Therapeutic work and other empathic relationships can be rooted in traumatic experience, unconsciously evoking a mutual emotional landscape that is potent and often polarized. By relating to one another empathically, for example, we can be called upon to bear the complexities of both heroic and monstrous dynamics. Identifying the mythic aspects of these polarized undercurrents, as I detail in The Red Place, we can more consciously connect with the transformative potential of our present day relationships.
The psychological dimensions of the rarely examined ancient Greek myth of Herakles and Geryon give a mythic view of trauma-related emotional realities that include theft, battle, and conquest. Retold from different narrative perspectives across time, it illustrates our human tendency to split and sometimes project such unbearable emotional realities onto one extreme or another as either hero or monster. Working to resolve the impacts of traumatic violations often means that we must come to terms with the heroic and the monstrous aspects within each of us.
Cynthia Anne Hale, Ph.D., LCSW. As an educator, writer, and psychotherapist, Cynthia Anne Hale explores the often-unconscious connections between inner and outer experiences. In her 2014 book, The Red Place: Transforming Past Traumas through Relationships, she challenges professional and lay readers alike to more consciously consider the relational implications of traumatic experience. She is currently researching how children absorb cultural traumas and express this impact in their life attitudes and resilience.
With over twenty-five years of clinical experience, Dr. Hale maintains a private psychotherapy practice based in Carpinteria, California, where she serves the professional development of other therapists through depth-oriented consultation and dream groups that utilize embodied imagination. She incorporates telehealth into her clinical practice and is a popular presenter for Jungian training institutes and groups in England and the U.S.
At Reiss-Davis Graduate Center for Child Development and Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, Dr. Hale is the Dean of Evaluation and Planning, where she develops the institution’s academic strategic plan for the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program to become regionally accredited, designing organizational systems and processes that align needs and values with academic best practices. Previously, as faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute for nine years, she led institutional learning initiatives and taught graduate degree program courses in archetypal and depth psychologies, including clinical practice and qualitative research.
For more information visit http://www.imaginalways.com/