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  • Jungian Therapy & the Second Half of Life, 4: Truth

    Jungian therapy

    What can “truth” possibly have to do with Jungian therapy or the major life transitions in the second half of life?   “Truth” can seem very abstract.  Yet, in Jungian therapy, we become aware of the profound power of truth, not as something “flaky”, but as the numinous place where the individual encounters the realities of the deep self, or soul.  We’re talking existential truth.

    When It Changes

    In the second half of life, there are forks in the road, or turning points — “moments of truth”, some call them.   An individual may follow a certain path of life for all of adulthood, but then discover somewhere in the middle portion of life that this path won’t work anymore.  She simply cannot do the job, or stay in the relationship, or pretend to have a certain identity, any longer.  While it served well in the past, it will not any longer: the second half of life has caught up with her.

    Truth and the Unavoidable

    Some truths have an unavoidable character, and confrontation with the unavoidable often furthers the individuation process.  It can often be that attitudes or beliefs that we needed in the first half of life fall apart in the second half of life.

    second half of life

    Lasting Truth about Self and World

    In the second half of life, we need to find some stable truth that is ours.  This is not a matter of adopting any old dogmatic belief willy-nilly, but rather finding the deep realizations that accord with the innermost self.  Sometimes this is called a  ” philosophy of life “, but is probably better called a “worldview”, because it has much profounder roots than the merely rational.

    So what is my worldview, my deepest realization?  Some find this in organized religion, but today, many find that they need something beyond that, even though our deepest beliefs or sensibilities may well be felt to connect us with God, the ground of being or the universe.  Whatever this fundamental worldview is, it connects or resonates with who we most fundamentally are.

    A Fundamental Integrity

    This connection is what John Beebe calls integrity in depth.  Today, integrity is much maligned, often associated with conventional conformist “straight arrow” morality, of a puritanical nature.  But there is a way of living, a possibility of living, not rule-bound, that comes straight out of who one most fundamentally is.

    The goal of Jungian therapy in the second half of life is to enable the individual to live out the truth that accords with his or her most fundamental nature.


    PHOTOS:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Manoj Kengudelu and kevincole
    © 2012 Brian Collinson


    1. Sarah Densmore
      March 27, 2012 at 9:14 am -

      Beautifully said Brian. It is a difficult transition — and the degree of difficulty seems to be directly proportional to how psychologically committed one was to being ordinary and accepted.

      1. Brian C
        March 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm -

        Thank you for your comment, Sarah. I think that you’re very right that the difficulty of the transitions in the second half of life are very closely related to how committed one is / was to the conventionalities of the first half of life. Probably a key issue for many of us, is, can I trust my own inner truth? Am I willing to try and live in accord with it? So often, we all crave acceptance of the level of the outer, social self — the persona. But that kind of acceptance is not nourishing, sustaining. We need more. I appreciate your comment, and will check out your site!

    2. Ruth Martin

      Ruth Martin

      March 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm -

      Outstanding post, Brian! So much Truth/Depth so quietly spoken.
      I’d like to send a link to my cousin who has been struggling for years around this issue, ‘following the path you know is yours” would be an inadequate description. But the post is so affirming, I think it would help.

      1. Brian C
        March 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm -

        Thank you very much for your comment, Ruth. I very much appreciate your kind words.
        “Following the path you know is yours” — seems to me like a very apt description. That’s just it, isn’t it — getting to the things that we really, deeply know at our inmost level. That, as Jung would say in his more alchemical moments, is the heart of the work! I wish your cousin every good thing on her / his personal journey to the Self.

    3. Kathy Tracy

      Kathy Tracy

      March 30, 2012 at 9:39 am -

      I love it! It feels like you’re talking to me!! I just quit an unsatisfying job with no idea of what I’m going to do… It was a total ‘Leap of Faith’ and I’m not worried – in fact, I can’t wait to see what’s next in my journey! Thank you for helping me to realize that I’m not alone (and I’m not crazy!?!).

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