Joy, Inspiration, and Hope
Analytical Psychology
5.5 x 8.5, 192 pp.
Pub Date: 09/01/2003
Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology
Price:        $16.95

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Joy, Inspiration, and Hope

By Verena Kast
Foreword by David H. Rosen
Translated by Douglas Whitcher

Also available in an open-access, full-text edition at

“Emotion is an expression of the self,” Verena Kast writes in this ground-breaking study of the neglected emotions of joy, inspiration, and hope. “If we decide we no longer want to hide behind empty shells, then we will have to allow certain emotions more room. We will have to let ourselves laugh louder, cry louder, and shout for joy.”

Kast skillfully and engagingly makes the case that not only therapists and analysts but also individuals seeking growth in their own lives should give more attention to the elated emotions. Fear of excess (mania) and analytic preoccupation with grief, anxiety, and depression have together caused joy and hope to be shunned as a focus in individuation (the process toward wholeness). Kast convincingly demonstrates the role of joy in relationship and existential involvement. Joy answers the human need for elated feeling and meaning in our lives, a need which is often filled in modern society by secularized parodies of religious ecstasy, such as addiction and compulsiveness.

Kast explores the Dionysian myth as an archetypal image of the transforming effect of ecstasy on the personality. She considers Sisyphus, the absurd hero of French existentialism, as the symbol for rejection of false hope and joy, rejection which clears the way for true hope rooted in basic trust and the positive mother archetype. She suggests simple techniques for recapturing our joy through development of an autobiography of joy. Using this approach, we can discover what gives us joy personally, how we can best experience joy, and how and why we choke off our joy. By viewing joy, inspiration, and hope as core emotions in our being, we open ourselves to greater wholeness and fuller life.

VERENA KAST holds a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of Zurich. After having served nine years as president of the Swiss Association for Analytical Psychology, she is now vice-president of the International Association of Analytical Psychology. She has published eighteen books in German, three of which—The Nature of Loving, A Time to Mourn, and The Creative Leap—have been translated into English. Her works also appear in Japanese, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Italian. Joy, Inspiration, and Hope is the first of her books to appear originally in English. Kast is professor of psychology at the University of Zurich and an instructor and training analyst at the C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich.

What Readers Are Saying:

“ . . . Kast presents a Jungian existential analysis of joy. While much has been written about the dark emotions of depression and anxiety, joy and hope are often ignored . . . . Certain that civilization today contains a lack of ecstasy and a loss of inspiration, Kast also discusses the relevance of the mythology of Dionysus, mysticism, and religious ecstasy. She follows with a documentation of the existential existence of hope from Sartre and Camus. Her work could be considered the academic counterpart to Norman Cousins (Head First: The Biology of Hope), who endorses Kast’s theories.”--Library Journal

“Dr. Kast’s simplicity of language is deceptively `pop’; she shows both a grasp of the area and a capacity for original thinking which can be valuable, indeed . . . . I can definitely recommend it to those who are, like me, tired of the endless `wounded healer’ imagery and convinced, as is Professor Kast, of the tremendous value of joy, inspiration, and hope.”--Psychological Perspectives

“ . . . brims with insights.”--Choice

“Verena Kast, a professor of psychology at the University of Zurich, has written an engaging and thought-provoking book on the neglected emotions of elation. This paperback is brimming over with insights into the emotions of joy, inspiration, and hope.” --Spirituality & Health

“Verena Kast’s book has delighted me. I spent an otherwise gray afternoon with it and emerged glowing with respect for her and for our field of analytical psychology. Starting with a deceptively simple, remarkably complete presentation of emotion itself, which she understands as a highly complex regulatory system governing our relations with others as well as with ourselves, she proceeds to unmask the importance of the higher emotions in tuning this communal unconscious aliveness. She completely transforms our valuation of empathy for life, an attitude that since Freud, has usually been approached by depth psychology as a defensive, transcending illusion. Just to read that the `entire body can beam’ (as mine did when I had finished this book); that we need not delude ourselves that we are `in love’ to make room for the psychological experience of `mutual delight’; that we should be writing `biographies of joy’; that `we have much more energy than we usually assume’; and that we are `not only flung into life, as the emotion of anxiety suggests, but we are also sustained’ is to know that one is learning from a new kind of psychological master. She is a realist about our emotional possibilities and a thinker unafraid to offer concepts that can make us enjoy them. There isn’t a page without a memorable passage, or without fun. In her existential re-examination of mania, in her canny glance under Sisyphus’ rock to find a gleam of polished hope, and in her magical ability to breathe new life into a distinguished hermeneutics of Dionysus, we are led as by an inspiring daimon toward a celebration of the authentic possibilities of renewal. To this effort she brings the conviction of her own joyous realism, which never neglects the breadth of her clinical experience with human problems even as she probes the heights of human possibilities. She has instilled new hope in me about what we can expect from our field—which after 100 years has so much left to learn about its own subject, the resilient human psyche.” --John Beebe

“Psychotherapists spend most of their time treating people who are notably lacking in joy, inspiration, and hope; and so have little to say about these vital aspects of existence. Dr. Kast has performed a valuable service by making them the subjects of her lectures. I particularly appreciated her technique of encouraging patients to recapture moments of joy by writing autobiography. Even the most depressed person must have had some experiences of joy; and reliving these through writing about then makes it more likely that they will reappear. This is an unusual and valuable book.”--Anthony Storr

“Verena Kast's rescue of joy, inspiration and hope from the grey margins to which psychology has banished them could well mark a turning-point for the field. For, in this most Dionysian of books, she challenges and overturns many of the assumptions and clichés which bedevil us: That childhood is always a horrid period, dominated by defective and abusing parents; that elation and ecstasy are somehow immature and suspicious; that healing exclusively involves suffering; that hope is delusive and hostile to so-called reality."--Andrew Samuels

“A practical work about ethereal emotions, this book offers a taxonomy of positive emotional states. Psychotherapists, educators, writers of fiction, and poets will discover meaning and metaphor in descriptions and examples of those emotions that motivate and carry us into creative activity. Dr. Kast’s clear, crisp style and her rich clinical examples invite her reader to enjoy an engagement with unusually inspiring material. Here is the ‘heart mind’ of our emotional life.”--Polly Young-Eisendrath

“The book combines superb content with literary quality. In fact, just in the act of reading the book you experience the very emotions identified in the title. . . . Kast [contributes] so handsomely to the means by which human beings can profit from important aspects of their uniqueness.”--Norman Cousins, author of Head First: The Biology of Hope

" . . . simple, straightforward and written in an easy style for readers who have had no exposure to analytical psychology. The book has a glossary of terms and the language is relaxes and conversational. . . a curious book which reveals how difficult it is to stay pop in a field which forces us to become serious and introspective."--Journal of Analytical Psychology


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