This book is a transcription of a three day, eighteen hour seminar Eigen gave in Seoul in 2009. It takes forward and complements the Seoul seminar in 2007 (Eigen in Seoul: Volume 1: Madness and Murder).
Eigen believes that 'faith plays an important role in transformational processes in psychotherapy. I don't mean "belief". Belief may be a necessary part of the human condition but it tends to prematurely organize processes that remain unknown. For me, faith supports experimental exploration, imaginative conjecture, experiential probes. The more we explore therapy, the more we appreciate how much our response capacity can grow. We are responsive beings, for good and ill. Too often, our responses hem us in. We short-circuit growth of responsiveness. Yet it is possible to become aware of the rich world our responsive nature opens, places it takes us, feelings with as yet no name, hints of contact that may never be exhausted..'.
The author uses parts of W. R. Bion's and D. W. Winnicott's texts as points of departure for some of the explorations in the seminar and draw from his own work as well, weaving clinical and cultural concerns, the state of our persons and nations, how we feel, get along with ourselves, and obstacles that dog us but are widely undefined or defined wrongly. He concludes that if psychoanalysis has taught us anything, it is that we are persecuted by our own nature, which finds voice and resonance in structures of the outside world.
‘This is an amazing book, a once in a lifetime book, full of life and wisdom and rhythm and love. If you want a feel for the inner life of a therapist; for inner life, period; read this book. There is something magical at work here. Probably because of its form – it was first presented as a seminar in Korea – it reads as if it is being whispered to you. It goes right to the heart of everything and makes you believe in truth.’
- Mark Epstein, MD, author of Thoughts without a Thinker
‘Wisdom and humility are rare virtues, perhaps especially among people as smart as Michael Eigen. But this second volume documenting Eigen’s seminars on psychoanalysis in Seoul, Korea, exemplifies both. Whether he is interpreting Bion, reflecting on madness, commenting on psychoanalytic history, describing patients, or contemplating the value of not knowing, the depth of his compassionate, unpretentious knowledge touches us. To sit in on this remarkable seminar is a balm to the heart.’
- Nancy McWilliams, PhD, author of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner’s Guide
‘Eigen has a rare common touch about uncommon matters, and the reverse. I can only imagine the joy Bion – and Winnicott – would have had if they had been able to converse with him. Utmostly, Eigen is the spokesman for humility, the sacred, intuition, and respect for differences. Eigen is sometime so lyrical in his prose that one may think he is speaking blank verse: “We have so many languages for cries from the heart. Each adds a variety, a nuance, a particular soul window.” When I finished reading this work, I not only realized how much I had learned, I also felt more centred. This is a remarkable and remarkably appealing book.’
- James S. Grotstein, author of But At the Same Time and on Another Level
'Eigen continues his remarkable spiritual journey, the most successful psychoanalyst in finding the soul of psychoanalysis.'
- Christopher Bollas
About the Author:
Michael Eigen is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University, and a Senior Member of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of a number of books, including Toxic Nourishment, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, Feeling Matters and Flames from the Unconscious.