Dr. Lionel Corbett will guide us in an examination of the problem of suffering, the effects of suffering on the personality, and a variety of approaches to suffering found in depth psychology. Together, we will look at ways to find meaning in suffering, occasions when suffering can be seen as an initiatory process into a new level of consciousness, and the process of radical acceptance of suffering in situations in which it cannot be changed. We will also explore some of the traditional spiritual approaches to suffering and contrast these with a psychological approach.
States of mind such as envy, hatred, grief, and loneliness cause enormous suffering. Many such forms of mental pain are difficult to put into words. We will identify some of the sources of these painful emotions, and suggest ways in which they may be approached from a depth psychological point of view. We will consider the problems of cruelty to others, torture, and the psychology of the torturer, as well as the suffering produced by self-inflicted pain in masochism, religious asceticism, and sacrifice. We will end with a discussion of the vital role of the witness when helping others who suffer.
Learning ObjectivesYou will be able to: 1) Contrast traditional religious approaches to suffering with a depth psychological approach; 2) Recognize the psychological basis of painful states of mind such as hatred and envy; 3) Describe the psychology of cruelty and the psychology of those who torture.
Lionel Corbett, MD is a Jungian Analyst who received his Medical Degree from the University of Manchester, England, in 1966; served as a military physician; and became a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1974. He now is a professor of depth psychology at Paciﬁca Graduate Institute, in Santa Barbara, California. His primary interests are: the religious function of the psyche, especially the way in which personal religious experience is relevant to individual psychology; the development of psychotherapy as a spiritual practice; and the interface of Jungian psychology and contemporary psychoanalytic thought. He is the author of numerous professional papers and four books: Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality Beyond Religion; The Religious Function of the Psyche; The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a spiritual practice, and most recently The Soul in Anguish: Psychotherapeutic approaches to suffering.