Sunday, February 1, 2009

News From The Jung Book Group

The Jung Book Group has been meeting for almost fifteen years. It is a gathering of those who are interested in Jungian psychology and related topics. In addition to books by Jung, we have read the works of various renowned Jungians including Marie Louise von Franz, Sylvia Brunton Perrera, Edward Whitmont, Edward Edinger and Barbara Hannah. The topics we have covered are wide ranging. Some examples are the structure of the psyche, dreams, fairy tales, tarot, Gnosticism, and Jung’s life and work.

More recently the group members interests have turned to topics related to Jungian psychotherapy. We are about to finish discussion of David Sedgwick’s The Wounded Healer, Countertransference from a Jungian Perspective. This intriguing book by an American Jungian is valuable reading for anyone engaged in the practice of psychotherapy. It is divided into three sections: Jungian Approaches to Countertransference, Case Illustrations and Conclusions.

In the first section, Sedgwick presents Jung’s and what might be called post-Jungian theories and practices regarding countertransference. He also introduces the concept of the Wounded Healer as a guiding myth for the practice of psychotherapy. In the case illustrations, he courageously discloses his own thoughts and feelings (countertransferences) to two different clients beginning with his initial contact with them and throughout their analysis. He relates these reactions to his own inner wounded healer and the healing process that occurs in the analyst as well as the client. The last section of the book conveys his own synthesis of theoretical, clinical and personal experience into a Countertransference Model. Sedgwick delineates phases of the countertransference work, and addresses additional aspects of it such as typology, the shadow, boundaries and self-disclosure by the analyst/therapist.

The Book Group members found The Wounded Healer to be a good read, and as all current members are psychotherapists (though this is not a membership requirement) discussion often turned to applying the material to our work.

In February, we will begin reading The Inner World of Trauma, Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit by Donald Kalsched, a psychoanalyst and instructor at the C.G. Jung Institute in New York. In this volume, the author discusses the work of the inner self to heal the personal spirit. He interweaves classical Jungian and contemporary psychological theories and shows how myth and archetypal imagery can aid in the healing process.

Anyone interested in joining the Book Group is welcome to contact Luanne Sberna at 802-863-9775, ext. 2. We are currently meeting every third week on Friday afternoons, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. in the Burlington area.
-Luanne Sberna

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