“We cannot roam with abandon in the precincts of the spirit. Our vessel must be such that we can receive and hold these enormous influences. Soul takes up residence on earth in our bodies, affects, and imagination – and in human wisdom and logic.”

The Matrix and Meaning of Character, P259


Below are just a few of the reviews of The Matrix and Meaning of Character — An Archetypal and Developmental Approach.

Thomas Kelly, M.S.W. is a senior training analyst, was President of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and now serves on the Executive Board of the IAAP (the International Association of Analytic Psychology). He is the current President of the Council of North American Societies of Jungian Analysts (CNASJA). He has a private practice in Montreal and teaches and lectures widely.

“This book manages to weave together threads of the archetypal and the clinical into a sophisticated and poetic exploration of spirit and soul. It presents a unique model of character disorders that reveals the relationships between diagnostic categories and is a must read for therapists drawn to the clinical acumen of Nancy McWilliam's Psychoanalytic Diagnosis. Grounded in practical examples, the authors masterfully guide the reader, through a rich integration of images and clinical wisdom, to understanding that ‘we transform through our character structures, not in spite of them,’”

James Hollis, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, senior training analyst in the InterRegional Society of Jungian Analysts and Director of Jung Center of Houston, TX, has authored numerous books.  His most recent is Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves. Dr. Hollis lectures widely on Jungian Psychology.

“Too much psychotherapy emphasizes description, category, treatment plan, and ignores the dynamism of each human soul. In The Matrix and Meaning of Character, Jungian analysts Dougherty and West revivify our understanding and our language around the many ways psyche organizes itself in response to early traumata. They remind us that psyche is a dynamic energy system, not a set of clinical categories, and they provide case studies and archetypal stories which illustrate this shape-shifting drama playing through that fragile field and form we call character.”

Lyn Cowan, Ph.D author, lecturer, Jungian analyst, prior President of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts is the author of Masochism: A Jungian View, Tracking the White Rabbit: A Subversive View of Modern Culture and most recently, Portrait of the Blue Lady: The Character of Melancholy.

“At last! An original new work that puts ‘character’ rather than ‘neurosis’ at the heart of our psychic realities and wounds, that pours the fresh water of living language over those arid diagnostic categories, and does it with imagination, intelligence, sensitivity, and the power of story. Read it. Just do it.”

Michael Kahn, Ph.D., author of Basic Freud: Psychoanalytic Thought for the 21st Century, has also written Between Therapist and Client and The Tao of Conversation and is a clinical psychologist in private practice. Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Dr. Kahn is presently director of a counseling center at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he trains psychotherapists.

“The clinical world has long been divided between those who depend on diagnosis as a guide, and those who find diagnosis unacceptably restrictive and lifeless. In this wonderfully useful book, the authors provide us with a diagnostic system that is instructive, comprehensive, and, at last, illuminated by the poetry of archetype . I expect that this book will, for years to come, provide clinicians with a way of not only understanding one's choice of defensive strategy, but also seeing the rich beauty of character.”

John Beebe, Jungian Analyst, is Founding Editor of The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal and author of Integrity in Depth.

“This is an impressively honest attempt to address the reality of the psyche in the area of character defenses, and the authors prove that Jungian psychology is up to the job.  Clinicians will find a well of empathy to refresh their understandings of the difficult personality traits…”

Ronald Schenk, Ph.D., President of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, has authored several books, including The Soul of Beauty: Toward a Psychology of Appearance; Dark Light: The Appearance of Death in Everyday Life; and The Sunken Fish, the Wasted Fisher, the Pregnant Fish: Postmodern Reflections on Depth Psychology. He has a private practice in both Dallas and Houston, Texas, and lectures widely.

“This is a book for which those of us who practice the everyday clinical work of depth psychology have been waiting a long time. While honoring the archetypal mode of diagnosis, it bridges the gap between Freudian memory and Jung's vision of the intentionality of the psyche, between the developmental and symbolic ways of seeing personality. The thrust of the book is a bold analytic reimagination, correcting Freud's view of personality limitation and Jung's fantasy of personality transcendence. Instead the authors see within the confines of character a destiny enlivened by spirit, a world of wholeness emerging from within the grain of character. They do so by presenting us with an original developmental model, which they then animate with images from myth and fairy tale. The result is an original and valuable container for the main streams of depth psychology.”

Catharine J. Jones, M. Div., LCSW, current President and former Director of Training at the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago, lectures both nationally and internationally.

“This original matrix of archetypal and developmental concepts will be useful for the seasoned practitioner and student alike, and is likely to become a much-used reference. The work's capacity to orient the clinician amidst diagnostic considerations and movements within analysis is immensely practical and inspiring.”

Jerome S. Bernstein, M.A., is the author of Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma, as well as of Power and Politics: The Psychology of Soviet-American Partnership. Prior President of the C.G. Jung Institute of Santa Fe, Mr. Bernstein is in private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  

“For  the most illuminating view of Character as the source of healing and transformation, this book is the book to read.  While, "character" is most often referred to as disorder, diagnosis absent paradox is absent meaning.  It cannot point the way to the wellspring, the source, of healing -- one's own character and one's own soul.  Jacqueline West and Nancy Dougherty have cleared a path to that paradox and show us how to hold the resulting tension.  They have done so in a well articulated and poetic way.”

Stanton Marlan, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst and adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at Duquesne University. The author of  Fire in the Stone: The Alchemy of Desire and most recently The Black Sun: The Alchemy and Art of Darkness.   Dr. Marlan edited the Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice and Salt and the Alchemical Soul.

“Finally, a Jungian book on character that links sensitive clinical insights to the mythopoetic imagination and to the developmental dynamism of the archetypal psyche. Nancy Dougherty and Jacqueline West have written an original and deeply significant book that brings together the best insights of contemporary analysis and is a virtual map of the soul. A must-read for clinicians and scholars of all persuasions, this is a book on character that has character, and one destined to become a classic in the field.”