This is a report I have written for the course I am currently on. As the format I write them in is very similar to how I blog I thought it’d be cool to have them on here as well!
Throughout the world cultures, energies have more often than not been separated into two groups. Be it in Buddhism with its simple division by left and right, the Shiva/Shatki separation of yoga, the yin and yang of far Eastern, or the western division of masculine and feminine introduced by Jung, the different pairs of energies do tend to correspond to each other throughout places and time.
Jung was the first one to primarily work with such energies in the west and he was the one to introduce masculine and feminine as archetypes and representation of parts of people. He saw the Anima as the female part of a man and the Animus as the male part of any woman. These concepts were strongly built on the society he lived in, an outdated society where men and women were not treated as equal, and where they were forced into specific gender roles that forced certain traits upon them. In today’s society gender roles and expectations are slowly being pushed out and the concepts of masculine and feminine as presented by Jung might not make as much sense as they used to. In a world where transgender, gender fluid, and agender people are slowly being more and more accepted the dichotomy is between man and woman is slowly being broken down. It is becoming more and more acceptable for women to predominantly show strong ‘masculine’ traits and similarly (although perhaps not quite yet as prevalently) men are feeling more free to show their ‘feminine’ side. Jung’s choice of words can be seen as very restrictive and may make some people feel uncomfortable or make it hard for them to understand the need for balance in between the two energies.
So both on the course and in this report, the words yin and yang from far Eastern culture shall be used to refer to feminine and masculine.
Now what is important is that, no matter what words are chosen for each set of energies, what truly matters is balancing the two. To be a happy, healthy human being, we need to be able to balance both sets of energies for an excess of either can turn otherwise positive energies into something destructive, both to ourselves and those around us. For example, where a balanced yang might grant someone a strong, determined attitude underlined by the thoughtful reflection of their yin, an overly dominant yang will see the person being reckless and maybe even domineering to those around them. On the converse a dominant, unbalanced yin might make a nurturing, sensitive person become illogical and manipulative.
Many issues people suffer from can be put down to the presence of an imbalance in their energies. We can spot these imbalances by working through strength and frailties, looking into the client’s relationships with those around them, as well as looking at the interactions they have with others and their environment. Working with dreams might also be an illuminating path into the balance of energies in someone’s life. Journalling may help people realise their own imbalances, or at least bring to light areas that need work and where the therapist would be able to see the struggle of energies.
Imbalances in energies can be carried over from childhood or created by the present situation the person is in and it is important to work out where the imbalance originates before it can be worked on. A man with an over dominant yang may have carried this since childhood and being told on countless occasions that ‘boys don’t do this’ or ‘boys don’t cry’ (similarly this can be the case for a woman with over dominant yin). They would have pushed away any signs of their yin to fit in the mould that they were told they had to fit in. Other imbalances can be caused by the current situation of the person (although there is always a chance that the imbalance existed in childhood and is only coming to the surface in the present). Someone who has always seemed ‘strong’ in their dealings with events might become outwardly ‘unemotional’ if they are forced to keep up the pretence of strength by those around them even when things are starting to get too much for them. Another example could be that of a woman who has been treated unfairly by the men in her life and who would become manipulative as a rebellion against the overbearing yang that she has been faced with (it is also more than likely that in those cases she would ignore/diminish her own yang sides).
Our goal as therapist is to enable our clients to achieve a state of balance in between their energies as well as give them a capacity to recognise imbalance so that they may prevent it from taking over their lives again.