The Soul in Anguish


The Soul in Anguish examines the impact of suffering—suffering may be harmful or helpful to the development of the personality.

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The Soul in Anguish presents a variety of approaches to psychotherapeutic work with suffering people, from the perspectives of both Jungian and psychoanalytic psychology. An important theme of the book is the impact of suffering—suffering may be harmful or helpful to the development of the personality. Our culture tends to assume that suffering is invariably negative or pointless, but this is not necessarily so; suffering may be destructive, but it may lead to positive developments such as enhanced empathy for others, wisdom, or spiritual development.
The book offers professionals in any helping profession various frameworks within which to view suffering, so that the individual’s suffering does not seem to be random or meaningless. Cognitive-behavioral approaches, the approach of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric association, and the promise of evidence-based strategies may or may not be applicable to the unique circumstances of the suffering individual. These approaches also ignore the unconscious sources of much suffering, its implications for the ongoing development of the personality, and the nuances of the therapeutic relationship. We cannot objectify or measure suffering; suffering is best viewed from within the individual’s perspective, because people with the same diagnosis suffer in unique ways.
“Lionel Corbett is someone with the courage and the imagination to tackle issues for which there is no resolution, only the summons to repeated encounters: the religious nature of the human psyche, the intractability of so much suffering, and the inevitability that sooner or later we will all be tested beyond our understanding and coping strategies. What will we do, or become, then? That is where this book begins.”
From the Afterword by James Hollis, Ph.D., Author of Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives
“A groundbreaking, meticulously researched study from an outstanding Jungian analyst and scholar, providing illuminating ways into the transformative potential of suffering and how it can be dealt with in the consulting room. Charting the soul’s agonies with great compassion and profound sensitivity, the author skillfully delineates clinical, philosophical and spiritual concepts of suffering that testify to the endurance of the human spirit.”
Ursula Wirtz, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, Author of Trauma and Beyond: The Mystery of Transformation
“With extraordinary candor The Soul in Anguish brings its readers face to face with one of the most difficult topics in life, suffering, in all its forms. This remarkable exploration of the range of suffering, especially as encountered in psychotherapy, mines for meaning and finds both its positive and negative expressions. Transcending the categorical, pathological descriptions of the DSM, The Soul in Anguish reveals the archetypal nature of the experience of suffering. Dr. Lionel Corbett, a true physician, offers healing to mind, soul and body, in this uplifting engagement with what is usually only touched upon, or even avoided in most treatments, i.e., anguish. This book reimagines our pain and anguish to bring about the possibility of a true psychological and soulful grasp of suffering. No therapist should miss the opportunities of Dr. Corbett’s rich study.”
Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., Author of Synchronicity: Nature and Psyche in an Interconnected Universe
Dr. Lionel Corbett trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and as a Jungian Analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His primary interests are: the religious function of the psyche, the development of psychotherapy as a spiritual practice, and the interface of Jungian psychology and contemporary psychoanalytic thought. Dr. Corbett is a professor of depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is the author of numerous papers and three books: The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice, Psyche and the Sacred, and The Religious Function of the Psyche. He is the co-editor of: Jung and Aging, Depth Psychology, Meditations in the Field, and Psychology at the Threshold.

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