The Medical Model
Beyond coping skills is the name of the game for depth work. The current popular trend of acute mental health care programs and interventions focus on coping skills to manage symptoms. These metrics are based on maximizing profits for the insurance companies. Managing symptoms don’t always have to be the final goal though.
Yes, I’m saying that long-term depth work can help you fully heal yourself and thrive in a life that has meaning for you for long-term, permanent healing and change.
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a short-term therapy that targets specific issues and works with conscious content. The work that I do works with your unconscious patterns and behaviors in your life. This is about getting to know yourself on a really deep level. Carl Jung called this process Individuation which is a personal journey of self-discovery and transformative, permanent development and change. So what is individuation?
I’m going to talk about this process through a metaphor. Psychologist James Hillman explained this process through what he calls, acorn theory. Acorn theory states that the full image of a matured person, like that of a fully grown oak tree is contained within the acorn. The path through time that brings that seed or baby through the adventure we call life is a mystery. Early Jungian Jolande Jacobe, stated that the path of a life follows a labyrinthian path through “hope and longing.” Here, the idea that when we are longing, we are reaching toward our destiny, or in other words, the highest image of the unfolding from the acorn.
Individuation can be seen in every story where the main character goes out into the world and leaves home. Joseph Campbell called this process the hero’s journey. However, this process can start to push at any time in life. Modern mental health clinicians call such moments life transitions. Fittingly, the main work I do with individuals working with art therapy and dreams is individuation work. In this work we navigate together the confusing, sometimes painful process of listening to your soul and as Scott Peck said, “taking the road less traveled.”
On that note, I found a lovely quote this past week by Kelly Ann Maddox that I’m going to use in my personal affirmations for the next month, “I am carving a path that winds around my psyche and goes through the door of my heart.”
If you’re feeling like you have a calling within you that you have to heed, it may make you feel like you’re going crazy. This process can be disorienting and scary. However, the benefits you can reap are worth more than their weight in gold. This is the psychic pressure that turns coal into diamonds.
You’re a gem. Psychotherapy cuts and polishes it so that your brilliance can really shine.
Investing in yourself can give you the support you need to bolster your tree and make it stronger against the inevitable storms that arise. All grand oak trees started as tiny saplings. I work with people individually and in groups.
Maggi is a registered art therapist at Columbus Art Therapy who assists their clients to discover more of themselves through dream interpretation, art therapy, and depth psychotherapy. They specialize in working with grief and loss as well as gender exploration. Click the button below to get connected.