Jung believed in the Psychodynamic approach to the person. This approach, originally devised by Freud, believed we formed an ego as part of our normal development in childhood. It held that problems in adulthood stemmed from faulty completion of each developmental stage in childhood. Today, it is known that a child’s brain forms and makes connections, but not all people believe in the psychodynamic perspective. There is an understanding that things that happen in childhood can influence the way a child’s brain forms. However, not all problems faced in adulthood are the result of childhood problems.
Looking at Jung’s statement from today’s perspective it can be seen to mean the following:
A child grows in relationship to at least one significant adult, the primary care giver. The child learns about the safety of the world and how to relate to others from that primary care giver. If the primary care giver is loving and supportive, and is reliably there for the child, the child learns that the world is a safe, secure place and is able to form healthy trusting relationships. If the primary care giver does not provide love and security and is unreliable in supporting the child, the child learns that the world is not a safe place and that people cannot be trusted and will not be able to be trusted. The security of that bond to the primary care giver influences how the child’s brain develops. Trauma suffered in childhood that is not adequately processed through a loving, supportive relationship with a primary care giver will influence the child’s brain development.
Children form neural connections in their brains, up to the age of 25. The brain may have healthy connections, or it may not.
Once in adulthood, there is a need to live life and learn how to navigate the adult world. For those with trauma in their pasts, there is a need to rewire the brain away from those unhelpful neural connections and learn new, more helpful connections.
So what Jung’s quote is really saying is that we spend our childhood and early adulthood years forming neural connections in our brains. These dictate our behaviour and our relationships with others. We then spend the rest of our lives healing the areas where the neural connections did not form properly.
One of the biggest causes of unhelpful neural connections is trauma in childhood. It is possible to heal those connections. It is also important to know that the memories of those events are stored in the body and they will continue to impact adult functioning until they are released. Working with trauma involves releasing those memories from the part of the body in which they have been stored and allowing new neural connections to form in the brain. There are many ways to release those memories. Talking is useful, but not on its own. It is important to reconnect to your body and learn to understand what you feel inside your body. There may be physical movements needed to release trauma. Just observe film of an animal being chased by lions. If the animal gets away you will notice it shake itself. This is how it releases trauma from the body. A person who has been through a scary event will often shake afterwards. Stopping the shaking prevents the person from releasing the trauma from their body.
Another way I find useful for people is to use Reiki. The simple act of gentle touch on parts of the body allows body memories to be released.
Clients who come to me to process trauma can use a number of methods to express that trauma. They can learn to tune into their bodies, they can use sand tray, they can use art, they can use movement or I can give them a Reiki treatment. All methods work well for different people. Please feel free to make an appointment to see me to discuss different methods of treatment that may suit you.