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The Roots of Mass Shootings: Depth Psychology & Gun Violence

  • Broadcast in Psychology



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After the mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, in December 2013, I moderated a 2-part teleseminar series with Jungian analyst Michael Conforti for the Depth Psychology community and the general public in which we engaged in a depth psychological and archetypal discussion about the event.

In preparation, I opened Issue 81 of Spring Journal (2009), a long running publication of Archetype and Culture called "The Psychology of Violence." Inside, I discovered a powerful and intriguing article by psychologist and professor, Glen Slater, entitled "The Mythology of Bullets." In the essay, Slater addresses the major mainstream issues that always arise in such devastating events: gun violence, media influence, and mental health. 

However, Slater goes much deeper to look at the archetypal aspects of guns in America, how our inherent cultural roots come into play, and how the uncompromising drive of the American Dream insists we succeed at any cost. This drive enables us to project the causes of our failure onto others; to do whatever it takes to remove the perceived obstacles that have defeated and marginalized us, and to objectify fellow human beings. 

More, with little cultural capacity for reflection or container in which we can view our failures, difficulties, sadness, anger, and depression, we reach out for the one mythical object that allows us to regain control--a gun.

Join me with Dr. Glen Slater for an engaging and important discussion of the roots of mass shootings and the depth psychological and archetypal aspects of guns in America.

Glen Slater Ph.D. holds degrees in Religious Studies and in Clinical Psychology and has taught Jungian and Archetypal perspectives at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara for nearly two decades. Glen is the film review editor at Spring Journal and a regular contributor to that public