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Healing Symbols in Psychotherapy: A Ritual Approach

Healing Symbols in Psychotherapy: A Ritual Approach (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Ritual scholars note that rituals have powerful psychological, social and even biological effects, but these findings have not yet been integrated into the practice of psychotherapy and psychiatry. In Healing Symbols in Psychotherapy Erik D. Goodwyn attempts to rectify this by reviewing the most pertinent work done in the area of ritual study and applying it to the practice of psychotherapy and psychiatry, providing a new framework with which to approach therapy. The book combines ritual study with depth psychology, placebo study, biogenetic structuralism and cognitive anthropology to create a model of interdisciplinary psychology. Goodwyn uses examples of rituals from history, folklore and cross-cultural study and uncovers the universal themes embedded within them as well as their psychological functions. As ritual scholars show time and again how Western culture and medicine is 'ritually impoverished' the application of ritual themes to therapy yields many new avenues for healing.

The interdisciplinary model used here suggests new ways to approach problems with basic identity, complicated grief, anxiety, depression meaninglessness and a host of other problems encountered in clinical work. The interdisciplinary approach of this accessibly-written book will appeal to psychotherapists, psychiatrists and Jungian analysts as well as those in training and readers with an interest in the science behind ritual.

Erik D. Goodwyn, M.D., is assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and director of psychotherapy training at the University of Louisville, USA. He was an officer in the Air Force for seven years, during which time he cared for patients from both military and civilian backgrounds. He has published articles in the fields of psychology of religion, psychodynamic theory and spirituality in mental health, and his previous books include The Neurobiology of the Gods (Routledge, 2012) and, with Susan Greenwood, Magical Consciousness: An Anthropological and Neurobiological Approach (Routledge, 2016) .

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