Overcoming Psychological Struggle: Introduction

Murray Stein refers to Swiss psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) as an “explorer and mapmaker” of the psyche and describes Jung’s psychotherapeutic method as a “map of the soul” focused on the psychic interplay between wounding and healing.[1] Through experiences of conflict (large and small), the world wounds an individual and severs the inner connection between a person’s sense of the world and her or his place within it. Jung calls this experience a “loss of soul.”[2] Healing this wound requires the reunion of separated aspects within the psyche in order to restore an individual’s psychological wholeness, renew life meaning, and help the individual adapt to changing life circumstances.[3] Jung terms this course of psychological adaption and restoration: the process of individuation.

I use Jungian theory as my method because of Jung’s concern with the psychological well-being of his patients and his belief in a path of psychic healing. In a Jungian context, my investigation rests on the idea that Bulgakov’s banishment from the theater and publishing world (made worse by poor health and financial troubles) created a wound that Bulgakov tried to heal through composition of The Master and Margarita. To examine this thought, I devote this series of blog posts to Jung’s understanding of the cycle of wounding and healing, or, the process of psychological adaption and restoration.[4] The purpose of this series of posts on elements of Jung’s theory and practice to better understand how the psyche functions during an individual’s life crisis to restore an individual’s psychological and spiritual balance. In the context of The Master and Margarita, this series of blog posts will build on the foundations of the Jungian methodology I use to analyze the question of how Bulgakov’s psyche might have aided his adaptation and restoration during his professional persecution and his self-described dissolution as an artist.

Next time: A brief overview of Jungian theory.

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CITATIONS:

[1] Murray Stein, Jung’s Map of the Soul (Chicago: Open Court, 2009), 3. For a full biography of Jung see Gerhard Wehr, Jung: A Biography, trans. David M. Weeks (Boston: Shambala, 1987). For a short biography and chronology of Jung’s work, see C.G.Jung, The Portable Jung, ed. Joseph Campbell, trans. R. F. C. Hull. (New York: Penguin Books, 1976). For an autobiographical account of the development of psychoanalytical theory, see C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, ed. Aniela Jaffe, trans. Rchard and Clara Winston (New York: Vintage Books, 1989).

[2] Robert S. Henderson, “‘Known or Unknown, God is’: An Interview with Murray Stein,” The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling 61, no. 4 (Winter, 2007): 355-64), 361-2.

[3] Henderson, “‘Known or Unknown, God is’,” 361-2.

[4] Because of the scope of this study, I am unable to produce a complete and detailed explanation of Jungian theory. Thus, my discussion is limited to those aspects of Jung’s theory that pertain directly to my exploration: Jung’s method of dream interpretation and his view of literature and the arts.

 

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