Hi there – my name is Tish Stoker Signet. I’m a lifelong news junkie, a lover of the written word, and originally a journalist still convinced the work is sacred ground for democracy and living in community. And as a depth psychologist my focus is always on “the rest of the story” – pursuing and attending to those very real, unconscious parts of our human neurobiology, behavior, and psychology in its deepest original sense, realm of the soul.
In this way I’m sort of an exchange student straddling cultural worlds, each with its own customs, norms, and language. With the newShrink blog, my goal is to bridge and bring these worlds of journalism, psychology, and scholarship to bear on what has become an increasingly chaotic America.
A Quirk of Timing
The 2017 launch of this blog marks a personal evolution since completion of my graduate studies, particularly the PhD dissertation that set in motion this dance of ideas across my two vocations. The timing seems uncanny, for here we are in an American landscape where eruptions of the irrational, visceral, contradictory, and primal seem to overwhelm our wisdom, logic, or fact-and-data-driven metrics in every arena from electoral politics, crime and police accountability to education and international affairs. It’s as though our collective experience has outgrown our capacity to describe, much less begin to understand and take good actions. It seems we need a new, or at least a bigger, language. Jung – or perhaps Joseph Campbell – might say that we need and are on the threshold of “a new myth.”
Since graduating from journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill I have written as a staff reporter for The Charlotte News and The Charlotte Observer; as a speechwriter, publications editor/writer, and strategist in corporate communications management with megabank First Union/Wachovia; and as a feature writer for a variety of general-interest magazines. I have served on the selection and editorial board for Depth Insights, the scholarly journal of the Depth Psychology Alliance, and today am an active Community Advisory Board member of WFAE, our regional NPR station.
Decades ago the foundational work and ideas of C. G. Jung hooked me as a journaling teen trying to make sense of my dreams and other experiences of the unconscious psyche. Jung – along with those such as James Hillman and others who carried his work forward – has held and inspired me ever since. Even in the unlikely setting of a big bank’s individual and team development programs, I was fortunate to work in an unusual corporate leadership culture grounded in the concepts and practices of depth psychology.
And for the past 12 years, center-stage for my work life has been graduate study and the practice of depth psychology. In simplest terms the discipline recognizes and attends to the reality and nature of the unconscious as well as the conscious, “intentional” aspects of our human experience. Traveling several times a year across-country from my native North Carolina to Pacifica Graduate Institute near Santa Barbara, CA, I earned a master’s in counseling psychology, LPC licensure, then a PhD in depth psychology. Since 2010 I have worked in private psychotherapy practice for adults in the metro Charlotte college town of Davidson. My doctoral dissertation was Blood in the Water: Tracking the Wild Grownup in America’s Lust for the Tarnished Hero – Depth Psychology in Dialogue with the Journalism of Popular Culture (published 2014, available on ProQuest open access). This research study paired core ideas in depth psychology with news coverage and biography of select public figures to respond to two questions: “where have all the grownups gone?“ and “what is psychologically mature adulthood in contemporary American culture?”
The newShrink.net blog marks the continued unfolding of this work. I hope you’ll join and be nourished by this learning journey, as I am!