Under the Totem: In Search of a Path

Totem conveys spirit, a sense of the sacred. Freud attempted to get under the totem and explore psychic forces and pressures below the surface. Jung opened further depths in exploration of the sacred. Engagement with a sense of mystery that permeates existence lives in many quarters, including art, music, religion and depth psychologies.

This book is an extended reverie, reflection, confession and encounter with psychic reality, a profound intertwining of multiple dimensions of existence. Psychotherapy spans all dimensions of life, often drawing on capacities we did not know we had. Anything may enter a session and help or harm at a given moment. Under the totem psyche is speaking. Can we hear and transmit it, and to what extent, with what quality?

The method of this book is fragmentary. Different facets of experience emerge, recede, reappear, while others enter. The emphasis is on feeling and imaginative reflection. A good deal draws on therapy sessions and ongoing dialogues with workers who have touched the author, including Bion, Winnicott, Freud, Jung, Klein, Buber, Suzuki, Milner, Wittgenstein, and Wertheimer. The writing grows from love of the psyche, its difficulties and gifts, what we sense as well as the vastness beyond sensing, a love affair ongoing for nearly sixty years of work and acts of shared faith.
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