Journal Article — Regression in the Service of Transcendence: Reading Michael Washburn — by Shoshana Lev

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Abstract

Michael Washburn’s idea (1995) of using regression as a process that may actually serve spiritual development is attractive for many reasons. First, it transmutes a more pathological orientation toward manifestations of psychological suffering into one that has the ability to hold greater value for the life purpose of an individual. Instead of viewing people as clusters of symptoms needing to be treated, or as less spiritually evolved when suffering is present, Washburn offers a model that places suffering within a larger paradigm of spiritual unfolding. This approach may be quite helpful to those in the spiritual and psychotherapeutic communities, as clients or practitioners, because it allows a frame from which to view what may seem like a mere snapshot metamorphose into a full motion picture by allowing presenting symptoms to have a larger meaning. However, it is also important not to reify theoretical concepts by creating a kind of orthodox dogma with potential to do more harm than good. Fortunately, Washburn himself is not a Washburn fundamentalist and does address issues surrounding instances of severe pathology. Though he does not provide treatment options or any clinical solutions, he does provide an overarching framework within which regressive experience and suffering can have meaning. He constructs a place where the prism of experience is never severed from the dynamic ground of which it and all things emerge.

Recommended Citation

Lev, Shoshana. 2005/2006. “Regression in the Service of Transcendence: Reading Michael Washburn.” Pp. 207-210 in Student Scholarships of Learning (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume IV, Issues 1&2, 2005/2006). Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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