Though I am not a strict Jungian, by any means, I am a huge fan. Indeed, I am as quick to see where Carl Jung was right as I am to see where Sigmund Freud was wrong-- which is to say, really really quick. One of the things Jung was really really right about was the multi-functionality of the Mind. He said there were 4 ways of Knowing: Intuition, Sensate, Thinking, and Feeling.
In fact, from this perspective, therapy can be described as a process of heightening and balancing each of these functions. Learning to strengthen the Intuition is one of my favorite past times.
A simple exercise goes like this: go with your first thought, see what happens....
Our over functioning brains are often highly neurotic. Tapping into your intuition via your first thought lessens the neurotic brain.
People come in to therapy to find answers. The answers come from within themselves, of course, not from what I tell them. I just provide a little extra information, so they can make an informed decision based on their experience and a light education about themselves. From the research we know that experience and education are key in making good decisions. Someone once asked me how I felt about the fact that people didn't do what I told them. I said that I was more concerned that people don't do what they tell themselves!
An example goes like this: A man was learning to date again after a bad breakup. In his pain, he was picking partners who treated him the way he was feeling inside-- which is to say, like total shit. A new contender appeared on the horizon, so we discussed the signs, see what he could see. This new option looked very different from the old pattern, on the outside. However, in their brief interactions, some red flags were thrown. Not knowing what to do about the red flags, he continued to invest with this new love interest. Then some more red flags came out. Then some more. Each session we'd go over the facts, the feelings, the fears, and get a read on the overall picture. There was red everywhere. But! Intellect and Feeling can lead you awry, so we also cross checked it with his gut, because the gut only knows truth. And the gut said "no." So now his Intellect, his Intuition, and his Feeling functions all said "no." But he still needed to know for sure. So, he played it out. It went badly. We laughed about it in the end. No shame, just little by little we're hoping to increase his trust in his Self.
Here's another example: A woman was thinking of applying for a job. The salary was not sufficient to meet her needs, the position was not at her level, and the work life/real life ratio was waaaaay off-- traveling 3 hours to and from work each day, etc. Not only did the job not pay enough, she'd be actually losing money on the cost of gas. All signs read "no". Still, she fantasized about how good it could be if only x, y, and z could be tolerated or changed. In short, she was willing to tolerate the intolerable and try to change the unchangable, but not willing to listen to her own guts. How did we get so off track and come to distrust our own Intuition?
It's a question for another blog. Intuition has long been considered inferior to Logic and Reason. Don't know why it got a bad rap, but it's not true. Go with your gut! Learn to trust your guts again. Think how much needless suffering you (wouldn't) miss out on!
Stay tuned for next blog on Proper Usage of all things therapy-ee.