We can achieve deep healing in individual sessions or within a group. How do they compare? Here are four distinctions from our experience with both. 

  1. In an individual therapy session there is often a lot of transference and countertransference. In the past, before managed care, many therapists spent years analyzing the transference. In other words, he/she was using the client’s projections and dream symbols to be able to see the shadow parts of the client. Here are two problems with that approach:

    • The first is that just talking about this deeper unconscious material does bring it to awareness, but does not resolve it. These shadow parts and complexes reside in the depths of the unconscious mind. Hypnotherapy is a major tool that we prefer that takes the client into those depths in a way that is self-directed and involves little intervention on the part of the therapist. Countertransference is significantly bypassed.
    • Often the therapist is doing as much projecting as the client is. In other words, many therapists are not doing their own personal transformational work, which means not working through their own shadow parts.

  2. What a therapist knows about a client is mostly what he/she experiences in the office: a very unnatural and limited environment. No wonder Freudian and Jungian analysis took twenty years, with the client attending sessions multiple times per week! The only interactions the therapist observes are the ones he/she has personally with the client. In Jungian terms, in the office the client presents their persona or their out front personality. So, the therapist knows only one side of the story, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships. What the client reports is brought in by the superficial persona or by a shadow part’s one-sided report.
  3. We at the Wellness Institute do all of our trainings in a group retreat setting, with several Heart-Centered trainers and assistants. In that way, the therapists can see the full interactions of the client, something you seldom see in an individual office. Many of the autonomous complexes become activated in interactions between clients outside of class, at mealtimes and especially in the evenings.
  4. Containment of group energy and creation of safety within the group require explicit clear boundaries (groundrules) which are openly discussed and for which each individual is accountable. This is essential in order to do deep transformational work.

    • There must be profound safety established from the very beginning
    • No sexual advances or behaviors between students and trainers, nor between participants.
    • We have developed the Heart-Centered clearing process, which is essential to maintain the safety in this work. Safety is established because any member can call for a clearing with any other member of the group, including teachers, that they get triggered Getting triggered or having an intense reaction to another’s words or actions, indicate that there is a shadow part hidden underneath the surface. There is no shame about this but rather it is treated as a clue and roadmap to what’s usually hidden.
    • It is common that when one individual becomes triggered by another, that other person also may have a reaction.
    • The clearing process is always facilitated by a trainer and witnessed by the group.
    • Built into the clearing process is a mini age regression and the conclusions and decisions the person has made are identified, because these conclusions and decisions we all draw about ourselves at very young ages contain the seeds from which the shadows have grown.
    • Our subconscious conclusions and decisions are the roadmap, the essence of being able to see our own shadow parts that are projected onto others.
    • The group provides safety and structure so that teachers and group members can be honest in front of the whole group
    • The clearing process provides a structured means whereby individuals can witness their own projected shadow parts, age regress back to where these shadows originated, and then claim them back into themselves.
    • By making new informed conclusions and decisions, all the participants are on the road to personal clarity.
    • It takes time, bonding and trust for participants to finally feel safe enough to reveal their previously hidden shadow parts of themselves to the group.
    • Our purpose in transpersonal work is to create a clear picture of all the hidden shadow parts that have become autonomous and that have been undermining our relationships.
    • Through the many clearings and sessions that a person does, this transformational work will systematically reveal the autonomous complexes that have been operational and previously hidden within them.
    • The depth of this Jungian work cannot be accomplished, in our opinion, unless it is done by trained therapists, in the safety of a group retreat setting.

The next level of this Jungian transpersonal work is done in many different forms such as Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, the Heart-Centered clearing process, transformational psychodrama, and transformational breathwork. We will be discussing these in coming blogs.