Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D.

Depth Psychotherapy Devoted To Emotional and Spiritual Healing

My holistic depth psychotherapy practice, based in Albuquerque New Mexico, is devoted to personal and relational healing and growth through therapeutic emotional understanding and dream work. We engage in depth psychotherapy for painful emotions, conflicted relationships, and troubling dreams. Deep-seated wounds can appear immovable, resulting in ongoing unhappiness and a feeling of being stuck and going nowhere in life. As a depth psychologist for over thirty years, I have been helping people work through and resolve emotional and relational problems so as to potentially achieve a more optimal life and lifestyle. We work together on an open-ended basis for as long as depth therapy is healing, helpful, and meaningful. Professional Associations: Depth Psychology Alliance, International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, International Association for Jungian Studies.

 

Self Care and the Psyche . . .

It’s one thing to get well; it’s quite another to stay well and thrive. The psyche is such a confluence of negative and positive dynamics. One day we’re set on healing, the next instant we’re working against ourselves. Self care, its stabilization and furtherance, I’ve come to believe after nearly forty years as a depth psychologist, is the most challenging aspect of psychotherapy and personal healing and growth.

Dream images play out the necessity of self care especially when the dynamic has been impaired by adult or childhood chronic trauma. We learn to not take care of ourselves when we’ve been injured over and over, first by others or terrible situations, and then by the dark side of self. I dreamt of a patient showing me the rolls of fat on his abdomen, pointing to them as evidence of needed body sensitivity to the lingering aftereffects of trauma. Therapy needed to continue being sensitive to encouraging, within the context of empathic care, diet, exercise, time of appropriate relationality, and overall body sensitivity. He came to me at night, within a moving dream, and told me how much he needed support when it came to self care and his body.

This patient came into my office first thing the next morning and asked (right off), “Do I really need to follow through with everything we’ve talked about - diet, exercise, and all the rest? It seems like a bit much. This is psychotherapy, not body therapy.” Remembering the dream, I answered, “Of course we need to follow through. And, remember as we’ve talked about, the psyche is body and body is psyche. The psychological work we’re doing affects your body, helps it to heal. We need to follow through with everything that helps you to heal, including all the body work.”

Over time this insight settled in, self care becoming more habitual, not perfect but certainly good enough. In essence, our care of self is reflected in the care we provide for our body. Engaging in far-flung esoteric understandings of images, symbols and dreams are unnecessary if we but tend to the immediacy of self care, especially sensitivity directed toward the body. Self care, body care, will teach us all we need to know about well being of body, mind, and soul. Such body care is imminent, chthonic, inner, deep and tangible - the true reflection of how well we are caring for psyche, the treasure that is our soul.

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Lunchtime Vision Anyone?

I usually break for lunch around noon after a morning of depth psychotherapy. There’s time to quietly read, reflect, and have a period of rest and meditation. Not infrequently, a vision surfaces. In a liminal state, my brain downshifts from beta waves to alpha and theta, images and symbols from the psyche emerge.

University of Pennsylvania research in sleep and chronobiology reports, "Humans are biologically programmed to sleep at night, and to take a nap in the midafternoon, though scientists aren’t sure why. “There is no melatonin triggering the sleep, it just seems to be this harmonic phenomenon,” Dr. Dinges says. The consensus among his colleagues, he says, is that human civilization evolved mostly in equatorial climates, where it got very hot later in the day, and napping during the extreme heat optimized work performance. "(A Window of Opportunity WSJ 9.1.9.17)

Without a regular time for an afternoon rest and meditation, I’m not quite myself. To take the descent into the unconscious, simply put—to nap, permits not only physical replenishment but psychic healing and balancing. When we have a vision, it’s different than a dream during sleep. It’s a single image or scene that informs, inspires, and helps set us right for the rest of the day.

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Relationships That Sustain

 

So often we look at how relationships trip us up. It’s easy to overlook how they also sustain us. If we are isolated, without meaningful connection and intimacy, we’re tripped up in life. If we have that one other person who knows us and wants to continue to know us, we’re wealthy and very much in the midst of finding our way.

Dreams speak to us of relating. Our inner life is reflected in the quality of our outer relationships. A person dreamed of having sex with a foul human being. Another had an erotic encounter with a lovely individual, sensitive and satisfying. Both dreams spoke to the quality of their relationship with self and other. When our inner life is humming, we understand and respect ourselves, the nature of our outer relating reflecting this.

An old mystic said you only love god as much as the person you love least. In more contemporary terms we might say that we only have our act together to the degree that our relationships are dealt with or being dealt with. We part ways with what is not generative and loving, leave behind chronically negative and destructive situations and people. We nourish creative and loving encounters, potentials in life and relationships. This is our challenge life—to always be in the process of cultivating relationships that sustain.

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What Matters Most . . .

Last night my wife, Kate and I were watching a television series we've come to enjoy, Jack Taylor. He's an Irish detective, a rogue rough-and-tough guy. He lives hard, barely gets by, but has some real depth to him He quoted Emerson saying that what matters most is not the past or the future but what's inside a person.

Kate and I spoke about this Emerson essay on self-reliance. It's a soulful piece, one that brings psychic reality down to earth and into everyday life. We are surrounded by the wisdom of the psyche and of life itself. We needn't travel to Zurich or New York, or immerse ourselves in the heady volumes of complex theories about depth psychology.

Life speaks to us each moment of every day some of the finest wisdom available. It can come through a television show. It happens when we allow ourselves to enter into conversation, a feeling exchange, one true and heartfelt, with someone we care about and love. Wisdom comes from what daily surrounds us and is inherently within us. We need only tune in, listen, take to heart, and consider what matters most.

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Synchronous Soul Seeds . . .

Unexpected life circumstances, synchronous events, hold seeds of growth. Opening our eyes to the possibilities that surround us daily can startle us as events and encounters take us by surprise. They soulfully speak to us. They, in a split second or over time, tell us something we need to know. And, it all happens without planning or expectation.

Once we're aware of this, we can tap into vital experiences. They nourish the soul. Answers to problems can come our way in seconds if we're open and willing to see.

Yesterday I wondered about an upcoming publication. It was a concern that lingered in the back of my mind. Midway through the day, someone mentioned that "times are changing in the publishing world and it's critical to change with it." This person's comment resonated with me and answered my question. She didn't know I was struggling with this issue. 

This morning I was thinking about writing this post on synchronicity and also developing the theme into a chapbook. I turned on my NPR podcast and up came Hidden Brain on meaningful coincidences. It struck me as a meaningful coincidence, suggesting that I proceed with my inspiration. I had been pondering whether or not to move ahead with this chapbook project for a number of days, and I decided to go forward.

"Personality is a seed that can only develop by slow stages throughout life," wrote CG Jung (Analytical Psychology and Education (1926/1946), CW 17, 288.) Soul seeds are planted via life circumstances. They provide inspiration for which direction to take, what to do or not do. It takes time or it can happen in a second. But, what is sure and genuine, is that throughout life the overall weaving of our development has taken place in deliberate stages, furthered by the planting of synchronous soul seeds.

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Dreams, Births, and Ghosts . . .

Dream images of having a child, a newborn, are familiar within depth psychotherapy. Also, symbols of haunting spirits, poltergeist, come at a certain point. We either do inner work and birth new developments and potential, or we suffer from haunting in the inner world and outer reality, archetypal energy turned dark and destructive.

When we hold back, don't permit ourselves to experience new things, we thwart our growth potential. It is best to live in the conscious world with full confidence. Then, at night, our dreams help to keep us in balance. 

"Doctor, I dreamed of a ghost haunting me. Then I got up and swore I saw flickers of the same presence out of the corner of my eye. Going into the bathroom, I noticed the rug along the floor was wrong side up. I went back to my bedroom, and the pillows were tossed on the floor."

He looked at me wide-eyed and continued, "Strange thing was I dreamt it all. When I got up, saw the flickers in my bedroom, went to the bathroom and then back to my room, shocked at what I saw, I'd been dreaming the whole time. I was haunted in my dream so I wouldn't be haunted in waking life. It's happened before, and I know it could happen again.

We explored the presence of the ghost in the dream within a dream. He admitted to emotionally "clutching up," holding back out of fear in his professional life. He needed to take a risk, be more expansive. Dreams may have been those of having a newborn to care for, tending to the creative dimension of his psyche. To pull energy inward, without purpose or reason, was dangerous. It became a haunting in his dreams that could have turned into a haunting in his daily life.

Ghostly dreams and synchronous meetings of inner and outer energy happen when we need to pay attention, and when it comes to spiritual haunting in dreams it's best to listen, so they don't become outward problems, mischief making from the unseen world of creative energy gone south. Ghosts are unseen potentials calling for attention, tending, nurturing so that our life might flourish. 

 

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The Mystic Relational Sea...

William James in The will to believe and other essays in popular philosophy asserted, "our science is a drop, our ignorance a sea" (1897, p.54). What we do not know, our ignorance, extends into science and everyday life. Relationships, especially, hold witness to what we know and what we do not know. Truth is reflected in the quality of our relating, an imminent and mystic fact.

Through decades of dream tending the symbol of the sea comes to me when I'm most in need. The quality of the sea reflects my everyday relating. Turbulent waters in dreams signal that my relationships are having troubles. Calm waters point to peaceful relating. 

The sea is a mystic image reflecting self and unplumbed depths. Conflicted times and peaceful enjoyment are both parts of being human. We get along with some and not with others. On a particular day at a specific moment dealings with a person may be positive or negative.

At night our dreams open up and comment on what happened with this person or that. "I knew I was right in feeling the way I did. My dreams said the guy was out to lunch. I doubted my feelings so the dreams came and confirmed what I felt down deep." This insightful person's dream led to greater trust in self and consequent relational enlightenment. 

The positive and negative aspects of relating form a mystic whole. We learn from both good times and bad. Dreams light up the relational sea, that imminent mystic dimension, and add a drop more truth to the always evolving soul.

 

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Dreams ~ Revealer of Secrets

If we require an answer to a problem, we need to go no further than our dreams. They speak to us; they spill the beans about what the concern is really about and what we need to consider or do about it. I was at a psychoanalytic conference in which dreams were discussed in highly technical and empirical ways. Raising my hand I offered, "Let's cut to the quick here. Dreams spill the beans. They tell us what's going on in situations, in relationships, and what people are about as opposed to what they seem to be about." They are the revealer of secrets.

C.G. Jung wrote of the dream as the "harbinger of fate, a portent and comforter, a messenger of the gods. Now we see it as the emissary of the unconscious, whose task it is to reveal the secrets that are hidden from the conscious mind, and this it does with astounding completeness" (On the Psychology of the Unconscious 1917/1926 CW 7, 21).

A while back I thought of attending a conference on the soul in clinical practice. I thought it would be a very good time to meet others with whom I've had a virtual relationship for years. That night a dream spoke. It showed me with a tightly-knit group of conference attendees. Everyone was drinking Kool-Aid. I thought in the dream, Oh no, they're drinking Kool-Aid. I stopped just before placing the glass to my lips.

The dream told me that I'd weaken or lose my individual perspective by attending the conference and engaging in professional schmoozing. I listened. I didn't go. A dream revealed what I did not know, saved me time, energy, and recovery. There was no question in my mind what the dream was saying. It said it directly and with "astounding completeness."

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One of Many Worlds . . .

Dreams take us to a certain and more intense point of consciousness where higher energies filter in. William James wrote, "The whole drift of my education goes to persuade me that the world of our present consciousness is only one out of many worlds of consciousness that exist, and that whose other worlds must contain experiences that have meaning for life also, and that although in the main their experiences and those of this world keep discrete, yet the two become continuous at certain points and higher energies filter in" (The Varieties of Religious Experience 1902/1929, p.509).

At night, during dreaming, we find that our conscious mind is suspended. This happens so that our defenses are lowered. We then cross a threshold into another dimension. What we learn there, via images and symbols, alters our conscious state of mind.

Patients, when first entering depth psychotherapy, are often shocked that dreams have such profound meaning. "They're telling me how I can live so I can be a better person" commented one sincere soul. Another stated, "It's like I have a hotline to incredible wisdom. I tap into it when I sleep."

Sensitizing ourself to the reality that dreams can speak to us, a hotline to another dimension of profound wisdom, often causes them to become more real and intense. "As I've been writing down my dreams, I seem to be dreaming more. They're speaking to me right away." These words are the hard-won knowledge of one who discovered that our conscious life is only one of many worlds and that dreams offer transport to quite another world of higher energy and wisdom.

 

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Are You Ready For A Therapy Journey?

Colleague and NYU psychoanalytic scholar, Michael Eigen writes in his book Under the Totem, "Are you ready for a therapy journey? . . . We are a repository of age-old trauma, catastrophic happenings and fears. Good feeling competes with bad, a balance that shifts and sometimes places us in jeopardy. One thing therapy can do, depending on luck, circumstance, and skill, is shift the balance for the better. Even a little can go a long way" (p.27).

In between patients, I often pick up a volume in depth psychology and read an excerpt. Today it was this passage that nourished me. It struck me that depth therapy is truly a journey into the unknown. Of course, as a seasoned therapist of over thirty-five years, I know this. But today, its reality became clearer and more vibrant. Life is journey and, for many of us, deep therapy helps along the way.

Dr. Eigen comments on luck, circumstance and skill as vital in shifting the balance in life for the better. I would add, the chemistry between patient and therapist to this mix. There is a mysterious healing force activated between a therapist and patient who are in sink. The patient feels understood, that things are moving along and being worked through. They couldn't have done it alone. The therapeutic relationship is the catalyst for healing and growth.

To be ready for the therapy journey is no small thing. It requires knowing that good is competing with bad. It requires admitting that we are in jeopardy. It requires trusting that the balance can potentially shift for the better, and that even a little can go a long way.

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The Psyche is a Body/Psyche

The body speaks truth. We often try to mentally escape truth only to discover that our body becomes symptomatic. We feel anxious, depressed, come down with one or another medical diagnosis. Our psyche is trying to tell us to listen to what it has to say.

Jung wrote, "Only if you first return to the body, to your earth, can individuation take place, only then does the thing become true" (Visions: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1930-1934, Vol. II - 21 February 1934 , p.1314.)

I remember sitting in a depth psychotherapy session with a patient and my stomach clenching. The patient was relating how well they were feeling and doing. I asked, "Is there any chance there's more going on than meets the eye?" They didn't get it at first, looking at me quizzically, then admitted, "Well, I am a little off I guess, a bit uptight." As we explored their tension, it turned out that they were highly anxious and suppressing the feeling. My body picked up on the suffering of their psyche and related to me so we could process it together. 

Similarly, when we experience authentic transformative insight it's felt in our body. If we don't feel the message of a dream down to our core, in our bones and tendons and muscles, then we're missing something. The truth of the psyche moves into the mind and body and we feel it as a flow of good, vibrant, and grounded energy.

The body speaks truth, intimate to the psyche, and always getting to the heart of the relevant matter at hand.

 

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Dreams and the Art of Life...

During this holiday time there is many an opportunity for well being or dysfunction. Dreams, in their artful way, will always address what nourishes us and what depletes the soul. As we listen to them, and take their meaning to heart, we can increasingly move into greater peace of mind.

Dreams will always guide us to nourish what is good, functional, and truly loving. They move us away from dysfunction. We have no need to entertain any form of dysfunction. During the holidays, as during the entire year, it behooves us to nourish what is peace giving and to stay away from spoils peace.

CG Jung wrote, "Action as we know can take place only in the third dimension, and the fourth dimension is that which actually wants to grow into our conscious three-dimensional world. This realization is man's task par excellence."  (C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 232)

Keep in mind what your dreams tell you during this holiday season. It is conscious action, the art of life, to follow them. They guide us into what is functional, creative, and loving-away from what is dysfunctional. 
Let this season be one of the functionality, intimacy and well being that comes from listening to our dreams and participating in the art of life.

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Paralysing Grip of the Unconscious...

Paralysis strikes. People feel paralyzed by problems. Relationships become stuck. Dreams become those of being paralyzed, unable to move, unable to wake up. Paralysis is real in life and in dreams. It often strikes when we least expect. It's the voice of the unconscious mind trying to get through to us.

Jung wrote, "The fight against the paralysing grip of the unconscious calls forth man's creative powers. That is the source of all creativity, but it needs heroic courage to do battle with these forces and to wrest from them the treasure hard to gain. Whoever succeeds in this has triumphed indeed" (Symbols of Transformation, 1912/1952 CW 5, 523).

People inherently desire to dip deep into their creative powers. But to do so requires that we listen to our paralysis, our sense of stuckness. It is the voice of the gods offering us a chance. Without it, we'd just go along merrily not growing, not loving to our potential, not living.

We're stuck when we're feeling out of sorts for long periods of time. We can can get out of this psychic morass only by engaging in the heroic battle of asking ourselves what it is that we need to face. There's always something lurking, at the ready, for us to be shocked by. It comes as a dream symbol, a life event, a simple phrase a person uses that cuts to the quick.

Paralysis strikes so that we can strike back, so that we hear the call and respond to consciousness, to face new vistas of awareness in life, in love, and in the discovery of inner and outer treasures hard to gain but potentially within reach for those of heroic courage.

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Holistic Psyche

Sometimes (all right all the time) I'm stunned by the psyche's attunement to life and lifestyle issues. Dreams pick up and comment on diet, exercise, quality of relationships and work habits. They want to get our attention so that we can be more attuned to self, health, and consciousness.

The psyche is holistic. It strives toward wholeness in body, mind, soul. A person related a dream about being sandwiched, near death, in between to slices of white bread. They knew their diet needed attention. It was killing them, injuring and snuffing out physical and psychic life.

A business owner  related, "I dreamt of being deluged by mud. My employees stood around and watched. It was going to kill me." Work habits and attitudes needed to be addressed. The psyche, via wondrous dream symbols, spoke to the need for balance.

A dream dramatized a beautiful, prized, horse that could no longer run; but it could walk and did so well and proudly. The dreamer knew that she was given guidance. She was a runner who was continuously subjecting herself to injury. It was time to stop, to walk for exercise, and to move into a more sensitive attunement to body and psyche.

C.G. Jung wrote, "It is madness to fall out of one's conscious world into an unconscious condition. Insanity mean just that, being overcome by an invasion of the unconscious. Consciousness is swept over by unconscious contents in which all orientation is lost. The ego then becomes a sort of fish swimming in a sea among other fishes, and of course fishes don't know who they are, don't even know the name of their own species" (Nietzche's Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1934-1939 Vol. II pp. 1088-89).

In each of the above dreams, the dreamer had been overcome. The had lost their orientation in life. One was stopped from running by injury, another's diet suffocating their physical and psychic life, the other discovering that too much work could ruin an otherwise good life. The psyche is holistic and requires balance.

Tending to soul and tending to mind and body are one and the same act. It is a healing devotional when we take the time to listen to our needs and respond in a conscious manner to body, mind, and soul. The psyche is holistic, and to realistically and truthfully gain a sense of one's own self means tending to all facets of life.

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To Live Without Reservation...

 

 

How we fuss and fret when we are stuck! We try ever so hard and seem to get nowhere. Then, we finally decide, if we have the proper sense to, to look within. Deep layers of feeling and instinct, especially dreams, can speak to us. But, above all, before we get to the point of the unconscious delivering its wisdom we must have lived with all our might, without reservation.

C.G. Jung wrote, "This is how you must live - without reservation, whether in giving or withholding, according to what the circumstances require. Then you will get through. After all, if you should still get stuck, there is always the enantiodromia from the unconscious, which open new avenues when conscious will and vision are failing" ('Four Contacts with Jung' in C.G. Jung Speaking. pp. 158-59)

As Jung noted, if we're off the mark in our living, the unconscious will provide assistance. The other night I had a dream. It spoke to me of needing to see what I wasn't willing to see. In my conscious thoughts that day, I had decided the situation was all right, to proceed as if all was well. That night, my dreams corrected my understanding. They painted a dramatic scenario in which I could get bitten if I didn't watch out. 

So, I lived to the best of my ability, with full heart and confidence, yet I needed to balance out. No way forging ahead would be any good. The sensitivity of the psyche, it's wonderful way of speaking in dream images and dramatic scenarios corrected my conscious perception. Once I saw what I needed to see, I could then self-correct and proceed forward in my day and in my life and live without reservation.

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Far From the Beaten Path...

C.G. wrote, "The artist's relative lack of adaption turns out to his advantage; it enables him to follow his own yearnings far from the beaten path" (CW 15, 131). So seemingly easy it is to tell someone to walk their own walk, to follow their own path or to casually expect it of ourselves. A person came in for depth therapy and said, "I have to bust loose out of this family of mine. They're killing me, my soul. Whenever I'm around them I feel horrible." Little did he know what "busting loose" would involve. To walk far from the beaten path demands psychic courage and no small degree of wherewithal.

It's one thing to talk about being an independent soul, quite another to do it. Everyone seems to go the well trod direction, with the tide, with mass thinking or professional opinion. To be politically correct, professionally pc, and personally likable all the time is a potent draw, and it is lethal.

The man who entered depth inner work ended up having to take leave of his family of origin. Dream material pointed the way to this decisive act. "I was walking down the path, away from them and they were heckling me. My mother was yelling and screaming obscenities. I shook my head and walked on away from them." 

He went on to relate, over many months and years later, how he still wondered about his decision. "Going my own way was harder than I thought." It's no small task to go our own way, to cut our self free from that which constrains so that we can breathe with soul and live our own story.

A blog post on Enchantment Learning and Living (9.15.16) shared, "Let your stories breathe like you can now. And find their own homes when you set them loose like birds to the sky. In their own time. In their own way. And remember that your real home is never behind tightly-cinched cloth wrapped whale-bones or mortared stone. 

How long did it take you to remember that your home is in the earth and in the sky? That the roots of trees and flowers will always be your welcome bed and the wind is there to sweep away the last cut ribbon from your cage."

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Unending Movement and Unfoldment . . .

 

Change never stops if we're conscious beings. We can potentially shut ourselves down. Usually this is done by keeping unresolved trauma unresolved, engaging in unhealthy life styles, and not wanting to face our emotions and what they have to tell us; otherwise, the chances that we'll keep growing and changing, letting go and moving on, are strong.

One commentator noted, "David Bohm is considered to be one of the most accomplished physicists of the 20th century, noted primarily for his advancements in quantum mechanics. Yet few people knew that he eventually became fed up with orthodox theories of physics, turning instead to Eastern philosophies and spending time with wisdom sages like Jiddu Krishnamurti to look for better answers."

Bohm wrote, “I would say that in my scientific and philosophical work, my main concern has been with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole, which is never static or complete, but which is in an unending process of movement and unfoldment" (Wholeness and the Implicate Order).

To let go and move on is, of challenging. Without ongoing movement and change, we run the risk of becoming unhappy if not depressed. So often individuals coming in for depth therapy express a need for change. "I need to get going in my life," one person says. Another states, "I'm feeling stuck and need help." Inevitably they suffer from anxiety and depression.

We simply can't keep the status quo and grow at the same time. Life is an unending movement and constant unfoldment of potential and possibilities. We heal as we learn what this means for us in our particular life situation and then yield to the process.

 

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There's a Message in Mental Pain...

In depth therapy we know there's a growing openness to people seeking to heal from mental pain. Many know they don't have to throw drugs at everything - there are alternatives. Therapeutic listening to psychic pain reveals not only the source of the trouble but avenues for transformation. There's a message in pain, and if that is listened to people can heal. 

A recent news article reported, "Some of the voices inside Caroline White’s head have been a lifelong comfort, as protective as a favorite aunt. It was the others — “you’re nothing, they’re out to get you, to kill you” — that led her down a rabbit hole of failed treatments and over a decade of hospitalizations, therapy and medications, all aimed at silencing those internal threats. At a support group here for so-called voice-hearers, however, she tried something radically different. She allowed other members of the group to address the voice, directly: What is it you want? “After I thought about it, I realized that the voice valued my safety, wanted me to be respected and better supported by others,” said Ms. White, 34...." (NYT An Alternative From of Mental Care Gains A Foothold 8.816)

Whether it's about extreme mental suffering in the form of voices in your head or subtle feelings of unease, there's a message in it. On a radio interview for my novel, The Unholy, this week the interviewer stated, "You mean dreams can actually help me? There's a message in them?" I answered, "Definitely. Dreams speak to what we don't know about ourselves. They shed light on mental suffering."

He asked how one might know when they've stuck on the meaning of the dream. I answered in a way that applies not only to dreams but to mental pain. "We've struck on the message when it clicks and it's helpful. It offers practical guidance about what to do about a situation, an attitude, or a relationship. Dreams offer practical help."

The same holds true with mental pain. It has a message embedded in it. The message, once it clicks, is helpful. It assists us in making changes regarding situations, attitudes, or relationships.

The radio interviewer was astounded and thanked me for the insight. Extreme suffering, subtle feelings of unease, troublesome dreams - there's a message in them, something for us to learn about ourselves, life, changes to make and to be undergone so that we can heal.

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Creative Activities in Being...

To be real is to be creative. Something nurturing can come out of a lived experience. There's a zest that takes hold when we immerse ourself in lived reality. We feel better once we've faced what we need to face, the real taken in and internalized as truth in a given situation.  

The father of American depth psychology, William James, wrote that real creative activities in being must be lived experiences (A Pluralistic Universe p.185). Dreams point to such creativity when they address what has happened that we're not aware of or that we're only minimally aware of. One night I dreamt of a fairy touching my shoulder. The dream came after a day when I'd talked to a particularly inspiring person. I'd been moved, touched by the conversation. The dream dramatized the energy between us, a spiritual current that affected me. 

The experience in waking life and the symbol within the dream was a creative act. This was a lived experience that taught me something. It taught me about listening to vital feeling states when dealing with others and when going about daily activities. Lived experience is creative experience as we allow what is real, what has taken place, to inform us, to give us information about what we didn't realize at all or didn't understand was so important. Becoming conscious means becoming real, authentic, and able to grow from what we've lived.

I nurtured the relationship with this person. And, over time it has continued to prove its creative role in my life. It was a lived experience then emphasized by symbolic dream material. I'd gotten the message in waking life and then the unconscious highlighted and gave further insight into the importance of something nurturing coming out of lived experience.

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Slipping into Everyday Madness...

 

C.G. Jung wrote, "When a patient begins to feel the inescapable nature of his inner development, he may easily be overcome by a panic fear that he is slipping helplessly into some kind of madness that he can no longer understand" (The Philosophical Tree 1945/1954 CW 13, 325). When patients first enter depth psychotherapy, it's not uncommon that they are panic stricken. Their lives seem as if they are falling apart. "I'm tumbling down a deep hole, into an abyss," one person shared, their look utterly pained.

I remember when I first entered deep therapy. Pressures in my life rushed in on all sides. A dream came with an angel sweeping his numinous wing wide and gathering me into another realm of seeing, one that was at first dark and forbidding and then mysterious and nurturing as I adjusted to this depth. 

My therapist, a man trained by C.G. Jung, offered, "So, it's time to turn within." He smiled gently and knowingly. I had no idea what I was in for, just that I needed help and sensed myself tumbling inward, a madness of sorts since few understood this compelling need.

I understood that the madness had meaning, discovered its meaning, and responded to it in a practical and transformative way. For many years to come I acquainted myself with the mysteries of the unconscious mind. This ongoing exploration helped me, and continues to help me, to further my healing journey. I've seen that it's not only the big moments of madness, those of crushing stress, but the day-to-day moments of madness that offer us a chance to go deeper.

Day-to-day moments of madness hit when things feel too much. We can cave into anxiety about all that comes our way; or, we can take time to listen and feel our way through the stress, what it has to teach us, to tell us about ourselves and others. Slipping into everyday madness, for sensitive souls, means quieting, turning within, and listening to what the storm has to teach us. 

 

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