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Managing Times of Change and Transition Amidst the Chaos of Everyday Life

by Simona de Serdici(more info)

listed in holistic psychotherapy, originally published in issue 207 - June 2013

Have you ever thought of journal-writing as a powerful and effective way for managing times of chaos, stress and decision-making? Taking time out to express your thoughts, feelings, dreams and life concerns on paper can be highly therapeutic. It can even have a transformative effect on your outlook on life and help you manage changes in your life more positively and more creatively, as well helping you access your creative unlived resources and ultimately to propel you out into life with added vitality to live out projects which have meaning to your life, or just enhance the meaning of your life and find a more creative attitude to cope with change and crisis of everyday life.

Managing Times

We live in a time when many of us seem to have to experience a number of challenging changes to our life. These changes can sometimes have the effect of pulling the carpet from under out feet, and our life is in chaos. Life does not seem to be as predictable anymore for many. I am referring to clients who come to see me therapeutically, either at my Writing Towards Wholeness workshops, or in my private Transpersonal/Jungian psychotherapeutic practice, where I offer them a non-judgmental space to take stock of our life by introverting creatively to reconnect to our inner life and  reposition ourselves in relation to present  difficulties, and explore where the inner life flow has gone stuck and offer ways such as Writing towards Wholeness with the Life Integration Workbook, a means to reconnect to the inner movement of their life so that it can unfold forwards with fresh vitality  towards a new period of meaning and creativity in our lives.

One of the most transformative experiences in my own life was attending an Intensive Journal Workshop led by Dr Ira Progoff[1] back in the 70s, at a time when my own life was in chaos on many levels. My life changed quite dramatically as a result of a period of intense study and personal therapy with Dr Progoff. I was able to make creative changes to my life which led to a new fulfilling period of growth and development in my life; I have used this way of journal writing since then as part of my own inner growth journey, especially at each life-transition. In 1979, I adapted the Progoff technique to a more European friendly approach and have taught Writing Towards Wholeness Life integration Courses in Adult Education and Psychotherapeutic Training Institutes in the UK and abroad. Many people have benefited from the use of this form of Journal writing to write toward wholeness, in the midst of times of divorce, life threatening illness, death of a child or a partner, redundancy, relationship problems, depression, grief, as well through times of joy and new beginnings, also how to learn to contain and celebrate feelings of wellness, accomplishment and wholeness, realizing that life can blossom again after seeming times of despair and aridity and low vitality.

The Writing Towards Wholeness method is a dynamically structured way of using writing for moving through times difficult life transitions. It is more than what would be normally called journal or diary writing, because of what happens in our psyche as a result of feeding in our life-history, feelings, thoughts, dreams, hopes and visions into the Life Integration Workbook, which is the dynamically structured A5, or A4 ringbinder divided into 20 loose leaf sections that cover different time dimension of a person’s life and aspects of personality such as: Inner dialogues with relationships, wisdom people, events, our body, our environment, dreams unitive experiences, crossroads, symbolic extensions and others.

By recording feelings, thoughts, life-experienced in the various parts of the Life Integration Workbook, and by using specific writing devices, taught at the Writing Towards Wholeness workshops, a creative movement takes place within the person where previously they may have felt blocked, a new flow of life energy is released through the discovery of new insight, a new attitude to an old ways of seeing a problem.

The sections in the Life Integration workbook are more like channels for different psychological energies in the psyche. So, although some workshop participants wonder when they arrive at workshops: “Will my psyche be classified”? Or “Oh, This is a great idea... maybe I’ll finally be able to ‘organize’ my writing”. The purpose behind the loose leaf sections is to act as door openers, so that an inner dialogue can start to happen between all these separate parts of your life, your personality, and in this way an interlinking between these parts of ourselves can come about so that they can interrelate which facilitates transformation and new structures of thinking and feeling to form in the psyche, thus getting us unstuck from spaces where our life was not flowing anymore.

Jung wrote much about the Individuation Process and the Archetype of the Self, which is the Archetype of Wholeness.[2] The dynamic structure of the Life Integration Workbook is created in such a way as to carry the dynamics of the inner growth process towards wholeness  and to encourage experiences with the Self, which is the more than personal or transpersonal nucleus of the psyche, the Soul, and the inner guiding factor of the psyche unfolding towards wholeness, and through bridging conscious and unconscious contents in our workbook through  working with dreams, symbolic images and the transpersonal dimensions of our life experiences in the “Meaning dimension” sections of the Life Integration workbook.

From seed to flower, our emotional and spiritual inner development is cyclic, like the seasons, or like the acorn growing into the oak tree.  Each of us is born with a number of seed-potentials or human givens, which have the capacity to unfold at different times of our life. Those times when we get stuck, or when life seems to present us with crisis and chaos, I am confident are times when a period of our life is coming to an end, and when a new seed is germinating in the dark winter soil of our life, needing time, space and nurturing to unfold in a spiral way up into the new light of consciousness bringing us new life energy, new attitudes, new insights, and new creativity to move forward into a new room of our life for the new seed-potential to fulfil itself in our life.

Jenny, a 46 year old mother came to a Writing Towards Wholeness Workshop some years ago. Her children had all left the nest. Her husband left her for another woman. She was depressed, her self-confidence was low. She had never earned her own money, and this was a time when she was faced with the prospect of having to find work to support herself. She felt that she had no inner capacities and that her life was meaningless. Through the work she was able to do with her life at the workshops and in her workbook, and in one to one consultations with me, she started to reconnect herself to times in her life in her late teens when she discovered, through working in one particular section of the workbook, in this instance: The Crossroads section, that one road  she left behind in her teens at the time when she met her husband and got pregnant with her first child, which led her to devote herself completely to her family life, was her studies in arts and crafts. She also had a recurring theme in her dreams at the time, of symbols that did lend themselves to be expressed in colour and form and sculptural form.  She recorded the dreams in the dream section of the Workbook. She also kept a record of doodles and small drawings and gave shape to the inner images her psyche was giving to her. She started to make small sculptures of her inner images.  She was filled with a new enthusiasm for life and her depression lifted. She joined a BTEC course in Art and design, where she specialized in ceramics and jewellery. A year later, she was still attending occasional workshops, and seeing me from time to time one to one, but she had got herself unstuck from that dark place of despair. She joined a local art-group, made new friends, and even sold some of her ceramics and jewellery at local Art Markets. She had a new lease of life. A new seed was blossoming inside her. She had started to move into a new room of her life with a sense of renewal and meaning.

Writing Towards Wholeness with the use of the Life Integration Workbook enhances self-awareness, self-value and self-reliance as well as to reconnect to the richness and creative potential of inner life.

The group process at the Writing Towards Wholeness workshops are designed to respect each person’s privacy. This way of working with your psyche is meditative and self-reflective. It is a method that you use at a workshop, on a one to one basis with a trained journal consultant and in your own time by yourself. Cumulatively over time you have a tool for life.

The psychological approach of human growth behind the Writing Towards Wholeness method is drawn from the Holistic Depth Psychology of Dr Ira Progoff, pioneer of psychological Journal writing techniques, and from the Depth Psychology of CG Jung whose  non diagnostic attitude to human growth is one of the backbones to Writing Towards Wholeness in that we all have an inbuilt self-balancing instinct in our psyche propelling us towards wholeness, like water finding its own level or like the acorn’s potential for becoming the oak tree. This is essentially a practical tool with tangible writing devices to nurture our inner growth in an authentic and self-reliant way.

References

1.         Ira Progoff. At a journal workshop. Writing to access the power of the unconscious and evoke creative ability. A Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Book. Published by G.Putnam’s Sons 1992.

2.         Jolanda Jacobi. The Psychology of C.G.Jung.Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. By Yale University Press. English Edition 1973.

Further Information

Writing Towards Wholeness with the Life Integration Workbook as the dynamic tool for inner growth can be learned by attending a series of weekend workshops facilitated by Simona de Serdici. For further information on upcoming workshops in 2013, details for fees and venues please contact Simona by simonadeserdici@blueyonder.co.uk   www.simonadeserdici.com

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About Simona de Serdici

Simona de Serdici BA (Hons) UKCP reg ADV Dip CTP  is a UKCP registered Transpersonal Psychotherapist with a background in Holistic Depth Psychology (Dr. Ira Progoff) Transpersonal Psychology (Ian Gordon-Brown and Barbara Somers) Jungian Depth Psychology ( Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists) She has facilitated journal workshops for self-discovery since 1979 in UK and abroad. She has worked for the NHS and a charity specializing in addiction for 10 years and has been working as a Transpersonal counsellor and psychotherapist for 28 years. She currently holds a private practice in Brentford, Middlesex and teaches Writing Towards Wholeness Workshops from different venues in UK and abroad, such as at the CG. Jung Club in London and at the Haven Breast Cancer Support Centre in London. Simona may be contacted on Tel: 0208 560 0663;  simonadeserdici@blueyonder.co.uk   www.simonadeserdici.com

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