Traditional religions all offer explanations for suffering and the reasons for it, and we will consider some of these, but depth psychology has its own unique approaches. This seminar will describe some of the ways in which we may search for meaning in suffering, and will discuss suffering as an experience of liminality and initiation into a new level of consciousness. We will also discuss an approach to suffering based on radical acceptance.
The seminar will discuss the suffering produced by painful states of mind such as hatred, envy, alienation, scapegoating, cruelty, and loneliness, which cause enormous suffering. We will describe some of the developmental sources of these complexes, their effects on the personality, and some of the ways in which they may be approached in psychotherapy. We will contrast these states of mind with the psychology and psychodynamics of altruism, empathy, compassion, concern, care, consolation, and pity, exploring the similarities and differences between these states. Finally we will discuss ways to help the helper, including the problem of burn-out and compassion fatigue among psychotherapists.