Groups/Workshops

Periodically during the year, Dr. Howlin conducts groups and/or workshops on Jungian Psychology, Dreams, and Depression. Please contact him at (831)325-1720 with any questions about group/workshop topics, times, etc.

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Dead Wood

If your life was like a tree, you would learn to be a master gardener. You would take the time to prune away all of your dead wood. Like the life of a tree, your process of growth and change can be hindered by the dead wood that is left behind. And like a tree that sheds its leaves each fall to prepare for a time of dormancy and then new growth, you must remove your dead wood to make room for sunlight, open sky and new pathways for psyche and soul.

Since your life is like a tree, to prepare for a new season of growth will require that you take the time to destroy your dead wood. The human psyche is forward looking. Dead wood can get in the way of the new.

Some relationships can be like dead wood. You hold onto them thinking there is still life there. But they are dead wood too. If you do not cut off this limb, it may fall and crush any new wood that is forming.

Memories of trauma and psychic wounds can be like dead wood. The job in this case is not necessarily to remove the dead wood, but to tend to the injuries like a careful pruner would do with a sapling. Like scar tissue from dead wood, your trauma and wounds need to be carefully tended to and pruned to make way for tender new growth.

The dark of depression can be like dead wood. Of course as a general rule, we have no conscious control of depression and the symptoms that it brings. Sometimes though, a depression lingers long after it has run its course or served its purpose. A lingering depression can be like dead wood too.  This kind of depression should be cut away as it no longer serves a purpose.

Meaninglessness can be an indicator of having too much dead wood in your life. A life with little or no meaning can sometimes mean that your dead wood has remained for far too long. Sometimes the meaninglessness comes from the wrong job, or a job that you have simply outgrown. Dreams can indicate a way forward–a way that can move you toward new career growth.

A depressed 33 year old woman dreamed of a dead magnolia tree in her front yard. The dead wood for her symbolized the death of an old worldview. She was especially fond of the magnolia flower so seeing the dead tree in her dream was a nightmarish image. She worked with this dream and discovered that she needed to cut out thoughts and views of her life and her worldview that were like dead wood. Cutting out these beliefs and views opened the way for a very creative time for her which led her into a new meaningful job.

Every single one of us has symbolic dead wood in our lives that needs to be pruned, trimmed, sawed or hacked away. Your clearing job with your own dead wood may be like an afternoon in the rose garden with a pruning shears and a glass of lemonade waiting for you afterwards. Or, it may be more like calling the tree service with the two-ton truck, chainsaws and overhead crane. In either case, dead wood is interfering with your life now and it is time for it to go to make way for the budding possibilities.

© 2016, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.

Posted in Biology, Depression, Dreams, Ecopsychology, Editorial, Nature, Psyche, Soul, Symbolic, Trauma/PTSD | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment