An Archetypal Experience of the Numinous

Carl Jung, the father of Depth Psychology, says that people are looking for an “archetypal experience” of the “numinous.” He says that his clients had no value in themselves so their complexes and shadow aspects led them to seek in other wholeness and to behave in ways that harm self and other. In my clinical work I have worked with clients who experienced trauma and had no sense of self, no sense of value, they were living in fear and were possessed by their complexes and shadow aspects. These aspects were unconscious and through our work they were brought into consciousness.

In my practice I utilize a combination of depth psychology, internal family systems theory, reiki, EMDR, somatic approaches, mindfulness, and shamanic journeying/healing techniques. Through the inner journeys my clients take, they experience on a visceral level (somatically as well as consciously) the numinous. I have found that these experiences are transitional moments in therapy.

Almost every client I have worked with has had a numinous experience and afterwards has shared a realization that they are whole, they are valuable, they are loved, that all beings are valuable, lovable and whole, that all beings and nature are interconnected, that fear and hate has lead them to behavior choices that harm the self and other, they have felt through the numinous that compassion for self and other leads to an inner peace, calm and healing, and lastly that joyful living comes when these connections are made and one shifts from a self-centered way of living to living in a way that values all of creation, seeing our inter-connectedness.

Jung seemed to be suggesting that experiencing the numinous is a part of the individuation process and can lead to a higher level of consciousness. I certainly have seen these results in my practice. My clients begin to make the connection between their emotions, somatic experiences, thoughts, and behavior choices and their early childhood experiences and family of origin history. Through the numinous they bring compassion to the past and find forgiveness for the wrongs done to them and that they have done to others. They begin to shift how they engage with others and are less reactive, they have more agency and are able to choose how they respond to difficult situations because they have awareness of their complexes and shadow aspects and are integrating them. They begin to express beliefs that when they harm or oppress another, they are actually harming and oppressing aspects of themselves. They then become more tolerant of others and are no longer threatened by differences but become curious about differences. They engage in relationships in more meaningful and intimate ways than they had previously.

As a clinician I find all of this interesting and curious. I wonder how different our world would be if everyone had these types of experiences and transitioned to engaging in the world from compassion instead of from fear or hate? In indigenous communities every member of the community is valued, cared for and supported to become their best self. What would our society be like if we did the same, regardless of class, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious belief system, etc? Could we not become whole individually as well as collectively? Could we not all thrive and find peace?

In my practice I approach the work in an Indigenous way. I am curious about my clients and value their unique experiences and perspectives. I strive to assist them in connecting to their innate sense of self so they can plant the seed of compassion in their hearts. I assist them in becoming their best selves. If this way of working seems interesting to you, please contact me to schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation at allison@blossomingheartcounseling.com or 503-880-7190