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Jungian Therapy for Anxiety & the Overly Driven Person

January 26th, 2012 · Anxiety, driven person, Jungian, Jungian therapy, therapy, therapy for anxiety

Jungian therapy

It’s actually painful to be an overly driven person, as both Jungian therapy and therapy for anxiety in general recognize.  When we allow ourselves to get caught in this way, we run a great risk of chronically devaluing our inner life, and our true worth.

The overly driven person :

1. Never Relaxes or Feels Secure

The overly driven person can’t afford to lower his or her level of alertness, or level of effort, for fear of being overtaken or overcome.  She lives by the old sports maxim: “You’re Only as Good as Your Last Game”.

For the overly driven person links self-worth and specific achievements.  Now, Jungian therapy would acknowledge that we should have particular achievements of which we are proud.  But if our sense of identity is built around socially recognized achievements, then we are on very shaky ground.

2.  Fears Chaos; Continually Struggles to Maintain Control

Often the driven person strives to fend off their greatest fear: the collapse of a situation into chaos.  Often that fear is rooted in experiences of chaos in their past at some point, or in a fear of chaos inherited from the family of origin.  Therapy for anxiety knows that the response to this threat is to strive for greater control — of others, of ourselves, of the environment.

3.  Thinks in Absolutes

In Steve Jobs’ biography, I was struck by the fact that he had only two attitudes to the work of others.  He would either say “This is excellent! Amazing!”, or else he would say, “This is s–t!”.  Excrement or excellence: no in-between.  Overly driven people are often locked into perfectionism in their demands and expectations of themselves and others.  So if a thing isn’t perfect, then it’s a complete miss and worthless.

4.  Pushed by Unconscious Factors

Jungian therapy would emphasize the unconscious forces at work in the overly driven person.  They may be rooted in past traumatic experience, past emotional dynamics in the family of origin, or overidentification with an archetype.  Often, if a person is to gain freedom from  driven-ness, she must become more conscious of what’s doing the driving.  Therapy for anxiety includes healing around basic issues of self acceptance, satisfaction in what has been accomplished, and security.

 “Is It Ever Gonna Be Enough?“…  Metric – Gold Guns Girls

Often depth psychotherapy can assist greatly in untangling the knot of drivenness.

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VIDEO: © “Gold Guns Girls”  ©  2009 Metric
© 2011 Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga)

 

 

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Jungian Therapy for Anxiety & Times of Crisis: 5 Truths

August 14th, 2011 · crisis, Jungian, Jungian therapy, therapy, therapy for anxiety, times of crisis

therapy for anxiety

In times of crisis like these, with financial panic and other factors, some important truths emerge from the practice of Jungian therapy, depth psychotherapy, and therapy for anxiety.   Here are some key learnings important for resilience — and for getting through — in times like these.

1.  Acknowledge Your Emotions

This is key to consciousness of ourselves, in Jungian therapy terms.  Also, attempting to deny feelings and be stoic in demanding times only increases anxiety and stress loading.  Much better to be forthright with yourself about what you’re feeling.  Psychotherapy can provide a supportive container for this.

2.  Current Crises Activate Old Feelings

Going through instability and volatility in the present, we may vividly re-experience old memories and feelings of difficult or crisis times undergone in the past.  It is important to realize that much anxiety and emotion may stem from the ways in which the situation “hooks” our memories of earlier situations (e.g., 9/11 , 2008 crisis , personal crises).

3.  Limit Exposure to Anxiety Provokers

In crisis situations we seek reassurance.  We may seek out modern media as information sources to get it, but then find that, by their nature, the media do the opposite, and elevate our anxiety.  It may make sense to limit your exposure to news media or other anxiety amplifiers, if you possibly can.

4.  In Crises, the Archetypal Often Emerges

Often, in times of high stress and emotion, the unconscious becomes particularly active.  This may be an important time to be aware of dreams and other content from the unconscious.  It may shed a significantly different perspective on what is going on than your everyday conscious awareness.  Depth psychotherapy like Jungian therapy may well help in integrating this material into your life.

5.  Hang onto Your Individuality

In times of crisis it’s easy for strong feeling or affect  to make people lose their individuality, and be overcome by a herd mentality.  Just this week, we have seen the panic in financial markets and the London riots.  But it’s essential both for our own well-being and conscious awareness of ourselves as individuals that we hold onto ourselves, and avoid merging with the herd.  That’s the way we stay human.
My best wishes to you for resilience, as we all live and move through and beyond these challenging times.

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

1-905-337-3946

PHOTO: © All rights reserved by chee_hian/
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

 

 

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Jungian psychotherapy as therapy for anxiety

May 27th, 2011 · Anxiety, counselling, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, therapy for anxiety

therapy for anxiety

Finding an effective therapy for anxiety is greatly important in our time.  Auden labelled our era “The Age of Anxiety”, and for good reason.  Many certainties — economic, political, moral, work, religious — have now evaporated.  In many situations, people find themselves not knowing what to expect next.  Anxious states are the normal outcome of this kind of life situation.

We have to confront a number of plain facts.

  • Anxiety is an Unavoidable Part of Life

Therapy will never completely eliminate it.  If it did, we would soon be dead.  The experience of a certain anxiousness is what keeps us alert and engaged with life.  What we need is the ability to deal with it so that it stays within sustainable bounds, and doesn’t overwhelm our lives.

  • Normal Anxious States and Crippling Anxiety are Different

Experiences of manageable anxiousness differ greatly from experiences likeo panic attacks and social anxiety, which can completely disrupt life.  While everyone experiences some anxius feelings moving through life, a person with crippling anxiety may be unable to move through life, or may confront grave obstacles to truly living.

  • Our Experience of the General Insecurity of Life Makes Us Anxious

There are many things for which there are no guarantees in life.  The more uncontrollable the situation, and the bigger the stakes, the more anxiety we confront.  This uncontrollability and the perceived size of the risk are very subjective factors.  A person can be held hostage by anxiety about a risk that seems very real to them, but not to others.  To truly deal with anxiety involves taking our own subjective states very seriously

  • The Only Way to Really Deal with Anxiety is to Get to its Source.  That Takes Courage and Hard Work.

Anxious affect often comes into our lives because it is protecting us from feeling or experiencing something else.  An anxious state may also represent our bottled-up energy or potentiality.  As Jungian analyst James Hollis puts it, “What I can make conscious, face directly, and deal with as an adult, frees me from unconscious bondage to the past…. We gain when we are able to move from the anxiety, which, like a fog, obscures the forward path.”

Anxious experience is rooted in the depths of the psyche.  Only through experiencing our own depths can we begin to move beyond it.

How have you experienced anxiety, in yourself or others?  I welcome your comments.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

Main Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice

1-905-337-3946

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

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