top of page


Books written by Dr. Alderman


An Archetypal Reading of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler

Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction

In Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction, Bret Alderman puts forth a compelling thesis: Deconstruction tells a mythic story. Through an attentive examination of multiple texts and literary works, he elucidates this story in psychological and philosophical terms.


Deconstruction, the method of philosophical and literary analysis originated by Jacques Derrida, arises from what Carl Jung called “a kind of readiness to produce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas.” In the case of deconstruction, such ideas bear a striking resemblance to a figure that Jungian and Post-Jungian writers refer to as the puer aeternus or eternal youth. To make his case, in addition to a careful analysis of numerous Derridean texts, he offers readings of literary works by Milan Kundera, J.M. Barrie, Dante, Apuleius, and others. These texts help illustrate that deconstruction’s preoccupations over questions of presence, deferral, authority, limits, time, and representation are also recurrent issues for the eternal youth as described by Marie-Louise Von Franz and James Hillman. Judith Butler’s deconstruction of sex and gender reflects similar patterns, and she features in this work as a contemporary exemplar of the deconstructive approach.

Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction will be a compelling read for both students and teachers of depth psychology and continental philosophy. The clarity of its style will be appealing to advanced scholars and educated laypersons alike.

Paperback available for pre-order on November 15, 2023. Item will ship after December 6, 2023

Critic's Reviews

"Alderman's analysis of deconstruction is meticulous and riveting. He also persuasively highlights its archetypal repetition in the mythology of the eternal youth. But his argument is not merely polemical; it is a nuanced reworking of its gifts into a synthesis which will engage readers across the field of contemporary thought"

Roger Brooke, Professor Emeritus, Duquesne University.

"In prose reminiscient of Hillman, Alderman illuminates the myth of our era - the rejection of our embodied origin in matter that leaves us in the Neverland of Eternal Youth. This book offers a powerful corrective to the rootless inflation so present in our current cultural moment."

Lisa Marchiano, author of Motherhood

"At last, a vigorous collision of Jung and deconstruction that superbly illuminates both. 'Eternal Youth and the Myth of Deconstruction' succeeds in capturing what these vital perspectives share and how profoundly they diverge. Alderman philosophizes Jung, psychologizes Derrida, and mythologizes Butler. Essential reading for the twentyfirst century transdisciplinary era."

Susan Rowland, PhD, author of Jungian Arts-Based Research and the Nuclear Enhancement of New Mexico (2021)


A Jungian Interpretation of the Linguistic Turn

Symptom, Symbol, and the Other of Language

Every statement about language is also a statement by and about psyche. Guided by this primary assumption, and inspired by the works of Carl Jung, in Symptom, Symbol, and the Other of Language, Bret Alderman delves deep into the symbolic and symptomatic dimensions of a deconstructive postmodernism infatuated with semiotics and the workings of linguistic signs.


This book offers an important exploration of linguistic reference and representation through a Jungian understanding of symptom and symbol, using techniques including amplification, dream interpretation, and symbolic attitude. Focusing on Ferdinand de Saussure, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Richard Rorty, Alderman examines the common belief that words and their meaning are grounded purely in language, instead envisioning a symptomatic expression of alienation and collective dissociation. Drawing upon the nascent field of ecopsychology, the modern disciplines of phenomenology and depth psychology, and the ancient knowledge of myth and animistic cosmologies, Alderman dares us to re-imagine some of the more sacrosanct concepts of the contemporary intellectual milieu informed by semiotics and the linguistic turn.


Symptom, Symbol, and the Other of Language is essential reading for academics and students engaged in the study of depth psychology. However, the interdisciplinary approach of the work ensures that it will also be of great interest to those researching and studying in the areas of ethology, ecopsychology, philosophy, linguistics and mythology.

available on Hardback, Paperback and eBook

Table of Content

Introduction  1. Anatomical Bodies - Fleshing Out the Image of Linguistic Reference  2. Abandoned Earth, Abonded Nature - Language Theory as Dream of Departure  3.Earthrise—The Ecocentric Critique of Dissociated Reference  4. Promethean Postmodernism—Stealing Fire From the God-Terms  5. Promethean Purpose as Renewal of the Gods—Reconceiving the Alienation of Sign From Referent  Conclusion

A word from the author

I had the good fortune of having my first book published by a very reputable academic press.

After having revised my doctoral dissertation for publication, Routledge accepted the manuscript for publication in its series Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies.

The book is my attempt to address some rather thorny academic debates involving language: Does it represent our experience or create it? Do our words reflect a pre-existing reality or do they construct it? Such debates, with numerous philosophical repercussions, have polarized academics in recent years, and the book is my attempt to help heal that polarization.  

As you might imagine based on the title of the series, this is a work heavily influenced by Carl Jung. It is my way of bringing his psychology to bear on philosophical issues that, on first glance, may seem far outside the purview of psychology. But it has always been my understanding that the field of psychology needs to broaden its area of concern; it is not just a discipline to be confined to the clinic or consulting room. As I understand it, psyche (what some refer to as mind or soul), pervades all that we do, and no area of human endeavor is irrelevant to the field of psychology. 

Although the book has little to do with the art of life coaching, prospective clients may find it of interest and may even catch a glimmer of my coaching philosophy within its pages: Both as a coach and as an academic, I hold the conviction that there is meaning and purpose in psychological symptoms. The psyche, as I understand it, has an innate drive towards wholeness. Often unknowingly, we seek integration of our disparate selves, our contradictory impulses and opinions, our inner antagonisms and dissociations. Because this is the case, frequently what appears as an annoying stumbling block, symptom, hang up, or issue, often contains a kernel of something that we need to integrate. Jung has an interesting way of framing this sort of question. He claims that it is not just that we cure ourselves of a neurosis. In a very real way, the neurosis cures us. Put in different terms, the issues and hang ups that arise in our lives are not only asking to be resolved, their resolution requires a shift in our conscious understanding.

If you would like to know more about Symptom, Symbol, and the Other of Language, it is just one click away. Having clicked, you will see a more in-depth synopsis of the work, a table of contents, and a link to the introduction, which you can also find here.  

bottom of page