Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Jungian Therapy, Loneliness and Life Transitions

January 11th, 2012 · 5 Comments · 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.

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© 2011 Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga)

5 Comments so far ↓

  • jamenta

    For me – unexpected isolation forced upon me a struggle for identity – to recover what seemed so stable early in my youth.

    Identity seems to be closely related with relatedness. Rejection from a loved one can tear it all apart – where there is no certainty to stand on – no sense that anything can be trusted – or any action proven valuable. It is all arbitrary – and you swim through a quagmire of unrelatedness.

    And it can even last a lifetime.

  • Brian C

    I think that it’s often true that times when we find ourselves on our own can be times when we start to explore ourselves in new ways, and ask deeper questions about who we really are, and what is really important. Thank you kindly for your comment, John.

  • jamenta

    It seems to be also a major part of the latter half of life – for myself. I find I am removed from the kind of social connections I once had – and yet it does not seem to be as bad as one might think.

    It is like a prolonged in-between space. Many of my dreams have me lost – in an unknown city. Having difficulty with movement as well. I am alone as I travel – isolated. I am trying to get somewhere – although I never seem to remember where I’m trying to get too. I also never reach that destination.

    In real life, I find myself despising the US society we have now. So much greed – poverty. So little concern for the future of our planet – so much focus on enriching oneself at the expense of others – an economic system that uses people like machines … without soul…

    The ability to even sustain oneself in work – has become much more onerous to so many – and has even cut off opportunities for myself – though I am well educated and possibly – given the right work environment and benefits – could still contribute. But I deeply pessimistic and lack the energy or ambition I once had to even attempt engaging with the current economic system that is such a dominant reality right now.

    I am limbo. Quotes by Jung – Emerson – Myers – James – Plath – I can echo and reflect upon. Just ordered another bookcase. Identity seems to be in stasis. I suppose movement stalled?

    I suppose I just need to listen to my unconscious more. It’s a mystery alright.

  • Brian C

    Thank you for this insightful and obviously heartfelt comment, John. I agree with you that, for many of us, as we get older, we find ourselves somewhat more alone. I also think that, at demanding times in life, when a person is experiencing some disorientation, it can often be that we also feel more alone.

    I certainly agree with you that, at such times, it becomes particularly important to listen to the unconscious more. I also think that it may be very important to keep an open mind, and to not dismiss possibilities out of hand. It can be easy sometimes to brush things off by telling oneself that “that’s just not me”, or “I don’t do things that way”, when life — and the unconscious, and the Self — may be offering us a hitherto untried direction to walk in. As you probably know, the alchemists had a saying, “The stone which the builders rejected has now become the head of the corner”. Often, it’s the possibility that we have a hard time even respecting that carries the new life we need.

    Wishing you all the very best, John.

  • jamenta

    An interesting saying by the alchemists. I will keep my eyes open and watch for any new stones.

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