Jungian Analyst & Author Dr. Del McNeely Finds Psychotherapy in Decline

Jungian Psychoanalyst and author, Dr. Del McNeely, in her book, Mercury Rising: Women, Evil  and the Trickster Gods, explains the value of the Trickster archetype.

The Trickster plays a critical role in psychotherapy, says McNeely. As an archetype of transition,  the Trickster can guide the journey of “individuation” that is essential in psychotherapy. The  Trickster mediates between the conscious and unconscious world, Dr. McNeely points out, a  needed requirement in psychotherapy for truth and psychological growth.

In her book Becoming, she considers the issue that personal growth for the individual is being  dismissed by both the profession and the medical industrial complex. What does she think are  the main problems with today’s marketplace and the dismissive approach to individuals’ growth and development?

“I believe the more we uncover, the more light shines through onto the conscious world and the wider and deeper our vision becomes,” Dr. McNeely said.

“Medication can help us feel better, but it does not get us to any new information about our  complex selves. Only talking and opening to new thinking can do that. After listening to my  interview with Laura London, I wondered, ‘Did I get across the sense that individuating implies  that one becomes, not more introverted and self-obsessed, but more aware of one’s  responsibility to society?’ I do address this in the book, but I may not have focused much on it in the interview. A consequence of individuating is that one recognizes the importance of  contributing to one’s fellow human beings with empathy, compassion, and active participation  in society.”

Dr. McNeely recently heard an interview with a prominent psychiatrist who presides over an  eminent medical complex, and he spoke for one hour about the problem of the shortage of  Adderall and other anxiety reducing drugs. He talked about how this was attempted to be  handled, how people could minimize their concerns until the drug was replaced, but Dr.  McNeely said she was shocked he never once mentioned psychotherapy. This should be  distressing she noted, in view of the many studies that show how talk therapy is much more  successful than medication alone in treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, obsessive- compulsive, and other psychiatric disorders.

Does she have any ideas for how this can be remedied?

“You can’t accompany someone to a level of consciousness you have not attained yourself,” Dr.  McNeely said. “There is great satisfaction in resolving a complex that has held power over you  for years; to feel compulsions resolve and give way to conscious choices; to watch resentments  and hatreds unravel and disappear in good will; to feel gratitude replace bitterness; to see a  third solution to opposites that were impossible to resolve previously; to see the larger of  several possibilities; to recognize old ego problems you have outgrown; to have a wider vision, a larger container for truth; to find attitudes soften and bodily tensions relax.”

And what is her advice to psychotherapists in today’s culture?

“Experience in depth psychotherapy should be part of every psychologist’s training. Enjoy the  privilege of being present as people examine their souls,” said Dr. McNeely. “Psychologists  should plan financially to include a sliding scale payment plan in which long-term patients can  afford, as well as offering some pro-bono work for the benefit of the community. Enjoy  gratitude. Psychotherapists know the value of Jung’s approach through clinical results, that is,  watching people enlarge their consciousness and change their attitudes and behavior,  transforming their suffering into psychological well-being.

“However, psychology’s fascination with behavioral techniques, made necessary by financial  concerns and promoted by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, has changed  the nature of psychotherapy, and has attempted to dismiss the wisdom of Jung and other  pioneers of the territory of the unconscious mind,” Dr. McNeely said.

Dr. McNeely is a founding member of the New Orleans Jungian Training Seminar, an  organization that trains analysts as part of the Inter-regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and  she remains on the faculty. She is also advisor to the C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans.

“I consider the society a valuable asset to our culture, as we try to present a vision of  psychoanalysis to the public that is more than the Freudian model that was so popular in the  mid-1900s. Freud and Jung both understood the importance of the unconscious.”

What have been some of the most satisfying experiences she has had in mentoring and training others?

“In practicing analysis this observation of Jung has brought me great satisfaction as I can watch  person expand their range of awareness beyond their personal being and become more  conscious of their connection to a larger reality,” Dr. McNeely said. “Most people begin analysis  with uncovering their repressed early history (Freud) and continue on to discover the energetic  center that Jung describes. This is a transformation that is very rewarding for me.”

Dr. McNeely is distinguished in the community for her books and plays. Among her  publications, she has authored four books on Jungian psychology – Touching: Body Therapy &  Depth Psychology; Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine; Mercury Rising: Women,  Evil, & the Trickster Gods; and Becoming: An Introduction to Jung’s Concept of Individuation.

“I’ve also written a memoir,” she explained, “A Russian Lullaby, about my three years in the  Soviet Union. And my one-act play, Visions of Genius, addresses the relationship between Jung, James Joyce, and his daughter Lucia. It was performed on the  evening of March 18, 2016, to benefit the C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans.”

An Atheist, a Priest, and a Jungian Analyst Walk into a Bar, another one-act play, written and  directed by Dr. McNeely, was performed in 2019, also as a fund raiser for the C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans. The actors, all volunteers, gave a staged reading at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of  New Orleans where the Jung Society programs are held.

The play puts forth ideas about many controversial topics in the public awareness today,  explained Dr. McNeely. Examples are: the existence of God; the status of women; attitudes  toward abortion, the clergy and celibacy; college politics; student disquietude; intolerance of  different religions and races; the importance of imagination.

Dr. McNeely said in a previous interview with Laura London, “My books have come about when  something in my life spoke to me and wanted to be expanded upon, like the Trickster complex,  women’s poetry, etc. But I think my main object in writing and speaking is to convey the experience of contentment that comes when we expand consciousness and that connection to  a larger self is made and felt.” She further stated in the interview, “That was a fundamental motive in writing Becoming. I feel  so strongly that someone has to convey this message to young people. You can learn through  talk-therapy to change most problem areas that cause trouble in your life. It takes longer but is  in the end healthier and more rewarding than taking medications and drugs to change behavior faster. Find an analyst you feel compatible with and talk on a regular basis. Talk over your concerns, your feelings about the therapy and the therapist as well, your doubts, dreams,  failures, pride, hopes, traumas, loves, losses … all.”

Dr. McNeely received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University and has  held the Diplomate in Clinical Psychology through the American Board of Professional  Psychology for over 50 years. She studied at the C.G. Jung Institute Zürich and completed her training as an analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts in the United States.

How did she choose her career path?

“I began a lengthy psychoanalysis while in graduate school with a Freudian, the brilliant Ed  Knight,” Dr. McNeely said. “I then applied for training at his suggestion but was turned down  because the New Orleans training institute could not take another woman and non-MD at that  time. But several years later I learned about the Jung Institute in Switzerland and realized it was  even more to my inclination, and I was accepted there for training.”

“In graduate school of psychology at LSU, I had the good fortune of having some wonderful  clinicians as professors, like Tom Richards, Joe Dawson, Paul Young and others. They taught  that our best work required developing our most conscious selves. The therapist’s instrument of change is oneself. We were encouraged to seek therapy, to know  ourselves,” Dr. McNeely said.

Where did she get her training in Jungian Analysis and what was it like?

“After spending a year in Zurich, I could not afford to keep living abroad and had to continue  analytic training in the United States. Upon returning to the US, I learned about the newly  formed, InterRegional Society of Jungian Analysts and continued my training there,” she said.

“The training usually takes about 6 years, but I spent much longer due to taking time off to  marry and accompany my husband on his engineering job in the Ukraine. I was in training at  the InterRegional Society of Jungian Analysts from 1974 to 1986. I found the material more  difficult when I was first exposed to Jung’s ideas in Zurich, and so different from the Freudian  and behavioristic programs I was familiar with.

“But then I began to love the readings and discussions, and never tired of doing psychotherapy and analysis. And observing the growth of consciousness in each person. Training included seminars and classes, individual supervision of case work, mentoring and examinations by  committees who observed our progress, and continuing individual analysis,” Dr. McNeely said.








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