#331 – A Jungian Approach to Addiction with David Schoen, PhD


Jungian Analyst David Schoen has over 30 years experience as an addictions counselor. He is a senior analyst in the Inter Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and the cofounder of the Jung Society of Baton Rouge. He is a lecturer, writer of several internationally published books and a Louisiana poet. His books include Divine Tempest: The Hurricane as a Psychic Phenomenon and The War of Gods in Addiction: C.G. Jung, Alcoholics Anonymous and Archetypal Evil.

My strategic partners have some special offers for you in connection with this interview. First of all, if you use my discount code of DRDAVE on Jung Platform you can get 25% off the regular $19.75 price for an hour-and-a-half video DVD of a lecture or 25% off on the $12.75 for the audio lecture that Dr. Schoen gave on this same topic. Then, as if that’s not enough, you can participate in an online book discussion about the book on the Depth Psychology Alliance website. Dr. Schoen will be dropping in on the bulletin-board type discussion from time to time and be available every week on a tele-seminare with the readers and listeners.

You’ll find links for these two opportunities on the Shrink Rap Radio website and in my show notes.http://www.jungplatform.com/2012/03/david-schoen-addiction-aa-and-jungian-psychology-free-lecture/

Here is the link to the book club discussion , which will run from January 1 to January 31, 2013 www.depthinsights.com/pages/book_club/addiction-jungian-archetypes-schoen-jan2013.html

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copyright 2012: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. gloria
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I must say this interview opened up a can of worms for me – in a good way. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that David’s ideas have received a hostile reaction from some quarters, as he says towards the end of the interview.

    When I first heard the interview, I listened to it twice over and immediately bought the eBook and read it. It answered so many puzzling questions for me. I also think its contribution goes way beyond addiction. If I hadn’t already committed to the Red Book Course I would have joined the book discussion offered.

    I grew up in a mining town in the fifties where problem drinking and alcoholism were rife. The vast majority of people also smoked. No small wonder given the working and living conditions in the town and the paucity of other avenues of recreation and entertainment. Social life revolved around the hotels.

    Somehow or other I escaped the conditioning but have still had a lot of issues to deal with from having been immersed in that kind of culture throughout my formative years and especially the dynamics within my own family.

    One thing I have often wondered about is what factors mitigate against being pulled into repeating the dysfunctional patterns and I can only conclude that it is the influence of the ‘archetypal good.’ As a child I was very religious in a non religious household and though I rejected it in my late teens and considered myself an atheist for 30 years, I suspect I had absorbed and retained enough of the positive aspects of the religion to prevent me from falling into the sorts of addictive behaviours that were rife in my environment.

    Having said that, I’ve had my share of challenges to deal with and it was a ‘religious conversion’ type experience I had during a time of crisis 16 years ago that led me to A Course in Miracles and set me on the Jungian individuation process path. The two paths are very compatible with each other, as AA is with Jungian psychology.

    I am totally convinced from personal experience, as David Schoen says in his interview, that we all need an authentic spirituality, whether we are addicts or not.

    Another informative and thought provoking interview Dr. Dave, presented with your usual respectful but penetrating style. Tom Elsnar’s interview on ‘Jung and Politics’ is another great contribution to the topic of how the archetypal shadow plays out in a wider context.

  2. Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Hey… just had some dots kinda join….

    David was talking about religious experience involving the collapse of the ego, and Sabine Spielrein had the idea of the destruction of the ego in the sexual act. I remember Dr. Dave talking about his first sexual experience and talking about some sort of profound spiritual feeling around it. I’m wondering if there’s a link in terms of ego, letting go, and spirituality that may be of use to someone?

    Kind of a half-formed thought there, hopefully someone can join some dots better than me!

  3. Dr. Michael Ocana
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    First of all, this was a very thought provoking interview. Thank you!
    By the way…LOL when the dog started growling at the mention of Archtypal Evil.

    Two thoughts – 1) I fully understand what Shoen is referring to when he refers to the intense “posession” like aspect of human nature that takes hold in addiction. It is truly tenacious, and I would agree that a breakdown of the ego is often necessary in order to introduce real meaningful change.

    2) I do not feel comfortable with referring to the powerful force underlying addiction as “Archtypal Evil” and even less so with describing it as an “infection” of the soul. These terms are too loaded with baggage and bring up metaphors of “exorcisms”, sterilization and witch burnings. The concept of evil brings up too much fear and shame for it to be a helpful construct in psychotherapy, in my opinion. The key to overcoming the powerful force that underlies addiction is the power of compassion…. and the concept of evil tends to stifle compassion rather than arouse it. I would agree with the premise that powerful spiritual and healing forces are necessary to successfully break the power of addiction.

    Great interview!

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