Journeying Toward Wholeness

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The Psychotherapist & Self Acceptance: A CG Jung Quote

August 23rd, 2012 · psychotherapist, Self, self acceptance

Self acceptance has become a buzz word, a part of the stock in trade of the psychotherapist, but, in this quotation, C.G. Jung invites us to take things deeper.


To really look at what a depth psychotherapist means, and needs to mean, when he or she utters those two little words — self acceptance

The Offence of the Shadow

The self that we need to accept includes that part of the Self that Jung called the Shadow.  This is the part of the Self that Jung tells us contains all that we would rather not acknowledge as ourselves, and would, in fact, rather not be.

It does not take long, if we’re honest in our introspection, to get to the starting point of shadow work.  If we can honestly look upon the most embarrassing and shame-filled moments in our life, or the time we have done the most morally reprehensible thing we have ever done — there it is.  It truly does offend.  How can we ever be reconciled with that?

Hungry Me

To confront that part of ourselves is to confront the hurt, wounded and impoverished parts of myself and  my soul.  The parts that feel so needy, which are filled with yearning and desire so deep we can only call it hunger.  Sometimes, it can be barely tolerable to acknowledge, and accept, how truly needy we are.

Aspects of Me — That Insult Me

People who can bear to be honest about it are often tormented by certain aspects of their personality that just seem unbearable to themselves, their egos, their images of who they are.  To somehow come to terms with “this person”, this me, this insulting beggar, this impudent offender — often is no small piece of psychological work.

Love and Forgiveness — and Me

The depth psychotherapist works with the client to help him or her see and accept who and what he or she is.  The essence of the work is to help the individual gradually to find the alms of their own kindness — real self acceptance — to give to themselves.  I know no more profound expression of such self-acceptance than the great Leonard Cohen‘s powerful song “Hallelujah”:

The work of the psychotherapist in helping the individual discover and accept all of themselves can often be a profoundly changing life experience, and a key part of journeying towards wholeness.



PHOTO:  Attribution   Some rights reserved by außerirdische sind gesund  MUSIC CREDIT: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, from the album Essential Leonard Cohen ©  Sony Music Entertainment Inc.


Psychotherapy, Self Acceptance, & Dealing with Shame

July 10th, 2011 · dealing with shame, Psychotherapy, Self, self acceptance, shame

dealing with shame

This is really Part 2 of the post, “Jungian Psychotherapy, Individuation and Self Acceptance“, and deals with an important barrier to self acceptance, namely dealing with shame.

A lot could be said about our shame and how it thwarts self acceptance.

  • Shame is Deep: Maybe as Deep as it Gets

There is a power in this feeling, sometimes greater than in any other emotion.  We confront this power when our dignity is lost, when we have gone beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable or tolerable, when we are profoundly alienated from other humans because of who or what we are.

  • Shame and Fear of Total Loss of the Self

Deep shame can devastate.  It can be so intense as to obliterate any good feeling we have about who or what we are, and force us behind an ironclad mask.  Shame can be so intense we feel like we’re losing ourselves.

  • In Our Inner Dialogue, We Can Often Shame Ourselves

We powerfully internalize shaming that we have received.  I’ve noted this in psychotherapy for men, but it’s true for everyone.  Through the emotion in complexes, we can easily internalize shaming messages received from others.  This emotionally charged material can torment us.

  • Yet, We Can Find Our Humanity in our Shame

A strange thing  to say…  Yet, true if we can have the courage to explore those places where we are most vulnerable.

A good friend and co-worker died young from cancer.  I was asked to be a pallbearer.  Back then, I had strong unconscious inhibitions against males showing strong emotion, ground into me early in life.  Yet, bearing the coffin, I broke into uncontrollable tears.  I was filled with shame, but I couldn’t help it…I loved my friend, and tragically, he was gone.  Later, to make it worse, my boss (my friend’s friend and former boss) berated me for my “weakness”.  I felt like a selfish little baby.

It took psychotherapy and years of living with that humiliation to accept my vulnerable grief for my friend.  “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery” sings Bob Marley.  It was in the very heart of this shame that I found something vital to my humanity.

Is getting free from shame is a major issue for peoples’ lives today?  I’d welcome your comments.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst | Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Ontario



PHOTO: Auguste Rodin, Eve After the Fall, Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)



Jungian Psychotherapy, Individuation and Self Acceptance

July 5th, 2011 · Individuation, Jungian, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, Self, self acceptance

self acceptance

For many of us, self acceptance is the great challenge.  For Jungian psychotherapy, it basically is the individuation process.  Some Jungians will disagree, but really, all aspects of individuation, the heart of Jungian psychotherapy, are different aspects of this one great thing.

I find this quote from Jung so striking that I’ve sent it around Twitter a couple of times:

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.

Also the most liberating, but to even get close to that place, there’s a lot we have to confront.

  • Accepting Ourselves Entails Knowing Who We Are

Oh, boy — not so simple!  We readily think that we know, and therefore accept, ourselves, but it’s not so clear when we truly look behind the mask that we present to the world.  To honestly look in that mirror — and the mirror that others hold up to reflect us — can take real courage.

  • Self Acceptance Means Dropping Self-Protecting Pretence

It’s not just seeing ourselves: it ‘s getting past the rationalizations we give ourselves about why we are as we are.  We also have to stop protecting ourselves from what the unconscious reveals about the self, in dreams, in psychosomatic and other forms, and stop intellectualizing it away.  We have to be willing to hear the cry of our deepest being, even when that cry might be something we’d rather not hear.

  • The Great Enemy: Shame

When we do honestly see ourselves, we can easily succumb to shame, seeing only faults, weaknesses and inadequacies, with no appreciation of our true worth.  I powerfully experienced this when I was a pallbearer at a friend’s funeral, as I’ll recount in Part 2 of this post.

  • It Takes Real Courage to Let Ourselves Be Enough

A  recent  Huffington Post article stresses the importance of being present to our lives here and now — letting what we possess be enough, and savouring it.  But it’s even more important to let what we are be enough.  No other being in the universe is going to be you.  To savour your life, recognizing with compassion and celebration your uniqueness, takes genuine bravery.

No one will ever have this moment you are having right now; it is uniquely yours.  Can you let yourself be sufficient?  Jung was right: it can be utterly terrifying — but it opens the way to a journey of incredible freedom.

Have you had experiences of freedom in self-acceptance?  I’d welcome your comments.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst | Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Ontario



PHOTO: AttributionNo Derivative WorksSome rights reserved by kimderby
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)


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