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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jungian Workshop with Marita Digney, DMin.

During the last few weeks, I have been familiarizing myself with Jungian concepts as part of my preparation for an upcoming dreamwork intensive with contemporary Jungian analyst, Robert Bosnak. When I trained as a psychoanalyst at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health (1996-2000), we studied everything from Freudian to contemporary/modern psychoanalysis, but we didn't study Jung.

Jungian Workshop With Marita Digney, DMin.
Learning about Carl Jung, his life, and how he developed Analytic Psychoanalysis has been a very enjoyable process for me. I've noticed that, lately, there has been a lot more dialogue among Jungian analysts, Freudians, neo-Freudians, and contemporary psychoanalysts which, in my opinion, is long overdue. As I acquaint myself with Jung, I see that many Object Relations and other contemporary non-Jungian psychoanalysts have been influenced by Jung.

I consider myself to be eclectic and an integrationist of many different ways of working. I often combine psychodynamic ways of working with EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, clinical hypnosis, and ego states work. No one way of working will be good for all clients, so I enjoy having many different ways and combinations that I can use to suit the particular client's needs.

During the last several years, I've become dissatisfied with the mainstream psychoanalytic concepts for dream analysis/dreamwork that I learned while I was in psychoanalytic training. As I mentioned in my January 30th blog post, when I saw Jungian analyst, Robert Bosnak, demonstrate his work at the annual NIP psychoanalytic dream conference in January of this year, I became excited about his method of dreamwork called Embodied Imagination (see my January 30, 2011 blog post: Also see for more information about Embodied Imagination.

Embodied Imagination dreamwork fits in very well with my mind-body-oriented way of working in psychotherapy, especially when combined with clinical hypnosis and/or Somatic Experiencing (see to find out more about Somatic Experiencing).

As part of my preparation for Robert Bosnak's dream intensive workshop, aside from reading books about Jungian theory, I attended a recent workshop at the Jung Foundation in NYC called "Original Harmony: Poetic Resonance in the I Ching and the Bible" presented by Marita Digney, DMin ( Dr. Digney is a licensed psychologist, a Jungian analyst trained at the C. G. Jung Institute Zurich. She is presently an intern chaplain at the University of Virginia CPE program. She has a private psychotherapy practice in the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA.

Dr. Digney's presentation focused on the symbolic parallels in the I Ching and the Bible as it relates to Jung's concept of individuation and the archetype of initiation. The first part of her presentation was a review of the various stages of initiation: separation ("the call"), ordeals, encounter with the divine, and return. She talked about male and female initiatory rites in various tribes as well as contemporary initiations in our own society.

As I've mentioned in a prior blog post, we often don't think of initiations as a concept in modernity. However, even though we might not think of them as initiations, as a modern society, we do engage in certain rites of passage in our everyday life that can be viewed as initiations: spiritual rites (baptism, communion, confirmation, Bar and Bas Mitzvah), Sweet 16, the high school prom, high school and college graduation ceremonies, fraternity and sorority initiations, and even gang initiations. All of these are examples of rites of passage in our culture.

In the afternoon, Dr. Digney had the audience randomly break up into various groups for the experiential part of the workshop. There were three practice groups: "the anthropologists," "the analysts," and "the poets." I was grouped in with "the anthropologists."

Then, she provided a question that was posed in one of her groups from another workshop that could have been posed to the I Ching. "The anthropologists" had to come to a consensus as to which phase of initiation (separation "the call", ordeals, encounter with the divine, or return) this question represented. After "the anthropologists" decided on the phase of initiation, "the analysts" analyzed the stage of individuation. Following that, "the poets" selected which complementary passages from the Bible and the I Ching best represented that stage of individuation.

The question that Dr. Digney provided to us to analyze was: "What about my pursuing my psychoanalytic training this year?" The query was made from a former group participant who was contemplating starting analytic training that year and was consulting with the I Ching for information on the advisability of starting this long process.

As you might expect, this question had elements of all four initiatory stages, and it was up to my group to come to a consensus on which stage we would choose.

A case could be made for it being part of the the separation ("the call") stage of initiation since contemplating this type of change (and similar changes) could represent "a calling" to do this type of work with people. In addition, while contemplating such a change and also while undergoing psychoanalytic training, there are separations to contend with regarding time away from loved ones to devote to study, conducting psychoanalytic sessions with clients, one's own psychoanalysis at least three times a week; and a "separation" from a good deal of money for the expense of the training and multiple sessions per week of personal analysis.

This question could also be looked at in terms of the ordeals that would be involved. Although psychoanalytic training is usually very stimulating and enjoyable on many levels, like any big change, it involves ordeals: financial, time, challenges to one's established views, the "fish bowl" effect of being viewed by psychoanalytic instructors and personal analysts in a consuming and intensive training where one is immersed on many levels.

For many people contemplating becoming a psychoanalyst, there is some form of soul searching about undertaking such a big commitment. This soul searching might involve an "encounter with the divine" (or not) as one questions whether or not to pursue this rigorous training.

Jungian Workshop with Marita Digney, DMin

The initiatory stage of returning (usually returning to the community to contribute in a worthwhile way) can also be viewed as a returning to oneself (to one's inner world), once again, as a soul searching for what's important to oneself.

With regard to the question that Dr. Digney presented to us to discuss, our group was divided between two stages: separation ("the call") and ordeals. After some discussion, we chose the initiatory stage of ordeals as being the best choice, but we also recognized the important aspect of feeling a "calling" (as part of the separation phase) to do this type of work.

"The analysts" group discussed our choice and decided that the ordeals relating to the original question about whether to pursue analytic training or not in the current year represents the archetype of the Self in terms of individuation.

"The poets" group found many relevant complementary passages in both the Bible and the I Ching. Never having compared the Bible and the I Ching, I was surprised at how many parallels could be found in both books. Many of them had beautiful poetic resonance.

Doing this group exercise was a form of experiential learning that was so much more meaningful than if the presentation had remained on a didactic, cerebral level.

Dr. Digney is in the process of writing a book about the poetic resonance in the Bible and the I Ching. If you're interested in finding our more about her, go to her site on Psychology Today:

To find out more about Carl Gustave Jung, visit:

I am a licensed psychotherapist in NYC. I work with individuals and couples.

I provide contemporary psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR therapy in my private practice in NYC.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

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