Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Jungian psychotherapy as therapy for anxiety

May 27th, 2011 · Anxiety, counselling, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, therapy for anxiety

therapy for anxiety

Finding an effective therapy for anxiety is greatly important in our time.  Auden labelled our era “The Age of Anxiety”, and for good reason.  Many certainties — economic, political, moral, work, religious — have now evaporated.  In many situations, people find themselves not knowing what to expect next.  Anxious states are the normal outcome of this kind of life situation.

We have to confront a number of plain facts.

  • Anxiety is an Unavoidable Part of Life

Therapy will never completely eliminate it.  If it did, we would soon be dead.  The experience of a certain anxiousness is what keeps us alert and engaged with life.  What we need is the ability to deal with it so that it stays within sustainable bounds, and doesn’t overwhelm our lives.

  • Normal Anxious States and Crippling Anxiety are Different

Experiences of manageable anxiousness differ greatly from experiences likeo panic attacks and social anxiety, which can completely disrupt life.  While everyone experiences some anxius feelings moving through life, a person with crippling anxiety may be unable to move through life, or may confront grave obstacles to truly living.

  • Our Experience of the General Insecurity of Life Makes Us Anxious

There are many things for which there are no guarantees in life.  The more uncontrollable the situation, and the bigger the stakes, the more anxiety we confront.  This uncontrollability and the perceived size of the risk are very subjective factors.  A person can be held hostage by anxiety about a risk that seems very real to them, but not to others.  To truly deal with anxiety involves taking our own subjective states very seriously

  • The Only Way to Really Deal with Anxiety is to Get to its Source.  That Takes Courage and Hard Work.

Anxious affect often comes into our lives because it is protecting us from feeling or experiencing something else.  An anxious state may also represent our bottled-up energy or potentiality.  As Jungian analyst James Hollis puts it, “What I can make conscious, face directly, and deal with as an adult, frees me from unconscious bondage to the past…. We gain when we are able to move from the anxiety, which, like a fog, obscures the forward path.”

Anxious experience is rooted in the depths of the psyche.  Only through experiencing our own depths can we begin to move beyond it.

How have you experienced anxiety, in yourself or others?  I welcome your comments.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

Main Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice


PHOTO:  NoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by theloushe
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga )

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Psychotherapy for Men: 5 Truths from Jungian Analysis

May 20th, 2011 · men, Psychotherapy, psychotherapy for men

psychotherapy for men

Psychotherapy for men is intricate, because our culture is deeply unsure about men’s issues, or what males should do or be.  While the women’s movement has brought much real change to the way women view themselves, males in our present culture are often profoundly disoriented.

Here are five important truths about a man’s search for his unique, individual self.

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  • The Marlboro Man: a Second Rate Myth

You remember the Marlboro man, the iconic cowboy in cigarette ads.  He conveyed a lot of values: independence, machismo, self-sufficiency, toughness.  The Marlborough ad campaign was one of the most successful ever.  Males wanted to identify with those stereotypical male values.  But down deep, most guys today know that’s not who they are, and that it’s not what they want for their lives.

  • Many Men are Quite Lonely

However, our culture still expects men to be very self-sufficient and hide their feelings.  Real intimacy between men is often discouraged, even feared.  There may be genuine feelings of closeness to others, but it’s hard for many males to talk to other men about what they feel.  Consequently, many experience real loneliness, and emotional isolation.

  • Stereotypes Hurt Men, Too

The women’s movement has struggled strenuously against sex role stereotyping, and the ways that it keeps women in limited roles.  What is less realized are the ways in which sex role stereotyping hurts men.  There are many aspects of themselves that male stereotyping keeps men from realizing.

  • Men Have Secrets

There are a lot of things that males do not, and would not, easily reveal.  There are many kinds of vulnerability, and many solitary thoughts that a man possesses, about which he is highly reluctant to open up.  Often, males need someone who can really listen to their story.

  • Someone Who’ll Listen Without Judging

It can be very hard for males to find someone who will accept and understand without condemning, or demeaning.  Although we may not realize it, much of the way guys are socialized in earlier life is inherently shame based.  It’s important for such men to find  acceptance for themselves as who they are.

Depth psychotherapy can be profoundly healing for men.  For a man to be listened to and accepted in his own individuality, and to be able to put down the sterile mask of masculinity expected by our culture can bring a profound new inner sense.

A question to both males and females: how do you experience masculinity in our time ?  I’d welcome your responses.


PHOTO:  Attribution Some rights reserved by lovelornpoets
© 2011, 2013  Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga )


Jungian Psychotherapy with Older Adults : 6 Lessons Learned

May 15th, 2011 · Jungian psychotherapy, later adulthood, psychotherapy with older adults


Psychotherapy with older adults raises many unique issues.  Jungian psychotherapy actually developed first as a form of psychotherapy with older adults, and embodies very important learnings about the second half of life.


  • Simple but True: It’s Different When You’re Older

Living is simply not the same in the 40s, 50s and 60s as it was in earlier stages of life.  Often changes are starting to occur as children are getting older.  The priorities that have governed peoples’ lives in the first part of their adulthood are shifting — often substantially and permanently.  The things people need to find meaningful life at this stage are fundamentally different than the concerns of people in their 20s.

  • You Know You Don’t Have All the Answers

By mid life, many people are acutely aware of many unanswered questions in life, which are not going to be easily answered.  They realize they aren’t going  to “figure it all out” in a neat and tidy way.  They need orientation and solid grounding to help deal with the mysteries of life.

  • What You Decide Counts

Individuals at this stage also realize that decisions and directions taken on the journey now really count.  In an earlier stage it might be possible to make and revise key decisions.  This gets less and less easy as life goes on.  What we decide is fateful.  It’s essential to make the right choices for ourselves.

  • Letting Go of the Superficial

This is linked with identifying and staying with the things that really matter to us.  Much in later life can feel distracting and irrelevant, with not enough time for the things of greatest value.  It’s important to focus in on what really matters to ourselves personally.

  • The Undiscovered Self

But to know what really matters to us requires that we know who we are.  Our perception of who we are may very well start to change as we move through middle into later life.  It’s essential that we connect with our hitherto undiscovered self, if we wish to have the feeling of being grounded in our lives.

  • Finding What’s Individually Yours

All of this points to a deep need to be aware of who we uniquely are.  As we face the challenges of the second half of life, we need to be grounded in that identity.  Jungian psychotherapy is especially well-equipped to enable that journey.

What are your key learnings and questions as you move through the second half of your life?  I’d love to hear.

PHOTO:  © Yuri Arcurs |
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga )


Depth Psychotherapy for Depression: Five Key Truths

May 9th, 2011 · depression, depth psychotherapy, Jungian depth psychology, psychotherapy for depression

Often, people try depth psychotherapy for depression when other possible solutions haven’t helped — or haven’t helped enough.

depth psychotherapy

By depth psychotherapy, I mean those forms of therapy that are really prepared to look at the depths of the psyche, the deepest parts of our being.

From a depth psychotherapy point of view, there are a number of key facts about depression.

  • It is Serious; It Cannot be Ignorred

A depressive state is not some odd accident that has occurred to an individual.  It is something that is originating in the depths of the person, and it is emerging for a reason.  Addressing such a condition is going to take a deep level of commitment, in order to get to its source.

  • Depth Psychotherapy Goes Far Beyond “Happy Talk”

Jungians know that depression is rooted deeply enough within ourselves that mere attempts on the part of the conscious ego to “stay happy” or “keep positive” are not going to be enough.  Something deep and fundamental must change within us, if we are to get free.

  • Depression Has to do with “the Other” Within Us

A depth approach to depressive states often involves encountering the Other, or, as Jungians say, the Shadow, in ourselves, that part of our ourselves that we might prefer not to acknowledge.  Often, it is those unacknowledged parts of ourselves that wish to become alive, and to be incorporated, that carry the key to the healing that is needed in depression. Here’s Jungian Analyst Jame Hollis, at a recent event, on the Other:

  • Depression is Often About Seeking New Meaning

As Hollis says, it can often be that we encounter depressive states because something in us is searching for meaning.  Often a “down state” is tied to the desire in the depths of us for renewed value and significance in our lives.  To find what is personally meaningful to us is a deeply individual search that depth psychotherapy takes very seriously.

  • Something New is Trying to Emerge within the Individual

When we are in the grips of a depressed state, there is something that is trying to emerge within us.   This is a hopeful thought: that much of depression is connected with a striving on the part of something in our lives to emerge, and to be alive. A depth psychotherapy approach to depression takes individual persons and their needs very seriously, and involves encountering new aspects of the self.  What do you think about therapy? Wishing you new discovery of yourself on your journey toward wholeness, Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst   To Main Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice  1-905-337-3946

PHOTO CREDIT:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Leopard Print
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)


Jungian Psychotherapy for Midlife Issues

May 2nd, 2011 · help for midlife issues, midlife, midlife issues, psychotherapy for midlife issues

Of the available options for dealing with midlife issues, why choose Jungian psychotherapy?  The answer hinges on how we understand midlife, that period from the mid-/ later 30s, to the late 50s.

help for midlife issues

While the phrase “midlife crisis” is cliché, there is nonetheless a great deal of psychological change and adjustment that goes on in this part of life.  The individual can either deny this, in which case, life risks lapsing into sterility, or these changes can be confronted and embraced, and a new orientation discovered.

Here are some of the factors that make Jungian psychotherapy particularly appropriate for midlife issues.

  • Jung Stressed the Importance of Midlife

Jung paid enormous attention to the midlife period in human life.  Subsequent Jungians have followed in his footsteps.  Midlife was a vitally important period in Jung’s own life, and his psychology emphasizes the unique character of the changes at midlife.


  • Jungian Psychotherapy has an In-Depth Understanding of Midlife

A Jungian approach is extremely sensitive to developments in middle life.  It recognizes fully that values and priorities that have sustained the individual previously are undergoing renewal, and that a whole new approach to life may be emerging.

  • Jung’s Approach Emphasizes the Individual Journey

Jungian psychotherapy never loses sight of the importance of the unique journey of the individual.  A Jungian approach always looks for, emphasizes and honours the factors that make a person unique. It acknowledges that the dilemmas that an individual experiences are going to have to be met by an individual and unique solution — not “one size fits all”.

  • Jungian Psychotherapy Takes the Unconscious Seriously

In addition to the conscious parts of the human being, there is much that is going on in the unconscious.  Some of these things may emerge at midlife, in one form or another.  Understanding and coming to terms with these elements of the self is often essential for healing at midlife.

  • Depth Psychotherapy Affirms that Midlife is Meaningful

Often the struggles at midlife can make life seem like chaos.  A Jungian approach emphasizes that meaning is trying to emerge, and, if nurtured, will emerge, in the individual’s life. Thus, it offers concrete hope for the individual.

What is Trying to Emerge for You at Midlife?

If you are entering, in, or moving beyond midlife, what is trying to emerge in your journey at this time?  What are your individual concerns?  I would welcome your comments and questions.

Wishing you a vital and meaningful middle passage on your journey toward wholeness,

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

To Main Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice


PHOTO CREDIT:  © Peter Chigmaroff |
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)

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