Help for Anxiety in Major Life Transitions: Security
In major life transitions, as we see in Jungian therapy, whether an individual obtains effective help for anxiety often depends on whether he or she can find a rooted, deep sense of security.
There are some ways in which a Jungian perspective on security closely aligns with the perspective of attachment theory. But there are also some important additional factors.
For Jungians, as for C.G. Jung himself, the image of the tree with deep roots is a symbol of the security, rootedness and groundedness of the individual psyche. How is your tree doing?
One aspect of help for anxiety that is necessary in major life transitions is to ensure that the individual feels secure from external threat. With some major life transitions this is superfluous, but for others, it’s very important. Do I have a basic feeling of safety from external threat?
An extreme example of this concern someone who has been through deep trauma, such as physical abuse or the death of a loved one — these, too, are major life transitions. Sometimes an individual triggered or re-traumatized by external situations that in some way or another remind the individual of the original trauma. Doing what can be possibly be done to restore a sense of safety can be essential.
By this, I mean something that many people would not consider when they think about the aspect of personal security. Am I secure in who I am?
Am I able to value myself — or are there inner critics in me that tear me apart with contempt and self-criticism?
I able to deal with my weaknesses, and accept who and what I am — because I have moved past expecting perfection for myself. Or, do guilt and shame within me continually engage in self-attack, self doubt and resultant anxiety?
Symbols of Security
There are also important symbols of security, and these involve the archetypal layer of the psyche. Symbols, many of them “religious”, spiritual, artistic, or from nature, may be essential in providing me with a sense of being secure in the universe. Am I aware of which symbols are meaningful for me, and resonate with my inner life? They can provide powerful help for anxiety.
Help for Anxiety: How Do I Experience My Sense of Security in the World?
A therapy relationship can be a key place to enhance the experience of a sense of safety in the world. Jungian therapy knows that the therapeutic space contributes greatly to help for anxiety.
I also need to ask myself, “Does my story about my life make me feel secure? or less? Do I even know what the dominant stories or narratives that underlie my life are?
Have I taken possession of my own personalized, deep story? The story that brings value and meaning to my life — what Jung would call my “personal mythology“?
Jungian therapy provides concrete help for anxiety on all the above levels, in the midst of major life transitions.
Next in series: Transition
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