Why not just visit a psychotherapist when you have no problems? When you go to a psychotherapist when there is no problem, you have the space to explore and reflect on your life. The intention would be solely for optimizing your life. It’s like talking to a dietician about how to modify your diet when you don’t have cholesterol or diabetes.
People often seek therapy when they feel powerless in face of difficulties, in order to regain a sense of control. Therapy, however, is also a process of moving towards deep self-awareness. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes how a person who is restrained in a dark cave for his entire life would feel when unchained and let out in the light of the sun for the first time. The counselling process, therefore, is not just as a ‘road to recovery’ but also a ‘path to self-realisation’.
At times, we feel stuck in an endless, predictable cycle of feelings, behaviour patterns and situations. It seems as if we are continuously struggling, but still going farther away from what we truly want. In this article, our team of psychologists give their inputs on how it is likely that we might be struggling with a conflict that is more internal, than external – involving a wish, a fear and a defense.
The Sage is a seeker of truth, and this archetype operates from a fundamental principle that ‘the truth will set you free’. It is associated with attributes of self-reflection and understanding that enlightens our path to individuation. It implies asking questions to self in order to reach to the answers one seeks in life.
As we go about our day to day lives, doing mundane chores, it is difficult to think of ourselves as heroes. However, the archetype of hero lies within each of us, showing itself in many ways, that we might not easily recognize. There must have been several points in your life where you felt that you persisted even when it was hard to do so, times when you felt like giving up and moments when you felt very alone – each of those instances were a reflection of this hero.
The lover archetype represents our ideas of genuine companionship and of seeking this connection. It symbolizes our want of having someone to do things with, share moments with and someone who would truly understand us. This connection can be found in a diverse palette of relationships such as romance, friendship, team mates and colleagues.
We have all observed a seventy year old behaving like a child, throwing tantrums or hiding from their caretakers; we have experienced the occasional urge to engage in impulsive shopping and our tendency to sulk and to expect others to console us; these are all the expressions of the child archetype in us. Through this article, we wish to encourage you to reflect upon the ways in which the child in you finds its expression.
The shadow is that aspect of our personality or psyche that is hidden from our own selves. It lies in our unconscious mind, safely beyond our awareness. The shadow contains our weaknesses, undesired traits, repressed ideas and desires which we find difficult to accept as part of us. It is like our dark side – therefore the name, Shadow. It is often unexpressed and rejected but surely it is always there, just as other archetypes are.
The persona refers to the social mask you wear in public. It is the part of your conscious self that you present to the outside world; it is the image you wish to present to others. The persona includes your social roles, and it can be seen as a kind of ‘psychological clothing’ that you wear. However, identifying too strongly with a specific persona can limit your growth in many ways.
This year, we have been feeling a bit mystical and so we are going to be talking about “Discovering Archetypes”! We thought it would be fun if we could take you a bit deeper into the recesses of the human psyche and explore its mystery. We hope that this sneak-peek into the remote, unexplored parts of your mind will help you discover how these sides present themselves in the world around us and most importantly, within ourselves.