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Annual Meeting

A Manual for Living with Defeat: 

An Introduction toThe Songs of Leonard Cohen


Presented by Kurt Goerwitz, PhD


link to audio file

Sunday,  4:00 PM - 6:00 PM,  June 10th,  2018


Many patients seek psychotherapeutic treatment while suffering a defeat in their lives, such as the loss of a job or career, the refusal of a publisher or art gallery to accept their work, the loss of a loved one through divorce or death, the loss of property, loss of a lawsuit, loss of physical health or loss of faith.  This suffering may be somewhat relieved temporarily with medication or various cognitive/behavioral techniques, but if the patient is able to go through the psychological journey from shock and anger, through fear, confusion, into grief, despair and finally acceptance of the death of their previous reality, then an altered personality may be born out of this darkness with greater wisdom, humility and compassion for the other suffering human beings in this world.  Leonard Cohen's most important songs provide a highly condensed psychological map of this journey of transformation.  A deeper understanding of his work will help us to accompany our patients as they seek the healing of these wounds and to help us see that each must do this in their own way and in their own time.

  • Course objectives:

  • Tell the difference between signs and symbols.

  • Identify and amplify (using the synthetic method) symbols in poetry, songs, literature and dreams.

  • Recognize the major archetypal symbols of the: Anima; Great Mother; Animus; Savior; and the symbols of transformation from the Nigredo, to the Albedo, to the Rubedo; Death and Rebirth.

  • Understand the ritual of "sitting shiva" as going into the darkness of grief and finding soul, accepting death and submitting to transformation and rebirth.

  • Use song as "homeopathic medicine" with lyrics that speak of the defeats in life and open the corresponding wounds, constellating the healer archetype at the transpersonal level of the psyche.


Kurt Goerwitz, PhD, was born in New York City and at age 6 moved to Southern California.  He received his doctorate in psychology from UCSB, trained as a Jungian analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, and was certified in 1988.  Kurt is past president of the Jung Institute of Los Angeles.  He is in private practice in Santa Barbara.

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