The Self in Jungian Psychology: Theory and Clinical Practice

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Realizing the Self is the absolute goal of Jungian psychology. Yet as a concept it is impossibly vague as it defines a center of our being that also embraces the mystery of existence. This work synthesizes the thousands of statements Jung made about the Self in order to bring it to ground, to unravel its true purpose, and to understand how it might be able to manifest.

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Realizing the Self is the absolute goal of Jungian psychology. Yet as a concept it is impossibly vague as it defines a center of our being that also embraces the mystery of existence. This work synthesizes the thousands of statements Jung made about the Self in order to bring it to ground, to unravel its true purpose, and to understand how it might be able to manifest.

 

“In The Self in Jungian Psychology – Theory and Clinical Practice, Leslie Stein circumambulates the concept of the Self from a rich and varied perspective. Usually, the descriptions of the Self are like the blind men trying to describe an elephant; but here we have the whole elephant. Ancient as time, organizing and guiding consciousness and beyond consciousness, Leslie Stein’s rendering of the Self is finely cut and masterfully polished diamond, which will be an invaluable resource to scholars and seekers alike.” 

-Ashok Bedi, M.D. Psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst, author, Path to the Soul  www.pathtothesoul.com

 

“A wonderful exploration of the Jungian symbol and processes of individual integration, which beckon from within the cracks and potentials of our personal, cultural, and natural environment to become the goal of our experiences of wholeness. An essential read.”

-Sylvia B. Perera, Jungian Analyst, New York.

 

“In his seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Jung argued that ‘the real message’ of that great work of Western philosophy is that ‘the great noontide’ — the moment when the human being is ‘in the middle of the course between animal and Superman’ — is also the moment when one ‘celebrates communion […] with the self’. For a literary analogue to this psychological message, Jung turned to Dante’s Divine Comedy, noting that, ‘in the middle of their way, Dante’s adventure happens to certain people, if not consciously, at least unconsciously’; and he described this experience as the touch of the self. In this rich and fascinating study, Leslie Stein explores what one might aptly describe as a ‘signature concept’ of analytical psychology, i.e., the concept of the self, approaching it from both theoretical and clinical perspectives. His central argument can be, in fact, articulated precisely with relation to the moment when Dante, looking into the eyes of Beatrice, says, ‘One Point I saw, so radiantly bright, / so searing to the eyes it strikes upon,  […] About that point, a ring of fire wheeled’. Just as, for Plotinus, ‘the center is the father of the circle’ (or, as Angelus Silesius put it, the circle is within the point), so the centre and the circle are, Stein argues, both independent yet reliant on each other structurally: or, in Jung’s terms, the self is ‘the goal of psychic development’ — and ‘there is no linear evolution, there is only a circumambulation of the self’. As wide-ranging in its references as it is persuasive in its argumentation, this book stands out for its originality, significance, and rigour, and deserves to find a wide readership.”

-Professor Paul Bishop, William Jacks Chair in Modern Languages, University of Glasgow.

 

“The Self, being such a central concept for Jung as he developed his analytical psychology, it is encouraging to see such an evocative, thought-provoking, scholarly and comprehensive treatment of it in The Self in Jungian Psychology. In this book, Leslie Stein does not simply give an overview of Jung’s concept of the Self but he grippingly relates it to Jung’s personal experience, as well as that of his own as a practising analyst. By augmenting this with clinical vignettes, the ‘unknowable essence’ of the Self is masterfully unpacked.”

-John Merchant PhD, Jungian Analyst, author, Shamans and Analysts: New Insights on the Wounded Healer

 

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Introduction

Chapter 1. Approaching the Self

How to Read Jung on the Self

Early Interest in the Self

The Significance of Opposites

Epistemological Basis for the Self

Chapter 2. Jung’s Dream of the Self

Geometry of the Dream

Finding a Center

The Surrounding Structure

The Tree and Transcendence

Chapter 3. The Center as Self

Wholeness and the Center

The Center as Healing

Extrapolating the Center

Ancient Soundings of a Center

Center Understood as Function

Chapter 4. Totality as the Self

The Scope of Totality

The 1935 Eranos Lecture

The Incorrect Translation

Influences Pointing to Totality

Fordham and Totality

Chapter 5. The Self as Psychic Object

Self as a Brain Function

Self as Entity

Self as Archetype

Stages of the Self

Chapter 6. The Self as Pattern

The Emergent Pattern

Patterning and Transcendence

Patterning and Purposefulness

Chapter 7. Activation of the Pattern

Strong Affect and Psyche

Formation of Self Symbols

Energy for Symbol Formation

Chapter 8. Symbols of the Self

Symbols of Totality

Use of Transcendent Symbols

Clinical Vignettes of Self Symbols

Chapter 9. Realizing the Self

Common Goal

Requirements of Realization

Approximating the Goal

Realization and Individuation

Measuring Realization

Degrees of Realization

Self-Observation as Realization

Totality and Realization

The Dangers of Totality

Enlightenment or Wholeness

Wholeness as the Goal

Thoughts on the Work of a Lifetime

Jung’s Formal Definition

Chapter 10. The Self as Agent

The Agency Model

The Magnet Model

Jung on the Agency Model

Configurations of the Model

Clinical Vignettes of Models of the Self

Chapter 11. The Self as Divine

Personal Image of Totality

The Self as God

Agency through God

The Atman and Totality

Advaita Vedanta

The Self, Soul, and Spirit

The Self as No-Self

Clinical Vignettes of the Self as Other

Chapter 12. The Self as Guiding Spirit

Nonpsychological Spirit

Projecting the Spirit

Language and the Guiding Spirit

Psychological Purpose of the Spirit

Inner Voice and the Self

Personification of the Guiding Spirit

Integration with the Self

Chapter 13. The Self as Process

As a Dynamic Process

Ego-Self Process

Inflation of the Ego

Ego-Self Axis of Neumann

Approaching an Empty Center

Transitions in the Process

The Highest Stage of the Process

Mystical Experience and the Process

Chapter 14. The Self and the World

Urban Life and the Self

The Self and Community

The World Self and the Natural Environment

The Self and Destruction

Chapter 15. Clinical Notes on the Self

Translating the Self

Stating the Goal

Location and Personification

Clinical Conclusion

Abbreviations

References

Index

Additional information

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