Naturism as Therapy – Daring to Look into the Shadows

Daring to look into the dark spaces to uncover the truth of who we are.

All valid therapy models require us to look deep within ourselves to figure out just what exactly makes us tick, to explain why we do what we do in spite of our best intentions. A few models simply see the whole operation as simply an exercise of behavioral reprogramming through negative and positive reinforcement stimuli. A few assume that our ego’s “will” is enough to have us change our belief systems. It is rare that we have and use models of therapy which includes the personal and the collective unconscious, the world of “shadow.”

Depth psychology, whether one uses the Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, Archetypal or a blend of any and all modes that has us include connections with shadow through dream work, sand play, active imagination and association tasks. Depth psychology (I use a predominantly Jungian model) asks us to enter into our inner world, almost an alter universe, that is populated with powerful energies – archetypes – and begin a heroic journey of “self” discovery.

To include naturism in this model somehow seems to make a lot of sense to me, for the journey of self-discovery must include the external self, the ego self, as well as the hero of the inner journey. Hiding ourselves (inferiority complexes, negative body concepts, etc.) behind clothing sets us at a disadvantage. It is as though we make a deliberate attempt to disable ourselves through denial of our body, our sexual body. We have a magical belief that if we hide the sexual self from our own eyes and the eyes of others, we become more saintly thus more worthy of being healed. Of course that is “ego” talking and ego is not all that well informed or reliable for it is ego that has us arrive crippled at the therapist’s door begging to be healed.


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