Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, vividly portrays the journey to healing and transcendence. It was written in a fever, released on December 19, 1843, and sold out before Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge’s visitations by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are vivid depictions of the path from trauma to transformation. As in psychotherapy, Scrooge revisits his past; by reclaiming the feelings he exiled as a child, Scrooge discovers compassion and connection.

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Partings connote a finality of farewell that signifies completion of a relationship. We may part from a stage of life, depart from home or college, or say farewell to a person, process or project. Partings signify the end of a story that has been told and reached conclusion. The Japanese tale of Princess Moonbeam illustrates the importance of accepting a necessary ending: those who could not do so were turned into statues, fixed in eternal stasis.

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People have reported experiences with ghosts from antiquity; Jung documented his encounters with mysterious sensed presences. How do we make meaning of such experiences? Are they visitations from external beings? Could they be related to unconscious reactions to toxic substances, auditory subtleties, or erratic electromagnetic fields?

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While psychiatric diagnostic labels often reify the complexities of psychological dynamics, they can also orient us to the essential qualities of a particular emotional and behavioral field. BPD is characterized by difficulty with affect regulation, intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, impulsive behavior, and a tendency toward highly polarized emotions: idealization / elation versus devaluation / despair. BPD is associated with early relational deficits, especially in caretakers’ capacity to maintain connection when their child is angry or aggressive. If intense early emotional states have not been well moderated, they can take on the force of emotional tsunamis, overwhelm the ego, and lead to impetuous and self-harming behaviors. A deep therapeutic and human process can re-inspire the possibility that one can find one’s center in a human relationship.

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