A Laughing Being of the Forest: The Vitality of LGBTQ Soul Psychology
Jung thought that homosexuality should not be illegal, and he even hinted that the dispositions of “homosexual individuals may not be as plagued by one-sidedness as heterosexual individuals” (CW9). Yet, throughout the Collected Works and other early Jungian writings, homosexuality is written about as a problem that should be resolved to individuate fully. This presentation highlights the presenter’s experience of teaching Jungian psychology in the academy to clinical psychology students and the impact on, as well as the reaction of, LGBTQ-identified students.
A particular focus will be on a class, ‘LGBTQ Soul Psychology: The Alchemy of Same-Sex Love, Bi-Love and Gender Variance’, in which LGBTQ students envisioned new ways to work with Jungian concepts and theories to be relevant to their lives. In this way, Jung’s modeling of discarding harmful cultural mores and ideals continues. For it was Jung who was enlivened upon discovering that he was covered in green leaves and was a “laughing being of the forest” who existed for himself instead of believing in or propagating ideals put forth by his culture and society (The Red Book). Similarly, creating 21st-century relevancy for analytical psychology will help to bring the lives of LGBTQ individuals further out of the cultural shadow and provide for an even greater possibility of authentic lived experience.
Marybeth Carter, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst interested in the creative arts, transcendent states, and the process of individuation. She also had an extensive career in nonprofit leadership and published often in the victim and trauma services field. She is co-editor with Steven Anthony Farah of The Specter of the ‘Other’: Political, Psychological, and Sociological Perspectives (Routledge).