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“The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.”
The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man
Each week on the podcast, we examine a listener’s submitted dream. Jung was careful to note that the dreamer is the final authority on his or her dream. Dreams cannot be thoroughly interpreted without personal knowledge of the dreamer and the context of their life situation. We deeply appreciate listeners trusting us with their dreams. Our intent by referencing their material is to educate listeners on the general principles of dream interpretation and offer a symbolic approach to their inner lives. Our comments may not relate to their personal situation, but we appreciate their willingness to allow us to use their dream material to help others.
All shared dreams are received anonymously. We review each dream and select one for each podcast that will allow us to bring forward information we hope will be generally helpful. By leaving a dream here, you are giving us permission to discuss it on the podcast.
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“Talk is powerful medicine.” Renowned researcher and clinician Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D., joins us to discuss the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy. While so-called evidence-based therapies—brief treatments conducted by instruction manuals—offer benefits for some, their status as the “gold standard” of treatment for mental distress is undeserved.
Principles of fairness and justice have deep roots in the human psyche: we want to receive our fair share and a fair shake. When man injures man, we may protest, strive for redress, and measure wrong with morality—but what about godly misfortunes? Life, myth, and religion are rich with issues of injustice. Whether personal injury, social inequality, or divine mystery, over-insistence on fairness can lead to depression, resentment, and fixation.
Psychotherapy is essentially the work of making shadow conscious—all that we have not discerned then disowned, or projected onto others. We seldom welcome shadow, for it is marked by emotions and motivations that deflate, disturb, and dethrone ego. From family scuffles to political hostilities and outright war, we most often meet our shadow in others. Its presence is signaled by a strong urge to take action, with feelings ranging from judgment to antagonism, from pity to self-sacrifice, and from obsession to disgust. If we have the courage to face and relate to the inner world of another, we experience and expand our own inner world. Shadow is the dark doorway to renewal and development, creativity and compassion. Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
Jung says, “There is another instinct, different from the drive to activity and so far as we know specifically human, which might be called the reflective instinct.” Self-reflection is correlated with consciousness and is arguably humankind’s unique and essential competency: a meta-cognitive capacity that is aware of its own awareness.
We have always been subject to the influence of others—it’s how we learn language, become socialized, cooperate and collaborate. It’s also how we exclude, denigrate, and assault others. Today, we are subject to unprecedented social influences. Multiplicities of media shape our ideas, identities, beliefs, and values–and foster connections and communities around the world. If tulip mania took hold in 17th century Holland – perhaps the original speculative bubble – today we have non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrencies. “Heretics” are now exiled via “cancel culture.” Cultural contagions and psychic epidemics are not new—they just come dressed in the flashy new garb of social media and telecommunication. Amid so many influences, it is newly necessary to engage in the discernment and differentiation crucial to individuation, the fulfillment of our innate potential. Consciousness cannot be held hostage to intellectual simplifications or emotional reactivity. Each of us can uphold social norms that rest on foundations of fact, reflection, and spaciousness.
This is Shadowland a new podcast experience from This Jungian Life that explores the lives of people who work and take refuge in the hidden places of our culture. Lisa, Deb, and Joseph collaborate with songwriter Wells Hanley, creator of I Wrote This Song For You podcast, to bring insight, compassion, and understanding to the darker side of human experience.
Nietzsche wrote, “I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”
In that spirit, we meet Kay, a 21-year-old single mother who works throughout the American southwest as a self-described prostitute. We explore how she found her way to that life, what she aspires to, and how she holds the complicated tensions between herself, her clients, and the current culture.
On September 9th, This Jungian Life will launch a new podcast experience – SHADOWLAND. In this series, we meet soulfully with people who live and work in the hidden places of our culture. Walk with us and discover the voice of psyche on unexpected paths.
Recent events in Afghanistan have again put war at the forefront of collective consciousness. War’s destruction belongs to the mythic realm. Mars, the Roman god of war, was a primordial force whose altars were placed outside city gates. Although acknowledged, he was not accepted. His paramour, Venus, is warfare’s seductress, offering spectacle, pageantry, and glory.