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Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psycheby Bill Plotkin
Synopses & Reviews
Depth psychologist Bill Plotkin describes himself as a psychologist gone wild.” As a thinker, author, and wilderness guide, he has been literally breaking new paths for decades. Plotkins revisioning of human psychology is eco-centric, rather than ego-centric. His vision of what it is to be fully human at every stage of life demands profound relationship with the whole of the world of which we are a part. Here, Plotkin uses the four directions — north, south, east, west — to describe facets of the self. Each of these facets is vulnerable to wounding which produces damaging subpersonalities. For example, north represents the nurturing adult but a wound here can result in a rescuer or inner critic. Rather than focusing on solving” such a problem, Plotkin holistically shows readers how to incorporate the missing and soothe wounds. The resulting wholeness joyfully connects public and private, personal and cultural, the human and the more-than-human.
Bill Plotkin describes himself as a psychologist gone wild.” As a cultural visionary, author, and wilderness guide, hes been breaking trail for decades. Plotkins revisioning of psychology invites us into a conscious and embodied relationship with the more-than-human world. In Wild Mind, Plotkin uses the template of the four directions — north, south, east, west — to describe the four facets of the Self (our innate human wholeness) and also four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities to which were all prone. The north facet of the Self, for example, is our nurturing generative adult, while wounded north can take the form of an inner critic or of enacting codependent roles. Rather than proposing to eliminate subpersonalities (which is not possible), Wild Mind shows readers how to cultivate wholeness, heal woundedness (using the resources of the Self), and discover the gifts of the subpersonalities. Plotkin also reveals how cultivating the fourfold Self provides essential resources for the encounter with soul, a necessary threshold crossing for all visionary artisans of cultural renaissance. Wild Mind offers a map to becoming fully human and breaks trail toward a new Western psychology rooted in the rhythms of the Earth in which were embedded.
Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within us, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. Wild Mind identifies these resources — which Bill Plotkin calls the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood. Rather than proposing ways to eliminate our subpersonalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, Plotkin describes how to cultivate the four facets of the Self and discover the gifts of our subpersonalities. The key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not merely to suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, or manage stress but rather to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul-infused story were capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.
About the Author
Bill Plotkin, PhD, is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and agent of cultural transformation. As founder of western Colorados Animas Valley Institute in 1981, he has guided thousands of women and men through nature-based initiatory passages, including a contemporary, Western adaptation of the pan-cultural vision quest. Previously, he has been a research psychologist (studying nonordinary states of consciousness), professor of psychology, psychotherapist, rock musician, and whitewater river guide. Bill is the author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (an experiential guidebook) and Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (a nature-based stage model of human development through the entire lifespan). His doctorate is in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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