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Commentaries on the Work of Michael Eigen: Oblivion and Wisdom, Madness and Music
Robin Bagai | Foreword by Michael Eigen
Routledge / Softcover / Oct 2022
9781032190716 (ISBN-10: 103219071X)
price: $46.50
204 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Commentaries on the Work of Michael Eigen is an accessible and engaging introduction to this ground-breaking psychoanalytic sage. Through exploration of Eigen’s two key texts, The Psychotic Core and Emotional Storm, the author addresses universal human concerns of madness and the difficulties of our emotional life.

In conversational style, the book mirrors Eigen's chapter-by-chapter approach, focusing on and amplifying important aspects of each work. Bagai follows threads of several key themes from psychoanalysis, philosophy, literature, religious thought, and the humanities, and chapters include discussion of relevant theory from Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Bion, Buber, and Levinas, among others. Rather than a comprehensive or systematic exegesis of Eigen's work, Bagai’s commentary expands nodal aspects, illuminating and probing seminal themes and ideas. Through clinical case examples, the author explores intertwining of mind and body, self and the other using an array of carefully selected quotes from Eigen's kaleidoscopic vision.

Commentaries on the Work of Michael Eigen will be essential reading for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, as well as anyone seeking a greater understanding of Eigen’s work.


"Much like Edward Edinger with C. G. Jung’s work, Robin Bagai’s commentaries on Michael Eigen’s books offer distillation, amplification, and expansion of themes that are both contemporary and timeless. I admire his deep understanding of Eigen’s work and the rich and enriching way he is able to convey it. In this volume, clinical cases from Eigen's two books intertwine with universal human concerns of madness, emotional life, ethics, and creativity. With Bagai’s care and illumination, Eigen’s intricacies come alive again through a kindred voice, one that is both a carrier and guardian of spirit and psyche."

— Ofra Eshel, faculty, training and supervising analyst, Israel Psychoanalytic Society; head of Independent Psychoanalysis— Radical Breakthroughs postgraduate track, Tel Aviv University; author, The Emergence of Analytic Oneness: Into the Heart of Psychoanalysis

"Robin Bagai’s commentary and introduction to Eigen’s major texts reveal an approach that is heartfelt and sincere. Bagai provides a mooring at the same time as he liberates perspectives into some of Eigen’s most intense and demanding passages. In many places Eigen describes psychological work as a 'digesting and opening' experience. In Bagai’s hands we see this injunction in practice. His writing and own way with words demonstrates how this is to be done. With a palpable affection for Michael Eigen and an intelligent highlighting of key themes, Robin Bagai has done a great service for another generation of Eigen readers. His hermeneutic can be understood as an example of Lectio Divina –the reading of texts in a participatory manner which transforms the reader."

— Stephen Bloch, Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist; founding member, South African Association of Jungian Analysts; training analyst, Cape Town, South Africa; co-editor (with Loray Daws) of Living Moments: Essays in Honor of Michael Eigen; and (with Paul Ashton) Music and Psyche: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspectives

"Robin Bagai is a great teacher, organized and clear, able to make Eigen’s writing accessible and both clinically and personally relevant. Psychosis can be frightening and confusing and it is wonderful to have a guide. Eigen’s Psychotic Core is based on his experience reaching to the depths with many psychotic patients. Sometimes we encounter darkness in Eigen's writing, sometimes beauty, both in our own inner life and with our patients. Robin Bagai invites us to journey into the unknown and to find parts of ourselves still hidden. He reminds us that the beginning of learning to be a therapist may be like a musician playing scales. Only later do we learn that true psychic growth is ongoing, the psyche is vast.

Both Eigen and Bagai believe in a certain kind of faith, not a particular theory but rather belief that psychic growth can develop slowly from 'regular relational contact over time.' This type of faith is 'grounded in openness to the unknown with curiosity and respect for what arises rather than holding on to expectation or agenda.'

Bagai’s book is filled with respect for Eigen and will be a trustworthy companion as you read Eigen's first book, The Psychotic Core, and then his turbulent Emotional Storm. Neither Eigen nor Bagai’s commentary will disappoint."

— JoAnn Culbert-Koehn, Jungian psychoanalyst; past President, C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles

"Eigen’s work is oxygen for the soul."

— Mark Epstein MD; author of The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life

Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael Eigen




Part One: Commentaries on The Psychotic Core

Commentary #1: The Core of Psychosis

Commentary #2: Hallucination, Idealization, and Wish-Fulfillment

Commentary #3: Hallucination, Megalomania, and Emotional Pain

Commentary #4: Phenomenology, Evasion, and the Primacy of Experience

Commentary #5: Mindlessness

Commentary #6: Boundaries

Commentary #7: Hate, Fear, and Aggression

Commentary #8: Hate, Self-Hatred, and the Death Drive

Commentary #9: Epistemology and Reversal

Commentary #10: Schreber and Rena

Commentary #11: The Psychotic Self

Commentary #12: Unintegration, Madness, Suicide, and Epilogue

References, Part One

Part Two: Commentaries on Emotional Storm

Commentary #1: Inside the Storm

Commentary #2: Emotional Storms

Commentary #3: More Emotional Storms

Commentary #4: Smiles and Screams

Commentary #5: No Amount of Suffering

Commentary #6: Somatic Storms

Commentary #7: Dream Images

Commentary #8: Killers within Life and Psyche

Commentary #9: Killers in Dreams

Commentary #10: Training Wheels

Commentary #11: The Binding

Commentary #12: Guilt, Suffering, and Transformation

Commentary #13: Guilt, Care, and Afterword

References, Part Two

About the Author:

Robin Bagai, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in Portland, Oregon, who has been practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapy for over 35 years. His work has been published in two edited collections: The Spiritual Psyche in Psychotherapy: Mysticism, Intersubjectivity, and Psychoanalysis; and Healing, Rebirth, and The Work of Michael Eigen (both Routledge). Dr. Bagai has been leading in-person and international seminars on over a dozen of Michael Eigen’s books since 2014.

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