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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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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....


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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....


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...


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....


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...