“Called or not called, the God will be there,” says the inscription above the door to Carl Jung’s home and on his tombstone. The same can be said for your own psychological process. Name it what you may, choose to accept or deny it, but there is a deep, potent, and vital psychological process taking place below the threshold of your everyday life.
As the veil is lifted, new clients to Jungian psychotherapy are often both excited and afraid of this fact. Through Jungian psychotherapy, and its exploration of the world of dreams and the unconscious, clients without previous exposure to a deeper process, are introduced to a whole new world.
This world contains many wonders and precious gems. Accepting and embracing this deeper process has pulled many in despair from the precipice of the abyss. But like any good story and journey, this new world will also contain obstacles and encounters with ideas and images that will frighten and scare you.
What you choose to name this deep process does not matter so much. Naming the process depends, of course, on your world view and belief system. If you have a religious or spiritual background and belief system, you can call the process a “spiritual process” or the will of God.
If you choose to use the language of Jungian psychology, you may decide to call the process the unfolding of the archetype of the Self, or the process of individuation.
What you choose to name a thing or a process does not change its structure, function or nature. Though there are many good reasons to enter Jungian psychotherapy, or any psychotherapy, you may decide to do so because of unbearable psychological or emotional pain and suffering.
Jungian psychotherapy, perhaps more than other modes or styles of psychotherapy, invites you to explore deeper, unconscious aspects of yourself to help discern the meaning and direction that may lay hidden there.
Choosing to begin Jungian psychotherapy is an important decision. It has the potential to lead you on a journey of healing and discovery unlike any journey that you have taken thus far. You may relearn to feel deeper and to love deeper. You may also decide to accept more challenges and take more risks. Jungian psychotherapy aims not necessarily to “cure” any psychological symptoms, but oftentimes symptoms dissipate or disappear altogether nonetheless.
A fifty-five year old man who had suffered a series of devastating losses over a short period of time had become overwhelmed with feelings of grief and despair. Uncharacteristically for him, he started to have thoughts of his own death and he entertained thoughts of suicide. He had never attempted suicide.
And then he shared a dream. A dream that Jungians call an “anima” dream. The dream:
Somehow I had met Stevie Nicks. She told me of a purse (her purse) with something extremely valuable. Somehow it ended up in a subway station after an accident. I happened to be at the subway station and in a chance-in-a-million, I found her purse.
This dream was inviting him to accept and embrace his feminine or feeling part of his personality. With this new insight and dream image, this man who had had no previous knowledge of Jungian concepts, was able to find a thread of meaning and emotional experience that lifted him above the recent thoughts of death and suicide. I continued seeing him in psychotherapy for about two more years, and the suicidal thoughts never returned during this time.
For this man, a dream from a deep place within, provided the inner support and meaning to help him cope with his immense emotional pain and loss. He chose to follow his own deeper process and the process provided relief and healing and brought him back from the brink of a dangerous psychological place.
If you are thinking about beginning psychotherapy, consider choosing a Jungian psychotherapist, or analyst. It does not matter so much the credential. What does matter is whether or not it feels right after the initial phone call and/or meeting with the psychotherapist. If it doesn’t feel right, do not return to that therapist and do not lose hope. Try another therapist and move on. Like finding any good, deep relationship that has the potential for transformation, it may take more than one attempt to find the right person.
If you decide not to look deeper at your life and your psychological pain—to turn over the rocks and look underneath— just remember, “Called or not called, the God will be there.” If on the other hand, you decide to call a Jungian psychotherapist and begin a journey of healing and self-discovery, “Welcome to your process.”
© 2014, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.