Between 2007 and 2011, Michael Eigen gave three seminars in Seoul, each running over three days and covering different aspects of psychoanalysis, spirituality and the human psyche. This book is based on a transcription of the third seminar, which took place in 2011, on the subject of Pain and Beauty. The first two were published as Madness and Murder (2010) and Faith and Transformation (2011).
A conjunction of the pain that shatters and beauty that heals is made by many authors, including Bion, Winnicott, Milner, Meltzer, Perls, Ehrenzweig, Matte-Blanco, Schneur Zalman, Chuang-Tzu, Buber, Castaneda, and Levinas. These and others are used as windows of the psyche, adding to possibilities of experience and opening dimensions that bring us life. Eigen explores challenges of the human psyche, what we are up against and the resources difficulties can stimulate.
This work spans many dimensions of human experience with interplay, fusions and oppositions of pain, beauty, terror, and wonder, and makes use of poetic and philosophical expressions of experience. It will be vital reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and all those with an interest in psychoanalytic and spiritual psychology.
"In this beautiful and shimmering volume we encounter Mike Eigen, the ultimate psychoanalytic alchemist creating an expansive healing brew of psychoanalysis, mysticism and plain common sense. From the Bal Shem Tov to Bion, From Winnicott to Whitman; from a half filled cup of coffee that causes a psychic catastrophe to the dream of a patient’s arm falling off that opens up infinities, Eigen takes us into the depths and vastness of what it means to be human, and teaches us the wisdom of our patients’ symptoms and the pain, joy and strain of staying close to their deep suffering and struggle. Eigen’s alchemy not only transforms the practice of psychotherapy, but transforms one’s sense of life itself. Keep this book close at hand, dip into it often and read it again and again."
— Robert Grossmark, Ph.D, ABPP, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, author of The Unobtrusive Relational Analyst: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Companioning, co-editor of The One and The Many: Relational Approaches to Group Psychotherapy and Heterosexual Masculinities: Perspectives from Psychoanalytic Gender Theory
"Is it an inherent part of being a psychoanalyst that one is also wise? My first contact with the work of Eigen confirmed that he was wise, but there was some caution in my psychoanalytic group about his work – was it ‘wild’ – was it ‘spiritual’ – was it not ‘psychoanalysis’. Like Bion he is intrepid in the psychic hell holes he will enter, and also like Bion appreciates beauty at the same time. Reading this book he is undoubtably a psychoanalyst – and a wise, compassionate, one at that."
— Nicola Abel-Hirsch, author of Bion: 365 Quotes, Training Analyst British Psychoanalytic Society
"Michael Eigen gives us a poetic space where psychoanalysis, radical ethics and the holy live together. This book provides a stunning lens into his earlier work while always stretching us to see and hear more. A perfect companion in our world of plague."
— Donna M. Orange, author of Psychoanalysis, History, and Radical Ethics: Learning to Hear
"Eigen in Seoul is soul in Seoul. The book spans the third Seoul seminar given by Eigen over a three-day period, but I read it, intrigued, in one sitting. Written in Eigen’s unique, engaging mode of expression, combining both simplicity and depth. This volume is a fascinating work on aliveness and destruction, openness, freedom and terror, wonder and suffering, helplessness and transformative meeting. It weaves Kabbala, Biblical stories, and therapeutic illustrations, especially Eigen’s and Bion’s, into our psychic experience, dreaming, and clinical work, enabling deeper contact of being with oneself and others. It brings to mind the Talmudist Ruth Calderon’s words: 'There’s a belief that the text is waiting for you personally and that God hid a little note with your name on it in the text.' I found immediately the little note with my name in the text. I believe that many readers will find theirs too."
— Ofra Eshel, faculty, training and supervising analyst, Israel Psychoanalytic Society, head of Independent Psychoanalysis - Radical Breakthroughs postgraduate track, Tel-Aviv University, author of The Emergence of Analytic Oneness: Into the Heart of Psychoanalysis
Table of Contents
Preface by Burton Seitler Foreword Introduction by Keri Cohen 01. Day One 02. Day Two 03. Day Three
About the Author:
Michael Eigen teaches at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of thirty books and gives a weekly seminar on Bion, Winnicott, Lacan, and his own work, ongoing for nearly fifty years.