Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Jungan Analysis & Overcoming Internet Addiction: 4 Keys

March 19th, 2012 · addiction, internet addiction, Jungian, Jungian analysis, overcoming internet addiction

depth psychotherapy
Overcoming Internet addiction is now a very real concern for many people, and Jungian analysis brings a perspective to this problem that offers hope and the possibility of finding an underlying meaning.  “Hold on a minute”, I hear you saying, “I can understand overcoming Internet addiction, but how could Jungian analysis find meaning in this kind of compulsive activity?”

First: Yes, Internet Addiction Actually Exists

There are many seeking help overcoming Internet addiction who know this.   Especially in Canada, online gaming, online gambling, social media and email, or Internet pornography are taking up more and more room in these peoples’ lives, and they can’t find a way to slow down or stop.  For them, overcoming Internet addiction is a priority, because something not under conscious control is in the driver’s seat.

2.  Signs of Internet Addiction

A person may be wrestling with internet addiction if:

  • Net use dominates his or her life and/or thoughts;
  • Net use modifies his or her  mood, or creates a “buzz”;
  • increasing Net use is needed to stay feeling good;
  • refraining from Net use causes unpleasant feeling or physical effects; or,
  • Net use creates conflict with those they are close to, or with their everyday life.

overcoming internet addiction

3.  Overcoming Internet Addiction: Insights from Jungian Analysis

The key issue in overcoming Internet addiction is determining what the Net is really providing to the individual, that brings him or her benefit.  It is at this point that a perspective drawn from Jungian analysis brings real insight.

If we look at the compulsive Net user, we see a hunger and a yearning at the heart of his or her usage.  Jung, in his letter to Bill W., described this as “the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness.”  In our restless searching and exchanges on the Net, we yearn for something to bring us to a sense of being whole and complete.  We are only going to get past unending searching on the Net, if we find something real, that makes us feel alive — that moves us toward fulfillment, and away from anxiety.

4.  Jungian Analysis & Wholeness

For Jungian analysis, wholeness is not the same as perfection.  We can have experiences that make us feel fully aware and alive — whole.  How this happens for each of us is a very individual matter; often only the depth explorations of individual therapy will reveal what these unique, life-giving realities are for each of us.

PHOTOS:  Attribution Some rights reserved by olga.palma and entirelysubjective
© 2012 Brian Collinson

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Addictions, Perfectionism and Jungian Psychotherapy

March 19th, 2011 · addiction, perfectionism, Psychology and Suburban Life

There can be a strong connection between perfectionism and addiction, as Jungian psychotherapy readily asserts.  We live in the midst of intense pressures that many experience as a continual demand to overcome, and to excel.  For many, this leads to a gnawing, unending driven-ness, in which their efforts are never good enough, complete enough, or secure enough, especially in their work.  They pour more and more of themselves out in the effort to acheive an impossible standard that is continually elusive.  In the process they feel more and more empty and hollow inside.  These people are in a continually painful state.  They cannot ever feel satisfied or secure, valuable — or even adequate.

 Not Looking at the Shadow

In the terms of Jungian psychotherapy, this is a shadow issue.  For such individuals, it is intolerable to face or accept their unacknowledged weakness, vulnerability and humanity.  They strive to get rid of “the shadow”, the suffering, exhausted and often despairing parts of themselves that are so difficult to face up to.  Through inhuman effort, they strive to eliminate their unacceptable parts.  They try harder and harder.  But the cost to the individual can be so great that it brings immense pain.  Often, it is only through the “self-medication” of addictions — alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, Internet, you name it — that the awful pain and emptiness can be kept away.

Woodman on Addictions and Being Perfect

Prominent Jungian analyst Marion Woodman writes about those individuals who are perfectionistic in their attitudes, in a way that combines with addiction:

Behind the masks of these successful lives, there lurks disillusionment and terror.  One common factor appears repeatedly.  Consciously the individuals are being driven to do better and better within the rigid framework they have created for themselves;  unconsciously they cannot control their behaviour.  There are countless individual and collective reasons for the outbreak of chaos as soon as the daily routine is completed.  Will power can only last so long.  If that will power has been maintained at the cost of everything else in the personality, then nothingness gapes raw.  When in the evening it’s time to come back to oneself, the mask and the inner being do not communicate….  Compulsions narrow life down until there is no living — existence, perhaps, but no living.

Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride

 I believe there are millions of people who are caught in this trap in our present time.  Such individuals are not going to get out of their prison by greater effort of will.  Many such individuals would benefit greatly from entering into depth psychotherapy, so that they can get in contact with the living part of themselves.

Can You Be with Yourself, and Feel It’s Good?

Can you give yourself a break?  Can you put on the brakes, and accept that enough is enough?  Can the inner critic in you be silenced, or are its attacks relentless?  Do you medicate in some way, to keep the pain and loneliness at bay? 

There is hope, and there are possibilities.  If you find yourself confronting feelings of hollowness, or despair, because of perfectionism, there are ways of opening up to the reality of the self, and to accepting the real, vital and unique person within you.  Don’t deny yourself!

May your journey to wholeness connect you to your real, imperfect, but wonderfully alive self,
Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

1-905-337-3946

PHOTO CREDIT: © All rights reserved by John Suler’s PhotoPsychology

© 2011 Brian Collinson

Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)

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