Jungian Therapy and Divorce Counselling, Pt. 1: Loss
For Jungian therapy a key focus in divorce counselling is to look at what is trying to emerge in the life of the individual as relationship ends. But before that aspect of Jungian therapy can begin, there is often important, although difficult, work to be done in the ashes and shards of the dying relationship.
Of all the emotions experienced at the end of a relationship, variants of anger and rage are among the most potent. Whether directed at the spouse, a third party or some circumstance involved in the demise of the marriage, these emotions powerfully impact the individual as he or she is trying to find a way through and beyond the end of the relationship. Unless acknowledged and experienced, they can continue to control the individual and cloud judgment indefinitely.
Grief & Sorrow
Grief and sorrow are almost always associated with divorce counselling, at least as practiced in a Jungian therapy context. For men in particular, it may be much more difficult to get in touch with these feelings than with feelings of anger and rage. Also, one of the paradoxes of this emotional passage is that one may even feel a sense of gladness or relief at the end of a relationship — and simultaneously feel a sense of grief at the loss of this part of one’s feeling life, and of the hopes that go with it.
Guilt & Shadow
We also find ourselves in the grip of feelings of guilt and regret over our actions at the time of divorce. As I look at my own role in the decay and eventual death of the relationship, I inevitably come up against shadow — those parts of myself that I cannot or will not acknowledge. To confront our own role in the failure of a relationship can be a very difficult thing, but it may contribute immensely to self knowledge and personal growth.
There is a danger of being caught or fixated by divorce, never getting over it, or through it. We’ve probably all met people who are stuck here. Often this occurs when there are feelings of betrayal, or in situations where the relationship to children is lost. It can also be associated with an undying need to be right, and my inability to acknowledge the difficult-to-acknowledge shadow parts of myself.
Please watch for part 2 of this series on divorce, “Renewal” — coming soon.