The Mardi Gras Effect

The Mardi Gras Effect: How Situations Change Us
August, 2016


Human beings have a tendency to overestimate our own character strength while underestimating the power of situations. We forget how changeable personal identity is, and the degree to which character is defined by context. As psychologist Philip Zimbardo explains, “We are where we live, eat, work and make love.” Different roles and situations create different parameters and expectations; even changing appearance can radically alter who we are and how we behave, as you see in traditions like Mardi Gras, where costumes — masks, especially — turn boundaries and morality upside down. In this program, we’ll be exploring the fascinating phenomenon known as The Mardi Gras Effect, and its effects in daily life. Are you aware of how situations change you? Do you realize how compartmentalization makes these changes possible? Finally, are there aspects of yourself that you stifle in general yet allow in unusual circumstances, that you would like to integrate? These are some of the questions that we’ll be exploring this month and their answers may surprise you.

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Guest Interview with Connie Zweig, Ph.D.

Connie Zweig, Ph.D.

Dr. Connie, founder of the Center for Shadow-work and Spiritual Counseling of AIWP, is a unique counselor with an extensive private practice that includes:

  • Global individual and marriage counseling via Skype;
  • Local individual and couples counseling in Los Angeles;
  • Spiritual and religious counseling for all denominations;
  • Dream-work to befriend your unconscious sources of struggle and of creativity.

With a doctorate in depth psychology, two years’ training at the Los Angeles Jung Institute, and 20 years in practice, she has helped thousands of people to detect unconscious sources of secret feelings and behaviors– rage, jealousy, lying, resentment, blame, inferiority, power struggle, addiction, procrastination – that erupt in destructive ways. And, through Shadow-Work, she has assisted them to transform these feelings and behaviors into positive, constructive patterns, thereby renewing their self-esteem and revitalizing their precious relationships.

Like them, using her method of Shadow-Work (developed with Dr. Steve Wolf), you too can learn to defuse your negative emotions, release the guilt and shame associated with them, and achieve a more trusting and authentic intimacy with others. With Dr. Connie as a guide, you also can learn to recognize the projections that color your opinions of others, reclaim the lost parts of yourself, and attain deeper honesty in your relationships.

As co-author of Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature and Romancing the Shadow: Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul, Dr. Connie has come to be known as “The Shadow Expert”: a guide who can go where others fear to tread, into your dark side. And she can help you to find the gold that lies hidden there – the deeper need beneath these difficult feelings and behaviors that you can meet in more positive ways.

As a meditation teacher for four decades and a student of the mystical traditions, as well as author of The Holy Longing: Spiritual Yearning and Its Shadow Side, she has counseled many people using spiritual Shadow-Work. If you struggle with your faith, have suffered religious abuse at the hands of clergy or gurus, and have felt intense spiritual disillusionment, then Dr. Connie can help. For those who have found religion and religious community, Spirit and spiritual community, to be both a blessing and a curse, she can guide you back to your own sources of transcendence, renewal, and authenticity.

As an executive editor of a publishing house for 10 years, where she developed 100 books, and as author of five books, Dr. Connie has a special interest and expertise in writing and creativity. The shadow is not all “negative;” many of you have banished your creative dreams and desires to the dark unconscious as well. If you struggle with your creative impulses, sabotaging your efforts to write, paint, dance, or contribute to society in a larger way, Shadow-Work can uncover the reasons and guide you back to the source of creativity and generosity.