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Jungian Theory, today.

Painter Dominic Chambers on How Jungian Theory Shaped His Art, and the Transformational Role of Therapy in His Own Life.

"You have to go back and uncover what has happened to you," the artist said.

Ewan, R (2010)

How might I apply Jungian theory to Northern Ireland today?

If complexes are wholly or partly conscious or somewhere in the unconscious between the personal and collective, then how might that apply to a Northern Ireland context?

If our inherited past contains archetypes that form how we are predisposed to see the world in certain ways based on centuries of ancestral history (See Jung, 1938/1970a, p. 11; 1919/1971c, p. 52; 1917/1972d, pp. 65–66; 1921/1976, p. 376.) and Northern Ireland has just seen its first century what might that mean?

The ‘ego’ in Jungian theory refers to identity and conscious ideas including feelings of identity that develop around four years of age. This could indicate that parent/s/care giver/s hold an influential role in shaping a child’s cultural identity. Teleology is behaviour shaped by the past but has intensions forward looking into the future. How can we respect the past whilst thinking about a future in Northern Ireland?

Ewan, R (2010)

As an art psychotherapist and a counsellor, I am drawn towards a pluralistic way of thinking and being. Pluralism as a political philosophy can be thought of as a recognition and affirmation of diversity that allows the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions, and lifestyles.

Pluralism as a society can be thought of as multiple people, groups or entities sharing political power and Northern Irelands power sharing agreement could fall into this category. How can people with different cultural backgrounds who wish to maintain their own traditions do so inclusively without a feeling of erosion of past traditions? How do people whose cultural traditions were not at the forefront have their traditions included and celebrated inclusively?

Pluralism in therapy is the belief that any question may have a variety of different viable but conflicting responses (Rescur 1993, P79). So, there is no right or wrong way to do things, it is a respect of opinions, modalities etc. Different approaches are useful for different people at different times, and it celebrates diversity by being collaborative. A pluralistic way of being looks at people as whole beings and draws on their strengths as well as weakness, this has a potential to link to resilience in a Northern Ireland context.

‘A man is only half understood when we know how everything in him came into being.... Life does not have only a yesterday, nor is it explained by reducing today to yesterday. Life has also a tomorrow, and today is understood only when we can add to our knowledge of what was yesterday the beginnings of tomorrow. (Jung, 1917/1972d, p. 46. See also Jung, 1921/1976, p. 431.)’

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