Dean, M: Psychological Methodology in Light of Jung’s Multiple-Epistemologies and Gebser’s Pluralistic Model of Consciousness


Mark Dean


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The dominant trend within contemporary psychology reflects an attempt to establish an accounting of the psyche that reduces its nature so that it conforms to a single mode of consciousness, a late mental mode. This process, while asserting itself as establishing an understanding of the psyche on firm scientific footing, and thus gaining control over psychological experience, is actually both regressive and destructive. By utilizing a single mode of inquiry, and authentication, it distorts, rather than clarifies, the nature of the psyche. More problematically, it establishes a hierarchic and hegemonic stance within the plurality of modes of awareness made available through the evolution of consciousness, artificially elevating the manipulation of human cognition and behavior to the status of psychological operations. Additionally, the assertion that the form of mentality which evolved in correspondence with the material order, could account for phenomena that are more than physical, represents a misapplication of descriptive means. Psychological phenomena are primarily constellated rather than constructed, arising, as Jung’s said of the “Inner Image” , “…from the most varied sources” (Jung, 1936). Consequently observation of psychological phenomena requires a participating observer, one whose point of observation is interior to the psychological drama, and whose consciousness is capable of engagement with a plurality of modes of consciousness and the variety of forms of phenomena, to which they correspond. Reconsidering Jung’s utilization, of shifting, and often divergent, epistemologies, against a background of the Gebser’s description of the pluralistic nature of consciousness, aids us in understanding the necessity of analytic process as a methodological approach to the psyche that conforms to its intrinsic nature (Gebser, 1985). It also clarifies the necessity of the structural nature of the analytic ritual.

Presenter Bio:

Mark Dean, MA, LPC, is a Jungian Analyst practicing in the Philadelphia area. He is currently Vice President of the Philadelphia Association of Jungian Analysts, a member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and the International Association of Analytic Psychologists. His background includes over 30 years of practice as an art therapist, an extensive fine arts exhibiting career, and teaching at Arcadia University near Philadelphia. Additionally, Mark is the Co-Founder of the Center for Psyche and the Arts and currently active in training analytic candidates, conducting supervision, and lecturing on analytic psychology. Mark lectures and teaches on issues associated with analytic practice, imagery, and the nature of consciousness, as these pertain to the ethical practice of psychotherapy.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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