Journeying Toward Wholeness

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The Gift: Its Meaning in Life & Individual Therapy

December 23rd, 2013 · individual, individual therapy, therapy

In our culture, the Holidays are powerfully associated with receiving gifts: what does the experience of “gift” actually mean, in our lives — and in individual therapy?

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You may be sceptical whether there is any significant link between receiving gifts and individual therapy: bear with me, reader, bear with me!  First, let’s ask: what do gifts mean in human life?

The Spiritual and Material Power of the Gift

Anthropology, the study of human roots, emphasizes that gift-giving is a near universal human characteristic, appearing among the vast majority of human cultures world-wide.  What is it that makes gift-giving so important, so special?

Marcel Mauss, the French anthropologist/sociologist observed that gifts are never truly free.  In the vast majority of cultural situations, giving of gifts is reciprocal.  Mauss became preoccupied with the question: “What power resides in the object given that causes its recipient to pay it back?” He concluded that the gift is more than it seems; that it is endowed with “spiritual mechanisms”, engaging the honour of both giver and receiver.

Gift-giving in most cultures is both a powerful spiritual and material act, because the giver does not merely give an object but also part of her- or himself.  As Mauss puts it “the objects are never completely separated from the persons who exchange them”, and the bond between giver and gift creates an obligation to reciprocate on part of the recipient. To not reciprocate means to lose honour and status, certainly, but in many cultures, failure to reciprocate would means to lose mana, one’s very spiritual power or essence.

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In our own culture and time, we can see the enormous importance and power of reciprocal gift-giving — especially during the holiday season.

Great Gifts that Cannot be Reciprocated

But what do we do with those great gifts that are not given to us by another person, in any normal sense of that word?

The season that we know as Christmas has been associated since the stone age with the return of the sun after the winter solstice.  Today, we can explain the fact that the days start to get longer again as a result of the operation of the laws of physics.  That was not apparent to the primal human societies of the stone age.  It must have been an incredible experience of wonder to those people to see the days gradually grow longer, and to realize that the world was not going to be plunged into an ever greater abyss of endless darkness.  To see the sun return in winter — even though the weather itself would still grow colder for a season — must have been an incredible source of hope for our ancestors.

What does one do, in response to that kind of gift, to the things that life just gives, that cannot be reciprocated?

Individual Therapy, Life and the Gift

We know a whole lot more about physics and astronomy now, but the essential nature of human life has not changed.  Whether I’m explicitly religious or not, I still stand before the great mysteries of life, and the many things that are inexplicable.  Human life still has the same fundamental character of an enormous gift.  To have my life and to be consciously aware: these are realities that I did not create, and even today, it’s awe-inspiring to receive these incredible gifts.

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How can I reciprocate?  How can I give back to Life, the Gods, the Universe, the Ground of Being — however I conceive it?  Only by truly receiving the gift, by living to the full, by becoming as conscious as I possibly can.  To both be, and to receive, the gift of myself, and my individual unique life: this is the journey of life, and the journey of individual therapy.

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© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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Jungian Therapy, Individuation & the Late Lou Reed

November 2nd, 2013 · Jungian, Jungian therapy, therapy

Does it seem shocking that a rock musician like the late Lou Reed should be in a post on Jungian therapy and individuation?

Jungian therapy

Lou Reed passed this week, and he was a very controversial figure — even polarizing.  But there is one thing that even his enemies admit: he was an individual.

Out of Long Island

Reed was born into Long Island suburban respectability.  He struggled with 1950s reality, not least of all because the homoerotic dimensions of his character didn’t fit into conventional 50s life.    So, it wasn’t long before he found himself in New York City, where he created the avante-garde rock group Velvet Underground and became part of the circle around artist Andy Warhol.

Shadow and the Wild Side

Many of us became aware of Lou Reed in 1972, when he released “Take a Walk on the Wild Side“.   Popular culture in North America had never seen the like: a completely unapologetic celebration of gay and transvestite life in New York City.  Astoundingly, it became a huge hit. As a Jungian, the powerful attraction of this song for many people who would not even remotely identify with the LGTB communities is striking.  Perhaps it stems from the sense of basic acceptance and groundedness that Reed communicates, as if he were saying, “Here I am. This is me.  I neither hide, nor sugar coat, nor apologize for who I really am.”  His straightforward expression and self acceptance resonated deeply with many who were neither gay nor transvestite, especially younger people.

Artistic Individuation

Reed was a pioneer in opening up issues of gender identity as experienced in our culture.   He challenged, and even shocked, in ways that later artists like David Bowie would emulate–in considerably tamer forms.  He opened up profound questions about masculine and feminine, the ways in which they relate, and how each of us experiences those realities.  He actually touched upon many themes found in Jungian therapy: masculinity and femininity; creativity and receptivity ; sexual and contrasexual. Similarly, he expressed much around shadow: things of which we are barely conscious, or, unconscious; things on the periphery or edges of society, propriety or respectability.

Reed was simple and direct in his art.  While seeing himself fully as a serious artist, not an entertainer, or “rock star”, Reed knew that his art was rock, and he was fiercely passionate about attaining his artistic vision.  He famously once said “Rock songs should have one chord, maybe two…three and you’re getting into jazz” — but he was a passionate admirer and student of the art of jazz genius Miles Davis, bringing a Davis-like focus to his own work.

Lou Reed was strongly and unabashedly always himself.

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Playing the Part of Oneself

To me, his song “Sweet Jane” seems to embody the soul of Lou Reed:

There’s some evil mothers
They’ll just tell you that life’s just made out of dirt
That pretty women, baby, they never really faint
And that villains always blink their eyes
And that children are the only ones who blush
And that life — Life!– that life is just to die…
 
But I want to tell you something:
Anyone who ever had a heart
Oh, they wouldn’t turn around and break it
And anyone who’s ever played a part
They wouldn’t turn around and hate it…
 

Lou Reed passionately and courageously played the part of himself, and he embodied the self acceptance and journey to the self that Jungian therapy sees as fundamental to individuation.

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© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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Individual Therapy & Ordinary Life as Remarkable

August 9th, 2013 · individual, individual therapy, therapy

Individual therapy is a contradiction: a simultaneous journey into life as both ordinary and miraculous.

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Last week, I had the opportunity to again visit one of the world’s great art museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  While I was there, I spent a great deal of time with the paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Renoir and “Everyday Eternity”

As in his 1877 “Portrait of Eugène Murer”, shown above, there is a particular quality of immediacy and life to Renoir’s paintings.  There is something about the way he paints that imbues his paintings with an incredible vitality, lifelikeness and significance.  We care about the people he portrays, we’re fascinated by them, and we wish that we could talk to them, engage them — and, in a way, we find that we do, as we engage with his paintings.

Renoir actively sought to convey this quality of immediacy, life and deep significance in his painting.  As he said:

“I like painting best when it looks eternal without boasting about it: an everyday eternity, revealed on the street corner; a servant-girl pausing a moment as she scours a saucepan, and becoming a Juno on Olympus…”

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Renoir’s art reveals the eternity in so-called ordinary life.

Everyday Eternity and the Art of Individual Therapy

In a surprising way, the search for the eternal in the ordinary, which is the heart of Renoir’s art, is not all that different from the quest that forms the basis of individual therapy and depth psychotherapy. Individual therapy is certainly an exploration of the validity, importance and plain reality of everyday, ordinary, individual life. Situations that we find ourselves in, that seem mundane and ordinary are often archetypal.  In the conflicts, transitions, losses and gains of our lives, we share in patterns that have characterized human life right from its distant beginnings. In moments of insight in individual therapy, we can experience both an awareness of our own unique individuality, and a deep sense of connection to the age old experience of the broader human race. individual therapy

Profound Ordinariness

It may sound trite, but sometimes the awareness that “I’m real; my life matters” can be a profound realization.  To feel my own uniqueness, and experience that I’m truly alive, that I truly exist — not as a matter of intellectual awareness, but genuinely to feel it —  can be a deeply changing awareness. Jung describes a particular experience of coming to self-awareness:

Suddenly for a single moment I had the overwhelming impression of having emerged from a dense cloud.  I knew all at once: now I am myself!  Previously I had existed, too, but everything had merely happened to me.  Now I happened to myself.  ~C.G. Jung  [italics mine]

To genuinely feel and accept my own uniqueness is to find myself in a singular experiment in the history of the universe — my own real life.

Eternity / You

The process of individual therapy is a journey into seeing the profundity and importance of my own everyday life.  To feel my own life — and its importance — is a key part of the journey to wholeness.

PAINTINGS: © Auguste Renoir, “Eugène Murer”; “By the Seashore”; “Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children”, all from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N.Y. 

© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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A Midlife Grad? Individual Therapy & Rites of Passage 1

July 2nd, 2013 · individual, individual therapy, therapy

Doing individual therapy with many through their life journey often makes me wonder why society doesn’t have a proper graduation ceremony for people passing into midlife.

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This might seem like a wonky idea — so let me make it even wonkier!  Shouldn’t our society have many more true rights of  passage for people moving from one life stage or situation to another?

At this time of year, high school, college and university grads celebrate their particular passages, leading all of us to reflect on the key passages in our own lives.

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Life is Many Passages

Many events in an individual’s life are really life passages.

Going through major life transitions actually changes our identity in fundamental ways.  We often feel that we are different, and experience life differently as a result.

Other cultures have often done a much better job of recognizing the psychological significance of such life transitions.  Indigenous peoples, for instance, often recognize major life transitions by giving the individual a new name.

A Death; A Transitional State; a Resurrection

The famous French anthropologist Arnold van Gennep identified three key stages in rites of passage:

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1. Separation: Death to a Former State.  Clear recognition that a former way of life, or former status is now dead.  Often the rite involves mourning the death of the former individual, as in indigenous cultures, where, in the rite of passage to adulthood, the “death of the child” may be mourned.

2. Transition or “Liminal State”.  For a time, the individual lives between the old state and the new state, in transition.  It is of psychological importance for the individual to experience this state of “between-ness”.  Often this is a time when the individual undergoes trials or ordeals associated with the life transition.

3. Incorporation or Re-Birth.  In this third stage, the individual actively takes on the state of new life or identity.  As this National Geographic video clip shows, this might be recognized by the community, but fundamentally reflects a key transition within the individual.

We can see these stages in many contexts.   At midlife transition , for instance, individuals often experience the death of a more conventional identity; a time of disorientation and uncertainty; and, the gradual birth of a new, much more individual, path in the individual’s life.

Why the Passages Matter

Rites of passage are important for many reasons.  In particular, they provide:

1. A context for a major life transition, showing that the event is not chaotic or random, but is a common, natural part of human life; and,

2.  Meaning to the life change that is occurring.

If the rite of passage could speak, it might say:

“This is not an isolated event that occurs to you, in a random or haphazard manner.  This is a human thing.  A deeply significant thing.  Perhaps even, in the best sense of the word, a sacred thing.”

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 Individual Therapy as Passage, & Aid to Passage

For many, individual therapy serves as an aid to major life transitions or passages.  It may even turn out to be a kind of rite of passage itself, as a part of the journey towards wholeness.

PHOTOS: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved AlishaV ; puliarf   VIDEO: © 2007 National Geographic 
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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4 Ways to Identify Good Individual Therapy

May 21st, 2013 · individual, individual therapy, therapy

Individual therapy can potentially be one of the most important undertakings in an individual’s life; so, how can a person find good therapy?

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Here are 4 good ways to tell whether individual therapy will offer what you really need.

1.  Relationship with the Therapist

The most important factor in ensuring good individual therapy is the quality of relationship with the therapist.

Do I feel a good level of comfort with the therapist?

Does the therapist seem genuinely interested in my life?  My story?  Are they on my side?

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2. Therapist Integrity

Integrity is fundamental in a therapist.  If the therapist isn’t honest or forthright, then the therapeutic relationship is not likely going to be very healing.

Here are some key ways to determine whether a therapist is acting with demonstrable integrity.

    • Can he or she admit when they don’t know something?  No one knows everything.  A responsible professional therapist will admit when they do not know or understand something.
    • Can he or she admit when they have made a mistake?  No one is perfect, as a therapist, or as a person.  A therapeutic relationship should be about enabling individuals to move beyond perfectionism to self-acceptance.  If a therapist cannot acknowledge mistakes, how can he or she create an appropriate climate for self-acceptance?
    • Does the therapist hide behind his or her authority?  A therapist should be an open and vulnerable person, rather than an inaccessible or closed-off authority figure.
    • Can the therapist confront you with hard truths?  Not everything in therapy is easy.  Sometimes a therapist has to say things the client doesn’t want to hear.  Does a potential therapist have the ability to do this?  That’s a key attribute.

3. Personal Work

Has the therapist done enough personal therapy to have a reasonable level of self-understanding?  Unless a therapist has insight into her- or himself, it’s less likely that they will have the capacity to have insight into you.

Theory-Driven, Or Person-Driven?

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This matters a lot.  The key question here is whether the therapist can really take in who you are, as a unique individual, or is he or she desperately clinging to a theory, and feeling a compulsive need to shoehorn you into it?  As C.G. Jung puts it,

“The analyst will be assailed by secret doubts [if he is] confronting the human wholeness of the analysand with a theory or technique, instead of with his own living human wholeness.

It cannot be assumed that the analyst is a superman because he possesses a theory and a corresponding technique.  He can only imagine himself to be superior if he assumes that his theory and technique are absolute truths, capable of embracing the whole of the psyche.”

“The Problem of Types in Dream Interpretation”

Jung is asking therapists to take a truly scientific stance: to let in the full reality of the client, rather than viewing the person through dogmatic blinders.

This spirit of openness to the individual reality of the client is essential to good depth psychotherapy, and to good individual therapy in general.

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

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Jungian Therapy & the Meaning of Dreams 7: Diamonds

December 10th, 2012 · dreams, Jungian, Jungian therapy, meaning of dreams, therapy

The meaning of dreams in which the motif  of “jewels” or “diamonds” appear can vary greatly — as Jungian therapy well knows — but these are often dreams of great

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emotional power.  It is more than a play on words to say that the diamond is a multi-faceted symbol.

Jungian therapy often sees the diamond as a symbol of the self in its entirety.  But what the heck does that mean?

Precious from the Earth

Diamonds are created far within the depths of the earth.  In the normal course of events, a human being cannot make a diamond.  It requires the pressure and heat of the depths to do that.

Jungian therapy is aware that “the depths of the earth” often symbolize of the unconscious depths of the psyche.  A diamond symbolizes the reality of the self: it is forged without human intervention in the depths, just as the self is created in the depths, in the vastness of the unconscious, independent of the conscious mind and ego.

Indestructible and Forever

Diamonds are famous for incredible hardness and durability.  They symbolize the durability and resilience of the true self, and of the yearning that we all have for a connection to the lasting persistent nature of psyche, and of our own deepest identity  In the times of life when we often feel most fragile and vulnerable on the conscious level,  Jungian therapy knows a deep need of the individual is to come into contact with the reality and persistence of the self.  Often the meaning of dreams revolves around encounters with this reality.

The Many Facets of Diamonds

Diamonds have very complex shapes.  They often have many, many facets.  In this way, they bear a resemblance to the human personality, which has a multitude of dimensions and aspects.  Jungian therapy lives in the awareness that, like diamonds, we are multi-facetted — many facets not even being conscious.  To understand the meaning of dreams containing the symbol of the diamond, we must understand the multi-dimensional beauty and wonder of the diamond as an image reflecting the endlessly diverse and multi-facetted reality of the individual self.

Here is a video by Maple Leaf Diamonds .  If you can get past seeing the diamonds presented as mere “bling”, they portray the wonder and beauty of these strange stones, and the way in which they serve as an image of the wonder of the self.

Diamonds and the Life of the Self

What is the meaning of dreams where diamonds appear?  Jungian therapy emphasizes that the answer to this question must necessarily be very individual.  But it is highly likely that such dreams concern the fundamental reality of who we are.  Have you had a dream in which diamonds or precious stones appeared?  If so, we must wonder what such a dream might have been saying about your unique and infinitely varied self.  Often, it is only in the journey to wholeness embodied by depth psychotherapies such as Jungian therapy that we can begin to find out.

© Gualtiero Boffi | Dreamstime.com   ; VIDEO: BHP Billiton Maple Leaf Diamonds

 

 

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Jungian Therapy and the Meaning of Dreams : Houses

November 27th, 2012 · dreams, Jungian, Jungian therapy, meaning of dreams, therapy

Jungian therapy abounds with house symbols, because they are often central to the meaning of dreams — the house is one of the most common dream symbols.

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It’s a very rich symbol, archetypal in fact.  Humans seek a secure place that is fundamentally their own in which to live, whether it is the troglodyte’s cave, or the King’s palace.

Our earliest home is the maternal womb, and all our subsequent physical homes carry its shades and tones.  In mythological traditions from all over the world, our first home is a paradise, and we are ever seeking to return to it.

 The House as Symbol of Personality

In dreams, the home often symbolizes the dreamer’s entire psyche or personality.  Is the dream house well-kept, or does it appear neglected?  Is it made of solid stuff or shoddy materials — and thus perhaps in need of renovation?  Does the house seem well proportioned?  Are its internal spaces cramped or spacious?

House as “Space” I Occupy

In waking life, some houses clearly symbolize and embody the people who live in them.  So it is in the dream symbolization of the inner world, where houses reflect the person that they contain / are.  Often a house can have different levels, which may reflect different periods of time, or different aspects of the being of the dreamer.  There may be different “rooms” in the house; some familiar, and some unknown, waiting to be discovered.  Jungian therapy knows that the meaning of dreams about houses partakes in the house as a universal symbol, and also in the experiences of the individual relative to the house.

Emotional Power of the House Symbol

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Houses engender deep emotions in their occupants.   We can have a loving and intimate relationship with a house — or sometimes what seems like an anger or even hate-filled grim struggle.

Dream houses may reflect our inner psychic state — or we may project our inner psychic conflicts onto our outer house in the waking world.  Most of us know the terminally “house proud” individual, whose identity has completely fused with the outer house.

Jungian therapy fully recognizes the deep feelings at play around the house.

The Inner Housing Crisis: Where Will I Dwell?

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We all have to dwell somewhere; this is a truth in the inner world, as much as the outer.  And, as in the outer world, so in the inner: our house has characteristics, and our relationship to it is changed by our choices.

Often it’s a matter of greatest importance for an individual to pay attention to their inner “house”.  Its dimensions and proportions often fill our dreams.  Jungian therapy is very attuned to the theme or motif of the house in the dreams of the individual — especially at times of tension or crisis.  In addition to many other therapeutic techniques, work on the house as part of the meaning of dreams can be a powerful element in Jungian therapy.

How has the symbol of the house appeared in your dreams?

Next in series: Jewels

 

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Jungian Therapy “Hope Springs” & the Second Half of Life

August 13th, 2012 · Jungian therapy, second half of life, therapy

Jungian therapy affirms that there is life in the second half of life; the film “Hope Springs“, portrays one couple’s exploration of that territory.

second half of life

This film seems to be marketed like a fairly mindless broad comedy: a big mistake, in my opinion.   While extremely funny, this is anything but a shallow film.

The story seems to resonate with many in the second half of life.  We empathize deeply with the struggles and sometimes scary awarenesses of Kay and Arnold, the empty nester couple at the center of the film (Meryl Streep;  Tommy Lee Jones).

Perils of the Second Half of Life

We learn very early in the film that life for Kay and Arnold contains very few surprises: they are, to say the least, in a very well-worn rut. The second half of life has brought them to a static, rigid place.  Joy, connection, deep experience and sexuality have very little place in their world — at the beginning of the film, this is so apparent, it’s painful to watch.

second half of life

Could Anything Different Now Ever be Possible?

Throughout the film, the couple struggles in one way or another with whether there can be anything more or new in life, or whether they should just exit their therapy, and return to life as it was.  This latter possibility, what Jungian therapy calls “regressive restoration of the persona” is always waiting in the wings, and both parties flirt with exiting back to past roles and masks.

The Unlived Life

Yet, simultaneously, something draws them on.  It’s what Jungian therapy would refer to as “the unlived life”.  Throughout our lives, we make choices, and live certain options out.  But our very choice of one option excludes the others that we could have lived out.  At some point in life, often, in the second half of life, the unlived life starts to “call to us”.  Those possibilities want to be expressed, to be lived out, to round out who we are as persons.

Into The Undiscovered Self

“Hope Springs” is about the journey of a couple, but fundamentally explores the hope that new possibilities might open up in the second half of life.  Jung continually emphasized the need to explore this “undiscovered self”, especially in and beyond midlife transition.

Depth psychotherapy, and especially Jungian therapy are concerned with the journey to the new territory of the undiscovered self, and allowing new essential possibilities in the second half of life.

PHOTO & VIDEO: © 2012 Sony Pictures Digital Inc. All rights reserved.

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Individual Therapy, Men & Male Individuation, 2

July 23rd, 2012 · individual, individual therapy, Individuation, men, therapy

This is the second post in my series on men and male individuation, and how that all relates to individual therapy.

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Being Male: Not As Simple as It Looks

The women’s movement, over the last 45 years, has strongly — and rightly — made the point that traditional male-dominated structures in society tend to keep women from being individual selves.  What isn’t as well appreciated is that, often, those same old patterns keep men from individuation, just as effectively.  These stereotypes even contaminate certain types of individual therapy.

The Last Thing Men Need is Another Stereotype

There is a stereotype waiting in the wings in our society, ready to fill the vacuum for individual men, but not in a helpful way.  The archetypal pattern of dominance and submission, or, as you often hear it put today, the “Alpha Male / Beta Male” image,  is rooted in the archaic instinctual division between competent, capable males who lead, and supposedly incompetent, clueless men who need to get led by Alphas.  Often, our culture holds out the image of these Beta Males — the majority, according to this view — as hopeless big kids, or even more toxically, stereotypical “failures” or “losers”.  Examples of this Beta Male stereotype abound in our culture:

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  • Al Bundy from the sitcom Married with Children;

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  • Raymond from Everybody Loves Raymond; and,

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  • last, but oh-so-far from least, Homer Simpson.

Not surprisingly, the only alternative that the culture holds up is to be the invulnerable, all-conquering Alpha Male:

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…like, say, “The Donald”…  Is this really all that there is for men?  If so, God help us.

Pressures Within; Pressures Without

The pressure is on, inner and outer, for men to either strive to embody the unassailable success of the Alpha Male, or else to accept the subtle but definite sense of failure with which our culture taints men who are not perceived as Alphas, and accept that humiliation by fleeing into the various distractions and anaesthetics our society offers.  Isn’t there any other possibility?

Individual Maleness

There is.  It involves creatively opening up and exploring who I am as an individual male person.  It entails going into my depths, and coming to accept and embrace who and what I am as a unique individual.  It requires accepting my woundedness, and being open to the healing that acceptance can bring.  It entails a new kind of awareness, stemming from what it is to uniquely be me.  Individual therapy can be key to this process of male individuation.

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Jung on Individual Therapy & the Psychological Complex

July 7th, 2012 · complex, individual therapy, psychological complex, therapy

Individual therapy, as Jung reminds us in the quote below, has a great deal to do with working with the psychological complex, in all its forms.

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The term “psychological complex” used in a depth psychotherapy sense is now widespread in our culture.  For instance, just recently, a pundit was writing about “Canada’s superiority complex“.  But few realize that it was Jung who discovered the psychological complex, and first applied it to individual therapy.  He tells us here exactly what complexes are.

The Image of a Psychological Situation

There are certain very powerful emotional experiences of which we carry an inner image, in Jung’s terminology.  These can stem from early life, or from later times as well.  These “images” can involuntarily replay for us whenever we encounter a situation that is similar to the original experience(s) that created the psychological complex.

Strongly Emotionally Coloured

When a complex gets activated, it can bring up surprising emotions that might shock our non-complexed selves.  We can sometimes find that the emotional impact is so great that we can’t reason, or calm down.  You know the type of scenario: “Don’t mention Liberals to Uncle Frank; he goes wild!”

Incompatible with Consciousness

For Jung, complexes essentially have a “mind of their own”.  How we are when we’re in the grips of a complex can have little to do with how we might feel, think and deal with things when we aren’t in its grip.  Often, a psychological complex can be more or less in the driver’s seat [e.g., think “road rage”].

Fairly Autonomous and Only Partially Controlled by the Ego

The difficulty with complexes is that, more often than not, they are not totally under the control of the ego.  This means that, although we may wish to overcome them, or move them out of our lives, it is not a simple matter of “whupping up” the will power to do so.  No matter how much will power or concentration we may try to exert, it is likely not to be enough.

What Can We Do About Complexes?

To really start to resolve a complex, it is essential to explore its roots in the unconscious mind.  It’s only when we get to the conflict or the wound that is at the heart of a complex, and make that wound, and the feeling around it into consciousness, that we can begin to take the energy out of the complex, and begin to have an increased capacity to avoid being completely sidelined by it.

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