Heat

Yesterday Portland heated up once again nearly to the 100 degree mark. We were in an “excessive heat warning” until 10pm.

There’s a form of heat that happens sometimes in therapy. Things heat up. It can even feel a bit uncomfortable at first, until the client discovers that he or she survives and even feels liberated and energized from going through the heat.

During a heating process, clients may feel emotions that warm, such as anger, desire, or sadness. Learning to move through such feelings can create a greater sense of aliveness, and more resiliency for facing challenges.

Considering that so many clients who seek therapy are suffering from feelings of deadness in some way, learning to face and claim more warmth can create a shift towards aliveness, and a re-entering into the flow of life. Whatever was stuck, whatever was feeling dead, in need of change,  de-pressed, can begin to transform.

The psychologist CG Jung found many images from the ancient tradition of alchemy that expressed psychological processes such as heating up, cooking, and distilling. These images became a lens through which Jung could see and experience the work of psychological transformation.

Image of alchemical heating apparatus:

Alchemical apparatus for heating process

The processes I am talking about generally take some time, commitment, and attention in therapy. The heat comes and goes, as it does right here with the outside weather. Today it’s been 10 degrees cooler, and tomorrow maybe a few cooler still.

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