Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Jungian Therapy for Anxiety & the Overly Driven Person

January 26th, 2012 · Anxiety, driven person, Jungian, Jungian therapy, therapy, therapy for anxiety

Jungian therapy

It’s actually painful to be an overly driven person, as both Jungian therapy and therapy for anxiety in general recognize.  When we allow ourselves to get caught in this way, we run a great risk of chronically devaluing our inner life, and our true worth.

The overly driven person :

1. Never Relaxes or Feels Secure

The overly driven person can’t afford to lower his or her level of alertness, or level of effort, for fear of being overtaken or overcome.  She lives by the old sports maxim: “You’re Only as Good as Your Last Game”.

For the overly driven person links self-worth and specific achievements.  Now, Jungian therapy would acknowledge that we should have particular achievements of which we are proud.  But if our sense of identity is built around socially recognized achievements, then we are on very shaky ground.

2.  Fears Chaos; Continually Struggles to Maintain Control

Often the driven person strives to fend off their greatest fear: the collapse of a situation into chaos.  Often that fear is rooted in experiences of chaos in their past at some point, or in a fear of chaos inherited from the family of origin.  Therapy for anxiety knows that the response to this threat is to strive for greater control — of others, of ourselves, of the environment.

3.  Thinks in Absolutes

In Steve Jobs’ biography, I was struck by the fact that he had only two attitudes to the work of others.  He would either say “This is excellent! Amazing!”, or else he would say, “This is s–t!”.  Excrement or excellence: no in-between.  Overly driven people are often locked into perfectionism in their demands and expectations of themselves and others.  So if a thing isn’t perfect, then it’s a complete miss and worthless.

4.  Pushed by Unconscious Factors

Jungian therapy would emphasize the unconscious forces at work in the overly driven person.  They may be rooted in past traumatic experience, past emotional dynamics in the family of origin, or overidentification with an archetype.  Often, if a person is to gain freedom from  driven-ness, she must become more conscious of what’s doing the driving.  Therapy for anxiety includes healing around basic issues of self acceptance, satisfaction in what has been accomplished, and security.

 “Is It Ever Gonna Be Enough?“…  Metric – Gold Guns Girls

Often depth psychotherapy can assist greatly in untangling the knot of drivenness.

PHOTOS: ©  All rights reserved by ray_wilson_jr
VIDEO: © “Gold Guns Girls”  ©  2009 Metric
© 2011 Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga)

 

 

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Jungian Therapy and Divorce Counselling, Pt. 1: Loss

January 20th, 2012 · counselling, divorce, divorce counselling, Jungian, Jungian therapy

Jungian therapy

For Jungian therapy a key focus in divorce counselling is to look at what is trying to emerge in the life of the individual as relationship ends.  But before that aspect of Jungian therapy can begin, there is often important, although difficult, work to be done in the ashes and shards of the dying relationship.

Anger

Of all the emotions experienced at the end of a relationship, variants of anger and rage are among the most potent.  Whether directed at the spouse, a third party or some circumstance involved in the demise of the marriage, these emotions powerfully impact the individual as he or she is trying to find a way through and beyond the end of the relationship.  Unless acknowledged and experienced, they can continue to control the individual and cloud judgment indefinitely.

Grief & Sorrow

Grief and sorrow are almost always associated with divorce counselling, at least as practiced in a Jungian therapy context.   For men in particular, it may be much more difficult to get in touch with these feelings than with feelings of anger and rage.  Also, one of the paradoxes of this emotional passage is that one may even feel a sense of gladness or relief at the end of a relationship — and simultaneously feel a sense of grief at the loss of this part of one’s feeling life, and of the hopes that go with it.

Guilt & Shadow

We also find ourselves in the grip of feelings of guilt and regret over our actions at the time of divorce.  As I look at my own role in the decay and eventual death of the relationship, I inevitably come up against shadow — those parts of myself that I cannot or will not acknowledge.  To confront our own role in the failure of a relationship can be a very difficult thing, but it may contribute immensely to self knowledge and personal growth.

Fixation

There is a danger of being caught or fixated by divorce, never getting over it, or through it.  We’ve probably all met people who are stuck here.  Often this occurs when there are feelings of betrayal, or in situations where the relationship to children is lost.  It can also be associated with an undying need to be right, and my inability to acknowledge the difficult-to-acknowledge shadow parts of myself.

Susanna – Don’t Come Around Here No More

Please watch for part 2 of this series on divorce, “Renewal” — coming soon.

PHOTO: © Luchelle12 | Dreamstime.com

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Jungian Therapy, Loneliness and Life Transitions

January 11th, 2012 · Jungian, Jungian therapy, life transitions, loneliness, Transitions

Jungian therapy

Loneliness is often the frequent companion of major life transitions; Jungian therapy recognizes that finding ways to cope with it can be essential at key turning points in life.

Recently, I’ve been struck by the number of clients who have come to see me in the course of undergoing very significant life transitions.  The situations of these clients bring home to me a lot of significant truths about the loneliness experienced at such times.

Here are 4 ways in which people can find themselves alone in the midst of such life transitions.

Not Being Understood or Accepted

Individuals can experience great loneliness in the course of life transitions when a previously taken-for-granted level of acceptance, understanding or connection is no longer present in a relationship.  The individual may feel that he or she has been understood and accepted for who he or she is, only to discover that those who previously seemed to accept them now can no longer do so.  The spouse who follows the inclinations of the inner self, and finds themselves in a place to which their partner simply cannot relate, would be a prime example.

Isolating Events or Circumstances

Intense loneliness can result for individuals when a life altering event fundamentally alters perception or consciousness.  Such individuals can feel completely isolated from others, even though they may previously have been close to them.  Serious illness, injury, job loss, or other personal tragedy would all be prime examples.

Difficult & Profound Transformations

Life transitions can stem from situations where an individual realizes that “I can’t go on living like this anymore”.  Often this type of loneliness occurs when an individual feels that they can no longer live confined by a given social mask, or persona.  Changes in professional, sexual or gender identity would all be prime examples.

Faced with Difficult Choices

Often a deep loneliness can result from struggling with major moral choices.  The need to courageously make a decision that transcends black and white moral answers, such as whether to keep and raise a child suffering from serious developmental issues, or to give up the child for adoption,  would be a case in point.

Jungian therapy

Often connecting with someone empathetic skilled in depth psychotherapy or Jungian therapy, who understands the issues around the loneliness of life transitions, can be of great assistance.

PHOTOS: © Anke Van Wyk | Dreamstime.com ; © Jerryway | Dreamstime.com
© 2011 Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga)

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Jungian Therapy, Time and the New Year: 4 Reflections

January 5th, 2012 · Jungian, Jungian therapy, New Year, therapy, Time

At New Year , we are all acutely aware of the passage of time; an approach rooted in Jungian therapy leads us to reflect on time in at least four different ways.

Jungian therapy

1.  We Live in the Flow of Time

By nature, humans exist in time, and in conscious awareness of time.  All we do and are is in the midst of duration.  We may lament time’s passing, but without it, we wouldn’t exist.  Still, we are surrounded by so much that is impermanent, to which we cannot cling.  How will we cope with passing years?

2.  Midlife and the Significance of Time

By midlife, and often before, we feel keenly that our time is limited.  We know we have lived nearly half of our lives.  Sometimes, I can seem to feel the days rapidly slipping away.  It can be an agonizing realization, and sometimes we may have to battle the snares of regret , in order to stay with life in the present.

3.  Worthy of my Time?

If life is limited and finite, I need to live in the ways that are most meaningful to me.  To do that, I must know what it is that I really value.  And to know what it is that I really value, I will have to encounter those parts of myself that I do not usually encounter or acknowledge — the undiscovered unconscious self.  Many people don’t dare to really ask, “What is it that is really important to me?  What are the things that will really last?” — and then to live in and for those values.

4.  Dancing Toward Soul

We cannot imagine existence outside of time — it is fundamental to who and what we are.  And yet, something in us connects to, and resonates with, eternity.  There is a dancing way of living, that, although it moves through the seasons, has the air of eternity, because it connects with values and aspects of the self that are unchanging — the things we eternally seek.  This, the reality of soul, is often imaged in dreams and in art, as a lover within us, who we seek and love for our whole lives.  Here is Donovan, singing W.B. Yeats’ profound and beautiful poem,

With very best wishes for the New Year, and for you, on your journey towards wholeness.

PHOTO: © Some rights reserved by midgefrazel
VIDEO: “The Song of Wandering Aengus”, by cronogeo
© 2011 Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga)

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