Working with Mystical Experiences in Psychoanalysis
Opening to the Numinous
A mystical experience, no matter what else, is a subjective occurrence in the psyche. However, when it appears in the psychoanalytic consulting room, its origin, content, and meaning are unknowable. Yet it is there in the room, and it must be addressed. It is not a minor illusion but rather one that requires attention as its occurrence may lead to a profound alteration of consciousness and, as Carl Jung suggests, a cure for neurosis.
Leslie Stein interviewed twenty-nine mystics in order to understand the origin, progression, phasing, emotions, and individual variations of a mystical experience in order to make sense of how it should be addressed, the appropriate analytic attitude in the face of a mystery, the way to work with its content, and its psychological meaning. In doing so, he uncovered that there may be specific development markers that create a proclivity to be receptive to such an experience that has clinical significance for psychoanalysis.
Table of Contents
List of figures
1 The mystical experience
2 The numinous experience
3 Working with the experience
4 The nature of receptivity
5 The capacity for receptivity
6 The father archetype and orthodoxy
7 The mother archetype and the abyss
8 Sri Aurobindo, Jung, and the interviewed mystics
9 Clinical exposition
Leslie Stein is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Sydney, Australia. He is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute of New York and a member of the New York Association for Analytical Psychology, the Australia and New Zealand Society of Jungian Analysts, and the International Association for Analytical Psychology. His books on mysticism include Becoming Whole: Jung’s Equation for Realizing God (New York: Helios, 2012, 2018) and The Journey of Adam Kadmon: A Novel (New York: Arcade, 2001, 2012).