Organizational History of the Jung Association of Western Massachusetts
Spring 1996 through December 2016
By Peter Williams
In the spring of 1996, while in my studies of Stage I training with the CG Jung Institute in Boston, I approached Thayer Greene PhD, a Jungian analyst in Amherst, with the idea of forming a discussion group or lecture series built around the concept of the Connecticut Association of Jungian Psychology (CAJP) in Hartford. Thayer, although strongly supportive of the need for such an organization in western Massachusetts, could only offer to be an advisor to the Board of Directors. He suggested Jungian analyst Barbara Bronson, who had recently completed her studies at the Zurich Institute and was soon to move to Northampton, as an alternative candidate as co-founder of the organization. I approached Barbara in the spring of 1996 to discuss the joint formation of an association to advance the concepts and practical application of the Analytical Psychology of CG Jung, MD.
Barbara, who was currently residing in Connecticut and who was familiar with CAJP, was immediately interested in forming such a organization. While planning her move from Connecticut to Northampton, Barbara had already been in touch with Nomi Kluger-Nash from the Northampton area about forming a discussion group. The name Western Massachusetts Association of Jungian Psychology was adopted and the initial lecture was scheduled for the first Friday of December, 1996. It was held at my professional work site conference room at the Center for Human Development (CHD) in West Springfield with an invitation from me and Barbara. Nine people gathered to hear Jungian analyst Jackie Schectman, MSW, present a talk on the Negative Step Mother in Fairy Tales. It was a marvelous talk, followed by a lively discussion on the archetypical significance of the negative step mother motif and its significance in the field of Analytical Psychology.
After Jackie’s talk and the conclusion of the discussion, Thayer Greene put $20.00 on the table and said, “Let’s do this again” (or at least a few words in that spirit). That evening seven people committed to form a monthly lecture series and discussion group with a focus on the Analytical Psychology of CG Jung, MD. Thus the WMAJP Board of Directors was formed as a non-profit, non membership, open attendance organization. It would be fourteen years later, during the fall of 2010, that the WMAJP Board of Directors would formally change its name to the Jung Association of Western Massachusetts.
The lectures of the first few years of the WMAJP were an exciting experiment and at the same time the Board of Directors had extensive discussions around organizational identity. Most importantly the purpose of the WMAJP was agreed upon and implemented:
a two part goal of offering to the public the theory, concepts and practical application of Analytical Psychology while providing Jungian analysts and professionals a forum to present their ideas, and their work.
Throughout its first four years the organization continued to struggle with two issues: no money and no place to meet. It wasn’t until the presidency of Richard Trousdell, in the 5th year of the organization, that we were able to secure the use of Smith College facilities for the monthly lecture series. With the impressive surroundings of Smith College, WMAJP was able to establish itself as a credible organization. We had enough money and we had a home. The Jung Association of Western Massachusetts is appreciative to Smith College for the use of its facilities and truly hopes to continue its connection for years to come.
Prior to this there were some exciting days. There were days of running between buildings along Gothic street to find a place to meet at the last minute while the audience followed behind in complete confusion. There were meetings at the Unitarian Society of Northampton when music rehearsals were playing in the background as the speaker talked of archetypal material and the sound of symbols floated by. Despite it all the lectures were excellent and the people became a community. The many board of directors, especially the presidents, who provided the work to lead the organization for the past 20 years, deserve a big thank you.
There were a few years of struggle. For two years the Board of Directors had such a low membership that dissolution of the WMAJP seemed to be an option. It was the strong commitment of Barbara Bronson, John Gitten, and myself that WMAJP survived another day to maintain its purpose of community service.
It was during the presidency of Karen Smyers in 2010 that the Board of Directors changed its name from WMJAP to the Jung Association of Western Massachusetts. This name change provided a clearer definition of the organization and a new website was developed by Karen and Don Wukasch, vice president. Through the efforts of Karen and Don the mailing list was transferred from an exclusive “snail mail” of hard copy brochures to a combined email communication. The organization had moved into the 21st century.
As of this writing the Jung Association of Western Massachusetts has been meeting continually for 20 years with an estimated 165 monthly professional presentations in several different locations with the beginning of lecture presentations at Smith College in Northampton in the fall of 2001. The JAWM maintains an extensive and expanding email mailing list with an excellent web site by Dan Gronwald, Web Master along with an archive of the monthly lecture series. JAWM has grown from an original approximate monthly attendance of 15 people, then to 35 people, now to a current approximate monthly attendance of 65 for its monthly lecture series with speakers from across New England and beyond. For the past few years an ongoing Salon/Discussion community conversation event organized by Carol Beauvais is held following the monthly lectures at a local gathering place. A Community Bulletin Board provides a place to post Jung related events initiated by the community to gather with likeminded individuals (listings must be approved by the JAWM Board). The JAWM has provided special events of films and discussion groups, and a book sale was conducted by Christine Olsen. In addition community volunteers provide useful assistance for organizational tasks. The JAWM Board of Directors (as listed in the Archive section of the JAWM website) with the leadership of its President, Jungian analyst Erica Lorentz continues to provide strong leadership of the organization.
In the spirit of a true community, the JAWM operates strictly from audience donations with the focus of its resources upon the audience experience. The Jung Association of Western Massachusetts can anticipate many more years of meaningful community service to the Western Massachusetts area for the advancement of the Analytical Psychology of CG Jung, MD. With the current leadership of the Board of Directors there is an assurance that JAWM will continue to fulfill the two part goal of offering to the public the theory, concepts, and practical application of Analytical Psychology while providing Jungian analysts and professionals a forum to present their ideas, and their work.
Original Board of Directors, December 1996
Barbara Bronson, Co-Founder, First President
Richard Trousdell, Third President
Peter Williams, Co-Founder, Second President
Current Board of Directors, December 2016
Carol Beauvais, PhD, Treasurer, Outreach Coordinator
Dan Gronwald, MA, Web Master
Erica Lorentz, MEd, IAAP, President
Christine Olsen, Director
Penny Tarasuk, IAAP, Director
Peter Williams, MEd, Historian (through 2016)
Thayer Greene, PhD, IAAP, Advisor
Other Past Directors:
Record of Board Presidents
1996—1998 Barbara Bronson (2yrs)
1998–2000 Peter Williams (2yrs)
2000–2002 Richard Trousdell (2yrs)
2002 Nomi Kluger-Nash (6months)
2003 Joe Chromey (6months)
2003—2006 Barbara Bronson (3yrs)
2006—2009 Peter Williams (3yrs)
2009—Winter 2011 Karen Smyers (2 1/2yrs)
2011—Spring 2017 Erica Lorentz (5 1/2yrs)