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Jungian Counselling & Finding Your Life Purpose

December 13th, 2011 · Jungian, Jungian counselling, life purpose, purpose

Jungian counselling

Walking the Ninia Labyrinth

Finding your life purpose is key in individual therapy, and Jungian counselling stresses the need to make a personal search for meaningful direction in life.  For many, finding life purpose is an essential journey to make, and Jungian counselling affirms that it’s a journey that we each can make.

A while ago, I posted the short James Hillman video below on the Facebook page for my practice.  In it, Hillman raises some very important issues about creativity, work and our sense of life purpose.

Several insights emerge from Hillman’s video.  They raise questions about life purpose that are not the type that are easy or quick to answer.

Don’t Settle for “Secondary Reasons”

Hillman talks about all the secondary reasons that people can have for doing what they do: doing it all for their kids, working to get a pension, and so on.  His point is that these things are good to work for, but, in and of themselves, they’re not enough.  We plainly and simply need something more to sustain us.

What is Really, Fundamentally Meaningful for Me?

That leads us to the question of what it is that fundamentally has meaning.  What are the things that so fascinate me, that so grab me (Jung would say that are so “numinous”) that they hold me?  The things that make such a claim on me that I could devote all my effort to them, and never tire?  They could be religious, or artistic, in some form or other — or they might be something quite different, unique and individual in character.  The key thing is: what is it for you?

Can Serving Something be Perfect Freedom?

The church I grew up in used to use a prayer book that had this phrase in it, referring to God: “Whose service is perfect freedom”.  I don’t think you need to use this phrase in a specifically religious context to sense its value.  What could we devote ourselves to in our lives, that, no matter what the hardships were, the service of it would feel like perfect freedom, and we would still want to devote ourselves to it?

Something That I Have to Do

Hillman explicitly raises a question in the video.  What is it that I have to do — that would be my unique contribution?  The answer to the question of life purpose stems from who I most fundamentally am.

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© 2011 Brian Collinson

 

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Jungian Psychotherapy & Career Transition in Tough Times

August 21st, 2011 · career, career transition, Jungian, Jungian psychotherapy

career transition

Career transition is directly connected to Jungian psychotherapy because career and vocation are matters of importance to the inmost self.  This is especially true of career transition in economic times of crisis, when people face hard situations and hard choices.  Tough times push us back onto questions about the real meaning in our lives.


The movie “Company Men” opens up these issues in a hard-hitting way.  It focuses on a group of upper middle class and upper class men downsized from “GTX”, a heavy manufacturing company in Boston.  The film powerfully takes us into the “soul” issues surrounding forced career transition.  And it illustrates some bedrock realities.

 

1) I am Not My Career; I am Not My Social Status

It’s incredibly easy to become completely identified with a job and a social status.  Over years, we can get so invested in a particular job and lifestyle, that we feel like these things actually are us.  When the men undergo career transition, it ‘s an incredibly violent blow, and they are caught up in rage and denial.  They are forced to find their way into a different, more fundamental understanding of individual identity.

2) The Corporation (or Other Employer) Does Not Love Me

“GTX” makes large scale layoffs with little regard for the dedication or devoted labour of long-term employees.  Often, this is how layoffs occur, and often people are psychologically unprepared for it.  We tend to assume that the close personal contacts at the firm, or supportive or “team” language are expressions of real human warmth.  But it’s essential to let in a fundamental truth: my employer does not recognize that I have any right to my current position.

3) What is my Vocation?  And How Does it Fit with What I do for a Living?

Behind the above issues looms a larger question.  What am I here for?  What does my nature tell me that I really need to do with my life?  And how does all that fit with the kind of thing that I do (or want to do) for a living?

4) What about My Journey?

Amidst these issues, it’s essential to see my life as a journey toward my own individual nature.  My journey, my vocation, is bigger and deeper than what I do for a living.  Connecting with this journey is the real meaning of depth psychotherapy.

PHOTO: © Angelo Gilardelli | Dreamstime.com
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

 

 

 

 

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