Peter Trask Dunlap
A New Type of Psychocultural Practitioner Activates the Feeling-function Needed to Form Conscious Groups
While C.G. Jung was critical of groups, he also had a vision of humans as a self-aware, problem-solving being (1931, CW 8 p. 673). It is possible to step outside of Jung’s prejudices against groups, connect to his telic-vision of humanity and the role of psychology in its realization, for the sake of learning how to form conscious groups.
A new type of psychocultural practitioner is learning how to convene groups focused on this project. Such groups integrate the healing-values of psychotherapy with the justice-values of community engagement. They develop the “public emotional intelligence” that arises in conscious groups as they add becoming-values to their ministrations. Becoming-values integrate the private work of healing with the public work of justice.
These practitioners are integrating a wide range of research regarding the psychocultural and political function of emotions. They are learning to navigate the way that emotions are not just individual but function to create group boundaries and identities. When attended to through the lens of healing-, justice-, and becoming-values our emotional experience can be transformed into individual and group leadership capacities. Through the cultivation of effective psychocultural, political practices we are learning to break up the destructive rhythms of “cultural complexes” and to create the "emotional communities" needed to become the people called for by our time.
Psychocultural practitioners focused on the trinity of healing, justice, and becoming values are convening new groups as well as engaging existing social-change organizations. They are helping community leaders and activists to work out their prejudices and to withdraw their projections. This helps the organizations they lead to be more tolerant, resilient, and to explore rather than enact the hatred that spawns the culture wars haunting every community and nation. Exploring the energy of hatred reduces its internalization as self-loathing or its discharge as outrage.
Peter T. Dunlap is a psychologist working in private and political practice. He integrates Jungian psychology with group practice training psychotherapists and community leaders to become a new type of psychocultural practitioner. He is the author of Awakening our Faith in the Future: The Advent of Psychological Liberalism (Routledge), several book chapters and journal papers focused on founding a distinctive Jungian political psychology. He is the Acting-Chair in the Clinical Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute.