Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

But, What GOOD is It to See a Depth Psychotherapist? -2

February 23rd, 2014 · psychotherapist

Beyond the benefits I outlined in “What GOOD Is It to See a Depth Psychotherapist?, 1” there are two others: 1) developing genuine compassion for oneself; and. 2) passionately living out what’s really me.



 Self Compassion

Sometimes the hardest thing can be having compassion for ourselves.  Sometimes we really need someone to show us the way.

Often, we’ve received the message that there isn’t much or any room in the world for who we most fundamentally are.

Family… school… work… peers… all may have directly or indirectly told us that the person we truly are is not acceptable, and the only thing that is valued are our performances.

Am I My Performances?

One of the most important things about work with a depth psychotherapist is the way that it focuses us in on who we really are — in depth — and gives us the opportunity to value ourselves for what we are, and to be valued by a supportive other.  It can a revelation to be valued, not for what we do, but for the vulnerable and unique reality that we each represent.

The relationship with the therapist, characterized by what Carl Rogers called “unconditional positive regard” is a key part of this.  The therapist holds up a mirror to the client that allows the client to see him or herself from a place of compassion.  That compassion is based on a deep level of empathy for all that has brought the client to their present place in life.  The continual effort is to bring the client to see his or her self and life in a comprehensive and empathic way — the way that the therapist sees him or her.

Passion: Living Out What’s Really Me

Too often, people live in a state of alienation from their genuine selves.  We very often get the message from many sources that the things that we really care about and value in life don’t matter, and that we must buckle down and accept “the realities of life”.  Those realities are economic, social, family-related, gender-related, and age-related — along with other constraints.  We learn “the rules”, or “the way it works”.  We can get so far away from what it is that we’re passionate about in life that we haven’t got the first foggy clue what there is that we could actually be passionate about.

The process of “just living” can sometimes remove the joy and the thrill of spontaneity from our lives.  It reminds me of singer John Mellencamp’s,  “Ballad of Jack and Diane”, about two 16 year olds in a small town, that contains those famous gray lines of desperation:

So let it rock. Let it roll.
Let the Bible Belt come and save my soul.
Hold on to 16 as long as you can
Changes come around real soon
Make us women and men….
Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of living is gone.
They say,
Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of living is gone.

For very many people, it can feel as if the days of passion, of vitality in living are long gone.  Yet something within them remembers the passion and the dreams, what it was like to feel life coursing — and wants to feel it again.  Example: through psychotherapy, a man with a 30 year career in engineering discovers a passion for painting in nature.  As he puts it. “It’s like a door opened, and inside there was a whole new world!  I didn’t know I had this kind of a love for something still in me!”


Often, work with a depth psychotherapist can begin to open up the connections to an individual’s passion and the real sources of joy in that person’s life. — sometimes in ways that are quite unexpected.

[hs_form id=”18″]

PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by  zabaraorg  ; Justin W. G. Allen ; Phil Roeder
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

But What GOOD is It to See a Depth Psychotherapist? -1

February 16th, 2014 · psychotherapist

I’ve being writing several posts about what to look for in a good depth psychotherapist, and what to expect if you go to see one — but what actual good does it do you, if you do?


Clearly, depth psychotherapy won’t save the world.  Despite the number of big media therapists on daytime and prime time TV, therapists haven’t saved society as a whole.  But then, expecting psychotherapists to redeem the world from its social ills is a bit off base.

The question is really much, much more individual: what can a depth psychotherapist do for you?

An Ally, on the Most Fundamental Level

There is real psychological importance to having an unfailingly supportive ally as you open up your inner life and your own deep story.  We have many people in our lives, but the relationship with a psychotherapist is unique, in several ways.


Journey’s better with an ally

One of the most important dimensions of the relationship with a depth psychotherapist is the emphasis on acceptance . There are very few relationships in life that truly strive for unconditional acceptance of the other. But that is the active goal of psychotherapy. For many people, to be listened to and accepted in this manner is something that they have never experienced before, that can create a genuine shift in their own relationship to themselves.

Similarly, many people will never have experienced a relationship where the focus is on the deepest and most fundamental things in their personal lives. As Nicholas Carr has pointed out in his book The Shallows, we live in an era where technology is pushing us towards a more and more superficial grasp of our lives. As one wit tweeted:

I used to have a deep and rich inner life ; now I have Twitter.

In this sense, psychotherapy moves in the exact opposite direction. The depth psychotherapist invites me to focus on, and be open to, the formidable richness of my inner life.

In addition, the way that the session with the psychotherapist is structured, with its strict boundaries of confidentiality, creates a safe place, a safe container for me to open up the important aspects of myself in safety, privacy, and support.

Better to Know, Than to Not Know


Unknown shore of the self

Working with a depth psychotherapist most often brings greater knowledge of the self.  I can’t stress enough that, in the course of a human life, it’s infinitely better to have this knowledge, than not to have it. To wander through my life with no clear sense of my own identity, no knowledge of my own weaknesses and shadow, and no awareness of my deepest needs, yearnings and aspirations, is, to effectively miss living my own real life, to put it bluntly.  It is also to have no real awareness of my impact on anyone else.

C.G. Jung once said, “In each of us there is another, whom we do not know.” But he also said, “It is easier to go to Mars or the moon, than it is to penetrate one’s own being.” The encounter with a depth psychotherapist does not take all the difficulty out of that journey, but it does make it a great deal easier.

I hope that you’ll join me for Part 2 of “What GOOD is it to See a Psychotherapist?”… coming soon.

PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by  Alex Bellink  ; mckaysavage ; familymwr
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

Meeting with a Depth Psychotherapist: What to Expect

February 9th, 2014 · psychotherapist

So, if I find a good depth psychotherapist, and I meet with him or her, what can I expect?


It’s a common question!  Many people wonder just what it would be like to embark on work with a depth psychotherapist.  They may be both attracted to such work, and a little apprehensive.  Just what does occur in such a meeting?

No Judgment

A central characteristic of depth psychotherapy in the Jungian tradition, is that the person who is coming for therapy / counselling (“analysis” as Jungians say) will not be judged or slotted in ways that distort or obscure his or her individual nature.

This means no moral judgment.  Intelligent individuals differ widely about morality.  It’s highly inappropriate for a depth psychotherapist to impose his or her morals , whether in open, explicit ways, or more hidden way. Avoiding the latter , particularly, is a key skill that a good psychotherapist must hone and develop.

But other key forms of judgement must also be avoided. It’s very important that the psychotherapist not impose his or her version of “common sense” on the client, either.  Again:  what is common sense to one intelligent individual is just the opposite to another.

Above all, the therapist must work to enable the client to be free of the collective judgement of “society” or “respectable people”. Often clients are already far too sensitive on this count, and, above all, need to experience an environment where they are free to express their deepest unique selves.

No “Cookie Cutter” Answers

So, almost needless to say, good depth psychotherapy must necessarily avoid “cookie cutter” or “ready made” answers to the dilemmas in an individual’s life.

The depth psychotherapist works with the individual to determine his or her own authentic response to the unique issues that she or he confronts.  This is often requires substantial support , for many of us are deeply wounded when it comes to the expression of our authentic selves.


Some forms of therapy see the therapeutic goal as helping the individual to become “well adjusted” to society, the community, their work, etc.  A Jungian depth psychotherapist aims to help an individual to become fully who he or she fundamentally is.

Lots of Attention to my Individual Life and Story

A depth psychotherapist emphasizes the unique aspects of your story, and what it is that fundamentally makes you, you.

Often, it can vital for a person to relate their own story, the story of his or her life, and to have it met with genuine, close listening to by someone who is intensely interested in it.  This is not something that individuals get to do nearly often enough.

To look at my story intently, with discernment and compassion, with an ally who is firmly on my side — can lead to enormous growth of awareness of my fundamental identity.


The “Undiscovered You” Will Get Taken Seriously…

So, you may well become aware of many aspects of yourself of which you were not aware.  This may happen as you examine your reactions to situations, your motivations, and your dreams. (Neuroscientists such as Profs. Solms and Turnbull are increasingly showing us that dreams are far from meaningless regurgitation of debris from the previous day.)

…and Welcomed

To experience these hitherto unknown aspects of myself, in a climate of accepting support from another, can be incredibly grounding and liberating.

I invite you to consider whether working with a depth psychotherapist might be an experience of healing for you, and an important part of your journey to wholeness.

PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by  katerha  ; shannonkringen ; Wonderlane
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

“How Do I Find a Good Depth Psychotherapist?”

February 2nd, 2014 · psychotherapist

Many people might want to do some meaningful personal work, but might wonder how to find a good depth psychotherapist.


The simple answer: look for someone with the right personal characteristics.  “But how do I do that?“, you might ask.  Well, here are four really good signposts to follow.

1.  Don’t Pick a Psychotherapist with “All the Answers”

The first step in picking a good depth psychotherapist is not to pick a bad one.  Sounds obvious, but here are some important things to think about.

It’s very wise to avoid therapists who rely on glib slogans, or who only look at, feel, or think about the life situations of their clients in superficial ways.  (Example: a therapist who thinks the work is all about the Law of Attraction, or one specific technique.)

Also, watch for the use of psychological bafflegab (e.g., “power words” like “poststructuralist”, “dialectical” or “Lacanian”).  Especially watch for psychotherapists who are always emphasizing the power, insight  and authority of the therapist relative to the subordinate status of the client.  Hiding behind power can indicate a really, really bad psychotherapist.

This seemingly daunting task may come down to trusting your gut.  In other words, how do I actually feel about this potential psychotherapist?

Is the Person Actually a DEPTH Psychotherapist?

If you’re looking for a depth psychotherapist, it’s presumably because you actually want to get into a really in-depth understanding of your inner reality — to really get down to what’s fundamental.  If that’s what you want, then be sure you’re seeing a psychotherapist who wants the same thing.  Some therapists have training that enables them to foster this kind of inner connection.  Some therapists are trained to work in different ways that deliberately avoid this type of connection with the self.  I’m not saying that ‘s wrong, but it is a very different kind of approach with very different goals — and a very different understanding of the human being.

Example.  If a therapist emphasizes strict common sense, logical understanding and rationality, and doesn’t want to engage with feelings, or with aspects of personality that aren’t rational —  you’re probably not dealing with someone who is a depth psychotherapist.

Does the Psychotherapist Listen, and Care About My Story?

This is just pretty darn fundamental.  As Columbia University Professor of Psychiatry Deborah Cabaniss tells us, many studies suggest that the “alliance” with the therapist or counsellor is the single most important indicator of good therapeutic outcomes.


If I’m going to undertake a major journey with a psychotherapist, I really need to feel that he or she is really, truly listening to me — taking in the unique dimensions of me, and fully understanding how the things that I’m relating actually make me feel.  I have to feel that he or she is really “there with me” in those experiences, whether painful, joyful, meaningful or completely baffling.  And I need to know that this individual deeply cares about my story — really feels that my story matters.

Has This Psychotherapist Done His or Her Own Personal Work?

Closely connected with the point just above,  in choosing a psychotherapist, it’s very important for me to know that the person I’m going to sit with has done their own personal work.  By this  I mean, does the therapist have a good level of understanding of his or her own strongest feelings, motivations and inner life?  This is important because , as the old psychotherapeutic saying goes, you can’t take anyone anywhere that you haven’t been yourself.


With the right depth psychotherapist, the exploration of Jungian therapy can often make a profound difference in an individual life.

PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by   sekimura ; baejaar ; LukeDetwiler
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

What Kind of People Go to a Depth Psychotherapist?

January 19th, 2014 · psychotherapist

Not surprisingly, a lot of people are curious about who it really is who actually goes to see a depth psychotherapist.


T-SHIRT LOGO – from Threadless Ts

Therapy that explores peoples’ inner depths and even looks at their dreams can seem exotic.  Who are these people who engage in this kind of personal work?

Not Abnormal

One of the most important first things to say about this is that the people who choose to work  with a depth psychotherapist, in the vast majority of cases, are not in any particular way abnormal.  For the largest part, they do not seem to suffer from any kind of major psychopathology.  In fact, they mostly seem to be people who are high functioning, with families, careers and professions, who are reasonably well-educated, and often quite involved in their communities.  Which might leave an observer still asking the question, “OK, that’s great… but why do these people feel the need to see a depth psychotherapist?”

Not Self-Obsessed

Our observer might wonder, “Well, then, is it because these people are a little self-obsessed, or maybe even narcissistic in their nature, so that they are continually needing to think and obsess about themselves?”


But the evidence would be pretty slim for this theory as well.  Often, the practitioner of depth psychotherapy finds that it’s a great challenge to really get people to look inward, and to really take the time to reflect upon themselves.  This is particularly true in our culture where technology is continually pushing us to send our energy outwards others  through texting, Twitter, Facebook or other social media, and social-media induced angst is rampant, as Prof. Peggy Drexler of Cornell points out.

People Who Feel Something’s Missing

One characteristic that people seem to share who go to see a depth psychotherapist is the sense that something is missing.  That they want a greater sense of depth and reality in their lives, and often a sense that they want to “stop going through the motions” of having a life and find more good, genuinely engaging stuff in their lives.  Sometimes they talk about meaning in life.  Sometimes they talk about self-acceptance, or about just wanting to feel more real.

People Who Want to be More Alive / Aware


Billie Holiday – singing!

The great jazz singer Billie Holiday said the following about her singing, but it is true about having an individual personal life:

You can’t copy anybody and end with anything.

If you copy, it means you’re working without any real feeling.

People who go to see a depth psychotherapist are people who yearn to accept themselves, and to live from a place of wholeness, authenticity and reality, in their own individuality.  Often, depth psychotherapy can bring a sense of healing and liberation.

PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by Threadless Ts ; lettawren ;
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

A Jungian Psychotherapist & Suburban Life, 6: Cars

May 5th, 2013 · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapist, psychotherapist

The symbolic may be the commonplace, as a Jungian psychotherapist well knows; other than pets like dogs, what could be more commonplace in suburban life than cars?

jungian psychotherapist

Not only are cars commonplace in suburban life; they are common in our dreams.  The ancient gods had their vehicles or mounts that they typically rode; so our vehicles often appear in dreams as representations of our “way of getting through life”.

Automobile as Possibility

When Henry Ford mass produced the automobile, he created a world of transportation possibility that had been previously unimaginable.  So often the auto represents a real dimension of freedom in the lives of individuals.

The Car and Our “Drive”

It’s not accidental, in our culture that we refer to a highly motivated individual as “driven”.  We can easily relate driving to a way of being aggressively in control: driving can be a direct expression of aggression.  This association with aggression is at the root of many road rage incidents.

The Car and Persona / Identity

in North American society generally, and in suburbia in particular, the car that a person drives is seen as directly connected to a person’s social mask or persona.  In modern suburbia, the car one drives can easily mark one as an estimable, successful person… or not.  So one aspect of car ownership is that it can become something that we hide behind — as something that hides a person’s individuality.  A Jungian psychotherapist knows that cars in general, and especially in suburbia, are part of personal identity, and also hide it.

The Isolating Container

Most cars constitute a sealed off vessel that travels down the road.  This can lead to a sense of being cut off from the external environment.  What happens in the world outside the car is something that doesn’t affect me, and from which I’m disconnected.

One complaint that Europeans often have about North American cities and suburbs is that they are “60 Kilometre / Hour Cities” where we whizz by things in our cars at 60 KPH, and we are disengaged from the outer world outside our automobile containers, except for the endpoints of our journeys.

Does our car dependency symbolize disconnection from other people and the world; life in a world of isolation, tunnel vision, alienation from nature, as John Brack’s painting seems to portray?

Jungian psychotherapist

The Car in Your Dreams

As 21st century people, and especially as suburban folk, we often find ourselves in our cars in our dreams.  Often, there can be a lot to be learned from these dream car journeys.

In your dream, where are you going?

How are you getting there?

Who’s driving your car?  You, or someone else?

The images of car travel in our dreams can often tell us a great deal about our lives, and the needed direction of our journey towards wholeness.

Does Hermes Drive A Mercury?


When a Jungian psychotherapist works in individual therapy with a client, material objects from our everyday lives can take on great symbolic importance, and reveal much about our individual lives.

[hs_form id=”18″]

PHOTO: Attribution Some rights  reserved Hugo90 ; 
© Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

A Jungian Psychotherapist & Suburban Life, 5: Dogs

March 31st, 2013 · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapist, psychotherapist

A Jungian psychotherapist has a passionate interest in symbols, and one of the most strikingly visible symbols in suburban life must surely be: dogs.

Jungian psychotherapist

“CAVE CANEM” – “Beware the Dog”, Pompeii, Italy 1st C., A.D.

“Yes, Brian”, you say, “I get it.  There are dogs in suburbia.  OK.   Big deal.  So what?”

[hs_form id=”17″]

Suburbia as Doggy Homeland

Dogs are almost omnipresent in suburbia.  Clearly, in our culture as a whole, and in suburbia in particular, dogs are very important to very many people.  To a Jungian psychotherapist, this importance is both psychological and symbollic.  The recent CBC documentary Dog Dazed opens up this more psychological aspect of dog ownership powerfully.

In suburbia, what is the psychological function of the dog?

Well, there are several important things to note about our dogs…


Dogs Don’t Desert

Dogs are by nature social, and instinctively adapted to life in packs.  This social aspect of dogs likely made them the first animal to ever be domesticated.

One of the things that endears us to dogs is that they are particularly responsive to human affection and care.  These are beings both very different from ourselves, and very open and eager to be emotionally connected to us.

Dogs don’t desert their masters.  As a result in myth, and many religious traditions they are portrayed as accompanying their masters to death and into the afterlife.  This symbolism was common in ancient Egypt, as Manchester Museum Egyptologist Campbell Price tells us.

As a result of these attributes, dogs have a very deep, even archetypal place in the human psyche.

Dogs as Instinct

Another aspect of dogs is revealed in the way that they represent the body and instinct in life.

Humans have long relied on the dog’s superior senses — superior hearing, ability to detect scents, sureness of direction — to extend the range of our own senses.  We are acutely aware that, in certain of these respects the dog’s abilities are unquestionably superior to our own.

Dogs in human life may also be symbolic of instinct.  Given their nature, they unquestionably represent  an instinctual desire to be social, to affiliate, to “be part of”.  Similarly, they can represent the sexual instinct for humans; the territorial or boundary-maintaining instinct, and the instinct to hunter and to track.

In addition, dogs embody for us a simple ease with bodily life.  We may say that a person is not comfortable in his own skin; we would never say that about a dog.

The Dog Within

A Jungian psychotherapist sees suburbanites’ love affair with the dog in terms of our deep yearnings for connection,  and for unconditional love and acceptance.  Similarly, that the dog is a symbol of our desire to be connected with the simplicity and self acceptance of bodily, instinctual life is not lost on a Jungian psychotherapist.  The journey of individual therapy is a journey to connection, beginning with acceptance and then love of oneself and welcome of instinct and body.

PHOTO: Attribution Some rights reserved by Hanumann ; VIDEO: “Dog Dazed” ©Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 2013
© Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

A Jungian Psychotherapist & Suburban Life, 3: Money

February 9th, 2013 · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapist, psychotherapist

Money in all its aspects is highly significant in suburban life, as any Jungian psychotherapist well knows.

Jungian psychotherapist

This isn’t surprising: money has immense psychological importance, overall.

What do I mean by that?

Money as Energy

Psychologically and symbolically speaking, a Jungian psychotherapist thinks of money as representing a form of stored energy.  The money we earn effectively results from the expenditure of our life’s energy.

As a result, money is fundamentally tied up with our hopes and dreams, for ourselves, and just as importantly, for those whom we love.  It is also powerfully associated with our fears and insecurities.   Let’s make no mistake: financial crises, recessions or other situations of financial threat, personal or collective, are powerful emotional events.

These psychological facts take on a particular nuance or flavour in suburban settings.  In suburbia, success and affluence are highly prized, and deeply tied up with personal identity.

[hs_form id=”17″]

Money Complex and Social Self

Basically, everyone has a money complex.  Money issues can leave us in the grips of many different strong emotional states, but money “gets” to almost all of us, one way or another, whether as extreme competitiveness or extreme worry, or other emotional states.

jungian psychotherapist

The world’s great financial organizations and institutions gives us the impression that money is one of the most rational — even mathematical — of things in human life.  Actually, money is one of the most emotional things on earth.  Again, this emotionality is often heightened in suburbia, where outward trappings of affluence and success are a highly prized part of our social masks.  The social collective stresses the need to be, and to be seen to be successful– in order to have any worth.

Songwriter Aimee Mann explores the complexity around “looking successful” and money in her insightful song, “Freeway” — “You’ve got a lot of money / But you cannot keep your bills paid.”

Suburban Life: A Troubled Marriage with Money

As a Jungian psychotherapist, a key area of investigation, and a key issue for people who see me in my practice, is the particular relationship between suburban life and money.  It’s a potent, potent mixture!

The constant message of suburbia?  Successful people live here.  In fact, that’s why many chose to live in the more affluent suburbs.    Certainly, “success” in this sense means financial success: having a lot of money.  The not-so-subtle message in our society, which screams from every brick in suburbia, is that self-worth is directly connected to worth in dollars.

Upscale suburb living symbolizes success.  And, very clearly, those living here need to appear successful.  This can be an extremely trying pressure in economically uncertain times.

Self Worth and Money?

Human beings are worth infinitely more than their assets.  There’s irreplaceable value in our individual uniqueness.  Our culture doesn’t always affirm this.  We need to live in the conscious awareness of our own uniqueness, and our own unique journey.  A Jungian psychotherapist focuses on grounding people in their unique identity and worth.

PHOTO:  Attribution Some rights reserved bee wolf ray ; francisco.j.gonzalez  VIDEO: “Freeway” © 2008 SuperEgo Records, Aimee Mann  BebingtonGirl
© Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)


→ 1 Comment

A Jungian Psychotherapist & Suburban Life, 2: Image

January 26th, 2013 · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapist, psychotherapist

Put a Jungian psychotherapist in suburbia and he or she soon realizes that an important part of suburban life is the process of dealing with expectations around image.

Jungian psychotherapist

People’s presentation of themselves to each other is key in suburban life.  And how we relate to our presentation to the world, to what Jung called the persona, can determine the whole course of a life.

[hs_form id=”17″]

The Inevitability of Persona

We have to face it: we’re going to have a social mask.  People can’t appear unfiltered and emotionally raw to the world — it would be intolerable.

So, we all develop ways of protecting ourselves — and others — in our various social environments.  The way we do that is through our persona, which is a combination of what we show to others, and what we conceal.  For the Jungian psychotherapist, this is an inevitable activity, with identifiable common characteristics in the suburban persona across North America:


 Suburban Social Compromise

Persona is the sum total of all the compromises we make between the outer social reality and inner psychological reality.  All the social compromises we make in suburban living can amount to a lifestyle — and to a specific persona, a suburban way of presenting ourselves to the outer world.

In today’s suburbia, it’s not uncommon to have limited contact with others, but that doesn’t mean that we are not strongly influenced by their opinions and expectations.

Often there is considerable pressure to avoid patterns of behaviour considered “eccentric”, and sometimes strong fear and suspicion of behaviour that departs from the suburban pattern.  For instance, there can be considerable pressure to look prosperous and successful / “healthy” — and to give the impression of being “one of us”, and fitting in.

jungian psychotherapist


Don’t Mistake the Mask for Your Face

Suburban patterns of persona sometimes work better for people in the first half of adult life than they do in the second.

In the second half of life, what is more individual becomes more important.  By this time people can be so confined by social role that they risk never getting to a position to express their true selves.  Social masks can prevent us from expressing our real identity, confining us to rigid patterns of thought and reaction that we can never get past.

Suburbia and the Dance of Persona

jungian psychotherapist

For the Jungian psychotherapist, the key thing about image in suburbia is that individuals need to not be possessed by the social self, but to have the freedom to live from their authentic reality.  There is a dance of individuation and masks that is involved in suburban life, and in the issue of our persona in suburban living.

How to live authentically in suburbia?  Only by stepping away from the mask of suburban persona enough to gain some freedom.  A key part of the work of the Jungian psychotherapist, in suburbia or elsewhere, is to help individuals to find the authentic life within that brings freedom from the mask.


PHOTO:  © Yod Miansa-ard | ; Attribution Some rights reserved GanMed6  VIDEO:  SElighter “Rockin the Suburbs” © Ben Folds
Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

→ No Comments

A Jungian Psychotherapist & Suburban Life 1: Insights

January 6th, 2013 · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapist, psychotherapist

What would a Jungian psychotherapist say, specifically, about the meaning of suburban life?

Jungian psychotherapy

Well, having both practiced as a Jungian psychotherapist in suburban or “edge” cities and having extensively studied suburbias, it’s clear that individuals face particular challenges in living in this kind of environment, while remaining true to themselves.

Whatever else is true, the suburban places of my life, like Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington, have a unique character from the perspective of a Jungian psychotherapist.

That Funny Word “Suburban”…

A suburb, simply put, is a residential area that is neither fully urban, nor is it rural.  Often, the people who live in suburbia are people who hope to live closer to nature, or at least, with more space, than is possible in an urban setting.  Often, this kind of space appeals to people with families.

Living in the Suburbs Has Unique Pressures

From the perspective of a Jungian psychotherapist it’s clear that there are unique pressures on suburban dwellers.  Some of these are very tangible.

For instance, suburban dwellers often have a commute to somewhere in their metro area that substantially eats into their day.  Related to this is the fact that suburban folks pretty much need a car to do everything in their lives, and have to travel some pretty large distances to do the basics.  In most suburban communities you can’t get the goods and services you need via walking or transit.  So there can easily be a sense of disconnect from the physical environment, and from others living in the community.

A Jungian psychotherapist also knows that suburban community has two mirror opposite aspects: it can be both not enough and too much.  In the midst of suburban communities, people can feel incredibly alone.  Simultaneously, people can encounter immense pressure to meet collective expectations.  around lifestyle, levels of consumption. and being “like others” in the neighbourhood.  People can feel strong social pressure and feel extremely disconnected simultaneously.

The social pressure to be “like others” may result in huge financial pressure.

Being Yourself in the Suburbs is a Particular Challenge

At a certain point in life, often around the midlife transition, the challenge of living in a way that is uniquely one’s own takes on a level of urgency.

Jungian psychotherapist

Often, a way of life that once met certain key needs starts to feel like just “going through the motions”.  The need to find a way of living that is uniquely, authentically my own, may come from a pressing imperative — what a Jungian psychotherapist calls individuation.

Creative Individuation in the Suburbs

It can take a significant re-orientation to find a creative and meaningful life in the midst of a suburban lifestyle.  One must overcome the relentless pressure of advertising and marketing, which continually portrays commodity consumption as individual and creative, when it is often at heart abjectly conformist.  It can be an extensive process to get free of this and to get down to the discovery of what is uniquely me.  This is an essential aspect of the work of the Jungian psychotherapist in suburbia.

Attribution Some rights reserved Brett VA , halseike

→ No Comments