In Shamanic Dimensions of Psychotherapy: Healing through the Symbolic Process, Robin van Löben Sels uniquely and honestly recounts her personal journey toward a shamanic understanding of psychotherapy. Exploring the disruptive breakthrough of visions and dreams that occurred during her analysis, personal life, and psychoanalytic training, van Löben Sels illustrates how the phenomenology of ancient shamanism is still alive and how it is a paradigm for the emergence and maturation of the psyche in people today.
This original book delves into van Löben Sels’s personal experience of the shaman, identifying such eruptions as a contemporary version of the archaic shaman’s initiatory call to vocation. The book is split into two parts. It begins by outlining the shamanic personality in history, recognizing this as an individual that has been called out of a collectively sanctioned identity into a creative life, and the unconscious shaman complex they consequently face, especially in psychotherapeutic relationships. Practical as well as theoretical, the second part outlines the shamanic attributes that underline psychotherapeutic relationships – silence, sound, mask, rhythm, gesture, movement, and respiration – and usefully describes how to use them as asanas for consciousness, or vehicles toward psychological awareness. With clinical examples and personal stories throughout, this book’s unique Jungian perspective addresses contemporary expressions of the shaman complex in our current world.