Donald Kalsched on violence and trauma in our culture

I attended my first lecture by Jungian analyst Dr Donald Kalsched almost a decade ago, when he did a weekend workshop on trauma at the Jung Society of Atlanta titled The Soul in Hell and its Liberation, and shared insights from his book Trauma and the Soul – a psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption

I’d attended several workshops on trauma but had never heard it being discussed in such a fascinating way. Dr Kalsched balanced the scientific findings from neuroscience, attachment and relational theory with an exploration of the mythopoesis in dreams, images, archetypal themes and symbols that inhabit the inner landscape of trauma survivors.

He demonstrated not only how trauma impacts our mood, thoughts, behavior, and relationships, but how it can penetrate into the core of the psyche and split the soul. He guided us on a descent into the deep layers of hell from Dante’s Divine Comedy,  illustrating how a trusted friend or therapist can be a guide and witness who walks with a person through the hellish regions of their traumatized psyche.

Healing through rekindling connections

It wasn’t all grim stuff. Kalsched provided inspiring visions of hope and healing that can come through rekindling connections that have been split by trauma: connections between one’s inner and outer worlds, between the past and the present, between the conscious and unconscious, the personal and archetypal, the self and other. Dr Kalsched’s workshop got me thinking of another story of trauma and hope and inspired me to write on trauma and splitting the soul, using J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Voldemort as examples. 

December 2021 Zoom workshop

Donald Kalsched is back at the Jung Society of Atlanta on Saturday, December 4th, 2021, presenting a Zoom lecture titled Violence in Fairy Tales: A Symbolic Key to Violence in our Culture and its Possible Transformation. Using the Grimm fairy tale The Handless Maiden, Dr Kalsched will discuss how we can transform and heal the senseless, mind-numbing violence that saturates our culture today. Two CEUs available.

Details and registration.


Photo by ev on Unsplash