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Wisdom of the Psyche: Depth Psychology after Neuroscience 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415437776
ISBN-10: 0415437776
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Editorial Reviews


"Once again Ginette Paris demonstrates that she is quite simply the most original and eloquent of all writers on contemporary depth psychology... This book is a brilliant and beautiful account of how a serious accident, a near-fatal brain injury, became not just a trauma but a rare and wonderful opportunity. After the concussion and coma, Paris did not just regain consciousness. She experienced a life-altering transformation that led her to delve below all the gray matter of the current, trendy fascination with neuroscience to explore the "deep psyche". In this book Paris invents an entirely new genre of psychological writing, one that combines intimately personal autobiography, humanely inspirational stories from patients, and radically imaginative theoretical proposals for the future of depth psychology." - Michael Vannoy Adams, Jungian Psychoanalyst

"Wisdom of the Psyche is the bright book of the future for everyone involved with depth psychology and its creative transformation of the arts and sciences. Ginette Paris's stunning achievement is to combine autobiography, history of ideas, clinical originality, psychological theory and philosophical sophistication with the arts of a poet and novelist. Her book is at once lucid, erudite, a delightful companion. and a serious challenge to the academy and the consulting room. Paris gently and powerfully embeds depth psychology in the humanities, making Wisdom of the Psyche essential reading for the twenty-first century. We are all the richer for it." - Susan Rowland, University of Greenwich, UK

"Every once in a rare while a book comes into one’s hands that is so satisfying that it’s hard to write about it without drenching every sentence in superlatives. This is such a book…Paris’s jargon-free language invites us to look into the widows of her agile mind without making us feel intrusive. She writes personally but not confessionally, is empathic but not dogmatic in her positions, and speaks to us with controlled passion and dry, sparkling wit." – Lyn Cowan, International Association of Jungian Studies Review

"In this account of her encounter with her own shadow side through recovery from a brain injury. She points out that what the psyche does not make conscious, the body will." - Jacqueline A. Carleton, EABP Newsletter

About the Author

Ginette Paris is a psychologist, therapist and writer. She teaches Archetypal and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Her books include Pagan Meditations, and Pagan Grace. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Mythological Studies


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415437776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415437776
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bradford C. VanWagenen on September 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a person with nearly 20 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical industry (working in Neuroscience) and developing interests in depth-psychology, I was intrigued by the title of Ginette Paris' work: The Wisdom of the Psyche: Depth Psychology after Neuroscience. Her book, however, contained very little on "Neuroscience." It did however, contain a great deal on a variety of topics relative to depth psychology. Paris asks an important question; what is the future of depth psychology given the takeover from neuroscience and pharmacology? She answers that question by stepping back from the medical and psychodynamic models to engage the subject mater at an archetypal level relayed through her own personal and traumatic confrontation with death, the unconscious, and a miraculous recovery. Her experience is supported by a number of case histories from her practice. Paris takes a bold stance, stating that depth psychology is not to be lumped in with the sciences. While the field of depth psychology was discovered by scientists, taking a scientific approach, depth psychology is not a science. Thank You Ginette! Depth psychology is not a science because its subject matter, the psyche, is not amenable to reduction; psyche is not reproducible, verifiable, or willing to be contained, defined or restricted at any level. The field of depth psychology is closer to that of the humanities, where key to working with psyche is an ever evolving dynamic imagination. In reality depth psychology fits neither in the sciences or the humanities; it is In-Between, just as its fundamental intrinsic nature is In-Between.

While I enjoyed all of Paris' book, I found her last chapter entitled "Joy: The Antidote to Anxiety" the most important for our society.
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I have already recommended this book to two people, neither is a
therapist or a depth psychologist. I didn't want to put the book down
once I began reading. The entry into the book and the experience of the
Underworld is riveting. It never occurred to me that
one would be so completely conscious when the body is so
traumatized. Dr. Paris' writing about this journey takes you
right along with her. There is mystery surrounding the loving care
she receives from a Mexican woman attending her seriously damaged body,
and who cares even more for her soul. And there is the miracle of healing
that emerges from the deep love between the newly fragile mother and the strong
daughter who takes charge. This story of a serious physical accident and its unlikely
outcome opens the door to what cannot be touched by neuroscience.

This is a wonderful book. It broadens our understanding of the ways in
which the archetypal psychological perspective can benefit us both individually,
and as participants in society. Dr. Paris' brilliance as an archetypal
psychologist is plainly visible. The pages are filled with wisdom and insight,
very creatively expressed. I highly recommend this book.
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I am a Pacifica graduate (Depth Psychology) who teaches several psychology-related subjects at Bay Area campuses, and I plan to share with my students--particularly Depth Psych students at Sonoma State--some of my delight with Paris's clear, forcible writing.

The book's title should probably be considered a point of departure because relatively little of the book deals with DP's relation to neuroscience, although it does begin there with a severe crack on the head. To me the book felt like an excursion through many layers and levels: psychology, philosophy, spirituality, myth, science, feminism (not really an "ism"), personal accounts, even therapy client narratives. Like psyche the book roams but without ever departing from its inherently self-organizing central motifs, one of which is how DP is to understand itself. What is its role in a world of DSM-style categorizations and in a nation like the U.S. where half the population lives on psychotropic medication?

In part this book is a project of deconstruction. Its targets include organized religion's imagination-killing counterphobic emphasis on belief, the psychology/psychiatry industry's willingness to medicate symptoms instead of listening to them, unnecessary oppositions between cognitive-behavioral work and DP (I particularly appreciate this from having worked for six years with violent men referred for mandatory therapy), and therapy sold as a kind of secular salvation. Paris also criticizes the authoritarianism of exalting one theory over another: "Any ideology that tries to reduce words to their utilitarian or technical meaning turns out to be a totalitarian one." Her wit also shines through, as when she offhandedly remarks that literalists have ruined the word "miracle" for the rest of us.
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Dr. Paris boldly expresses her intimate perceptions of not only her inner process, but of the intellectual milieu of her profession. The depth and width of her education are clearly evident, but what spoke to me most profoundly was her courage in her own voice. I experienced this book as a proclamation that has been brewing her entire career, and finally became unleashed following her own confrontation with death. Thankfully, that confrontation did not end in demise, but resulted in renewal and a sense of empowerment that no doubt will benefit her relationships and scholarly endeavors. I highly recommend this treatise for those interested in the field of inner work, and especially to those hungry to hear a strong woman accessibly speak her truth.
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