Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Jungian Therapy & the Heart of Soul Work: A Quote

June 29th, 2012 · Jungian, Jungian therapy, soul, soul work

jungian therapy

In the quote above, Jung tells us some very important things about the nature of Jungian therapy, and about soul work, or depth psychotherapy, at its very deepest.

It’s important to be clear here what Jung means by “soul”.  He is not concerned with the immortal, immaterial soul.  He is speaking to what it is that makes us the subtle, unique and staggeringly rich individual beings that we all are.

What does he tell us here about soul  and soul work?

1. The Soul is Complex; Souls are Diverse

Human beings embody overwhelming complexity.  However much one learns about another human being, there is more to learn.  And while we have much in common, each human being is incredibly diverse and different from the others, however much we try to hide that individuality.

2. We’re More Than Just Instinctive Reactions

There most certainly are a whole wide range of human instincts: this is something that evolutionary psychology and neuroscience are bringing home to us more and more.  Yet a human soul cannot be reduced to a bundle of instincts. We relate to our instincts differently than the rest of the animal kingdom.  Within us, the instincts are transmuted into another reality : the archetypal.

3. What Each Human Person Fundamentally is, is Beyond Imagining

We cannot take in the full reality of another human being.  Each is an incredible mystery.  We cannot be reduced to fully known or knowable quantities.

4. Each of us has Incredible Heights and Depths

There is a staggering range of possibilities that live within each one of us. There are within each of us incredible heights of nobility and wisdom to be discovered.  Simultaneously, there are incredible dark recesses: feelings and possibilities that we would just as soon not face.

This is the territory of Jungian therapy and of “soul work”.  To avoid turning the latter phrase into a glib slogan, we must take the soul, the inmost subjectivity of the individual in front of us, with utmost seriousness.  Each encounter in soul work, is true engagement with the psyche of another, a unique journey of discovery.

PHOTO:  Attribution Some rights reserved by mattwi1s0n

 

 

 

 

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What Helps Depression: Individual Therapy & Soul Work

May 28th, 2012 · depression, individual, individual therapy, soul, soul work, therapy, what helps depression

what helps depression

Individual therapy and careful, gradual soul work are often key elements in what helps depression.  “OK,” you’re saying, “other than a fancy buzzword or slogan, what is ‘soul work'”?

Saying anything about soul may seem strange in 2012.  “Isn’t it just an irrelevant step back into the Middle Ages?” you may ask.  Well, here’s why depth psychotherapists consider it important.

Doing Soul Work?

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, soul as used here has nothing to do with organized religion, astral projection or seances, but with connection with the deep images and experiences of inner life.  It concerns the deepest and most intimate levels of what is going on inside a person.

How Does It Occur in Individual Therapy?

In a recent “Facts and Arguments” piece  in the Globe and Mail newspaper, entitled “A psychiatrist’s double bind“, psychiatrist Gili Adler Nevo wrote of her experience of soul work in individual therapy:

 I entered the world of psychotherapy not knowing what to expect. How the hell could it help, just talking?

I’ve talked before…. Yet, gradually, in the privacy of this shrine for the individual soul that was the therapist’s office, in this sacred place free of malice, motives or moral judgment, I could set my soul loose.

It had been cooped up for so long, it didn’t even know it. And my soul, like anyone else’s, seemed complicated. Different layers protruded every time….

Letting it out into that attuned and understanding comfort enabled my soul to live in peace with all its parts.

 Nevo contrasts her own experience of therapy with a patient in a psychiatric setting, whom she efficiently diagnoses and prescribes Prozac.  She clearly finds this modern psychiatic care to be incomplete:

I could not afford to create that sacred place for the soul in which she could untangle her layers, understand the source of her depression and climb out of it. I did not have the time: It was no longer in the culture of my profession.

Does Soul Work Truly Help Depression?

I’m not suggesting that antidepressants are not necessary sometimes.  But they are often not sufficient.  Often people need to get in contact with their depths, and to experience acceptance and understanding.

Individual therapy

What Helps Depression

“Just talking” is sometimes disparaged.  Yet the journey of talking about the fundamental matters in personal life, and contacting the many aspects of the self is a key element of what helps depression.  It can free the life locked up in the individual.

PHOTO:  Attribution Some rights reserved by haprev214

 

 

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