The Mirage of Truth: Psychology of Illusion and Self-Deception in Radical Beliefs

Vlado Solc, M.S., LCPC, CSAC, ICS, Jungian Analyst
Thursdays, March 7, 14, 21, and 28 | 5:00 – 6:15pm Central Time
5 CEs Available


This online course explores the psychological dynamics and root causes of radical beliefs, including cults, extreme religions, and conspiracy theories. Participants will engage in an in-depth psychological analysis, examining the dynamics of entanglement in the unconscious energies of the Self.

Coined by the author, the term “Dark Religion” includes fanatical, radical, and extreme belief systems, leading to significant conflicts on both personal and cultural levels, including terrorism, possessions, and wars.

The concept of Dark Religion reveals that spirituality is an intrinsic dimension of human life, fulfilling one of its most essential needs. However, it takes a troubling turn into the “dark” when it denies, ignores, or separates itself from its vital roots. The course examines the dynamics between ego-consciousness and unconscious contents from the perspective of Jungian psychology.

Key Course Topics

Understanding Dark Religion: Explore how spirituality turns “dark” when disconnected from its vital roots, leading to the development of extreme belief systems.

Exploring Various Ego-Self Dynamics: Investigate unhealthy, non-credible relationships to unconscious contents resulting in projection, identification, alienation, inflation, or possession.

Psychological and Mythological Dimensions: Examine mythological and clinical parallels of the phenomena of Dark Religion. Explore psychological dynamics underlying conspiracism and other non-credible representations of numinous energies in consciousness. The course will also explore possible reasons why the ego clings to dark religions and self-deceptive beliefs. What constitutes excessive or unhealthy adherence?

This course offers a comprehensive examination of the psychological underpinnings of radical beliefs, providing participants with valuable insights into the complex interplay of psychology, spirituality, and societal challenges in the 21st century.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, participants will:

  1. Define Ego and Self: Develop a comprehensive understanding of the concepts of the ego and the Self within Jungian theory, enabling them to articulate and differentiate these fundamental psychological concepts.
  2. Understand Psychological Phenomena: Explore and comprehend phenomena such as identification, inflation, possession, and split-off in the context of Jungian psychology, equipping participants to recognize and analyze these dynamics within themselves and others.
  3. Define Compensation and Amplification: Acquire a solid grasp of the definitions and applications of compensation and amplification in Jungian psychology, allowing participants to recognize and interpret these concepts in psychological dynamics.
  4. Differentiate Symbol and Sign: Distinguish between the symbol and the sign within the Jungian framework, empowering participants to discern and interpret these concepts in various contexts and expressions of unconscious content.
  5. Identify Mythological Parallels: Examine mythological narratives to identify parallels and archetypal representations of the dynamics between the ego and the Self. Participants will gain insights into the broader cultural and symbolic significance of these concepts.
  6. Understand Libido Flow Dynamics: Explore the concepts of regressive and progressive flow of libido within Jungian psychology, allowing participants to identify and analyze the movement of psychic energy in individual and collective psychological processes.

Course Methodology

  • Engage in lectures, discussions, and case studies for enhanced comprehension.
  • Analyze mythological stories to discern symbolic representations of ego-Self dynamics.
  • Participate in practical exercises and applications for dream analysis, connecting theoretical knowledge to clinical praxis and everyday situations.
  • Join interactive sessions to clarify concepts and facilitate active learning.

Course Outcome

Participants will leave this course with the ability to articulate and differentiate fundamental Jungian concepts, recognize and analyze psychological phenomena, interpret symbolism in various contexts, and apply their knowledge in practical dream analysis. This comprehensive understanding will empower participants to navigate complex psychological dynamics with a nuanced and informed perspective in clinical settings and everyday life.

Required Reading

Suggested Reading

  • Šolc, V., Didier, G., J. (2018). Dark Religion: Fundamentalism from the Perspective of Jungian Psychology. Chiron Publications, Asheville.
  • Casement, A., & David, T. (2006). The Idea of the Numinous. Routledge, London.
  • Stein, M. (2020). The Bible as a Dream. Chiron.
  • Corbett, Lionel. (2001). Spirituality Beyond Religion. Sounds True Publications.
  • Sommer, Will. (2023). Trust the Plan.

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