The Paradoxes of Love in Human Relationships
INSTRUCTOR: Bryan Wittine, Ph.D.
4 Continuing Education Credits for MD, PhD, MFT, LCSW, & RN
In last fall’s workshop, “The Paradoxes of Love,” Bryan Wittine discussed experiences of Christian and Sufi mystics who view the Divine, not as an anthropomorphic being who either condemns or watches over us, but as the transcendent ground of all being, which they call “Love.” They also tell us the deep center of our being is love itself and that we are “hardwired” to seek union.
But how do these statements apply to actual human relationships? If love is our ground and deep center, why, then, are we so frequently blocked in its realization? If we are hardwired for union, why are we not more loving? Why so much divisiveness among us? Why are we afraid of relatedness and connection? This is love’s greatest paradox.
One answer lies in the presence of a powerful negating part of the personality, which we find symbolized in Christian and Sufi lore (for example, the Antichrist that hates the Christ Child). Psychotherapy clients frequently give a name to their negating part, such as the beast, the fiery protector, the condemning god, the attacker, and the grand accuser. This part seeks to stamp out the loving center of the personality because it either appears weak and vulnerable or could ultimately usurp the ego (i.e., the separate self-sense). The negating part is driven to keep us alive, no matter what, but it also seeks its own dominance, even as it significantly interferes with our capacity for loving relationships.
In this workshop—designed for psychotherapists and laypeople alike—we will discuss the negating part of the personality and the deep center of love it opposes. To do so we will draw on Christian and Sufi lore, Jungian psychology, and psychoanalysis, and look at examples from typical situations in psychotherapy.
An important part of our discussion will be to explore how the negating part transforms over time. This is necessary, because the negating self sees intimacy and separateness, commitment and freedom, ecstasy and sorrow, rupture and forgiveness as opposing, even antagonistic, states, where each pole negates the other. The deep center, however, contains and holds these polarities, which are part of all loving relationships. If we come close to our deep center, we may find that love itself resolves its own contradictions.
BRYAN WITTINE, PH.D., is a Jungian analyst and licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Marin County. Before becoming a Jungian analyst he trained in existential-humanistic psychotherapy and psychoanalytic self-psychology. At age 21 he began to practice mysticism under hermetic Kabbalists. After 13 years he moved on to practice under Buddhist and Sufi teachers. He has written several papers on transpersonal psychology and teaches regularly in the Analytic Training and Extended Education programs at the Jung Institute.
The Jung Institute of San Francisco is accredited by the Institute of Medical Quality/California Medical Association (IMQ/CMA) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.The Jung Institute of San Francisco takes responsibility for the content, quality and scientific integrity of this CME activity. 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ are offered for this event.