure, the mother complex is universal. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the mother complex is especially powerful. In its negative aspect it  may arise from a mother who was experienced as uncaring, attacking, possessive, withholding, absent, or wounded. It is likely to show up in relationships with others and in the relationship with oneself. Fairy tales like The Raven...

Episode 074 - Borderline Personality Disorder
While psychiatric diagnostic labels often reify the complexities of psychological dynamics, they can also orient us to the essential qualities of a particular emotional and behavioral field. BPD is characterized by difficulty with affect regulation, intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, impulsive behavior, and a tendency toward highly polarized emotions: idealization/elation versus devaluation/despair. BPD is associated with early relational deficits, especially in caretakers’ capacity to mainta...


Episode 073 - Procrastination
We all procrastinate. Tasks from making a doctor’s appointment to preparing taxes to doing the laundry invite us to put off until tomorrow what we can postpone today. We may distract ourselves by going online, doing errands, or minimizing the time a job will take. Although procrastination signals that a given task is hard and emotionally charged, it buys only temporary escape from anxiety. Furthermore, procrastination can lead to disappointment in oneself that can undermine the self-confidence needed to fac...

Episode 072 - Puer – Puella: Trapped in the Inner Child
If the passage into fullsome adulthood is avoided, a person can be trapped in the world of childhood. This protected realm is a nexus of potential, defined by avoiding the rigors of the real for the pleasures of possibility. Peter Pan, who chose to remain in never-never-land, is a well-known image for the flighty ingenuousness of the puer or puella. What stops libido from becoming more grounded in order to engage in more purposeful, ego-strengthening commitments? Charles Dickens’ Bleak House portrays a prot...

Episode 071 - Self Talk
Although only some of us talk aloud to ourselves, all of us have inner voices, even if we are not aware of them. These autonomous parts of ourselves provide running commentary on how and what we are doing. Are our inner commentators friendly and supportive, or critical and attacking? We turn to fairy tales, stories that arise from the collective unconscious, for wisdom about our relationship with those parts of ourselves that tend to operate autonomously. The Ill-Fated Princess must climb a mountain to conf...


Episode 070 - Dating
We define dating as the quest for serious partnership or ongoing companionship. Today’s dating world is radically different from that of even a generation ago, and is light years away from previous generations. Dating apps and social media expedite and expand the range the search for a suitable other - and often turns dating into an exercise in personal marketing. Dating also now spans an age range from teens to older - even elderly - divorced or widowed adults. If today’s dating culture provides individual...

Episode 069 - Retirement
The life transition we call retirement mandates a major readjustment in how time, energy and money are spent, whether retirement means becoming a “snowbird” or having a stepped-down lifestyle. Work has structured the rhythm of life and time; most have found aspects of identity, status, and socialization at work, regardless of how fulfilling, arduous or well paid it may have been. Shakespeare’s King Lear and the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon illustrate contrasting inner attitudes and their outcomes. Jung...

Episode 068 - Chronic Illness
Chronic illnesses affect many, creating diminishment of physical ability and energy for life activities. There can be loss of agency, loss of one’s expected future, and a sharpened awareness of loss of life. There is a new need for conscious intention and reality-based decisions in order to avoid denial while adjusting to limitations and managing self-care. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss emotional factors in the loss of the healthy, autonomous self –and the possibility of a profound shift in inner life. The b...


Episode 067 - Early Abandonment
Experiences of physical abandonment are depicted in stories old and new as ways of out-picturing traumas of early relational abandonment. Jung articulated the archetypal foundation of what later psychologists came to call attachment theory. In an infant’s primal state of identification with a mothering other, lack of caregiver availability and attunement constitutes psychic abandonment. This is depicted in fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and the more recent film, Pan’s Labyrinth. Both image of the inner ...

Episode 66 - Cults
Although cults occasionally make the headlines through tragedy or scandal, the defining features of cults are inherently human and manifest on spectrums of both severity and size. The word cult is derived from culture. While culture refers to the overarching characteristics of a society, cult refers negatively to a marginalized subgroup. Cults tap into universal human feelings and desires, such as the need to belong and resonance to parental influence. Although as adults we are no longer dependent on family...

Episode 65 - Burnout
Burnout is a relatively new term for job-related distress or an ongoing life situation that is unsatisfying, defeating, and creates a sense of despair. Burnout robs us of our sense of control and agency—we feel unable to change the troubling situation. Burnout can also be related to our internalized parents, moral convictions, and sense of duty. We can count on fairy tales, our psychic skeletons, to provide wisdom on resolving age-old human situations, even if they are couched in new terminology. In Rumpels...


Episode 64 - Voyages
Although the word voyage connotes a sea journey, this episode considers a voyage to be an intentional trip of any kind. A voyage can range from a vacation in Vegas to a pilgrimage to a sacred site. Such journeys may be solitary, or, like the famed pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales, in the company of fellow travelers. We tell our stories to others and to ourselves, companioned by our own inner images and/or others. Voyages take us to unfamiliar places, and a changed external environment stimulates projectio...

Episode 63 - Tears
We all shed tears. We cry when we are sad, but also when we are glad, surprised by beauty, love, or touched by other deeply felt and uniquely human experiences. Tears, and our access to them, are part of what makes us human, and when we cannot find our tears we have lost a vital link to feeling, whether for another or a part of ourselves. In their negative aspect, tears can signify the falseness of crocodile tears or affective hardening and bitterness; teardrop tattoos represent experiences of violence. In ...

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Episode 62 - The Psychology of a Victim
We can experience powerful feelings of empathy for those who are victims of trauma in all its heartbreaking dimensions. It is difficult even to consider a shadow side to this already dark aspect of human experience. Nevertheless, it is important also to consider the difference between lived experiences of victimization and meaning-making narratives that not only can become calcified, but self-reinforcing. If entrenched, narratives of victimization can become part of one’s identity and suppress life energy. ...


Episode 61 - Individuation
Individuation, the central concept of Jung’s psychology, is the foundational image and aspiration of Jungian psychoanalysis – and life. It is the theme of many a fairy tale, the sought-for treasure of a quest, and the “juice” that makes symbols compelling. Individuation has an innate developmental arc and a psychological trajectory that allows us to bring conscious intention to our own individuation process. However, vital transformational events are not simply occurrences ego alone can command; they are ul...

Episode 60 - Psychological Dismemberment: Why We Can’t Stay Connected
Images of physical dismemberment are often used in fairy tales, dreams and art to depict psychological fragmentation, numbing and other forms of disconnection. Such cut-offs, dissociations, and splits may be related to earlier relational trauma, and constitute defenses against experiences perceived as too overwhelming for consciousness to absorb or even acknowledge. Experience can be dissociated, or dismembered, behaviorally, emotionally, bodily, and by denying memory or knowledge of events. Jungian Analyst...

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Episode 59 - Offense and Outrage
Anything that disappears from your psychological inventory is apt to turn up in the guise of a hostile neighbor, who will inevitably arouse your anger and make you aggressive. It is surely better to know that your worst enemy is right there in your own heart. ~CG Jung, Vol 10, para 456   Very often the ego experiences a vague feeling of moral defeat and then behaves all the more defensively, defiantly, and self-righteously, thus setting up a vicious circle which only increases its feeling of inferiority. ~C...


Episode 58 - The Art & Practice of B*tchiness
In this episode, the archetype of the bitch is explored using fairy tales, mythology, and popular culture to shed light on this colloquial, pejorative term. The term is applied most frequently to assertive women - and to men acting in a way deemed "feminine" - who are either not sufficiently in touch with their own authentic power or seem overly invested in power dynamics. What is the secret of authentic feminine power?   We reference the myths of Cassandra, Persephone, Inanna, The Frog Prince (Grimm), and ...

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Episode 57 - Ambivalence
Having mixed feelings, or strongly opposing feelings is a normal occurrence in human life. We can find ourselves in a quandary about big decisions, upcoming life events, or experience being stuck without quite knowing why. Deb, Joseph, and Lisa consider various facets of ambivalence: anxiety around foreclosing options and missing out fear of regret over a possible wrong choice, or inability to raise complexes and shadow elements into consciousness. All aspects of the personality need to be allowed to dialog...

Episode 56 - Persona
This episode, inspired by the new album by the Korean band BTS, explains and amplifies the Jungian concept of the persona. Like the cornea of the eye, persona both shields us and makes opening up to the world possible. In ancient Greek theater, the actors wore masks that identified their roles, or personae. Similarly, we adjust our outward presentation to others according to the appropriate roles we play in the workplace, with neighbors, or close friends and family. A persona that is too rigid can give one ...


Episode 55 - Identifying & Integrating the Personal Shadow
The personal shadow is created as a normal part of development, as we learn what behaviors, values and feelings are not acceptable in our family, school, or religious tradition. In order to be accepted by needed significant others, parts of ourselves have to be split off from consciousness and are therefore relegated to the unconscious as shadow. A major part of becoming more whole is discovering these exiled parts of ourselves and integrating the feelings they carry. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss some of th...

Episode 54 - Chronic Lateness
People who are chronically late create relational problems with others and generate negative consequences for themselves, from embarrassment and guilt to loss of friendships or jobs. Chronic lateness evidences a split between consciousness and the unconscious: while the ego may feel distressed about lateness, the unconscious may be expressing an unmet need and deriving a benefit from lateness. That is why self-help strategies such as setting multiple alarm clocks and allowing extra time for travel seldom so...

Episode 53 - Should I Stay or Should I Go?
One of the issues clients bring into the therapeutic consulting room is dissatisfaction with the state of their marriage or partnership. Although this dilemma often takes shape as bipolar, it represents a challenge to engagement with deep, defended parts of self and relationship. Joseph, Lisa and Deb make it clear they are not focusing on issues like abuse or addiction, but the more subtle yet substantial ways in which people can feel dissatisfied. Partners often hold deep aspects of the other’s shadow; for...


Episode 52 - Precognitive Dreams
Listeners contributed examples of precognitive dreams for this episode. Lisa, Joseph, and Deb discuss theoretical concepts and listener dreams from various vantage points: the intuitive capacity of the unconscious, the synchronous intersection of matter and psyche, and activation of an archetype. These and other ways of knowing are beyond the scope of ego and call us to the realization that the ego, as Jung said, is a part of and connected to something larger that is ultimately mysterious. Jung compared thi...

Episode 51 - What is Your Therapist Thinking?
Lisa, Joseph, and Deb explore and explain what the analytic process is like for them as they work with clients. Deb describes her interactions with clients using a rectangular diagram that, like the Scottish flag, traces lines going from the two upper corners to the two lower corners. This represents the multi-directional flow of energy in the session between the conscious and unconscious contents of both people. The analytic process is also likened to a chemical reaction in which both people are changed - ...

Episode 50 - Shopping
Everyone shops—we have access to an astonishing choice of products. Internet shopping has multiplied our range of options beyond what nearby retail stores may have to offer. Desired items range from mountain climbing trucks to gold jewelry to highly specialized cookware items. What are we seeking for our inner selves as we shop for outer objects? For some, utilitarian objects carry libido, whereas for others shopping is an aesthetic, adventurous, relational, or aspirational experience. Joseph, Deb and Lisa ...


Episode 49 - Dietary Over-regulation and the Pursuit of Purity
Preoccupation and obsession with food–a condition called orthorexia--can take the form of the quest for health and purity, with rigid rules about food categories, such as the need for all-organic ingredients or omitting food groups such as dairy, sugar, and gluten in the absence of identified physiological intolerances. This overall effort to banish anxiety can take the form of an implicit bargain (eating “right” guarantees health), a strong need for ego control, elitism, specific community values, and bani...

Episode 48 - Estrangement
Estrangement from members of one’s family and others takes place far more often than seems commonly acknowledged. Estrangement involves psychologically cutting-off, repressing, and defending against connection with another who has come to be experienced as “all bad.” People may move away geographically, refuse to talk to a certain person, or simply give someone the “cold shoulder.” Joseph, Lisa and Deb discuss the importance of setting appropriate boundaries with others and understanding that estrangement i...

Episode 47 - Falling in Love with your Analyst
As Jung well knew, eros – love – is an essential part of the analytic process. In Vol. 16 of his Collected Works Jung used alchemical images of a king and queen to illustrate the various ways in which erotic feeling can enter the consulting room. The safety of a time-limited, fee-based relationship is important to allow a full range of feelings and fantasies to be admitted into consciousness without being enacted. Idealizing and erotic feelings for another can pave the way to finding one’s center in oneself...


Episode 46 - Hiding
Many a fairy tale features hiding as a strategic defense.  Jack, of beanstalk fame, hides from the giant in order to survive and discover his treasure. We often hide when we feel small and life events and people feel big. Hiding can be a conscious decision, whether for fun, as in the game of hide and seek, or out of necessity, as Anne Frank’s family’s had to do. Hiding can also be an unconscious phenomenon, particularly if there has been trauma, in order to protect the inviolable life of the soul. How, then...

Episode 45 - The Wall
With “The Wall” very much in the forefront of national discussion, Deb, Lisa and Joseph reflect on the archetype of walls. Some may be stonewalls simply marking boundaries between neighbors. Others may be massive defenses like the Great Wall of China. What do walls keep out – or keep in? What do we need to create necessary separation, and what walls off connection with our own shadow that may be projected onto immigrants. When we focus on building a wall, do we neglect our internal infrastructure, health ca...

Episode 44 - The Archetypal Power of Football
Football is a uniquely American sport with millions of fans, heroic teams, and stadiums reminiscent of colosseums. As the Super Bowl approaches – television’s most watched show – Lisa, Joseph and Deb consider the archetypal underpinnings that contribute to making football America’s most watched sport. They consider the light and dark sides of fandom, the hero’s journey, the battleground, and more.   The Dream: For some reason, I brought kitty litter to the bathroom -- it was not for a cat (since I don't hav...


Episode 43 - Heartbreak
Heartbreak is more primal, more pervasive, and more related to one’s sense of self than sadness. Our hearts can break over the death of a dearly loved other, including a pet…and our hearts can break over the death of a relationship and the death of our hopes and dreams, and our innocence, idealizations, and the psychic needs we believe another can fulfill. Heartbreak is mythological and fairy tale theme, which illustrates its central place in the human psyche, and in them we find clues to how one heals from...

Episode 42 - Over Apologizing
What is “I’m sorry” as a habitual response really about? There’s the preemptive apology that is offered to forestall possible criticism, the apology that evokes reassurance from others, the apology for falling short of perfection…and more. This episode explores developmental, interpersonal, and intrapsychic dynamics of various kinds of habitual apologizing. We’ll be sorry if it falls short of your expectations.   The Dream: I'm at a holiday "work party" for the very exclusive private school where I work, bu...

Episode 41 - Regret
Along with a our guest podcast Brazilian Jungian analyst Leticia Capriotti, we explored the psychological underpinnings of regret. We considered that sometimes regret can arise as a result of self-betrayal.  We link it to the unlived life that can haunt us and demand our attention. At times, this unlived life may reach into the ancestral past, as we struggle with inter-generational patterns. We discuss how sometimes this can lead to new creative endeavors, but at other times, there may need to be a painful ...


Episode 40 - What's Unique about Jungian Analysis?
How is Jungian analysis different from other psychotherapies? What are its major components and distinguishing features? And what makes it effective? Lisa, Deb, and Joseph discuss Jungian analysis as a nonlinear process that is not limited to problem-solving or reducing symptoms. Instead, Jungian analysis is grounded in an inherent capacity to grow into wholeness, a process Jung called individuation. Jungian analysis places a high value on all the processes and multiplicities of the unconscious, from sympto...

Episode 39 - Shrink Rap Radio
This week we sat down with Dave from Shrink Rap Radio to discuss dream analysis. We hope you enjoy and happy holidays!...

Episode 38 - Holiday Madness
As the holiday season approaches, we examine the tidal pull of the ancient, archetypal power of the solstice season. Because of this underpinning, together with the power of family narratives, roles, and complexes, the holidays can be fraught with intense feeling, from hope to regression to disappointment. We discuss ways to manage feelings, intention, and behavior.     The Dream: "I am in a bathhouse (Turkish bath) and sitting immersed in the pool of warm water to my waist. I am sitting with my back to a r...


Episode 37 - Narcissism
The myth of Narcissus constitutes the archetypal root of the character structure of narcissism. Aspects of narcissism run from the healthy developmental narcissism of a child to the toxic narcissism of the psychopath, but all have in common a lack of empathy, whether momentary or chronic. We offer some thoughts on how to tell if you are in a relationship with a narcissist and what to do about it. The Dream: My ex-wife moves back in together, and then she starts belittling (me) like she used to when we were ...

Episode 36 - Adulting: Leaving the Parental Path
What does it mean to separate from one’s parents and parental complexes—the attitudes and values that have been deeply instilled since infancy? How do we discern when we are in a parental complex, whether we are aligned with it or rebelling against it? What can we do to resolve the hold these complexes can have over us and become more of our unique, individuated selves? The Dream: I was in front of a white house. I felt like it belonged to me. Some creatures attacked. I remember two of them, one was blue an...

Episode 35 - Loneliness
Loneliness is a deeply human and universal experience. Lisa, Joseph and Deb examine it from multiple perspectives: as it may be experienced in young adulthood versus older years; as reflective of the need for attachment and relational security; as comparable to the alchemical metaphors of calcinatio and solutio; as a call to activation in outer and inner worlds; and as a psychologically toxic phenomenon. The dream: I dreamt I was haphazardly packing up my family’s things after a stay at a friend’s house. In...


Episode 34 - The Scapegoat
The archetype of the scapegoat goes back to the ancient Hebrew ritual of using two goats to expiate the sins of the tribe. Sin, blame, and wrongness are also often attributed to others, and this practice – scapegoating – is addressed as it occurs in current culture, in families, and in individual psychology. The Dream: I hiked to a “primitive” tribal village. I went there as a researcher, perhaps an anthropologist. As I was standing talking to one of the men, an angry woman with a crying infant stomped towa...

Episode 33 - Archetypal Dynamics of Gender Transformation
Lisa, Joseph, and Deb circumambulate the difficult issue of gender reassignment. They discuss the significance of teen girls wishing to transition and the current tendency to foreclose the meaning of this and move rapidly into medical procedures, a process of concretization instead of curiosity and exploration. Lisa discusses previous examples of symptoms and their diagnoses in history, leading to an understanding of the influence of cultural factors on mental illnesses and diagnosis. Finally, gender reassi...

Episode 32 - Slobs
What happens when one is held captive by the mud of messiness? We try to understand sloppiness as a defense against overwhelming emotions, ongoing enmeshment in the primal maternal matrix, a regression to a younger and less differentiated self, and a tendency to overvalue objects as compensation for an inadequate ability to symbolize.   The dream: I am swimming in an indoor public pool with others when waves begin to occur for no apparent or antecedent reason. I am in a pool that shouldn’t have waves. As th...


Episode 31 - Food Addiction
Compulsive eating is a complicated psychological and biological problem. Food addiction can be a way of defending against unmet needs by displacing emotional hunger onto food. We discuss how infant experiences with eating and soothing can shape one’s relationship to food in adulthood. Two fairy tales tell of parents with insatiably devouring babies and illustrate the consequences of failure to develop affect regulation and how that can lead to various vulnerabilities to addiction.   The dream: My skin (not ...

Episode 30 - Escaping Literalism
We consider literalism as a normal state in childhood; children’s literalism can be funny and charming. We grow first into the ability to understand metaphor and conceptualize symbols and levels of meaning. Literalism can then serve as a defense against uncertainty, as ego’s resistance to any threat to its power, and as a refusal to  confront unwelcome truths from the unconscious. A symbolic attitude, however, opens the inner world to adventure, mystery and creativity.   The dream: I had a wild animal skin....

Episode 29 - ENVY & JEALOUSY: Hobgoblins in Relationships
This podcast relates envy and jealousy to early developmental dynamics, with envy related to the dyad of mother-and-baby and jealousy arriving a bit later, when the child realizes that sometimes he is left out of his parent’s relationship with one another. Envy is related to early narcissism, a sense of inferiority and primal emotions, often resulting in the urge to destroy the envied person or object. Jealousy, because it is related to longing, can motivate a person to strive for what is desired. Rumi, a P...


Episode 28 - Boredom
Boredom is not depression or dissociation, sadness or loneliness…but what is it? We consider boredom from various perspectives: lack of access to one’s inner world, a relational deficit, a defense against unwanted feelings, a byproduct of reliance on technology to command attention, and lack of access to enlivening transpersonal energies. We surmise that the antidote to boredom lies in the ability to pay attention, as this can generate connection and meaning.   The dream: I had a rather strange dream the ot...

Episode 27 - Dream Animals
In this podcast, we focus on animals as symbols of instincts that have often been repressed in order to conform to cultural norms. When some aspect of our instinctual nature returns to us as a dream animal we can find ourselves fleeing, fighting, denying, or befriending an aspect of ourselves represented by that animal. Because animals have objectively known characteristics, dream creatures can provide specific clues about lost aspects of ourselves that we may need to reclaim. Finding the right relationship...

Episode 26 - Betrayal
The experience of betrayal is painful, confusing, and damaging to one’s basic sense of self and reality. The betrayer is often seized by feelings that demand gratification and involve self-deceit, abandonment of responsibility and empathy for the other. Are there ever times when betrayal is necessary for growth, either as the betrayed or the betrayer? Can betrayal be used as a call to deepened feeling, increased consciousness and more creative self-expression? The Dream: I was in a house that belonged to my...


Episode 25 - The Psychology of Divination: a depth approach
Divinatory systems have been used for thousands of years as a source of help and direction to people wishing to resolve situations of personal uncertainty. Jung used the I Ching for 30 years before he met Richard Wilhelm and found confirmation of its usefulness in Wilhelm’s translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower. We explore the value of divination through the I Ching and the Tarot, and link this to the concept of a unified field that can facilitate a healing relationship with the Self. The dream: "I...

Episode 24 - Motherhood as a Journey of Individuation
The experience of motherhood evokes powerful feelings, ranging from joy and bonding to anger and rejection. If we can develop a conscious relationship with these feelings, we meet both denied aspects of ourselves—our shadows—and experience the pleasures and enrichment of mothering that serve the individuation process.  You can learn more about Lisa's work on motherhood here.  The Dream: I was visiting the home of a friend who doesn’t exist in the real world. She lives with her mother in a house near woods i...

Episode 23 - Indecision
Many people have difficulty making decisions, whether large or small. Among other factors, the psychology behind the fear of making a decision can be related to fear of making a mistake, lack of motivation, suppressed anger and aggression, and difficulty accepting the limitations and ordinariness of adulthood. The Dream: Last night I had what felt like an important dream. I was in a big new house. In one room I was just waking up with the cousin who is closest to me. The room was dark and filled with shadow...


Episode 22 - Pressure to Conform and Differentiation
The pressure to conform to familial and cultural values provides guidelines for each new generation – and can also stifle the uniqueness necessary not only to the individual but to family and cultural health. How can we discern when differentiation from established norms is in the service of meaningful growth and soul versus avoidance of necessary developmental challenge? This podcast engages this issue as both interpersonal and intrapsychic conflict. The dream: A recurring dream I have had for years. I am ...

Episode 21 -- Living with a Crazy Parent
Living with a parent who is seriously impaired can be traumatic and have lasting consequences. Fortunately, resources for healing and resilience are also available, and premature encounters with shadow can be a call to consciousness and yield gifts of effective and creative depth. The dream: My band mate and I are in an underground burial chamber which is dimly lit by torches. At some point we come across a large tomb/coffin. The coffin was black and was decorated with golden “stick figure” men with very la...

Episode 20 -- Mother-in-Law
The mother-in-law is not only the subject of many a joke but the subject of fairy tale and myth. Conflict between the older and younger woman lies in the archetypal realm, as both struggle to come to terms with differences, age, and the power of both youth and age. The Dream: Somehow my baby’s right arm has come completely out of her socket and is completely detached. I try to put it back into her socket, hoping for a miracle (which doesn’t happen) so I put her back into her cot. Later, I look for her, thin...


Episode 19 -- Sin and Transgression
In archery, sin refers to missing the mark, whereas transgression involves violation of a cultural boundary. But missing the mark or crossing a line can have positive effects as well as negative consequences. The dream: I am outside, in the yard of an old, but well-maintained house. The house is off-white, but I couldn’t say if it was gray off-white or beige off-white. There are other people here but I don’t pay them much attention because I am looking at my left hand. It has been injured—the skin across my...

Episode 18 -- Creative Depression
Creative depression demands that we suffer a journey into the deep wells of the psyche in quest of new life. It differs from other kinds of depression in how it is imaged in dreams, its antecedents in the person’s life history, and in relationships. The Dream: I was gardening and all my seeds were failing. The plants they were producing looked old and withered as they broke the soil. I went to a water barrel to irrigate the sad plot and instead of water, there was a red liquid in the barrel. Not sure if win...

Episode 17 -- Lying
Lying, hiding and sneaking are examples of trickster behavior, discussed as they occur in political and personal spheres. When is this behavior in service to individuation, and when is it in service to regressive, or unconscious, aspects of the psyche?  The dream: I had a dream a couple of days ago where I was cut in half by a shaman. The setting of this dream occurred in my backyard. The shaman was Aztec it seemed. At the same time I was a shaman too, who was willing to be sacrificed by this shaman. He cut...


Episode 16 -- The Archetype of the Gun
As three analysts, we explore the archetype of “the gun” from a Jungian psychological view and seek to understand it’s influence in the collective psyche of Americans. Guns play a big role in American mythology from the American Revolution to cowboys and first-person shooter games. Guns are symbols of heroic power—but mythology also sounds a cautionary note about what can happen when humans arrogate super-human power to themselves. The dream:  When I was a child, around ages 7 to 8, I would dream that my ...

Episode 15 -- Toxic Masculinity
How can we understand the superficial label assigned to masculine behavior in today’s meme-driven style of discourse? The Dream: I am walking on what seems to be mountainous hills. A little ahead of me is what feels like my teenage daughter and a friend. It’s kind of like twilight. Then I see a giant size footprint on the hillside. Huge, like a natural wonder-of-the-world type of site. I point at it like the way one does when one sees something pretty or interesting on holidays. Then I take a photo....

Episode 14 -- Dreams
Jung was one of the primary theorists who added to our understanding of the psychological significance of dreams, and working with dreams is often a central part of an analytic process. What is the Jungian understanding of why we dream? What does it mean if we don't dream, and what are some ways of learning to work with dreams? We discuss things one can do to help with dream recall, and ponder whether we dream all day long, even when awake. We also talk about the nature of symbols in dreams and dream series...


Episode 13 -- Active Imagination
Jung pioneered the technique of active imagination, a process by which the ego engages with imagery and content generated by the unconscious. Active imagination can help us understand our dreams, and lead us into new psychic situations. On today's episode, we share some personal examples of active imagination, discuss some suggestions of how to engage in it, and explore what active imagination has to do with snorkeling.    The dream: I am about to light four candles on the dining room table, each in its se...

Episode 12 -- Anxiety
“We don't so much solve our problems as we outgrow them. We add capacities and experiences that eventually make us bigger than the problems.” CG Jung   Anxiety is one of the most common complaints that bring people into therapy. While it can be difficult to differentiate anxiety from healthy fear we all agree that finding an ally to stand with us makes a big difference. We explore the many underlying dynamics that can manifest outwardly as anxiety and consider the value in taking a heroic stance as we face ...

Episode 11 -- Fairy Tales
Why do Jungians care about fairy tales? What is their relevance in analysis? How do they differ from myths, and why do they matter to us still? Find out what fairy tales have mattered most to our clients, and why Lisa gets cranky when people criticize fairy tales for being sexist.   The dream: I dreamt of a big cockroach. It was standing like a human and it was going to be transformed.  Book mentioned: The Book of Symbols...


Episode 10 -- Synchronicity
Synchronicity is one of Jung's most intriguing ideas -- and one of the most difficult to understand. Jung coined the term to refer to coincidences that feel charged with emotion and meaning. How did Jung come to speculate on the nature of such events, and what role did theoretical physics play in shaping this theory? How can you be sure a coincidence is, in fact, meaningful? We each share an example of a synchronicity from our own experience. The dream: My son jumped into the sea in a dockyard against my wi...

Episode 9 -- Vampires
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, True Blood. Vampires are perennial stars in popular entertainment. How can we understand vampires psychologically, and what does their tremendous popularity tell us about our culture? This week, we look at the transformation of the vampire archetype, explore how vampires live in all of us psychologically, and trace the return of the feeling function in modern vampire images.    The dream: This is a repeating dream. I am still at school but have reached well into middle a...

Episode 8 -- Choosing a Life Partner
Sex? Money? Passion? Intellectual companionship? Kids? What are factors to consider when choosing a life partner? Should you be practical, or follow your heart? How is this decision different for men versus for women? We offer some ideas.   The dream: I was in my parents’ house. My mother was showing me some renovations she had done in the bathroom. Suddenly, in the mirror, I saw myself behind me charging toward me. I turned around in terror, but there was nobody there. I turned back to the mirror and saw ...


Episode 7 -- Hearing Voices
The standard psychiatric understanding of auditory hallucinations is that they are a symptom of serious mental illness, and ought to be treated with antipsychotic medication, but could there other ways of understanding this phenomenon? Can such symptoms ever have meaning in their own right? We explore whether voices could sometimes be the psyche's attempt to heal itself. In the show, we mention the Hearing Voices Network. The Dream:  I was walking along on a frozen lake near the shore. Suddenly the ice unde...

Episode 6 -- Alcoholism
Is alcohol dependence a misplaced expression of a spiritual thirst, or a collapse into a regressed and infantile state? We discuss Jung's involvement in the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung's letter to Bill W. The Dream: I’m accused of something I’m guilty of: loving the pharaoh’s daughter as she was my own. There are pictures and notebooks on my bag that prove it. So I’m dismissed from my post as guard. I end of on the floor; they paint my face black. The pharaoh and the other guard go through ...

Episode 5 -- Shame
What’s the difference between shaming, being ashamed, and being shamed? Which of these is most alive in the culture right now? Why do we feel existential shame, and how can it be healed? The Dream: I was on one side of the Grand Canyon with my graduate school classmates and it was daylight. We all had on our caps and gowns. There was a thin land bridge reaching over to the other side where there stood significant others, homes, and other symbols of a great future. My classmates were running across smiling a...


Episode 4 -- Emotional Affairs
We take a look at emotional affairs and imaginal affairs. Both are more common than you might think and can lead us into an experience of our own depths. The Dream: I was with my eldest child and my husband. We were in my old hometown. I suddenly felt an urge to visit an ex-boyfriend. I knew he was unwell even though I hadn’t spoken to him for many years—call it a sixth sense. I said to my husband and child, “We must go to his house as all is not well.” We got there and entered the house via the back door. ...

Episode 3 -- The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water recently won the Academy Award for best film, captivating audiences with its dream-like images of an other-worldly love. What can a psychological perspective contribute to understanding this film? The Dream: I was in a large, dark room. About twenty feet away was a door opening toward me with very bright light. A tall man with dark hair was looking at me. The dream happened again the next night. Same room, I was five feet away, still bright light and the man was opening the door about one...

Episode 2 -- Hookups
Are hookups a joyous celebration of unbridled sexual expression? A defense against intimacy? All of the above? The Dream: I am at a family reunion. I see two women on the sofa at each end. They are identical twins. I am shocked. I did not realize we had twins in the family. I see a young child sitting on the floor between the twins. The little girl gets up and is trying to walk. She falls back and hits her head. I try to run and catch her but I do not make it in time. I am upset....


Episode 1 -- Shithole
We discuss the symbolic meaning of shit, and shithole, and wonder about shadow projection.  What does Trump’s use of this term have to tell us about his psyche – and ours?  The Dream:  I was in a flooded house. The house had two living rooms. Both were flooded. In one room was a television set with empty birdcages. The water short-circuited the television set and afterward, the birdcages came alive with birds, including a dead bird my mom once had. Also, a cat that ran away was on my lap. In the other room ...