The archetype of containment

Alchemical Garden

Containers are an archetypal structure. They feature an inside, an outside, and something between the two. Material can be held within the container, and some containers are designed to be transformative for that substance (the womb, the stomach, the alchemical flask, the therapy relationship).

Leaky containers are useless. This is why we focus so much in therapy on boundaries, the boundaries are the ‘walls’ of the container, it is how the container is made.  We focus on sealing the container so that the work can proceed

IMG_6765But what about oppressive containers? A prison is a container, quite an effective one, but it only becomes a transformative space when the inmate, the prisoner, says ‘yes’ to it, and allows the limitations to teach something. This is an interesting observation – and it certainly appertains to therapy. Consent to be in the container is vital to the process of it becoming a transformative…

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