Ulysses’ scars – cont ….

Ulysses’ wounds and scars also refer to a facing of destructiveness and death, with his wounded consciousness being less threatened by ‘decomposition fantasies of decaying parts (ageing, cancer … psychosis) because it is itself built upon specifically localized wounds and has emerged from the decay into parts’ (ibid: 118).

Disintegration anxiety appears similar to the existential death anxiety which if accepted and faced it is no longer paralyzing, with the therapist recognizing and accepting his/her wounds and mortality, and relating to a client on an authentic basis rather than attempting or expecting wholeness or perfection by being a therapist.

Such great expectations, paired with denial and fear, appear frequent depressive expressions (Rowe, 1983). On the other hand, non-depression means an open and fluid interplay of one’s self-shadow and creation-destruction, from a Jungian viewpoint; the experience of being as authentically oneself as possible in relation to the world with its freedom and its limitations, from an existential perspective; or the successful ego-management of psychical conflict, wishes and drives form an analytical viewpoint.

Jung advocates that a therapist who embraces his woundedness need not be unwounded or wounded and locked into opposites. Ulysses was characterized by Homer (1994) as polytropos, meaning in Greek the one of many turns and ways, one who is open and fluid and hence alive and creative. Within such a context there is no need for conflicts between senex and puer.