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Chrysalis Spring Book Club: Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves

  • Chrysalis Institute 3527 Ellwood Avenue Richmond, VA, 23221 United States (map)

Book: Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves by James Hollis, Ph.D.

Working with the Shadow is not working with evil, per se. It is working toward the possibility of greater wholeness. We will never experience healing until we can come to love our unlovable places, for they, too, ask love of us. 

How is it that good people do bad things? Why is our personal story and our societal history so bloody, so repetitive, so injurious to self and others? How do we make sense of the discrepancies between who we think we are—or who we show to the outside world—versus our everyday behaviors? Why are otherwise ordinary people driven to addictions and compulsions, whether alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, infidelity, or the Internet? Why are interpersonal relationships so often filled with strife?

Exploring Jung’s concept of the Shadow — the unconscious parts of our self that contradict the image of the self we hope to project — Why Good People Do Bad Things guides you through all the ways in which many of our seemingly unexplainable behaviors are manifestations of the Shadow. In addition to its presence in our personal lives, Hollis looks at the larger picture of the Shadow at work in our culture — from organized religion to the suffering and injustice that abounds in our modern world. Accepting and examining the Shadow as part of one’s self, Hollis suggests, is the first step toward wholeness. Revealing a new way of understanding our darker selves, Hollis offers wisdom to help you to acquire a more conscious conduct of your life and bring a new level of awareness to your daily actions and choices.

Victoria B. Saunders, Ph.D., has worked for the last 25 years as a professional facilitator, specializing in female identity development, strategic planning and executive coaching. Vicki has a Masters Degree in Jungian Studies from the Jung Institute in Houston and Saybrook University. She also earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems from Saybrook and a Masters degree in Human Resources Development from George Washington University. Vicki has worked with Chrysalis in a variety of capacities for the last 17 years. She has facilitated strategic planning sessions, book groups, workshops, and extended programs dealing with consciousness, creativity, and women’s issues. She is currently serving on the Faculty, chairing the Program and Development Committees and is the Past President of Chrysalis Institute.

Jessica Coffey is the publisher and owner of Natural Awakenings of Greater Richmond, a local magazine dedicated to sharing information, resources, news, and events about natural health, wellness, and green living. A lover of meditation, yoga, and searching for four-leaf clovers, Jessica enjoys good books, great conversation, and time in nature (especially by the water). Chrysalis Institute is an organization near and dear to her heart because of the programs and events it offers to encourage deep thinking, personal development, community involvement, and spiritual growth.

Clair Norman  is a seeker and lover of life with a huge amount of hope in her heart fueled by the wonderful people she meets.  She is the Mindfulness Expansion Manager/Writer and Program Facilitator for the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. Clair also is staff writer for Natural Awakenings Richmond.  Additionally, Clair teaches yoga in the corporate setting, at her local YMCA and for private clients. A mother to 3 who will celebrate 20 years of marriage this year, Clair is preparing to begin her MBSR training at the University of California San Diego. She became inspired by Susan Wilkes when she took her MBSR class at Chrysalis.

Thursday, March 8th
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.


Chrysalis Institute
3527 Ellwood Avenue


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Earlier Event: March 7
Mindful Self-Compassion
Later Event: April 5
The Art of Forgiveness