The first edition of this illuminating study, addressed both to readers new to Jung and to those already familiar with his work, offered fresh insights into a fundamental concept of analytical psychology. This revised edition has been fully updated to reflect the publication of the DSM-5.
Craig Stephenson anatomizes Jung’s concept of possession, reinvesting Jungian psychotherapy with its positive potential for practice. Analogizing the concept – lining it up comparatively beside the history of religion, anthropology, psychiatry, and even drama and film criticism – offers not a naive syncretism, but enlightening possibilities along the borders of these diverse disciplines.
An original, wide-ranging exploration of phenomena both ancient and modern, Possession offers a conceptual bridge between psychology and anthropology, challenges psychiatry to culturally contextualize its diagnostic manual, and posits a much more fluid, pluralistic and embodied notion of selfhood. It will prove essential reading for Jungian psychotherapists, analytical and depth psychologists and psychiatrists as well as academics and students of anthropology, mythology and religious studies.
Praise for the first edition:
"Craig Stephenson brings luminous insights to bear on murky, alarming and difficult terrain, and, in times of sharp conflict between various theologies and dogmatisms, opens a new horizon for thinking fruitfully about the complexities of consciousness and self. This is a rich and lucid book of striking sensitivity and thoughtfulness." - Marina Warner, mythographer, Professor, Birbeck, University of London
"Dr Stephenson makes the remarkable and convincing argument that Jung’s understanding of the phenomena of possession lies at the basis of his analytical psychology. Drawing on contemporary insights on possession from anthropology as well as from psychology, and without subordinating either discipline to the epistemological or conceptual apparatus of the other, Dr Stephenson re-theorizes how Jung’s notion of possession may be used to open and illuminate the problematic space between society, patient and therapist in the therapeutic encounter." - Edward Schieffelin, Reader Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University College London
"Stephenson has written a book for those with Jungian proclivities, as well as those highly critical of such proclivities, a book for anthropologists and historians as well as poets, a book to read not once but many times." - Gretchen Heyer, Journal of Analytical Psychology
Preface to the Second Edition. Introduction: Jung’s Concept of Possession – An Organic Approximation. The Possessions at Loudun: Tracking the Discourse of Possession. The Anthropology of Possession: Studying the Other. Possession Enters the Discourse of Psychiatry: Recuperation or Epistemological Break? Reading Jung's Equivocal Language. Jung's Concept of Possession and the Practice of Psychotherapy. The Suffering of Myrtle Gordon: Cassavetes's Opening Night and Chaikin’s Open Theatre. Closing.