Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Therapy: Pain-Killer or Path To Myself? PART THREE

March 2nd, 2009 · No Comments · depth psychology, Identity, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Psychotherapy, soul, The Self, wholeness

This is the third part and final part in my series "Therapy: Pain-Killer or Path to Myself?"  PART ONE dealt with some of the familiar things that go on when people start therapy, and PART TWOfocused on "Five Things that Sustain Me on the Journey to Wholeness".  In this last part, I discuss a major issue that exists in all of us, and that can keep any of us from getting all the benefit from therapy that I might.  I call it,

"THE LONE RANGER COMPLEX"Lone Ranger for Vibrant Jung Thing

North Americans from places like Oakville and Mississauga are immersed in a culture where we are constantly urged to be independent and to look after ourselves.  We are raised with the belief that it's a good thing to keep our feeling and emotional lives to ourselves.  We are also encouraged to believe that, if anything good is going to happen in our lives, we are going to be the sole agents of making it happen.  Like the Lone Ranger, our ideal of fulfilled life is a lone figure riding off into the sunset, keeping her — or especially his — feelings to himself, in splendid emotional self-sufficiency.

This outlook leads to the self-help movement, with all the self-help books, CDs and DVDs. 

The good side of the self-help movement is that all these people are taking the initiative to read, study and try to understand themselves and work on themselves.  People in their millions are recognizing and trying to take responsibility for their psychological growth.  Sometimes the solutions are simplistic or misguided, but people are still trying to understand themselves and to grow.

The most unhelpful side of self-help is its "lone ranger" dimension.  Often people in our culture try to take responsibility for their psychological development themselves, which is good.  However, they aren't willing to open up to other people, especially therapists.  This makes their efforts very much less effective. It is almost impossible to get anything like an objective view of myself without the help of a trained outside observer, like a therapist.  Also, it is virtually impossible for me to understand what is going on in my unconscious without the assistance of someone with extensive experience of the unconscious, such a someone trained in the Jungian approach.

Sometimes it is fear of how another person will respond to our most intimate self-revelations that keeps us from engaging with a therapist.  We may fear rejection, or we may fear appearing weak or dependent.  But this is a truth that I know: people who open themselves to the engagement with a good therapist increase their capacity to appreciate themselves and to cope with their own lives.

So, paradoxically, excessive individualism can interfere greatly with my journey of self-discovery.  But it is being willing to open up to another that gives me true insight into the real nature of my individuality and my identity.

Labyrinth My very best wishes to each of you on your individual journeys to wholeness,

Brian Collinson, www.briancollinson.ca ; Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

PHOTO CREDITS:  "© Sarah Nicholl| Dreamstime.com; "© Ferenc Ungor| Dreamstime.com

 

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