Alan has gained a wealth of experience having worked for more than two decades as a therapist and then in management within the addictions arena. This included 3 years as Clinical Director at Life Works where he was responsible for developing and running their successful eating disorder programme. As well as eating disorders, he specializes in compulsivity and addictions. Alan has an utterly non-judgmental style of working and an infinite capacity to hold steady alongside a client as they work towards recovery. Alan Has recently trained as an Jungian Analyst at the Society of Analytical Psychology (SAP).
Sitting in the stillness of the heart. What does that actually mean?
Sitting with the wisdom of God, sitting with the flickering light of a candle where the divine speaks its truth. Can one really hear the truth when there is no noise around you. Sitting in the stillness of the heart is all that’s needed – there is a relief and a a profound sense of being ‘normal’ in stillness.
I have been thinking about my spiritual life as I move into the new year. There seems to be constant struggle to find meaning with God. The need to merge with God is strong and very powerful.
However, I come up against the dark wall that is not penetrable. Sitting in a dark searching and hoping for meaning is ever present. Will peace and tranquility ever be part of my life or shall I live this angst forever, Has God forsaken me. I think not but the ever present feeling something powerful is holding me –
Dark Night of the Soul come to mind – am I worthy of God’s love – what am I searching and what is all for. The dark wall is ever present.
As we witness the pandemic shift and move throughout the world, I wonder what the effects it will have on our own internal worlds. How do we make sense of the fact that we cannot see our loved ones? We see family and friends via a video link or a phone, but we cannot touch them. We have to stay away for all our survival.
We live with loss which is a constant. Isn’t loss part of the human condition anyway? From the day we are born we separate from mother. Growing and developing is about maturation, growing to be individual. However, more than ever we need each other during these times in a hope we will ‘touch’ and ‘see’ each other again.
We mourn the loss of people we have admired and celebrate their lives and achievements. Maybe there is something about loss, mourning and hope. Only time will tell.
At the beginning of the analysis, it became clear that J resided in a very dark place, well hidden from any form of aliveness. Their attachment to me felt parasitical and searching for aliveness in me, but the result was the opposite: I often felt blanked out, deadened. It was as if I had been infected with a tranquiliser, rendering me paralysed and unable to stay (conscious) or leave (act freely). The room at times felt airless with an insufferable stench of something dead and decaying forever. It soon resembled their home, hoarded rubbish and living amongst rotten food. Dead and rotting though this space was, it nevertheless provided a perverse form of safety and a psychic retreat from continued failure in a litany of broken relationships. This is as mentioned a perverse form of safety for most patients when entering analysis. The key to this ‘psychic retreat’ is to entre it with care and gentleness but to live it with the patient. This is to know the patient.
“One alchemical statement says that death is the conception of the Philosophers’ Stone. The death of the ego, or the ego experiencing itself as dying, is very often the prelude to the birth of awareness of the self. Jung makes the profound statement in Mysterium that “the experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.” That’s because an encounter with the greater thing always has a wounding and damaging effect, initially, on the lesser thing. And the experience of guilt belongs to this whole phenomenon of defeat and inadequacy and wounding.” Edinger (1994) P29/30
As I look back at the early consultations there was a hungry and aggressive edge to them. My thinking at this time was that J’s inner world was finally ‘being seen’ and felt in a way previously unknown to her. There was an intense hunger to J that often seemed overwhelming and suffocating, causing me to retreat into states of literal comatose and unconsciousness, redolent of her mother whom J reported as ‘emotionally dead, untouchable and unreachable’. In referring to such deadness in The Dead Mother Complex, Andre Green skilfully describes this paralysing dynamic: “an image which has been constituted in the child’s mind following maternal depression, brutally transforming a living object, which was a source of vitality for the child, into a distant figure, toneless, practically inanimate, deeply impregnating the cathexes of certain patients…and weighing on the destiny of their object-libidinal and narcissistic future..[The] dead mother … is a mother which remains alive but who is, so to speak, psychically dead in the eyes of the young child in her care” (Green A, 1986 P142)