Divine Darkness and Divine Light

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Instructor: Stanton Marlan, PhD, ABPP, LP

William James College is excited to announce another lecture in the series that focuses on the current role of Humanistic Psychology in the context of the continually changing dynamics within the field of psychology and mental health practice. While evidence based treatments and behavioral protocols have come to prominence in recent years, humanistic psychology remains at the core of the human transaction and process that is psychotherapy. This lecture series brings esteemed colleagues from around the country whose primary focus is on the humanistic perspective in psychotherapy to help articulate why this perspective remains so vital and necessary in contemporary clinical practice.

Program Description

This talk will explore the mutual overlap and goals between certain psychoanalysts, and mystical philosophers and theologians. Relying primarily on Jung, Lacan, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Henri Corbin, I have followed the thread of the via negativa in analysis, alchemy, mystical theology, and in the Gnostic imagination. In and through the above traditions, the via negativa plays a central role in the emergence and outcome of an experience of transformation. It is this experience of transformation that psychoanalysis and mysticism share. Many of the images of this outcome have been noted, from the solification of the alchemist, to the man of light in Gnostic theophanies, accompanied by an excess of life and abundant Divinity, “wandering joy,” and Jouissance, an ekstasis that opens to a Divine Darkness and a Divine Light. These experiences of illumination, continuing self-negation, and intrinsic positivity do not lead to any static, ontological fixity, but to an ek-static, ongoing, vital process in the midst of finitude and temporality. Between finitude and eternity, alchemical and mystical illumination, in the light of analysis, do not erase mystery but activate and enliven it, making it conscious and a significant part of psychological transformation. For me, mystery, imagination and wonder can be like a wild animal, integral to psychological work -- at a pivot point between being torn apart and/or a renewed vitality.

​PLEASE NOTE: This course is taking place from 9AM-12PM. If you saw any information listing it as 630-830PM, that is incorrect. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Program Code: HP08
Credits: 3 CE Credits
Fees: $50 or $25 for No CE Credits

YouTube Channel

William James College Humanistic Psychology Lecture Series is NOW Online!

The William James College Humanistic Psychology Lecture Series now has its own YouTube Channel! Included are prior lectures by Drs. Irv Yalom, Lionel Corbett, Mark Epstein, Robbie Bosnak, Joseph Cambray and Bob Childs. We will continue to post all new lectures on the channel. We hope that you have fun exploring!

To view these lectures please go to YouTube and search for Humanistic Psychology Lecture Series, or click here.



  • When

  • Saturday, April 7, 2018
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • William James College
    1 Wells Avenue
    Newton, Massachusetts 02459

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