Dr. David Trappler

Psychiatrist & Jungian Analyst

What is refreshing about Carl Jung’s notions of the psyche, is that we all have "complexes." Nobody is fully “sorted out”.  It is a fallacy that only “dysfunctional” people need to consult a professional.

Psychology graduates, some of whom may have spent hundreds of hours in personal analysis, as part of their training, at best merely have a "road map" into the vastness of the interior processes and contents of their psyche.

But, since the inner and outer landscape is forever changing, they may or may not adapt to the changing vicissitudes of life, despite their explorations into their inner world, and their complexes may continue to hijack them when they least suspect it.

In fact, if the professional hasn’t examined his or her own complexes at all, through being in psychotherapy with a more senior therapist themselves, they can do more harm to a patient than the healing they had hoped to achieve.

Our complexes lie just beneath the threshold of consciousness, and affect us all very profoundly. They cause huge emotional reactions when activated, and determine our world views.

For example, if you were emotionally neglected, or rejected by a parent or partner, you are likely to revisit feelings of rejection, even when they are not present. Certainly, you will over-react to any situation that hints of possible rejection, feeling it in the most benign of situations.

Complexes may also be responsible for biases you may be carrying and even more malignant attitudes like prejudices regarding gender matters, politics or racism.

You will have "normative," opinions generalising your ideas about diverse realities in a most undifferentiated way, based on early learning experiences and a lack of exposure to diversity in the world. These attitudes are usually past on to you by unfiltered prejudices from others that were dominant in your life, but also traumas one has experienced, that become imprinted in your psyche. And of course, when such “absolute truths” are challenged, emotional reactions and even violence can ensue.

So, one needs to get in touch with these untransformed psychic deposits or complexes, that block you from fulfilling your full human potential and that keep you in a less mature state of functioning in the world, especially in social, personal or occupational relationships.

More Notes of Interest
Alcohol Abuse
What one tries to achieve with patients who drink too much, is to encourage them to have a more conscious relationship with alcohol. I have great respect for the 12-step programme, but one needs to refrain from a “one size fits all” approach when dealing with the complex issue of people’s relationship with alcohol.
Bipolar Mood Disorders
We all have moods that affect our functioning to some extent. When fluctuating moods or changes in psychic energy become a regular part of our lives to the extent that they interfere with our quality of life, or impair our social or occupational functioning, it may then be that we are on the spectrum of a “bipolar mood disorder.”