Into The Circle with Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.


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Program Description

A monkey on an island near Japan begins washing her sweet potatoes in the ocean. In time, all the monkeys on the island are washing theirs; then, all the monkeys on all the other islands are doing the same. “Not logical,” says Jean Shinoda Bolen, but “when each of us individually changes” there is a “critical number…after which the culture changes.” With this story as an opening metaphor, celebrated Jungian analyst, psychiatrist, and author Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., champions women’s circles as sanctuaries for transformation, a million of which could change the world. Circles are fertile ground for changing our hierarchical, patriarchal culture to one of communication, support, and growth. A circle may be a dialogue group, prayer or meditation group, support or project group, but whatever the agenda, its members can create “soul connections” for each other that become “agents of sociological change.” Explore the potentials and possibilities of circles, their history, their structure, their ultimate purpose and significance when members uncover “reciprocal revelations” that lead to “sacred dimensions” of their voices and their souls. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association. She was a recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s “Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award”, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She was in two acclaimed documentaries, the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women—For America, For the World, and the Canadian Film Board’s Goddess Remembered. The Millionth Circle Initiative was inspired by her book and led to her involvement at the UN. She is the initiator and the leading advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women, which was supported by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly on March 8, 2012.

Her books include:

To learn more about the work of Jean Shinoda Bolen go to

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • How and why women use conversation differently than men
  • Eight essentials for a successful circle
  • How to start and maintain a circle
  • The difference between a hierarchy and a circle
  • How hierarchies are like dysfunctional families
  • How circles get into trouble
  • Transformations that emerge from circles
  • How to avoid conflict in a circle
  • The sacred dimension of circles

Host: Justine Willis Toms              Interview Date: 12/22/1999                   Program Number: 2803


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