The Soul in Anguish: A Depth Psychological Approach to Suffering

2 hours 17 minutes



Topics: Religion and Spirituality, Trauma.

The Soul in Anguish: A Depth Psychological Approach to Suffering

Dr. Lionel Corbett guides 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, looking 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. He also explores 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. Corbett identifies some of the sources of these painful emotions, and suggests ways in which they may be approached from a depth psychological point of view. He considers 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. Corbett ends with a discussion of the vital role of the witness when helping others who suffer.  It was recorded on December 8, 2017.

Learning Objectives
You 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.

Additional information

Audio Format

1 MP3 File: 98MB

Video Format

1 MP4 File: 340MB

Video Resolution

1280×720. x265 codec.


Corbett, Lionel

Lionel Corbett, MD 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. In the USA, he did fundamental research into the biochemistry of the brain; began one of the first programs in the psychology of aging; was a hospital medical director of in-patient psychiatry; trained as a Jungian analyst at the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago 1978-1986; helped found a training program for Jungian analysts in Santa Fe, while carrying on a private practice and teaching psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Corbett has studied various spiritual disciplines including Christian and Jewish mysticism, Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Yoga and has had a personal meditation practice for 20 years. 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 ReligionThe Religious Function of the PsycheThe Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a spiritual practice, and most recently The Soul in Anguish: Psychotherapeutic approaches to suffering.



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