Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Down to the Basement

In the past there were a variety of interesting places operating from what were essentially cellars in Baggot Street. These were small artisan-type enterprises and some were photography related - an E6 transparency processing lab for example. Another was orthopaedic furniture shop run by a counselling colleague I knew. In Merrion Square, the old Black and White processing laboratories catered for my European photo exhibition which I am pleased to say got a showing in Turin as well as Dublin. But with so many new offices available in the city, these basements now look a little sorry for themselves. Well, we call these basements but in reality they are cellars - and although I regard my small artisan workshops as nests where I would spend some time, we remain somewhat afraid of cellars. Jung describes the man who, on hearing a noise in the cellar, hurried to the attic to check things out. Finding nothing, he blamed his imagination - but in reality he was afraid to go down to the attic. There are, of course, noises in the attic but they seldom as mysterious as those in the cellar. In psychotherapy, the cellar or basement is in the realm of the unconscious. Jung said that it remains in darkness day or night. In the cellar we can always take a torch but the unconscious can't be civilised by such a device. There are always shadows. Raising awareness of the shadows is one of the key tasks for Jungian psychotherapists.