Screen stories convey cultural mythologies. Beyond presenting the hero and his associated cast of helpers and challengers, these stories also convey mythic landscapes, characters and creatures that reflect the way timeless archetypes reappear in modern guise and tell us about what is breaking into contemporary consciousness. In this way films are also like collective dreams, compensating our conscious outlook.
In this short treatment of the theme, I will discuss the way Jungian psychology provides conceptual tools and perspectives to bring these ideas to life. I will first explore the nature of the medium itself, with its imagistic and symbolic language. Then I will describe a salient figure who is especially prominent in critically acclaimed American films I have named the "outsider protagonist" and their relevance to contemporary culture.
This presentation will serve to illustrate the kind of approach to psychological phenomena we engage in the Jungian and Archetypal Studies program.
M.A./Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies:
For those called to explore the deeper dimensions of the human psyche, this program of study provides a unique opportunity to engage with, apply, and advance depth psychological theories and practices within the Jungian and archetypal traditions. Building on the work of C.G. Jung and James Hillman, students will consider approaches to the psyche that foster healing, transformation, self-expression, creativity, and the development of consciousness. The Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies specialization moves depth psychology from the clinical consulting room out into the wider world. By stimulating and supporting the scholarship and creative research of its students, it promotes the crucial task of advancing depth psychological ideas and practices as catalysts for individual and cultural transformation. The faculty is comprised of esteemed international scholars with a broad range of areas of expertise. They introduce students to foundational theoretical constructs in the field while helping them to engage critically and creatively with the course material. The coursework itself is aligned with Jung’s emphasis on the “ineluctable psychological necessity” of individuation, the process by which one might attain deep self-knowledge, further the development of consciousness, and better understand the unconscious factors shaping human experience.
Glen Slater, Ph.D. is co-chair of the Jungian and Archetypal Studies program. He is the author of numerous essays in the area of depth psychology and culture and has been teaching at Pacifica for over two decades.