OTHER LIVES, OTHER SELVES: A Jungian Psychotherapist Discovers Past Lives by Roger J. Woolger

OTHER LIVES, OTHER SELVES: A Jungian Psychotherapist Discovers Past Lives

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An amalgam of trendy interests in reincarnation and experimental psychotherapeutic techniques. Woolger, a practicing Jungian psychotherapist, claims that by helping his clients ""remember"" previous lives, deaths, and rebirths, he has been able to clarify and heal a multitude of problems, both emotional and physical. His thesis is served up in a casserole of extremely sketchy descriptions of his clients' problems, sliced into dialogues in which these clients describe their ""past life memories,"" and simmered in generous amounts of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism and standard Jung. Adding spoonfuls of Sufism, Christianity, Reich, Janov, Grof, Orr, Netherton, and Perls, he garnishes with Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Goethe, and Coleridge. The all-too-neat correlations between specific problems and specific ""recalls"" will lead even devout believers in reincarnation to question the validity and convenient accessibility of these particular ""recall"" accounts, which can as readily be viewed as innocently embroidered projections of specific problems into pictur esque narratives. It's an interesting idea and the technique might even be useful in psychotherapy, but Woolger's descriptions of clients who exist as little more than their specific problem, the questionable accounts of ""recall,"" and his willingness at times to regard these accounts of past lives as historical evidence do little to affirm the basic thesis. There is a sense of somewhat rigid ideologies being imposed upon mystical and spiritual ideas and insights. Too many spices in the sauce and not enough meat. Hard to swallow.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday