From the ListenTruly.com BlogAn Alternative Mental Health Model Inspired by Carl Jung
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Thursday, July 13, 2023
by Mubeena, Founder at ListenTruly.com
Mental health is a global epidemic. What we have is simply not enough to address the crisis. But, what if we turn the traditional model on its head and look at mental angst as an opportunity? The model I use at Listen Truly takes inspiration from the work of Carl Jung, who saw mental health challenges as a calling from the soul to renew itself.
With a broken health system in most parts of the world, mental health faces the same fate. Economic reasons notwithstanding, access to mental health care and rising costs erect further barriers for people to receive the mindset support they need. But what about the mainstream mental health model that’s been the bedrock of the psychiatry and psychotherapy industries? I believe the fundamental model of mental health is the most significant conversation that needs to occur for mental health success to be realized.
My perspective on an alternative mental health model is the paradigm I use in my professional listening services and largely based on the work of Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung.
Here are the core tenets of my alternate mental health model based on Jungian psychology.
You are not one mind. You are part of a collective.
In traditional models, the mind is an indicator that you are a separate entity from the rest of the world. Nothing can be further from my experience. I have brought people back from the brink by helping them realize that they are not separate from a collective human experience. Human trauma is our collective history and it reveals itself through individualized mental and life events.
Whatever is showing up in individual circumstances is a mere reflection of what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. This perspective relieves the pressure of identifying a so-called problem as unique or originating from a mind that is not working right. Whatever you go through is a human experience that someone has been through before and we’re all part of a collective intelligence that evolves from individual circumstances.
Mental health is a Collective Responsibility
The illusion of separation melts away when one looks at a paradigm of responsibility that includes us all. Traditional mental health models fail by isolating people who are facing trouble in life and in their minds.
The act of isolation leads to prominent stigmas that have prevented people from seeking help and support. Ever heard of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child?” Let’s not forget it takes us all to support full grown adults through their mental health journeys.
We have to revisit the narrative and language around mental health issues from individual problems to a humanity-based paradigm. Practically, what does this mean? Mental health awareness has come a long way, but we still send people off to get fixed and let them know that they are not valuable unless they fall in line.
More people need to be trained philosophically on existentialism, epistemology, and spiritual systems of the world, not just medically. We need to see human beings for more than their productivity value and keep pushing for answers on the question of “what does being human mean?”
There is purpose to neurosis.
This is probably my most controversial stance. As a spiritualist who views the mind as part of a giant collective that evolves to higher states of consciousness, I believe that what we term neurosis has a function. When faced with a mental health challenge, it is essentially a call to adapt one’s self.
Carl Jung viewed mental health issues as an opportunity for the soul to unpack and put itself together for renewal and growth.
Traditional mental health models criticize this principle because it is believed that mental health issues are abnormal and a sign of defect that needs correction and elimination. The traditional model thus succumbs itself into what Jung would describe as a societal archetype of the perfectly functional person (when no such thing is possible nor is it desirable).
In my practice, clients are led to find meaning in every experience by exploring what cultural and social norms affect their feelings about the situation. Carl Jung called these socio-cultural norms archetypes and human beings regularly draw from them unconsciously.
Treatment is About Helping a Client Find Meaning in Experience.
This is the core idea of my practice in professional listening. Carl Jung believed that what most people need is a compassionate, empathic listener whose motivation is to contribute to the fabric of what he called Unus Mundus. A unifying force behind one world.
There is no separate you and me. We are representations of differing vantage points and each experience occurs to teach and build awareness. A therapist or listener engages with a client in a way that accepts every experience as valid truth, not a problem to be discarded.
Jung focused on unmasking what he called the persona, a public image of the self that is portrayed to conform to societal expectations thereby leaving behind the authentic self (think about how social media images and profiles are presented). He thought that mental angst can result from over-identifying with one or many personas at the cost of the path to realizing one’s full potential.
When clients come to the realization that they are not just a parent, spouse, employee or any other role they might play, they often will uncover a deeper purpose and not be affected by circumstances that occur day in and day out. In my practice, when it is warranted I ask them (with their permission) over a few weeks to contemplate who they are if a certain title were to be taken away.
Coming to terms with this truth is a healing experience and empowers the client to separate from ego. Their issue is then viewed from who they are and how it is pushing them to become who they want to be, a concept Jung called Individuation. Thus, the act of becoming is a central tenet in helping clients address their mental health.
In effect, the listener-client relationship here at Listen Truly is defined by one goal. To forge identity and to discover self-worth through the act of existing and the process of becoming.
The Role of a Jungian Therapist is to Share in the Client’s Truth.
As a Jungian psychologist, I believe that the only way forward with a client is to create a space to work out what it all means. They come up with their own answers from past experiences, desires for the future and a shift in perspective about their situation.
Carl Jung offered his psychology for the whole of life, not for pinpointing disorders or illnesses. This is another departure from the traditional model, which for decades has focused on targeting problems that may show up chronically even after treatment.
The treatment, for lack of a better word, meted out by a professional listener like myself is to work with the client to formulate an archetypical framework they can refer to throughout life and assign meaning to each experience.
Even though this approach might not apply to mood or thought disorders, Jung would insist that medicating people with psychotropics dims the ability of people to question and ponder their human experience.
Jung famously said “a mystic swims in the same waters the psychotic person drowns in.”
This article obviously touches the surface of Carl Jung’s work that has gained resurgence of late and has seeped into my professional listening practice.
Mainstream psychology has considered the work of Carl Jung delusionary, but the question I ask is how are we really doing? We are on the path to a mental illness epidemic more than ever and conventional models are failing in the midst of this crisis of our species.
The time is overdue for the need to bridge mysticism, esoteric studies, mythical stories that form our collective human experience to what we experience individually. My humble mission is to be of service towards this endeavor.
Summary of Article
The Big Ideas
01. we are collective
Carl Jung coined the term collective unconscious to refer to every trauma, desire and experience throughout human history. We are thus never alone.
02. purpose in neurosis
When faced with a mental health crisis, Jung believed it is a call to the soul. An invitation to unpack and renew the self for the act of becoming who you really are.
03. finding meaning
Treating mental health challenges involves unmasking personas and assigning meaning to experiences by drawing parallels with Jung’s socio-cultural archetypes.
The work of Carl Jung has regained prominence in academic circles because science and spirituality are finally building bridges towards each other. As mental health crises are reaching epidemic proportions, there is resurgent openness to exploring Jung’s psychology where the soul’s journey is the center of treatment modalities. Instead of viewing life events and mental states as problems to be eliminated, the alternative mental health model at Listen Truly employs a perspective of purpose in these challenges. The goal of a Jungian therapist and a professional listener is to help the client understand that they are part of a collective intelligence that has been passed down through the ages. An individual’s mental experience, life event, trauma or desire is a timeless reflection of this collective consciousness. Once a client comes to this realization, they are empowered to find meaning as solidarity and hope arise as cures.
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Mubeena is the Founder of Listen Truly, helping adults get the clarity and relief they deserve without psychotherapy. She started working as a professional listener out of her need for spiritual growth and her desire to practice non-judgment. If you would like to learn more, sign up for a free orientation session.