The Power of Analytical Psychology Approach -- an Honest Discussion
When it comes to problems that have the power to disrupt your life, it’s not the size that matters. They all are “equipped” with what it takes to… ahem… screw with you (parallel intended): rock your mind and throw you out of equilibrium. It can be a simple, insignificant hullabaloo at your child’s school over chewing gum or a comparably trivial issue. Or it can be something that legitimately feels like the end of your world, the way you know it: a tumult in a life-long relationship – or career. The end result, though, is often of the same nature: your day is upside down, you cannot think, and whatever you were planning to do is not happening.
Yes, stress has many faces: from “too many things on the to-do list” to shaking, sweating and biting your lips because you are not handling what you have to deal with right now (whatever it may be). It’s all stress.
Momma said there were gonna be days like that… She just didn’t say there were going to be SO MANY!!
If a disruption like this is a matter of a day or two, most of us bounce back and keep on going – no problem. But when days turn into months… then we are talking that “chronic thing”. Whether it’s a constant feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed, or the fact that a day does not go by without something happening that throws you off track: anything that lasts for a prolonged period of time or repeats on a constant regular basis is considered chronic. And "chronic" means there is a problem. Then there is something wrong – and the discussion of how big or small the underlying issue may be is irrelevant.
It doesn’t matter if your “chronic problem" is defined simply as that you’re constantly falling behind in your daily tasks – it would still be considered a “chronic” problem. (“Chronic” is anything that persists and is disruptive.) Or, you may feel that the level of stress you have been dealt by your current circumstances (with no provocation from your side) is beyond what you can handle – this is still a “chromic problem", even though you had nothing to do with its onset, and may have little control over what is going on. And if you feel that there are things legitimately wrong with you from the standpoint of emotional health (stress, anxiety, mind fog, and so on) then I am sure that someone from the mainstream has already told you that “it’s a chronic problem”.
If you sense a bit of sarcasm here, you’re correct.
Up to this point, all we had to help us deal with stress (and its aftermath) is mainstream “stress management approaches”.
Not trying to say that they do not work: they would not be around if they didn’t. But they do not work for everybody – and that’s the point. And when what you have been doing so far does not provide you the answers you need, what do you do? Look elsewhere! More and more of us are discovering that holistic approaches have resolved many health conditions that mainstream doctors have deemed incurable – or non-existing (they simply could not find “anything wrong with you”, even after all the tests – despite very bothersome symptoms… which persist, parenthetically).
There are two main reasons why mainstream approaches do not work for everybody
- Addressing the symptoms as opposed to the underlying problem.
This is a classic distinction, which has been widely discussed in relation to physical health already in many sources. But let me recap it briefly, to make sure we are on the same page here.
So, let’s take blood pressure as an example. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 80/120. If your blood pressure measures over 140, you will be diagnosed with elevated blood pressure and most likely recommended medication.
But what if it is 138? Below the threshold. Alright. But what if all your life YOUR blood pressure has been running around 70/110 (which is fairly typical for many body types, by the way) – but in the last few months it’s been measuring around 138? Wouldn’t this be a sign that YOUR blood pressure is elevated, in your individual case?
However, the mainstream approach does not address the individual: they address the symptom. Thus, in this case, your blood pressure will be considered “normal” – until it hits 140. And when it does, the doctor will prescribe you medication, and you’re going to stay on it for the rest of your life. The symptom will be resolved: your blood pressure, with the help of the medication will be below 140. But did this really solve the problem?
The Holistic approach will say NO. A holistic practitioner will approach this same blood pressure issue differently. If YOUR numbers have been running around 110 all your life, and now they are suddenly 130+, a holistic practitioner will be asking why, and wondering what is going on. Is your diet causing your blood to be thicker than normal? Is your lifestyle (and the level of stress you’re under LOL) causing your heart to pump harder? What age related changes are happening in your body and can these changes be prevented or slowed down? Thus, the holistic approach will address the cause, and not the symptom – and hopefully take care of the problem BEFORE your blood pressure hits the mark and medication is needed.
And so: mainstream approaches address the “what”, and the holistic approaches address the “why”.
So: when it comes to the issues of stress, mind fog, feelings of being overwhelmed, indecision, feeling disorganized, not knowing the right path to take and other issues of emotional health – here is Mainstream:
YOU: I have been feeling very stressed lately. I am to the point where I am about to throw my hands up, and I am very down.
- In the last two weeks, have you experienced loss of interest in your usual daily hobbies?
- In the last two weeks, have you felt like crying at least once a day?
- In the last two weeks, have you felt hopeless?
- In the last two weeks, have you felt useless?
… and 4-5 more questions of that nature.
If you answer “yes” to enough of them, then this means that you’re chronically depressed – and you’re recommended medication. And you’re likely to have to stay on that medication for the rest of your life. But did this really solve your problem?
HERE IS HOW THIS COMPLAINT WOULD BE ADDRESSED BY A HOLISTIC COACH, trained in Analytical Psychology:
YOU: I have been feeling very stressed lately. I am to the point where I am about to throw my hands up, and I am very down.
- Why do you think you’ve been feeling down?
YOU: Things are so uncertain right now. I just worry about how everything is going to pan out
- Why do you feel that your situation is uncertain?
YOU: I guess I am worried I may lose my job
- Why would losing your job be a devastating event for you? (For example, do you feel you have a very unique set of skills and would not be able to find work elsewhere, or in a financial strain already, and so on?)
YOU: Good question. I just work at a warehouse – it’s a pretty generic job. And we do have some savings. I guess I worry if I would be able to find another job, that’s all.
- Why do you not have any confidence in your ability to find another job? (For example, have you had past experiences when you have lost a job and had a really hard time finding one – or similar?)
YOU: No, I have lost many jobs in my life, and I always found one almost right away. My father used to say that there is always work for a good worker. And I consider myself a good worker. Wait -- am I getting stressed because I do not really trust my skills and my ability to adapt?
As you can see, in the situation described above, the last thing this person needs is a pill to help them calm down and relax. What they need (besides the guidance on how to get to the root of the problem) is a few good tools to help them apply their abilities outside of their present dependency on the employer – and a few leads as to where they can try to do so. In this case taking action is what is going to resolve the depression – not tranquilizing your mind.
On the flip side, if you DID NOT answer yes to enough of the mainstream questions – then you’re not depressed. You do not need medication. Go home and get a life. (Or keep struggling with the question of “how”.)
I agree that there are sever cases out there when medication is necessary: without this intervention the person is likely to take their life. But do you see how the other two categories of people fall through the cracks and get no help from the mainstream approach – this is what I mean when I say that it isn’t for everyone.
- The second main reason why mainstream approaches often fail: treating the problem and not the person.
Remember how I snickered when I said that they probably already told you that you have a problem if you admit to wondering if there is something wrong with you? Because this is the essence of the mainstream approach: they need a diagnosis, or they cannot offer any cure. They need a PROBLEM: depression, anxiety… elevated blood pressure, etc. When they have a problem, then have a protocol of how to deal with it (prescribe THIS medication at THIS threshold, do an ultrasound if you see 4 out these 7 symptoms, etc.). When they don’t have a problem, then don’t have a protocol, and they do not know what to do. So, what happens when your blood pressure is 138? Nothing. Even if you’ve been having headaches and no energy – that’s your problem at that point. (Mainstream calls such problems “sub-clinical”: in other words, not good enough to qualify for treatment). However, if it’s 141 – then it’s a one-size-fits-all protocol.
The same is true in the area of emotional health as well. What happens if you feel you can’t think as clearly as you used to? Nothing – your problem. What if you’re struggling with pin-pointing the right direction in life? Definitely your problem. Bad relationship? Yours to deal with… until it comes to a physical fight: then it’s domestic violence, and we’ve got a PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE A PROTOCOL FOR! Score: now you have to do anger management classes!
“Anger management” has become a by-word. A label. There is even a movie with that name. But I like this example because it portrays what “problem” means in mainstream language: it means there is something wrong with YOU, and we are going to fix you up to fit our definition of normal. Hard to describe all the connotations: but just think of yourself as someone who was suddenly told they need anger management classes, and you will get a picture of what I mean right in front of your mental eye.
Needless to say, that this keeps many of us – not to say, most – from admitting even to our own selves that there are areas in our lives that can stand being addressed. (I am speaking of those tiny problems that attack as like piranhas, which I mentioned in the beginning of this article here – we hate to call them problems no matter how much they disrupt our lives. This is why. But although they are definitely “sub-clinical”, to steal the mainstream term, they still… ahem… can screw with your well-being royally).
But let’s take this example of anger management to illustrate how holistic psychology would approach it differently.
First of all, of course, no label, no getting stuck in the system, no institutionalized restrictions, etc. But let’s say it’s one of those sub-clinical issues, that did not transform into domestic violence… yet. Maybe never will, actually. How would analytical psychology deal with me if I turn to them and admit: I tend to get ROYALLY PISSED almost every day – does this mean I have anger issues?
This brings us right to the case in point: the holistic approach does not treat the problem – it treats the person. There is no “protocol” that would define how many times and how badly you would need to get pissed in order to “qualify” for having an issue.
Look: anger is an auto-immune response to pain. What are you reacting to when you suddenly get angry? A painful memory? An unhealthy environment? A scar from childhood mistreatment? A flashback from a bad past experience or emotional trauma from a high-school relationship? Or are you projecting out one of your own unresolved issues?
The answer is going to be different is every individual case, as you may have guessed already. But the bottom line and the main distinction here is this: you do not HAVE a problem – it’s rather that you HAVE BEEN CAUGHT UP IN a problem. You do not need to manage your anger – in fact, you can’t. You have no power to control or stop anger any more than you’re able to stop a wound from bleeding using your will-power: both are physiological responses that happen outside of our conscious effort. Thus, mainstream “anger management” is actually “self-management under anger”: they give you a few tips on how to act (or, rather, not to act) when you’re caught up in the emotion of anger. Although this is very helpful in many situations, this (again) does not solve the problem: people who are not at risk of killing someone simply fall through the cracks and are left to feel their anger and its effects all by their lonesome.
But I have wondered off the subject here: YOU do not need to manage ANGER. Anger is a symptom. Just as the previous example, what you need to do is understand its cause and address the issue at the root: heal the pain, eliminate the triggers, establish protection from damaging elements, and so on.
Would learning how to bite your tongue when someone speaks to you condescendingly help solve your problem if your anger stems from childhood trauma of being constantly shamed by your parents? I think it’s only going to make it worse by pushing it further into the depth of shame, into subconsciousness where it can sit and fester – until it builds enough pressure and erupts in a very nasty outburst. But if your dad – who, let’s say, is the culprit in this situation – was in the same mainstream anger management class, the suggestion to watch what comes out of his mouth, and consider that it can be potentially damaging, may be some pretty darn good advice. (Not to mention that brain chemistry of the anger that stems from the pain of trauma and the anger that is a result of projection is totally different – so even if the mainstream medicine did come up with a pill for it, it would only work 50% of the times).
Why am I talking about this?
Because I am a Holistic Life Coach.
Until now, there was only one option when it came to life’s problems: wait until they get bad enough (to “qualify” for mainstream), then get medication and counseling that works for the statistical majority, but may not work for you.
Now – FINALLY – I am able to invite you to a Holistic Analytical Psychology program.
- Now you are going to be able to address what bothers you BEFORE it gets bad enough to become a problem that is potentially beyond repair
- Now, you are going to be able to resolve challenging issues of stress, mind fog and lack of productivity without labeling yourself as a misfit
- Now, you are going to be able to apply a SYSTEMATIC approach to YOUR specific situation: not a fruit salad of tips and tricks that have worked for someone else at some point of their life.
- Now, you are going to be able to address YOUR specific questions in the context of YOUR specific situation
IF MAINSTREAM SOLUTIONS DID NOT WORK FOR YOU BEFORE, here is a radically different approach.
(And, parenthetically, if you were skeptical about trying Life Coaching before because you had an inward hunch that it was not going to work for you… well, you may have been on to something. Here, we will get to the bottom of the issue, and will not consider it resolved until it actually is – for YOU. Analytical psychology does not judge, blame the recipient, or seek out flaws in you or your behavior. It looks at the whole picture, at what you may be up against, and helps you discover the real you –and uncover your true potential. THIS TIME, it is going to work.)
When a flower does not bloom, you do not blame the flower. You move it to better light, give it some water and some plant food, kill the bugs that have been sucking its strength, and let in some fresh air. You NURTURE it. This is the EXACT SAME APPROACH that Holistic Psychology takes when it comes to a human trying to thrive. Or even survive – whatever your situation may be. The goal is to BLOOM: regardless of where you are starting from, almost completely withered or just drooping a little.
READY TO DEAL WITH STRESS IN A WAY THAT WILL WORK -- AND ACTUALLY FIX THE ISSUE, ONCE AND FOR ALL?
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(Psychological tests to determine the root of the issues: from serious (such as depression) to seemingly trivial (for example, being always late) -- and everything in between
- Action items: the tools to help you overcome the current issues and achieve success:
- - Guided discussion of the issues to help you determine the problem and talk it out
- - Mind worksheets: a tool that you will use to work through the existing problems and get to their root
- - Self-talk guides: "honest conversations with your subconscious mind" to talk it through towards a functional solution
- - Psychological tests to determine the "why's" in what's happening with you and your environment
- - Mind exercises to work through the issues and resolve them
- - Other tools to help put and keep your mind and body in balance (health in general)
- Herbal supplements, if needed (recommended separately)
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Defining your goals, finding the right calling, becoming more productive, managing time to accomplish a lot more, etc.
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Figuring out your life's direction and making sense out of it
Defining your true calling
Dealing with stress
Dealing with emotional trauma (both recent and childhood, both minor and major, both known and overlooked)
Solving problems stemming from bad relationships or difficult parents
Overcoming anxiety, depression and frustration with life
Solving problems in relationships
Building favorable relationships and attracting the right people into your life
Overcoming abuse without breaking the relationship (if this is what you want to do)
Saving your marriage or relationship
Preventing verbal abuse in any relationship
Dealing with infidelity and affair -- stopping it and keeping the partner all to yourself (if this is your choice)
Becoming a person "the best of them" are attracted to
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