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Robert Romanyshyn

Educator, Author and Psychotherapist 

Inner Journeys in the Outer World

The DVD awakens the bond between the living soul of nature and us

 

You can purchase it here.
 

Excerpt of a lecture based on the DVD

In this Jung Platform lecture excerpt, Robert explores the intertwining of psyche and nature in the context of the ecological crisis of the melting polar ice.

The Frankenstein Prophecies: The Untold Tale in Mary Shelley’s Story Nine Questions and Replies

Re-telling Mary Shelley’s story from the point of the Monster he created and abandoned, this book explores seven ways in which her story has prophetic implications for our time. This book raises the fundamental question of ‘Who is the Monster?,’ and it also suggests that her story is also a love story when love is not corrupted by power.

 

Table of Contents

Prelude: Summary of Mary Shelley’s Story

Introduction

Part One: What Was: Re-Collecting the Past

Question 1:

Are the Conditions That Made Mary Shelley’s Story Possible, and Perhaps Even Inevitable, Created in Florence, Italy in the 15th century?

Question 2:

Is Mary Shelley’s Story a New Myth of Creation?

 

Part Two: What is Now: Five Prophecies: Being in the Present

Question 3:

Resurrecting the Dead: Is Mary Shelley’s Story a Prophecy About Acting As If We Are Gods?

Question 4:

The Melting Polar Ice: Is Mary Shelley’s Story a Prophecy of the Dying of Nature?

Question 5: The Monster’s Body: Is Mary Shelley’s Story a Prophecy of the Monster’s Descendants?

Question 6 From Astronauts to Angels in Clouds: Is Mary Shelley’s Story a Prophecy of the Last Generations of Humankind?

Question 7: WWW. Adrift in the Digital World: Is Mary Shelly’s Story a Prophecy about Being Homeless in the Wired, Webbed world?

 

Part Three: What Might Be: Imagining a Possible Future
 

Q 8: Is the question – “Who is the Monster?”—a seed of hope that portends a radical new ethics?

Question 9: In the Monster’s untold tale are there other seeds of hope in Mary Shelley’s story, particularly about the redemptive power of love when it is not corrupted by power?

Wandering in Wonder: On Becoming and Un –Becoming a Psychologist

A memoir that is an autobiography of a life and work as a psychologist told through the biography of the discipline of psychology, it is a story of alienation and homecoming in a technologically created world.

 

Punctuations and Vignettes

Poetry, or at least some poetry, and stories are  punctuations in the narratives of everyday life. They are moments of pause in the life sentences we live, pauses from periods as moments of full stops, to question marks (Think of Neruda), from commas and semi-colons to full colons, from parenthesis to dashes, which might display the splendor of the simple, the extraordinary in the ordinary, the miracle in the mundane.

 

The Gifts of Ageing

Finding the gifts of ageing in friendship, in the solace of silence and the serenity in solitude, in learning how to travel light not just physically but also emotionally, in the pleasures of remembering and forgetting, in cultivating the imagination, in finding the capacity to let go of what was and what still one hopes will be in order to be receptive to what might be coming, are some of the themes presented in this meditation on growing old.

 


of a Witness
 

This book is a meditation on 50 years as a psychotherapist. It looks at the lessons learned about suffering, hope, the meaning of health, the wisdom and value of dreams and the place of death learned on both sides of the couch as patient and therapist.

 

 



 

Epiphanies in Dark Light

I regard the images in this book as the silent voice of the Anima Mundi, the whispering play of psychological life that now and then makes us pause at the wonder and beauty of the living world. Addressed by these epiphanies we come home to ourselves as responsive witnesses to these displays.  

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

MORNING COFFEE REFLECTIONS

Before the day hurries us along and while one might still be in a place between dreaming and waking a few thoughts might linger before the coffee and the toast are finished. Below are some of these ‘crumbs’ already gathered. Who knows what more coffee and toast may bring?

 

JUNG AND TECHNOLOGY

Today most information is available in digital form as compared with the era before the rise of computers in the 1970s. In a data driven, information age what are the effects on psychological life? Is depth psychology, which began in age when the speed of communication and travel were still scaled in human terms, still possible today? Is it perhaps even more necessary?

 

IN THE GAP BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL LIFE

There is a gap between psychology as a profession and as a vocation. In 1962 I chose psychology as a profession. Ironically that choice was made in relation to a dream. It was ironic because the discipline that I chose was through the dream the discipline that chose me. Over the last 40 years psychology as a vocation has been leading me toward un-becoming the psychologist I had become.

In this gap between psychology as a profession and as a vocation, it is and has been the issue of language that has informed my work. What characterizes psychological language has been and still is for me the key question that has shaped my thinking, teaching and writing. 

The word psychology means the logos or speaking of soul, and if what is in a name matters, then psychology defined as a STEM discipline whose language eschews the humanities in favor of the languages of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, invites us to question if it has been true to its name. In becoming a science that takes the measure of behavior has psychology lost soul? 

These questions have been asked for a long time and I am wary of them because they presume an either/or dichotomy, as if one is to make a judgment about what is right and what is wrong. 

I have, therefore, approached this issue of psychology and language by reframing the question of profession and vocation in terms of the difference between the noun psychology and the adjective psychological. 

As a profession, psychology as a noun is appropriate. It defines a set of methods and practices that apply, for example, to psychology as a STEM science as well as to the depth psychologies of Freud, Jung and their descendants, and the existential-phenomenological schools. Each has a particular and specific way of imagining the human person and each has a language in relation to that image. Moreover, in its identity as a discipline in its own right, psychology is taught in universities and institutes throughout the world.

As a vocation, however, the adjective psychological is required primarily because every thing a human person does is done by one who is a psychological being. An economist is a psychological being. So too is a physician, and a philosopher and a poet and as well a psychologist. Indeed, psychology is that strange discipline where the object of study is also the subject who studies that object. From the noun psychology to the adjective psychological, psychology as a discipline with its own identity becomes a perspective, a quality that colors, shades and qualifies every human action.

Holding the tension between profession and vocation, staying in the gap between the noun psychology and the adjective psychological, each of the many languages of soul are games we play and in each of those games something of soul is revealed and something concealed. Each language from STEM to depth and existential-phenomenological languages of soul making has a virtue, its strength, and each its shadow, its weakness. The danger lies in forgetting that in playing the language game of psychology, the psychologist is in a perspective. Then a perspective becomes identified with the truth. Then a particular game becomes the only game in town

A way out of this danger is for the psychologist to remember that he or she is always in some perspective even if he or she does not know with full clarity what that perspective is, even as he or she is fully identified with that perspective.

For example, a psychological consultant or commentator working along side an economist would not only bring a psychological perspective to the issue of money, he or she would do so less as an outsider and with a more intimate knowledge of that discipline. In addition, he or she would have at their disposal the multiple languages of psychology that could be applied to describe more fully the many facets of money, employing, for example the STEM language game to highlight the behavioral aspects of making and spending money, the symbolic language game of depth psychology to underscore its unconscious dynamics, and/or the social and cultural language games of the existential-phenomenological tradition, to describe the effects of how money is made and distributed in ways that enrich some and impoverish others. 

I realize that this proposal goes against the grain of our times. In an age of increasing specialization, the psychological commentator would be an unabashed generalist. Such a stance challenges one’s status and identity. 

For the sake of full disclosure, during the course of my life and work as a psychologist I have been a psychological commentator, making raids, as it were, or forays into the fields literature, art, history, science and the humanities, mining them for their psychological gold to better enrich my understanding of the psychological dynamics of contemporary events, especially regarding the question of technology.

 

IN THE GAP BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL LIFE

In an age of information overload and diminishing time spent on the simple things in life, Leaning Toward the Poet is an invitation to slow down and pause to attend to those occasions when memory and imagination lead one to unexpected occurrences that wake us to what is happening around us and allow us to appreciate that, as John Keats, said, the world is indeed the vale of soul making.

 

LEANING TOWARD THE POET: EAVESDROPPING ON THE POETRY OF EVERYDAY LIFE

an age of information overload and diminishing time spent on the simple things in life, Leaning Toward the Poet is an invitation to slow down and pause to attend to those occasions when memory and imagination lead one to unexpected occurrences that wake us to what is happening around us and allow us to appreciate that, as John Keats, said, the world is indeed the vale of soul making.

 

SOUL ON EDGE

In the Places of Thinking and Writing, Conversations in the Gap between Mind and Soul, Eavesdropping on the Edge, Writing in the Margins, Lingering at the Lip of the Abyss, all possible titles-containers for experiments in writing down the language of soul, experiments in the gap between psychology as a natural science and a distinct and specialized profession, and psychology as a vocation and an art and a practice that colors and shades and qualifies all of our actions.

To be a psychologist is not like being an economist or a physicist. Being either an economist or a physicist is what one does; being a psychologist is who one is even when one is doing economics or physics. Psychology as an art and a practice is not even a distinct profession, nor should it be. As a distinct discipline psychology might very well be dangerous to the vitality of psychological life.

Let’s get rid of the noun psychology for the sake of the adjective psychological?

Recently this danger became national news as the APA was discovered to sanction torture. That should not surprise us. One of the key themes of phenomenology is the chiasm between perception and language in which the gestural body is the hinge where perception and word pivot round each other. Sanctioning torture is made possible in psychology’s image of the human being described in terms of its addiction to its language of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. That is ok and it fits if we are robots stuffed with bits of data.

Might poets be closer to the logos of soul?

Might it be better to be a failed poet than a successful psychologist?

Too much of a dichotomy in that statement! Too much either/or thinking that turns too quickly into an ideology!

Perhaps the locus of a psychological science is the threshold between thinking and dreaming, the permeable boundary between a daylight mind and a night time soul, a cyclical movement between the natural rhythms of sun light and moon light, a science practiced in twilight and dawn, transitional moments between waking and sleeping, a seasonal psychology practiced in the fall and spring times between the full light of summer, the season most favorable perhaps to the clear and distinct ideas of the reasonable mind of a STEM Psychology, and the dark nights of winter, the season most favored by the dreams of depth psychology.

But on the threshold we still have to let go of noun conscious, of the dream, to embrace dreaming, if we are to avoid making STEM psychology or Depth psychology into monumental sciences. Speaking of Orpheus, the eponymous poet, Rilke, the modern incarnation of Orpheus, warns us not to erect any stones to Orpheus, but to let it be the rose whose presence is enough even as it might overstay its blooming for a moment.

From dreams to dreaming! From identifying with a psychology made in sunlight or moonlight, a psychological way of knowing and being made in the passage way between waking and sleeping! A psychological science that bridges the two moments, a bridge psychology whose languaging of the epiphanies of psychological life alludes to what shows itself as elusive, a way of playing in these half moments of reverie, of making meaning that does not fix meaning but holds onto it by letting go of it, an e-ducation, of being drawn, into psychological life by way of seduction.

On Becoming and Un-Becoming a Psychologist

Anyway, Why Did it Have to be the Death of the Poet?: The Orphic Roots of Jungian Psychology

Conversations in the Gap Between Mind and Soul

Phenomenology as a Poetic Realism

Sitting on a Bench with James Hillman: Conversations with the Dead

 

TERMINAL IDENTITY: A REFLECTION ON MY FIRST WEBINAR EXPERIENCE, JANUARY, 2016

There is a Gap between the digital space of technology and the erotic field of fleshy engagement between self and other, a fleshy entanglement with all its ambiguities and mess, with all its spoken and unspoken gestured desires and appeals, where all the follies and absurdities of trying to say what one means and to mean what one says is nakedly there impregnating the other, where the lies of a hidden mind betray themselves on the face? What are words spoken at the terminal when they are no longer inscribed within the gestures of the flesh?

 

RESURRECTING THE DEAD: A REFLECTION ON TECHNOLOGY