Influences

Among others, but mainly:

Max Beckmann – Expressionist artist of the Weimar era, Beckman’s disturbing and dynamic images take on the character of dreams, filled with archetypes and symbols.

Gautama Buddha – Life is suffering, but in quiescence is peace. Meditation cultivates the immediate engagement and presence with being and the state in which we are timeless and can achieve a relationship with being that is authentic and pure in that the categories of man fall away.

Cynthia Bourgeault – There is a great Wisdom in the early teachings of first Christians, and a “knowing” of God that we have lost. Bourgeault attempts to reintroduce this dymanic to our modern understanding of God. There is a “Third Way”, in which the marriage of two elements creates a third, greater element. This is seen in many manifestations – and in the therapeutic relationship

Jesus Christ – The Sermon on the Mount is the way to be in the world. Present now, and fully knowing oneself. The turning point of human consciousness and our notion of equality happened in Western consciousness when Christ sat down with the beggars, lepers and prostitutes. We are all the manifestation of God in the world, as imperfect as we are. We look to Christ as to what we are ultimately capable of achieving and as the highest good

Carl Gustav Jung – There has been no psychologist who has been able to conceptualize the totality of human consciousness more completely than Jung. One of the unparallelled geniuses of the history of thought, the complexity of his framework has yet to be fully understood and it is barely appreciated, but will become so. Jung reminds us that we are evolved beings and reminds us that only by connecting to the truth of that evolutionary origin that we all have shared over the millennia, can we see a coherent picture of our psyche. In terms of therapeutic utility on a basic level, the notion of exploring the totality of the psyche – even making peace with the hidden and disavowed parts – is the road to actualizing the real self and wholeness.

W.R.D. Fairbairn – Created a visceral model of how early relationship trauma forces us to isolate our aspects of our being in the service of maintaining pathological attachment relationships and by doing so, cut off the potential of these elements of ourselves. It is only through deep work that we can free these elements of ourselves to function in the way that they were meant to be able.

Viktor Frankl – Even in times of the greatest, most degrading, most tragic suffering we have a choice to take an attitude to engage the best parts of ourself despite absolutely no gurarentee of the future. We have the absolute freedom to find meaning in any circumstance – and sometimes this is the only freedom we have.

Nisargadatta – A simple purveyor of inexpensive “bidi” Indian cigarettes, a systematic adherence to the mantra “I am that”, allowed him to transcend time and space and become one of the 20th century great gurus of Advaita Vedanta – the ackowledgment of pure consciousness as a way of permanently being in the world.

Jordan B. Peterson – Before his recent fame, Peterson had uploaded profound lectures on both transformative personality psychology, and his own theory that he formulated as a very young man over the course of 15 years and that is the subject of his book, “Maps of Menaing”. This theory, among other things, was meant to address the Nietszche’s question of how to act in the face of the “death of God” and identified the irreducible “constituent elements of experience” that parallel Jung’s (who is one of his main influences) archetypal theories. Peterson is also a clinical psychologist who, despite extensive training and a deep appreciation of psychoanalytic methods, has a pragmatic approach to therapy that addresses and attempts to remedy real life deficts first.

Jaak Panksepp – Recently deceased, Panksepp wrote a groundbreaking book in 1998, Affective Neuroscience, which ushered in, along with other neuroscientists such as Demasio, the modern era of neuroscience. Investigations of the inner workings of the brain are elaborating, and in many ways replacing traditional psychology. Panksepp’s work with animals proved that we share the same emotional wiring as our furry brethren (we are all brothers under the skin, he said), and that we need to approach our basic emotional systems with the respect that discovery implies. Panksepp identified seven basic emotional systems, but is known as the “Rat Tickler”, for experiments in which he discovered that rats actually laugh when tickled, and that the PLAY system and a capacity for joy is wired into our brains.

Robert Pirsig – Like the Tao, but framed in terms of the good that you recognize intuitively, which is Quality. It is what is recognized as worth seeking’ worth pursuing. It is not any one thing, but is in the eye of the beholder, but not. It can be also manifest objectively.

Carl Rogers – The originator of “person-centered psychology”, Rogers allowed his patients to direct their own healing through a discovery of,  through authentic communication with the therapist, who serves to mirror and articulate their assessments, a congruence between what they say and who they really are. Rogers believed that if a person can achieve an embodied feeling of authentic expression of their innermost self through truthful communication, they can become whole..

Richard Rohr – A Franciscan monk whose numerous influences include Meister Eckhardt, Carl Jung, Alcoholics Anonymous, Spiral Dynamics and Buddha, Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in the Southwest, which offers programs to revivify faith in the Christian doctrine without the specter of a judgmental and punishing God. Instead, he advocates a relationship with God that is dynamic and complete. Rohr, as do many of the people listed on this page, believes in unifying parts of self into a wholeness that addresses and accepts the totality, and by doing so, according to Rohr, one achieves a full relationship with the divine.

Lao Tzu – The Tao de Ching is an illustration of the experience of the pattern of being. It is a substrate philosophy, one of the few, that gets to the ground of being. The Tao is unnamable, and Laz Tzu’s 3000 year old work attempt to point at this pattern in a short, but deeply profound text that can be read in 3 hours, but whose implications are infinite. In the “center” of everything is the Tao. A person can fight it, or ride with it. To do so requires a shift in consciousness and an oppeness to detecting it – often at the glorious sacrifice of the ego.

Ken Wilber – Integral Theory is a way of determining the multiple levels of experience within the context of the evolution of human consciousness. The theory finds a pattern of engagement that rises in completeness, horizontally as it also expands in a linear fashion across time.

D. W. Winnicott – A child is born with a capacity to attach and to love. It expresses itself authentically, as it cannot to otherwise. The reaction of parents to this expression determines to what extent that authentic (true) self is accepted or rejected. Rejection cultivates false parts of self that must be constructed in order to survive.

Alan Watts – Ushered in the interest in Eastern Philosophy in the 60’s with a series of televised lectures on KQED in 1959-60 that explained simply and through brilliant examples expressing the elements of Mahayana Buddism, Advaita and Tao. Charming, funny and erudite, the former Zen master and Espiscopal minister published over 20 books on how to connect with modern life with an Eastern sensibility.

Irvin Yalom – The originator of Existential psychotherapy, Yalom uses the limitations and potential of our existence – Death, Meaninglessness, Isolation, and uses these limitations to promote a joyous and meaningful engagement in life. Yalom’s method of psychotherapy engages in philosophical reflection of one’s experience as well as a full acceptance of that experience and an invitation of explore it deeply.