Where Science Meets Soul: An Interview about Jungian Psychology and ADHD with Rebecca Stein, Part II of II

Rebecca Stein is a therapist with a practice that helps women build resiliency, focusing on ADHD and chronic pain. She is also a first first-year student in our Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies (DJA) Ph.D. program. I’m delighted to speak with her about her professional experience and her first year at Pacifica. This is the second of a two-part interview. 

Angela Borda: What archetypes would you associate with ADHD?

Rebecca Stein: Archetypes can be described by symbols that help illustrate what is inherent in this shared knowledge of humanity, being more numinous, which you can’t describe. On the surface, one can see the Dreamer and the Trickster inherent within the Dreamer. One also sees the various Personas one has learned to put on the respective Shadow shame one carries with ADHD. The Child archetype and its relation to The Great Mother is very related to ADHD. There’s also this Wise old Man, because there is this feeling of lack of clarity, someone they can turn to as an inner guardian and guide. There is this collective unity that is trying to come through, but when we get far into the Logos or the Eros, it’s too much imagination or too much logic and we lose this unity. I think even various religious symbols like the Jewish star, or the cross, symbolize this all-loving presence that is felt within and beyond. And that’s the missing thing. Once you feel that and integrate that, you feel this relaxation inside, this sense of trust within oneself, and it helps one focus.

Angela: You offer a combination of therapy and ADHD executive function coaching. What kind of effect does that have for your clients?

Rebecca: Executive function coaching is like putting guard rails on a winding road. It helps to contain what seems like internal chaos in a much more manageable way, which increases someone’s confidence. Simultaneously, one can strengthen regions in the prefrontal cortex, associated with executive functions such as planning and organization, through various cognitive exercises. Therapy greatly helps with emotional regulation, greater self-acceptance, and connection beyond oneself. Sleep, exercise, connection, nutrition, and meditation are extremely important for ADHD management outside of coaching and therapy.

Angela: You mentioned that you are interested in sharing your perspective on Jewish American Heritage Month. What would you like to share about your own background or the larger culture/religion?

Rebecca: May is the time between Passover and the Torah’s revelation at Mt. Sinai. This time is known as the “Counting of the Omer” and symbolically can serve as the transcendent function for individuation. Looking at it this way, May is very sacred. I think what we’re seeing right now is many Jews stuck in this “wandering” through the desert, translating to mental imprisonment. I think now is the time when Jews can reclaim the sacredness within by holding the tension and conflict within the wandering without unnecessarily splitting it off into violence or some sort of dissociation. I think this may take a humbling act, especially during this strife time, but if we, as Jews, can overcome this fear of the unknown, a very existential fear, we may be less likely to continue to the legacy of exile, exiling parts of ourselves and others. This may be what is being asked of us. I think spaces like this which give a Jew a chance to speak create the container necessary to build safety in the “wandering” rather than resistance or disillusionment.

As a Jew, I am very aware of our intergenerational trauma. In escaping external threats, many of us have exiled ourselves and simultaneously lost the true wonder, awe, and love inherent in Judaism. It is up to us to reclaim this internally.

Angela: Your practice focuses in particular on women, in all forms, and coaching them in being resilient. What brought you to this focus and how does this work vary from a standard therapeutic practice?

Rebecca: I understand what it’s like to be a woman who has been misdiagnosed and/or gaslit for both mental and medical health difficulties. I know what it’s like to feel like you have to prove just how “sick” you are and what it’s like to be caught in a dance trying to overcome the victim projected on you with “having to be strong” and the unbelievable pain it can cause to hide behind a smile. I reclaimed my own mother archetype within myself and want other women to know that they matter and deserve to relax for just being themselves. I want women to embrace the messiness. I want women to feel like they can truly come alive. Symptoms manifest very differently in women, especially women with ADHD. I want my clients to know they have a therapist who gets this both personally and in her constant pursuit of continually updated research on this very neglected topic. Women are faced with various challenges today that they were not in the past. At the same time, the world we live in is very much dominated by Logos. This alone pushes women and anima aside. Without anima, we have no soul. The recognition and reawakening of women is necessary for humanity.

Angela: Aside from your dissertation, is there anything afoot for you professionally that we should keep an eye out for?

Rebecca: I think Jungian psychology is designed to create this zooming-in and zooming-out effect, noting what is personal, and also what is collective. I greatly admire this. I think on an instinctual level this union drew me into this specific type of psychology. Quite similarly, my master’s degree focused on “person in the environment” taking into account various environmental factors and collective concerns. I have always been interested in both the personal and collective. I used to think that I wanted to focus solely on the individual level, helping individuals and couples, and wait until I was older to focus on the bigger collective concerns. I now think that I feel most integrated when I allow room for both. I hope that I can find a way to do this. I am not sure what form this may take, but I know that connection, community, creativity, and humanity are very important to me. I am energized in shedding light on various collective shadows, such as those within the mental health field itself.

Angela: Thank you so much for speaking with me, and I look forward to hearing more about your work.

Rebecca Stein, LCSW, ADHD-CCSP, was always fascinated with the body and majored in Biology in her first year of college. At the same time, she was intrigued by the mind and decided to major in Psychology. She studied the job-demands resources model and what distinguishes a great leader from a good leader, based on Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. Rebecca credits her research in industrial organizational psychology with teacher her that humility is the number one quality that distinguishes a great leader from a good one. Rebecca brings this level of humility and empathy to the table. She went on to receive her Bachelor in Science with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child & Family Development from The University of Georgia, graduating as a member of the Phi Betta Kappa Honors society. After graduating in three years, Rebecca soon learned that she herself was burned out and facing the effects of the cumulative stress she had put on her body. Previously working in the corporate world, Rebecca quickly saw the job demands model come to life where higher demands were placed on employees than they had resources for. She recalls seeing her co-workers develop peptic ulcers due to the high, unrealistic demands. In battling her own stress and associated chronic pain, she became interested in ways to reduce stress. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree with a focus on Adult Mental Health and Wellness from The University of Southern California. Rebecca has been working with clients since 2017 and is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of California.

For more information, visit: www.rebeccasteinmindbody.com


Angela Borda is a writer for Pacifica Graduate Institute, as well as the editor of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. Her work has been published in Food & Home, Peregrine, Hurricanes & Swan Songs, Delirium Corridor, Still Arts Quarterly, Danse Macabre, and is forthcoming in The Tertiary Lodger and Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Vol. 5.