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  • Jungian Therapy Looks Under the Surface of Suburbia


    Under the surface of suburbia, life is the same here as it is anywhere else.  The endless communities of single family dwellings stretch out and stretch out, beyond where the eye can see.  Everyone, so the story goes, is sharing the same life, wanting the same things, holding the same shared values.  And everyone is at pains to seem happy and healthy, like their neighbours.  Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, Waterdown, Dundas… the list of communities goes on and on.

    Yet beneath the appearances, there are a myriad of individual lives.  People are moving through life towards their individual destinies, with happiness or with discontent, with sorrow or exultation, with unresolved pain and grief, or with yearning.

    Each seeks something.  He or she may have a name for what he or she seeks, or an image, or perhaps just an inchoate ache and a yearning.  Some, perhaps slumber, not wishing to be reminded of life’s strong feelings, and what they evoke.

    Each has an individual story, and, Jung tells us, a personal mythology, waiting to be uncovered.  Each is unique, a bundle of subjective awarenesses that will never repeat itself in any place or time.

    Under the surface of suburbia, we each seek to become the one whom we know we are destined to be.  We wrestle with accepting what we are, and with the life-long project of finding others to accept and love us for who we are.  We look with awe at the vastness of the universe, and recognize that we are small as dust.  Yet somehow we know that what we are, and even that we are, is miraculous.

    Some say the story is settled and known, and that the story is the same for everybody, and that it only needs to be told and told again, in the same old form, for every person in every town.  But some say that the story is new, and needs to be written in flesh and blood in each individual life, and that each and every human has a particular part of the story that only they can write.

    Some people say that each of us is a story, and each of us is a journey, and that the only real freedom is in finding our own true nature.  Carl Gustav Jung said this, and stressed that the invitation to embark upon the journey of our own real lives is always there, ready to be accepted.

    I’d welcome your comments on this post, and on the whole subject of finding your own individuality in suburban life.

    Wishing you every good thing on your  personal journey to wholeness,

    Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst


    PHOTO CREDIT: © Jeff Whyte |

    © 2010 Brian Collinson

    1. Nancy


      August 21, 2010 at 8:57 am -

      As usual I very much appreciated your blog post. It brings to mind one of my favorite Jung quotes that would be worth posting here, “Our heart glows and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.” ~Jung

      1. Brian C
        August 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm -

        Thank you very much for your comment, Nancy. Your quote is certainly a wonderful one, and one that I also hold dear. “Secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being… dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life…” That is such a central truth, and it is very much at the heart of what I was trying to write about in my post.

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