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an excerpt from Jung and Sex...
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an excerpt from Jung and Sex...

"Jung’s main concern was to investigate sexuality primarily for its spiritual aspects and numinous meanings (1961/1989, p. 168), but he also believed in the importance of understanding its instinctual and physical aspects. Jung was trying to move psychology beyond the predominant reductionistic views of his time, attempting to expand the cultural and psychological meaning and value of sexual phenomena. This is an aspect of his legacy, however, that is rarely recognized.

"He believed many disorders affecting patients were mostly unconscious and 'unsuccessful attempt(s)' to cure themselves (1939/1966, p. 46) and he attacked moral establishments for placing blame squarely on individuals for their sexual problems. He also challenged early psychological theories and medical science that did similar injustices to sexual complexity. Jung’s views, particularly about Freud’s fixed theories of sexuality, more closely match many modern perceptions now, although Jung is seldom credited for challenging these ideas in such a progressive way at the time. Nearly a century later, there is still a need for treatments that recognize how symptoms can actually be valuable expressions of unconscious situations.

"Despite our understanding that many complex sexual issues generally have larger mysteries at their roots, large numbers of patients turn first toward medical providers or pursue various superficial solutions. This leaves many patients in the dark after various treatments, medications, and self-help methods fail. Cultural taboos and lack of social awareness remain harsh impediments to sexual expression. Many are unconsciously driven by splits between competing demands and they lack a path to awareness and integration. Many individuals require treatments that elucidate and address the complexities and conflicts unconsciously manifested in their symptoms. Jung detested the victimization of patients suffering from instinctual and unconscious problems, because it left them to struggle in the dark with no one in their environment helping them to understand or solve them (1939/1966, p. 46). He considered this a direct failing on the part of the medical community, science, and the culture.

"When working with patients with sexual concerns, I ask patients in the grip of an overwhelming attraction or compulsive erotic need, 'What makes these feelings so strong?' Their voices echo themes of connection, disconnection, uncertainty, emptiness, shame, anger, confusion, joy, liberation, and hunger. Culturally and clinically, how can we create space for Eros’ many ways of speaking? How can we unveil the mystery behind various symptoms and serve the real needs that live under the surface needs being expressed? How can we learn where Eros lives for the patient, how the symptoms serve, and discover what fuels these diverse expressions? Even in our modern age, much remains mysterious and concealed about our personal sexual struggles and expressions." Jung and Sex: Re-visioning the Treatment of Sexual Issues, p. 121.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Book Review of Jung and Sex by Ginette Paris, Ph.D.
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Book Review of Jung and Sex by Ginette Paris, Ph.D.

“Edward Santana, in his brave book Jung and Sex, (Routledge 2017), does something that is long overdue: a critical review of the moralism that has affected the Jungian community. He attacks the bigotry of the psychological establishment when dealing with sexuality, homosexuality, and sexual infidelity.

"This moralism is not so much a problem that comes from Jung’s writing, but rather a cultural trend in psychotherapy. Too many devout Jungians prefer to forget that Jung slept with former patients, had a long-time mistress, and did not believe in the absolute sanctity of sexual fidelity.

"In his own way Santana champions the Jungian perspective, but in a refreshing and more contemporary way. He writes: ‘Neuroses are more commonly experienced today as anxiety or depression, and if we follow Jung’s interpretations, they are also forms of sexual dysfunction and addiction.’

"The analyst’s task is to provide the link to the unconscious aspect of the sexual problem, which is at the same time a cultural problem. Both the person and the culture need therapy. That is the task that Santana gave himself, in a magnificent effort to renew our thinking about the spiritual dimensions of sexuality. The style is jargon-free, pleasant and sharp!”

~ Ginette Paris, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, author of Wisdom of the Psyche: Beyond Neuroscience, Heartbreak: New Approaches to Healing, Pagan Grace, and Pagan Meditations.

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.com/1138919152

Missing Dimension (Late 2018)

As the financial crash of 2008 swept the globe and businesses shrank overnight, I decided to put aside a nearly completed manuscript I had been working on for more than a year. I placed it in a marked box and tossed it into storage where it remained for the next ten years. By complete surprise, late last year I awoke from a mysterious dream that sought to bring this book back to life. I reluctantly dug out the long-forgotten work, dusted off the old pages and found the research I had collected. As I began reviewing it again, I came to realize that I had quite unconsciously laid out on its pages a rough blueprint for my life, much of which had transpired over the unfolding decade. The numinous dream had purposely brought me back to the original spark of this important personal work. 

The Missing Dimension is an examination of the nature of individuation, spirituality, and the dynamics of consciousness in a search for meaning—mostly emerging from a winding personal journey through various clinical treatment settings, the halls of Congress, corporate boardrooms, and from visits to spiritual outposts such as the temple of the Dalai Lama.

Through collected stories and research, this book provides just one spectrum of possibility in our world—through an exploration of how we approach relationships, business, politics, psychology, and spirituality.

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An excerpt from Chapter 2: 

“Ascending to Dharamsala, I felt great relief from the fourteen-hour drive from New Delhi, which included navigating hundreds of narrow blind curves above sheer mountain inclines. I settled into a hotel in the village where, every morning, I watched day break over the glistening white snow-covered Himalayas, as the sound of the Dalai Lama leading monks in their morning chants echoed through the valley below my window. In the evening, from the same window, I watched the lights go out in his home as the sunlight faded across the Kangra Valley below. I stood in enchantment at every turn. Across India there is disease, hunger, begging, pollution, and smells so rotten they turn the stomach. Yet there is the magical chanting of monks, the smell of incense flowing from ancient temples, women in brilliantly colored silks, spices that bring the senses alive, and the unforgettable eyes of the people, large and engaging. It is as difficult as it is life giving. 

“Many mornings and afternoons, I attended the Dalai Lama’s teachings at the temple near his home. Welcoming a few hundred people into the temple square, he sat atop a beautiful platform in the lotus position for hours, his chanting interspersed with teaching and funny stories. His laughter and smile infected the crowds. He could speak for hours about a single word or phrase from ancient texts. I remember thinking, “he seems the humblest person in the world.” It is easy to admire such a simple and joyful man. His positive energy could be felt everywhere in the village. Among the monks I spoke with, I never heard a word of complaint, only gratitude and commitment to their learning. To escape Chinese oppression, many had traveled on foot long distances over the most rugged mountains in the world. Yet they viewed their experiences without personal attachment. I felt their gracious sense of altruism and compassion. 

“Some days I would set off walking out of the village and into the mountains to be alone. While hiking one morning along a deserted road, I saw a monk emerge like a vision from a high trail leading into the forest. He spoke no English and could not tell me where the trail led. But I took a chance, listening to my inner voice, and followed the trail straight up the mountain for forty minutes. After coming through thick brush, I arrived at the top of a small peak. I thought I would find a scenic vista or glacial lake. But instead, I discovered a Tibetan refugee school. Like a dream within a dream, I was suddenly surrounded by the most wonderful, loving children I had ever seen. Standing there amongst the children, I met a smiling monk who taught at the school. In an immediate act of friendship, he kindly led me around the grounds and talked to me about the school. As we walked grounds, I saw children washing their own clothes, cooking meals, and taking care of one another. I cannot explain how profoundly humbled and warmed I was by their instantaneous kindness. I could feel the powerful archetypal energy of the innocents and orphans in the pristine landscapes all around me. The place brought me to tears. It was a blessing.

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“As I walked the trail back to town alone, I felt clarity about my life coming to me. I was learning about them, but finding me. All of a sudden, I began enjoying my own company and feeling moved by the smallest sights. Filled with wonder, and sometimes with fear, I let myself be guided each day by my heart. There was something spiritual about this place, which I find hard to describe. These are compassionate people who lost their homeland. They are refugees who know great loss and suffering, but who choose to practice loving kindness everyday. Spinning prayer wheels, chanting, and meditating, they are constantly focused on being more content and peaceful. I never experienced such harmony in the presence of life’s cruel circumstances. Love and poverty coexist here in miraculous ways. The more I engaged with them, the more I came to realize how much suffering I was placing on myself. But here I found a deep sense of peace, not only from being with the Dalai Lama and the monks, but from rediscovering who I was by surrendering my attachments and listening to the powerful voices within me. 

“The calling to go immediately on this journey was not for an adventure, but rather to reconnect with the flow of life. And, this is the point. It does not matter whether we travel to India or begin a new business or create a masterpiece, the only way we are served in life is by discovering who we are and what we are here to do. Nothing else matters. My calling to go on a journey had nothing to do with the journey itself, the Dalai Lama or India, it was about listening and acting from the intelligence and wisdom within.”

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Sex and the Soul: Jung and Hillman
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Sex and the Soul

C.G. Jung’s approach to sexual issues in therapy involved expanding ideas about the sexual impulse and its pathology into the spirit or archetypal realm to understand the meaning and purpose of the soul’s need for expression through a particular symptom. He wrote:

“I think that one should view with philosophic admiration the strange paths of the libido and should investigate the purposes of its circuitous ways” (1912).

Archetypal psychology, which has its roots in the works of Jung and his study of archetypes, was championed by post-Jungian psychologist James Hillman, who expanded Jung’s ideas on myth, symbol, and image into a focus on the imaginal realm and the soul. Hillman wrote extensively about the soul’s expression through sexuality.

He instructed, “Nothing is repressed; in fact, nothing can be repressed” (1975), inferring that the soul always finds a way for expression through unhappiness, violence, strife, discourse, or the dark shadows surrounding symptoms and pathologies. Hillman’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated Re-Visioning Psychology reexamined the modern approach to psychology. He applied this approach to the soul at work in sexual pathology:

“There’s nowhere for love to go but to another person. So the magnetic pull that therapy calls ‘sex addiction’ or ‘loving too much’ is nothing other than the end-station of our isolated individualism.” (1992)

Why is this important? Sexual issues and responses to them are prevalent in Western culture today. There has been a rapid rise during the last decade in the number of sex therapists and sex addiction treatment centers. Though the term sex addiction is one that is not currently accepted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Hillman, however, pointed out that the real problem is even larger, “sex education, sex talk shows, sex help books, sex therapy, sex workshops—Aphrodite’s pink ribbons wrap our culture round. The billion-dollar porn industry is minor league compared with the haunting sexual obsessions endemic in the culture at large” (1995).

What many mainstream approaches lack is a means for addressing the soul at work beneath the symptoms. And as a profession, more research and focus are needed to explore the mysteries of sexual symptoms and their need for healing and expression.

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