An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology

An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology

An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology

An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology

Synopsis

This highly original book examines the relationship between analytical psychology and meaning, interpreting human suffering as arising from meaning disorders. Using clinical examples - whether people trapped in patterns of dependence, suffering from psychosomatic diseases, or with personality problems - it shows how, by treating clients' issues as failures of the meaning-making process, one can help them change their own own personal meaning. An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology will make provocative reading for all those in helping professions, including counsellors, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists.

Excerpt

A Foreword by Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.

Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts,
Unguarded.

(The Dhammapada, Byrom 1993:13)

We now seem to have all but forgotten one of the key concepts from the foundations of developmental psychology: that we humans are capable of understanding and imagining experiences that we have not had. This is called 'decentering' from our ego perspective. We are also able to communicate what we imagine even to someone who did not have that image ever before. In this way, we are different from other animals. Many other species may have symbols and languages for communication among themselves, but only humans have the ability to see, think about, and theorize actual places and events they have never encountered, to imagine themselves into worlds that are too small to be examined by even the most technically enhanced human eye, or so alien or infinite as to be literally unreachable.

This form of specifically human intelligence is both our greatest gift and our saddest curse. It is a gift because it allows us to imagine ourselves into other people, places, and beings that can bring us expansive compassion or extraordinary achievement. Most functional adults are capable of some empathic connection with the ill, the insane, the bizarre and the virtuous. We also travel to outer space, investigate black holes and superstrings, describe science fiction worlds that are the opposite of ours, fly over the ocean, and explore the bottom of the sea. On the other hand, our decentering is a kind of curse because it can lead us to abstract ourselves far away from the consequences of our actions. We invent weapons of mass destruction, promote personal wealth and comfort beyond any

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