Here’s Part 1 of a piece of flash fiction about a Jungian analyst, a desperate young man, and digging too deep into the unconscious. This first part is about 375 words and has an estimated reading time of 1.5 minutes. Let me know what you think!
I have always been fascinated by dreams.
It’s one of the main reasons I became a psychologist. I studied the giants of psychology throughout my university years, and I felt particularly drawn to Carl Jung and Jungian analysts. Freud was much too pessimistic for me. And as for newer forms of psychology like cognitive behavioral therapy and the like, I never felt like they went deep enough. So, I was always searching to go deeper into the heart of the matter and the unconscious realm.
I’m now an old, bitter man, though. And part of the reason I’m so bitter is because of something that happened in my therapy practice. It was an instance where I went too deep with a patient. Deep enough to cause harm.
Peter was a complex young man. He was only thirteen years old when his mother was murdered in front of him. The trauma from the tragedy was enough to send his life into an endless tailspin.
After the incident, his father was a broken man, and he slowly killed himself with alcohol. By the time Peter was twenty years old, both his parents were gone. He did have some extended family nearby, but he decided to set out independently. He left his hometown in South Carolina and came here to New York City.
That’s when I met Peter. He was desperately poor, working several gig jobs to support himself, so I worked with him on a sliding scale. I immediately felt a connection with him, which is dangerous in psychotherapeutic practice.
He had a heart of gold, but there was terrible darkness in him that he couldn’t come to grips with. I encouraged him to read widely and study the art of psychology to heal himself.
“But what does this mean?” he’d often ask me.
It would usually be about something reckless he did. He’d spend his rent money on drugs and prostitutes. Or he’d pick a fight with someone on the street. He always felt terrible afterward, and quite a few times, he was on the verge of homelessness. I didn’t know what to tell him, really. It was simply that he lived with many demons, and he couldn’t face them; they were too frightening.
To Be Continued