Journeying Toward Wholeness

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4 Benefits of Psychotherapy for Work Related Stress

April 25th, 2011 · psychotherapy for work related stress, stress, work related stress

work related stress

Why would someone get psychotherapy for work related stress?  There are a variety of reasons, but a key consideration is that the stress of work is often so consuming that it involves the whole person.  Because it is concerned with healing for the whole person, psychotherapy can often be the most effective way to deal with problems concerning personal growth and work.

Four principal benefits that come through psychotherapy for work-related stress are the following.

1.  Talking with Someone Outside Your Situation Can be Vital

It can be essential to speak to someone who is outside your situation to gain some perspective on your work situation, and how all the stress and emotional factors are affecting you.  Someone who is objective, but who can truly listen and be emotionally attuned, like a depth psychotherapist, can be invaluable.

2.  “Hanging onto Yourself” Makes a Huge Difference

Staying in a place where you are not overwhelmed by emotional or stress factors at work can be vital.  To gain real insight and help in dealing with potentially overpowering emotional factors can make a great deal of difference for “getting through”.

3.  Work Related & Personal Stress Amplify Each Other

Often important personal issues can affect the stress loading at work, and work stress can complicate personal life and relationships.  Good psychotherapy creates an environment where you can understand all the separate factors, and begin to deal with each of them in the way you really want and need.

4.  Connecting Work to the Direction & Meaning of Your Life

Work is a part of life, but it isn’t the whole thing.  Work can be fulfilling, but the whole person, the Self, needs more than just work.  Depth psychotherapy focuses on the needs of the whole person, conscious and unconscious, and how a person’s work fits together with, and emerges from, the needs of the deepest personality.  This is an exploration that many people need to make for a meaningful life.

How Does Your Work Relate to Your Deepest Self?

What do you want and need from your work life?  Is the stress that your work produces interfering with your sense of well-being, and keeping you from a fulfilling life?  Psychotherapy can open up the way to healing and meaningful connection of your work life with your life as a complete person.

Wishing you the satisfaction of meaningful, balanced work on your journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

1-905-337-3946

PHOTO CREDIT:  © ShashiBellamkonda

© 2011 Brian Collinson

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

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Psychotherapy and Life Events… Consciousness and Aloneness

April 18th, 2011 · aloneness, Identity, psychotherapist, Psychotherapy

Truly wise psychotherapy knows that you can have an experience of life events, that changes your consciousness but at the same time leaves you in a state of profound aloneness.  Karin Dubois wrote of such an experience in her essay Friends on the Other Side in the Globe and Mail of April 13, 2011.

As a very young woman, Karen was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer.  She describes in graphic terms how psychologically isolating that experience was for her.

Most of my friends were worrying about exams at school while I was paralyzed with fear that my next CT scan would light up with cancer.  We couldn’t relate.

When Others Have No Idea

What a profoundly difficult experience for someone to encounter.  Yet, there are many people who have experiences of this kind, which make that person aware of aspects of life of which many other people have no idea.  An illness, yes, or a child born with a disability, a parent with an addiction, a major economic setback or family bankruptcy in an affluent community — the list is endless.  There are many, many different types of experiences that can change a person’s consciousness.  The problem can be that, when we have those experiences, especially if they involve deep pain or insight, it may make it very difficult for others to connect or understand.

The Fundamental Need to Reach Out and Connect

When someone is at a point like this, it can be essential for that person to connect with someone who sincerely strives to understand, and who listensmost carefully to his or her story, in all its uniqueness.  Oftentimes, we also need to hear ourselves talk about such experiences, with a receptive witness, to get beyond aloneness.   This is because we truly need to know that our experience, while uniquely ours, is something human, something that others can relate to, understand and appreciate.  Entering into real psychotherapy can bring this dimension of reality and acknowledgement to our experience, connecting us powerfully to the entire human race, while leaving us standing in our unique human dignity.  That’s the power of depth psychotherapy.

I welcome your inquiries and comments.

Wishing you deep and fundamental human connection on your journey to wholeness,

PHOTO CREDIT:  © Rafael Mengual Caucera | Dreamstime.com
© Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near  Mississauga )

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Psychotherapy, Projection and Relationships

April 12th, 2011 · projection, Psychology and Suburban Life, Relationships

Projection is a very common thing that we all unconsciously engage in, and depth psychotherapy is very concerned with how it colours relationships.  What does psychology mean by “projection”?  Jungian analyst Andrew Samuels writes:

Projection may be seen as… a defence against anxiety.  Difficult emotions or unacceptable parts of the personality may be located in a person or object external to the subject.

Samuels, A., et al., Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis(London: Routledge, 1986)

Seeing Me in You

So, basically, if there’s something about myself that I don’t like, or don’t want to acknowledge, I can unconsciously start to see it in other people, and that makes me feel less anxious about myself and the situation.  Although, depending on what I’m “projecting”, it may not make the other person feel very good… and it likely will not help the relationship between us.

Jung has some choice things to say about our projections upon others:

We are still so sure we know what other people think, or what their true character is.  We are convinced that certain people have all the bad qualities that we do not know in ourselves, or that they practice all those vices which could, of course, never be our own….  If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all these projections, then you get someone who is conscious of a considerable shadow….  He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against.

 C. G. Jung, “Psychology and Religion” in Collected Works, vol. 11

And, in relationship, such a person would also not so easily be able to say “you do this”, “you are wrong”, or things of that sort.

It is mind-boggling what we project on others, and how ready we are to see in them those “shadow” parts of ourselves that we don’t wish to acknowledge.  We also project the characteristics of others — mother, father, sibling, etc. — on others in our lives.  On top of all that, we make purely archetypal projections: for instance, we can easily project the anima, the animus, the Wise Old Man or the Wise Old Woman.

A Big Challenge

One major challenge in psychotherapy is getting past the projections,and actually seeing the real person in front of us, instead of our unconscious illusory constructs.  This takes some doing!  To recognize, for instance, that I may be misconstruing my boss as my hyper-critical father (real life Brian-based example here!), is something that takes quite a bit of work to understand — and more to get beyond.

Similarly, recognizing when I have projected aspects of myself that I have difficulty acknowledging on another person, and actively accepting those parts of myself, may take real psychological stamina.  I may see aspects of myself — pettiness, intolerance, stubborness — that I don’t like at all.  Seeing these, understanding how they came about, and then having compassion for myself while acknowledging that these traits genuinely are part of me may take quite a bit of doing.  However, when I can do it, energy for living my life, and a sense of completeness, are liberated within me.

When the Movies Stop: Ending Your Own Projections

Taking back projections is a key part of the work of psychotherapy.  While it is demanding, and we often resist it, it brings real vitality, and a deep sense of having been really honest with oneself.  Have you ever had the experience of suddenly realizing that the way you have perceived someone else is completely wrong?  How about the way that you perceive yourself?  In my own experience, acknowledging that certain attitudes or inclinations are part of me has at times been particularly tough, but also full of genuine growth.  Entering into real psychotherapy brings this into our lives, giving us a healthier, more authentic relationship with our deepest self and with others.

I welcome your inquiries and comments.

Wishing you every good thing on your journey to wholeness,
Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

To Main Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice


1-905-337-3946


PHOTO CREDIT:  © Jackq | Dreamstime.com

© 2011 Brian Collinson

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

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Psychotherapy and Renewal: Persephone’s Big Comeback

April 5th, 2011 · depth psychology, Jungian analysis, life passages, mythology, personal myth, personal story, psychological crisis, Psychology and Suburban Life, psychotherapist, Psychotherapy, renewal, Self, soul, therapist, therapy, unconscious

Frederic Leighton – The Return of Persephone (1891).

There’s a lot of truth for psychotherapy in the Greek myth of Persephone and it’s all tied up with the yearly renewal of the seasons.  Persephone, a vegetation goddess, and the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter, was kidnapped and ravished by Hades, the king of the Underworld, and taken to live in his realm.

Demeter, so distraught at her disappearance, refused to let crops or vegetation grow anymore until her daughter was returned.  The gods finally prevailed on Hades, who agreed to let her go.  However the all-wise Fates had decreed that anyone who consumed the food of the underworld was destined to stay there for eternity.  Alas, wiley Hades had persuaded Persephone to eat 3 puny pomegranite seeds.  And so Persephone must spend part of the year in the Underworld, a time of barreness, and vegetation would flourish again only when she was re-united every year with Demeter above ground.

This is quite a myth to explain the origin of the seasons.  Here in Canada, after the long barren winter, we all feel a little like I imagine Persephone would, as she was released from the earth. Released back into life!

The profound truth of the Persephone myth also conveys a deep meaning for our own psychological journey.

The Persephone myth conveys a natural movement in psychological life  For Persephone, it is only as she is detached from her familiar world, and descends to the Underworld that she can bring the blessing and the gift of the seasons, of new green life, and fertility.

My experience is that it is like that in the lives of my clients and in my own life, also.  Sometimes the encounter with life’s circumstances and with the unconscious can seem like a sudden plunge into darkness and descent into the underworld.  But the underworld has its own gifts that it brings.  Only those who can accept those gifts, and “eat the food of the underworld”, can bring the gift of life and fertility back to the “surface world” of their everyday lives.  In the encounter with the depths in ourselves, including our unconscious, we travel Persephone’s way, and return to our everyday life with the green lushness of  renewed outlook and vitality.

In the video below, the great Brazilian jazz stylist Antonio Carlos Jobim sings his wonderful song “The Waters of March” at the 1986 Montreal Jazz Festival.  Lush and full of feeling, this wonderful music captures the enormity of the renewal of Spring that we all sense at this time of year.  May we find that same sense of renewal through the encounter with our own deepest selves.

A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road

It’s the rest of a stump, it’s a little alone

It’s a sliver of glass, it is life, it’s the sun…

…It’s a beam it’s a void, it’s a hunch, it’s a hope

And the river bank talks of the waters of March

It’s the end of the strain

The joy in your heart

Finding Renewal

Both Persephone’s descent into the underworld and the renewal of spring symbolize aspects of the psychotherapeutic process.  Often for renewal, it is important to enter into the depths, and to encounter the more hidden parts of our own existence, and our own experience of life.   The journey may well be demanding, and it is the role of the depth psychotherapist to guide the individual toward renewal, and the deep rewards of the journey.  There’s no better time to start than now.

As always, I welcome your inquiries and comments.

Wishing you the gifts of renewal on your journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

1-905-337-3946

PHOTO CREDIT:  Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton (1830–1896).  This work is in the public domain.

VIDEO CREDIT  © 1986 Antonio Carlos Jobim and Koch International

© 2011 Brian Collinson

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

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