Julie’s Insights

Is Jungian Psychotherapy the therapy for you?

Do any of these questions apply to you?

  • Are you struggling to make relationships work?
  • Are you deeply unhappy, anxious, depressed, experiencing feelings that make you panic?
  • Is your situation changing, you are not sure about how to go about it and fearful you will make the same  mistakes you made last time?
  • Do you feel helpless or stuck?
  • Do you have dreams you would like to understand?
  • Are you a creative person who has more to offer but it feels blocked?

Jungian Psychotherapy is a therapy that can benefit anyone who wishes to explore and understand themselves from the depths to the heights of life.  This is possible through increased consciousness.

There are times in your life when a life experience e.g. a birth, death, anxiety or depression, can close down your thoughts and feelings.  It is impossible to find any enthusiasm for living let alone pleasure and creativity.

Jungian Analysis may be able to help you.

The first aim of Jungian Psychotherapy is to relieve symptoms.  This important start addresses your own personal issues,  feelings of panic, depression, a communication difficulty for example.  A usual response is relief and feeling heard  by someone who is empathetic, listens and takes you seriously.

Jungian Psychotherapy is an interpersonal process, a special kind of  partnership.  This means that you and your Analyst will work together through your issues to gain insight for yourself, which results in greater capacity and choice to be able to think and behave differently if you want to.

This particular psychotherapy is open-ended, it is said that it works at the pace you can cope with.  It is an exciting yet challenging quest to understand yourself.

Jungian Psychotherapy is time set aside by both parties who will devote themselves to the quest.  The quest is an exploration of the unconscious which leads to greater wholeness.  It makes sense that the more you are aware about yourself, and the more you are aware of the influence of others upon you, the more choices you have to respond.

The unconscious: So defined, the unconscious depicts an extremely fluid state of affairs;  everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking;  everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten;  everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind;  everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do;  all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness;  all this is the content of the unconscious. Jung C (1960) On the Nature of the Psyche, CW 8, Par. 382}.

Jungian Psychotherapy is an encounter that empowers, enables and strengthens which in turn can help us to find our own wisdom and power to change.

Julie R Lyon
Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst

28 April 2013

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Who are you?

As I considered what to write about this week,  it evoked thoughts about who may be reading this, and what kind of a story do you have to tell? The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a story as: an account of imaginary or past events: a narrative tale or anecdote.  The word story conjures up the world of the imagination, but this is not wholly accurate, it also includes past events so it is a mixing of both facts, and what we remember as fact.  What is important about the previous sentence is that the stories of my life and yours are made up in this way and therefore fact and imagination have to listened to and understood.

When a traumatic event occurs, the human psyche (meaning the soul, the spirit, the mind. Latin from the Greek Psukhe meaning breath, life soul) can become overwhelmed.  One of the ways it copes with feeling overwhelmed is to pretend. To survive, it pretends.  It might pretend to cope, and the need to survive means that at that time – it is genuinely true.  But where are all the overwhelmed feelings and thoughts?  They disappear into the unconscious (a definition of the unconscious is in the previous blog).

What is unconscious is unconscious, never the less it still has a profound effect upon our lives.  If for example later in life there is a repeat of the original trauma, then the second experience is doubly devastating.  The pretence becomes impossible! So not only is the experience devastating, it is shocking and deeply frightening.  If you cannot pretend, what do you do?  Once again, without any conscious will,  bodily symptoms can appear.   These symptoms are intertwined with the drama of psychic life.

It is said our conscious thinking in proportion to unconscious thinking is like an iceberg. A huge unconscious part of the iceberg is underwater, out of sight, and a smaller part on the top which we can see and use if we choose.

By raising our levels of consciousness from the unconscious and making sense of our own story to make a coherent narrative relieves symptoms, eases anxiety and  depression which in turn means you feel better and start to find a way to cope and handle yourself and other people.

We all live in our imagination and what is happening right now. To build a bridge as a link between unconscious and conscious allows two way traffic – yes some of the feelings and thoughts might have been “classified” unthinkable but who chose the classifications? Was it a conscious decision or was it made for us unconsciously?

Your story is uniquely yours, and the more you know about yourself the more opportunity you have of finding a way to lead a life which is rich in feeling and thought.

 Julie R Lyon

Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst

5 May 2013

 

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 Proof Positive

Here are two quotes from studies about this method of therapy.

‘ … the benefits of treatment are lasting and not transitory, and appear to extend well beyond symptom remission. Psychological health is not merely the absence of symptoms; it is the positive presence of inner capacities and resources that allow people to live life with a greater sense of freedom and possibility’, Shedler, J ‘The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy’, article in American Psychologist 2009 and at http://psychsystems.net/shedler.html.

There is considerable research and an increasing accumulation of high quality empirical evidence supporting psychodynamic concepts and treatments and that patients who receive this therapy not only maintain therapeutic gains but continue to improve over time  (Shedler, as above, p.18).

Not only is there empirical proof as shown above there are also Books Galore!!  For over 120 years the analytic method of understanding has been studied by observation, research and writing about why it works, how to do it, and how to teach it.

 The most important aspect is to find a way to feel better, not think about stuckness, or that life is meaningless, or feel like a round peg in a square hole? Or are just too depressed or anxious to think straight or too numb to feel.

Yes, it  involves turning up to sessions, yes it involves dedicating a 50 minute slot per week (or more if needed), yes it involves parting with your money, yes it involves learning about yourself.

There are approximately 2800 Jungian Analysts worldwide, all of whom will have studied for many years.

By learning to understand yourself through emotional experience, you will be more able to solve your problems, you will be more tolerant of others and yourself, and be more in tune with yourself and those around you.

 Julie R Lyon

Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst

23 May 2013

 

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Understanding the part of personality that is the interface between others and ourselves.

The Persona is an aspect of the personality we show to or is perceived by others, the original meaning of the word was a mask worn by actors to indicate the role they played. The mask was helpful in two ways, to protect the face underneath, and the design of a mask will help an audience to know which role the actor is playing.

So often, it is easy to get caught up and stuck in the roles we create for ourselves. When this happens, it sometimes feels like we have lost connection between the mask we wear with a particular face on it e.g. in our careers  or in the role we have in the family or society, and the person we think we ‘really are’.  This lost  connection  wants to reconnect, so to focus attention on the loss, a psychic dilemma or conflict is created internally. As creative humans, there are many ways to get our attention, often involving the use of unpleasant symptoms e.g a skin rash, or it could be an emotion e.g. anger or confusion.

It is truly understandable that these background thoughts and feelings about who we really are (or who we think we might have been)  have had to take a back seat, it takes considerable effort for a persona  and a skill set e.g. career to develop.

 In our quest for life’s meaning we can get caught up with blaming ourselves for paths taken which take turnings in directions you do not want or like.  However, the blame game hurts and sometimes forgets that in the beginning that particular path with good reason at the time.

The quest now is to reconnect and notice other important contrasting and compensating thoughts and feelings that are not getting the attention they need or deserve.    Once reconnected, it brings about a renewal of meaning  to  life, and importantly new understanding of how to stay connected in a helpful and harmonious way with ourselves now and in the future.

Difficulties with identifying with the Persona

The masks we wear act as a protective covering to help us to behave in a way which is predetermined by society, and also includes expectations from  where we grew up and what was considered to be of value.  In other words, all of us often behave in ways we think we should or ought to do, wear appropriate clothes to suit the occasion/job.

Sometimes the mask is used to help with difficult feelings about the value we place upon ourselves, the mask side might constantly seek approval from others for confirmation that we are ok.  There can be no life without it.   Little or no value is placed on our own face, our subjective nature,  underneath the mask .  Other people complain and comment about lack of closeness, or that they do not ‘get through’.  Our own face is neglected and so are our own thoughts and feelings.

Difficulties with an ineffective Persona

Our behaviour in public using an ineffective persona (or mask covering our faces) will struggle to contain our inner feelings and thoughts from others.  It might be that you want to fit in with a particular group and one way we do that is by wearing similar clothing which helps you to feel included, and it is important to be noticed for the ‘right’ things, and not be continuously misunderstood or worse become the butt of the jokes within the group

The difficulties mentioned above  are about disconnectedness from yourself as well as other people.  It is uncomfortable, unpleasant and is an unhappy state of affairs for all.

When at its most positive, the public self does not mask or conceal inner nature, it indicates creativity, spontaneity, an ability to be careful about what is said, yet also open.

It is an effective integrated persona which assists you to lead a full life.

 Julie R Lyon

Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst

6 June 2013

 

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A Safe Pair of Hands

During a plane flight, Richard St. John was unable to answer this question:  What leads to success?  Richard realized he had an opportunity to ask many successful people this question.  He analysed the data and came up with the 8 traits people have in common.

Aware I was about to write my next blog and was thinking about:  What makes a safe pair of hands?  I think these 8 traits identified by Richard St John apply:

1         Passion – If you have passion for what you do, it gives you the impetus to strive and the desire to find out and understand.  Desire and passion come from the heart – you put your heart in it.

2         Work – it is said it takes 10,000 hours to really begin to master something so dedication, study and time is needed.

3         Focus – the task in hand is an imperative, which by becoming a focus automatically excludes other pursuits.

4         Push – energy, dedication and diligence is necessary to keep going especially in the case of adversity.

5         Ideas – what is it each of us might have that makes us uniquely who we are, and of what benefit can it be to us and to others?

6         Improve – continuously strive to understand, make new meanings, study, continuously hone your craft.

7         Serve – finding a way to work for yourself, your family and to share what you can not only makes you feel good, it also may help someone else.

8         Persist – achievement does not just happen, it takes dedicated effort particularly when life throws up difficulties and you have to pick yourself up and get back out there.

Feeling safe is not easy for those beset by difficult feelings and emotions.  Sometimes, it is hard to imagine that you could be in a position to  trust anyone enough to think that they might be a safe pair of hands.  There are people who have never had anyone around who have been able to offer this because no one offered it to them, which in turn makes it is really difficult to trust themselves.

Not being able to trust yourself impacts psychically in many ways, an example is reassuring yourself you will get up in the morning for a task or booked appointment, but when it is morning your resolve is not strong and the appointment is cancelled / missed.  This feeds the critical, negative side  “I am no good / not to be trusted / incapable / not a safe pair of hands”.

This negative pattern can be changed, but not by persisting with this negative loop.

Acknowledging, accepting and understanding that you are back in this negative loop is the first achievement.  Discover the origins of the feedback loop, and then know that once you are aware of it, there can be other choices.  For example, if it is difficult to get out of bed in the morning (for whatever reason), make appointments later in the day!  You then have a greater chance of attending, and you do not feed the negative loop.

This one act of making an appointment easier for yourself has a positive knock-on in many more aspects of your life, you do not have to apologise or pay for a missed appointment, nor do you disappoint yourself or your loved ones.

Try to create a way to make sure it will work for you, it will help to create good feelings inside you and develop your own pair of safe hands.

 Julie R Lyon

Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst

20 June 2013

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A Question of Trust

In many circumstances and situations we find ourselves in, we are subjected to scrutiny. Gone are the days when the bank manager or building society manager or clergy  knew who you are and had the power to verify it.  Every time there is an audit/job interview/change of circumstance all of us have to take proof of identity to be scanned/photocopied into someone else’s data base.  Those of us with computers, email addresses, phones etc are constantly bombarded by a new form of wily  marketing and scams. Data is used by websites ‘as if’ there has been permissions to use it, it is difficult to discern that which is genuine and that which is bogus or set up by a website that uses your information but earns its money from the advertising adjacent to your data.

Computer language is also an interesting use of emotive and frightening words, I think with some justification e.g. if your computer gets a virus, it is wiped out and worse snippets of your private information is disseminated to your email addresses. Hey, protect your expensive computer with a Firewall!

There are also words that work positively not to frighten us, e.g. windows – we can look out to watch the world go by/ or spend time in the virtual world of cyberspace.

 I have been thinking about what this does to our own personal sense of who we are, who trusts us and who can we trust?

Raising the question and thinking about it in its own right is as important as finding solutions because there is no solution without a problem to solve.

Our own personal sense of who we are is as vast and complicated topic as the immense, pervasive use of computers now.  Not that I am against computers or the internet far from it. But, human beings are social animals, we are shaped by how and where we grew up, our own capabilities, opportunities taken or not, lady luck and the structure of the society in which we live.

It seems that now is a time to really focus on our ‘real’ world, developing an inner trust in ourselves so we can discern between that which is fiction, part fiction-part fact e.g. reality television, and our own sense of worth and responsibility to ourselves and each other within our families. Then, when ready sharing this trust for the greater good with a charitable deed.  A charitable deed, no matter how small, private or public feeds our inner sense of who we are with positive thoughts and feelings, we do it for two genuine reasons to help others and ourselves.

When it is difficult to focus on this aspect of ourselves, we lose a sense of inner trust and trust in others. Who can we trust when it difficult to trust ourselves?

All of us have to find a way to be heard –this blog is one of mine.

If you are finding it difficult to trust others, trust yourself and need to talk about it so you can understand more about yourself, I can offer you my full attention, and a first session at no cost to you to express what needs to be said, and heard.

 Julie R Lyon Jungian Analyst offering counselling, psychotherapy, Jungian Analysis near Witney in Oxfordshire.

26 June 2013

 

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The Power of Positive Thinking

 

It is difficult to even imagine thinking positively when  mood is low and you feel as if you are spiralling down into a vortex.  Even the littlest of jobs seem to take twice as long, and seem to be much more difficult, and to make matters worse, this is the time when electrical appliances fail, or the car won’t start – or another member of your family makes extra demands on you.  It all seems too much.  No one, and I mean no one can feel as bad as you do.  And you do not need people telling you to ‘cheer up’ or say things like ‘you are not dead yet’.  It is as if a part of you is dead/inaccessible/fading fast.  All you want to do is not do.

Depression can hit you like that-  it takes away pleasure, lightness, and joviality and seems to spoil most of what you do.  It is disappointing to realize that there is no ‘magic wand’ to wave to make everything alright. Never say never, because for some people perhaps there is! The majority find that this is not the way. If you can let it happen maybe one think will make you half smile, or even smile! An example might be a ray of sunshine, the way the cat moves, a particularly good cup of tea!  These are little things, but just finding a way to notice them raises consciousness of the other side!

Psychological health is about balance, I like to think of the old pharmacy scales in my consulting room.    There are weights on one side on the pan  and you add the product to be weighed on to the other pan.  As you add the product the pans move. If you add far too much product the pan bangs down forcefully, if you gently and carefully add the product the pans gently move towards the middle position so when balanced the pans are level and move slowly from side to side. The balance is held upon a knife edge.  What a fine, sharp place that is. It is no wonder it is so difficult to get the balance right.   Mood can swing wildly or rock  gently around the knife edge – or even do both.  It is how we manage the mood is what matters.  There is no prescriptive ‘right way’ it takes time, patience and kindness to yourself to start to understand what triggers a mood, and then to figure out what you can do to help yourself. In its own right, reading this blog is a way of helping yourself because you are looking at ways to know yourself more deeply.

Talking about how you are with others can help, Psychotherapy is a particular way of trying to understand yourself because it involves devoting 50 minutes especially for you.  This is not self-indulgent, it is for understanding and discovering more about you.

The first positive step is to think about coming, the second step getting in touch, then to come or to skype- a new journey has begun.

Julie R Lyon Jungian Analyst offering counselling, psychotherapy, Jungian Analysis near Witney in Oxfordshire.

26 September 2013

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What does change mean?

What does change mean?  The Concise Oxford Dictionary’s first of many definitions is ‘the act or an instance of making or becoming different.’

The one constant about life and living is change.

Becoming different – every day we become different, we grow older.  The process is inevitable, sometimes pleasurable and sometimes torturous, often frightening.

Remember Snow White’s stepmother, the Queen, would say ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ The Queen was happy when the mirror answered it was her, but when Snow White had developed into a beauty and the mirror answered truthfully it was now Snow White, the Queen was envious and frightened, she feared losing her beauty because she feared losing her power.

It is interesting to notice in our society today how much attention and time is given to not embracing the age you are – cosmetics, face lifts,  Botox, and even treatments using radio frequency energy.  These all embrace the age you wish you were.

Not that I think we should not do what we can to make the best of ourselves! I just wonder if there is a deeper much more heartfelt side to all this to do with our fears about ageing and that with each decade we live, death is ever nearer.  Yet as a species our average life span is as long as it has been in the history of mankind.

Rites of Passage are markers of change – Religious ceremonies, for example,  Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ceremony for 12/13 year olds.   Our birthday heralds a new life and is marked annually with a celebration, and decade changes are particularly significant and often dreaded.

Carl Jung saw the first half of life as one of acquiring knowledge and skills to enable us to choose careers, create our own family and develop a focussed strength to be able to perform and be effective.  Any time our attention is honing a skill, we automatically are not paying attention to other aspects of our lives, which is sometimes why when we reach mid-life, other aspects demand our focus and we ask questions such as what does all this mean? And what on Earth is the point?

If these questions arise, or there are other symptoms to let us know (depression or anxiety, or physical symptoms), we might try to change something, go back to something that worked in the past (exercise,  a new car!, a fancy holiday). These activities may temporarily alleviate, but may not get to the root of the difficulty.

One route which is a constructive proven path is Jungian Analysis.

 

Julie Lyon Jungian Analyst offers Jungian Analysis, counselling, psychotherapy, near Witney in Oxfordshire.

1 March 2014

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Understanding the Effects of Disappointment

The first meaning in the Oxford Dictionary of disappointment is an event, thing or person that fails to fulfil a desire or expectation of a person, secondly it is a feeling of distress resulting from this.

All of us have unsatisfied longings and cravings which we imagine and think about. How often do we hear the expression ‘Living the dream’ banded about?

I am not advocating that we cannot and do not ‘Live the dream’ but I am saying that there is something to be thought about with regard to expectation and what is personally, humanly possible.

What it means to be human is a complicated picture, all of us have our own individual story to tell.  This story is interwoven with the story of our family and our family roots. This is further layered by our cultural ideas of family, society and political history.

So a question to ponder is: Who is exactly expecting what of whom? And not getting what we desire can lead to intense feelings of disappointment.

Cultural disappointment in the struggle for an acceptance of just how differently we all choose to live.

Political disappointment- Is there such a thing as a fair society? Who judges?

Personal disappointment – It would be alright if only I had more ability/energy/effort/ support and never followed that particular path, if other people had not let me down and so on.

Disappointment sometimes eats away at our sense of who we are, our sense of self, it can feed all the difficult negative feelings and thoughts, anxiety, depression, lack of self-worth, it also wounds our many methods we have of psychologically protecting ourselves.

There are three aspects to a relationship which facilitate and create a loving environment,

  1.  There needs to be an element of trust.
  2. An ability to love.
  3. An ability to be loveable.

Sometimes we get to a point where we feel lovable and are able to think about loving another but it is difficult to trust, so you set the beloved a test to see if they really love and understand you.  Your beloved is not in examination conditions so is unaware there is any testing in place.  They fail the test! My question would be who has failed here? The tester for setting up the test? The beloved who did not understand or know about the test?  Disappointment is the clear winner here, yet the couple lose.

Jungian Therapy is a place where the above difficulties and issues can be talked about freely in a supportive environment.

If you are finding life a disappointment and need to talk about it to try to find a way understand more about yourself, I can offer you my full attention, and a first session at no cost to you to express what needs to be said, and heard.

Julie Lyon Jungian Analyst offers counselling, psychotherapy, Jungian Analysis near Witney in Oxfordshire.

21 March 2014

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