According to C. G. Jung, patients who come to us for healing often have…
….a story that is not told, and which as a rule no one knows of. To my mind, therapy only really begins after the investigation of that wholly personal story. It is the patient’s secret, the rock against which he is shattered. If I know his secret story, I have a key to the treatment…but how to gain that knowledge? In most cases exploration of the conscious material is insufficient. Sometimes [projective techniques] can open the way, so can the interpretation of dreams, or long and patient human contact with the individual (Jung, 1963:117).
Another avenue through which we can “open the way” to our untold stories is through film. Not only do contemporary films give a vivid portrait of the shattering caused by trauma, but they also point the way towards healing, and in this way, set the stage for enhanced personal and clinical understanding. We might even say that films are themselves part of the solution to the problem of trauma in our time, aiding in the creation of moving and meaningful stories out of the shattering experiences that otherwise leave us fragmented and lost.
Friday Evening Film and Discussion: As It Is In Heaven, a Swedish film by Kay Pollak, 2005.
Early developmental trauma always involves an injury to the capacity to feel. And when this happens, the window to life closes. Overwhelmingly painful feelings that were part of the trauma are dissociated and become part of the untold story that must finally be opened and the original pain re-experienced. As It Is In Heaven is a moving film about the traumatic closing—and then re-opening–of the protagonists (Daniel’s) capacity to feel. Through his conscious suffering, a window to life re-opens. We will see the film together and discuss its implications for the understanding and healing of trauma.