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This overview provides all the links to Center for Story and Symbol courses and their descriptions, reading lists, day schedules, current locations, and registration information. For convenience, we've also included a Frequently Asked Questions sidebar. Articles and community resources are listed on the Resources List
Currently Offered Courses
Frequently Asked Questions
Dates and Locations for Current Courses
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The Wisdom of Mythic Stories: Through storytelling and lively discussion of the Wizard of OZ, we will explore how favorite stories reflect adult psychological dynamics and offer guidance for those dealing with life-stage transitions.
Law & Ethics 9: Suicide and the Soul: When the pain of life becomes overwhelming, thoughts of ending the suffering can rise. This is one of the most challenging situations in the work of anyone in a helping profession. Any possibility that a client might be considering taking their life mobilizes all of our skills. This day, our ninth seminar on Law and Ethics is on how to evaluate the risk and reduce the possibility of self-destruction.
The Good Life seminar is about savoring the harvest experience in adulthood and maturity. Enhanced self-knowledge is one of the benefits of age. While there can be challenges, adapting to changes creatively can deepen well-being. We will consider strategies for living authentically in the wisdom years.
These courses include finding key metaphors in movies to deepen understanding of emotional issues, how to discuss popular films to normalize perceptions of problems - and to help evoke personal qualities, such as courage, tenderness, and flexibility.
Cinematherapy and Inner Process: The mythic imagination comes alive when we contemplate movies that have influenced us. Our emotional reactions to films can stimulate significant psychological work. Those on the inner journey can reflect on how elements of a story parallel their own discoveries. The awareness aroused by movie can be used effectively in therapy and for self-care. This is a day on using movies for inner work.
Movies & the Mythic Imagination: The course explores uses of movies to increase understanding of emotional life. It is an introduction to how popular culture can reflect adult psychological challenges. The plots and characters in movies reflect a broad range of human concerns and difficulties. The training includes how to detect psychological themes in stories as presented on screen - and how to use examples from movies in discussions of personal issues. Examples illustrate the value of modeling actions on those of significant fictional characters such as heroes, mentors and allies. Discussion points out parallels between dreamwork and cinematherapy. The seminar also considers how movies can show individuals that others face the same problems.
Vocation of the Mentor: Drawing upon familiar characters, such as Mary Poppins and Gandalf (in The Lord of the Rings), we focus on finding the most effective methods of supporting and expanding the skills of others and on how to serve as a worthy example of integrity.
Thresholds of Initiation: Our second supervision course draws on Charlotte's Web to explore the inner life of training and managing others. Supporting those who are acquiring new skills is a delicate task worthy of care and reflection.
The Inner Life of Holidays: As nights grow longer, festivities stimulate the senses and stir poignant memories. Popular stories, customs, music and images are rich with nostalgia, awakening hopes for fulfillment. Archetypal aspects of such traditions can be guides to personal integration and psychological maturity. This course investigates seasonal issues as opportunities for growth. Instruction includes coming to terms with emotional vulnerability, and self-care for practitioners. The main focus is on autumn and winter events, but other special days are considered as well, in this exploration of the psychological dimensions of gatherings and celebrations.
Soul of Ethics: More than a review of rules, this course strives to draw out the best in dedicated practitioners. The focus is on appreciating the values that attract people to the work of helping others. This day aims to inspire clinicians to claim their personal systems of applied ethics. To this end, we examine familiar stories and films about admirable professionals from a range of occupations. The goal is to evoke the essence of integrity. Ethics in depth involves awareness of our own personal qualities and counter-transference. It takes more than a good working knowledge of regulations to put values into practice on a daily basis. Attention is given to what moves distinguished colleagues to meet high standards consistently with grace.
Ethics and Character: A day on the unconscious dimensions of honor and values. The course looks at the Shadow archetype and challenges of staying accountable for misplaced emotional reactions. Storytelling includes The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe plus scenes from other tales that reflect ethical issues, such as managing personal limitations. This philosophical exploration of integrity is for those who want to work from their best qualities and ideals.
Ethics in Depth Psychology: Our third course on ethics focuses on how shifts in our sense of identity can influence decision-making. Developing more complex access to inner states opens the possibility of working with others at deeper levels. This enhanced quality of engagement presents unique ethical challenges.
Law & Ethics 4, Phantoms in Risk Management: Intense work in the helping professions involves dealing with our own unconscious processes. Our fourth course on ethics uses The Phantom of the Opera to illustrate how personal issues can influence ethical choices.
Law & Ethics 5, Managing Difficult Situations: Our fifth course on ethics focuses on the emotional challenges of mental health callings. There are times in professional lives that seem like dark nights of the soul. Mythic lore sees such troubles as stages of transformation. We will focus on personal benefits and applications to clinical practice.
Law & Ethics 6, Supervision and Risk Management: Our sixth course on ethics focuses on Harry Potter and the wizard's guide to integrity. This one-day course combines Law and Ethics and Supervision. The six-hour course satisfies both the mandated class in law and ethics ~ and six-hour update on supervision. It would be of interest to anyone who finds themselves in a mentoring role. Virtually all work in the helping professions includes guidance or coaching, so this material has wide applications.
Law & Ethics 7: Risk Management Reliability: Our seventh course on Law and Ethics uses the tale of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to explore the place of sensitivity in ethical practice. This is a six-hour class on inner workings of character and values in the helping professions.
Law & Ethics 8: Minimizing Liability in Practice and Supervision: Our eighth course on Law and Ethics uses the tale of Anne of Green Gables to explore minimizing liability and risk management in ethical practice. This is a six-hour class on minimiing liability and ethics in the helping professions.
Invoking the Sage: Savoring the inner life and connections with others can be the rewards of our later years. We will discuss elder and mentor stories to explore how to plan well for the harvest experience in maturity. Anyone with an interest is welcome. Fulfills Aging and Long-Term Care course requirements.
Claiming Our Stories: Lives have underlying patterns. We will look at maturation as a project of inventing a successful life story, cultivating a vision that nurtures one's best qualities, finding authenticity, and having compassion towards oneself and others.
Beloved of the Soul: Love stories from folklore reflect psychological life in amazing detail. Romantic fantasies are a window into the world within the individual. This course goes beyond couple issues to focus on how the inner journey is revealed in classic courtship tales.
Beloved of the Soul - Description and Day Schedule
Finding Your Way Back Home: This seminar enters the mythic imagination to explore the journey toward wholeness. We will discuss Hansel & Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood to see how timeless tales can help in our journeys. This course was previously titled Through the Dark Forest.
Psychology of Creativity: This course examines universal elements of the imagination - and draws on timeless stories, such as Alice in Wonderland and Robin Hood, to look at unique issues faced by highly creative people. We will discuss blocks and other challenges unique to artistic endeavors.
The Symbolism of Fairytales: Favorite stories from childhood can have subtle influences on adult identity. This course covers how to analyze familiar tales for metaphors rich in psychological insights. Focus is on the Cinderella stories, to show how allegories can reveal elements of the inner life.
The Search for Meaning: This course looks at the great quest stories as guides to finding place and purpose. We will draw insights from the legends of the Holy Grail and discuss how a strong sense of meaning can aid in identity formation.
Writing in Therapy: These special evening sessionsdemonstrate using writing for inner exploration. The workshops include brief spontaneous writing activities with discussion of how writing in response to images opens awareness of the stirrings of the unconscious.