In our journey to heal from past trauma, and to find meaning or reconnect with life, the teachings of the founder of Jungian Analytical Psychology, Swiss Psychiatrist, Depth Psychologist, Carl G. Jung (1875/1961) can offer illuminating insights toward healing, liberation, and wholeness. Jungian psychology sees value in uncovering the remedy from the poison.
Jung’s perspective encourages us to partner with our psyche to delve into the deeper layers of the personal unconscious, in an attempt to locate the source of our injuries, woundedness and suffering. This allows us to transform and integrate past experiences into our consciousness to bring about healing, self acceptance, self love and wholeness. Here are some ways to do this:
Shadow Work: According to Jung, our ‘Shadow’ is a part of our unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts. Not all elements of the shadow are negative in nature. Jungian discovered great creative and healing potential may reside in the shadow. Embracing your shadow, acknowledging your past trauma, and understanding its impact on your behavior and perceptions on life can lead to profound self-awareness and healing.
Active Imagination: This is a meditation technique in which you are taught how to consciously interact with the images, figures and symbols from your dreams or imagination. This can help you process traumatic experiences, giving them form, allowing for understanding and reducing their impact. Active imagination is a tool for resolving issues that may be preventing healing, transformation, growth and maturation.
The process of Individuation: Jung believed individuation involves a process of deconditioning, and to challenge collective ideas and systems of psychological oppression. In dealing with past trauma, this means exploring the source of pain, suffering and understanding how the woundedness has shaped your ego perceptions and ideas of yourself.
Individuation requires a confrontation with ideas and attitudes that imprisons the personality (Edginger, 1972). He believes that by integrating our conscious and unconscious selves, transformation of an unhealthy, immature and undifferentiated personality is possible. This leads to a healthy and individuated personality.
Healing past trauma, developing a healthy personality and engaging in the individuation process does not happen in isolation. Rather, they emerge from engaging and connecting with a good enough container and good self objects. This means relationships are integral to healing.
Edward Edinger (1972). Ego and archetype. Shambhala Publication Inc. Boulder. Colorado.
John Bebe (2013). The essential Jung. Princeton University Press. Princeton New Jersey