Nancy Robinson-Kime

I Feel Therefore I am: on Unconscious Complexes

I Feel Therefore… In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know is the only thing you know... And where you are is where you are not. T.S. Eliot . Four Quartets . East Coker

Jung linked emotion to the unconscious through his early Association experiments: emotional responses are triggered by unconscious complexes of which the conscious ego is largely unaware. How then do we approach what is experienced as subjectively real (like a patient’s obsessive fear of stomach cancer) when it is at the same time objectively untrue or rather symbolic? This movement from subjective feeling to an objective understanding of its meaning is both the hallmark of the Analytic approach and its unique contribution to not only psychology but also questions of meaning posed by religious and philosophical traditions.

Analytical psychology enters startling new territory (at once requiring and going beyond Stoical control or meditative detachment) in examining how feeling serves as a signal and tool that must undergo transformation to be integrated—a means to the end of expanded consciousness. Jung’s fascination with and extensive later writings on Alchemy form a template for how feeling and the unconscious is transformed into a conscious understanding of its meaning and purpose. Understanding, however, requires a concomitant transformation of not only the unconscious content through successive steps but also of the ego. The individual must forgo his identification with his own subjective, felt experience to develop the tolerance and curiosity necessary to gaining a radically different perspective. The Analytic approach and its goal of expanding consciousness are simultaneously shocking, offensive, profound, and enlightening as illustrated by an individual case, an examination of microaggression within academia and the outcome of a scourging epidemic.


Nancy Robinson-Kime, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and Jungian Analyst in private practice for over 30 years. Her research includes developing a CD rom prototype on archetypal symbolism and two study guides to lectures series by Edward Edinger on the symbolism of the Old Testament and Apocalypse. She has presented at the Creativity and Madness conferences on archetypal themes in the work of Edward Munch in Oslo, Norway and Greek heroes in Athens, Greece and given public lectures on dream symbolism and “The Problem of God: Transformation through Suffering.” She has taught symbolism of fairy tales and Greek mythology at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena and courses on alchemy, ethics, and Jung’s Collected Works at the C.G. Jung Institut, Zürich. A founding member on the Board of Directors for the CG Jung Foundation Zurich, she currently lives in Zürich, Switzerland where she has a private practice.


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