Psychology and Spirituality in Young People

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Psychology and Spirituality in Young People

A presentation by Dr Toula Gordillo

Thursday, April 8, 2021 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: St Mary’s Anglican Church Hall
455 Main St. Kangaroo Point, QLD 4169
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Australians aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing, these figures continue to rise. The solution? Jung would propose a return to ancient wisdom. That is, the use of ancestral knowledge traditions that highlight the importance of connections to Self, Spirit and Nature. How can this be achieved? In therapy, mythos can be used to reframe logos—mythological stories and creative imagery can help young people to make meaning from their suffering like Sisyphus, or learn the importance of balance like Icarus. Archetypal symbols can also help youth feel connected to something greater than themselves, and their immediate problem or issue.

Spirituality means different things to different people. For Jung, it is about religious and non-religious experiences that help an individual connect with their spiritual selves through quiet reflection: time in nature, private prayer, yoga, mindfulness and meditation, music, dance or art. Jung was against dogma in all its forms. Yet he understood that spirituality is essential for individuation. In young people’s increasingly fast-paced, mediated and technologically advanced world, it is vital.

This seminar is about the practical application of Jungian psychology and psychotherapy to improve the lives of young people. In particular, how Dr Gordillo uses Story Image Therapy (SIT for short) in daily practice to facilitate young people’s spiritual, emotional and psychological growth. Emerging research shows that spiritually integrated approaches to treatment can be effective. Moreover, there are scientifically-supported reasons to be sensitive to spiritual practice in clinical work and counselling. Unlike other life dimensions, spirituality has a unique focus on the sacred—themes of transcendence, individuation, meaningmaking and connectedness. Any psychology that overlooks these, according to Toula, remains incomplete. Asking young people about their spiritual views can open the door to deeper conversations. And it is through this dialogue with the personal and collective unconscious that young people can transcend their suffering, like the phoenix rising from ash, to attain their highest potential.

Two images that best represent the topic:

Dr Toula Gordillo is a practicing Clinical psychologist and Jungian psychotherapist in busy medical centres on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. She is also a former school teacher, guidance officer intensive behaviour support and acting head of student services in some of Queensland’s largest state high schools. As an international guest speaker, Toula has engaged school staff, students and parents in learning the importance of ancient stories and images for health and wellness at Wakatipu State College, New Zealand and Cambridge College, India. Dr Gordillo is a published author of numerous academic and non-academic journals, magazines and books including: Youth Voice Journal, Viewpoint, The Artifice, Immanence – Journal of Applied Myth, Story and Folklore and Cambridge Scholars Publishing. She has been a guest speaker for the Sunshine Coast’s Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) and has presented at seminars and conferences including: the Narrative, Health and Wellbeing Research Conference presented by Central Queensland University, Children’s Media Symposium hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast and the International Mental Health Conference presented by the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association.

Toula is a member of the CG Jung Society of Queensland, the International Depth Psychology Alliance, the Australian Society of Authors, The Queensland Writer’s Centre and the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN).

Dr Gordillo is the author and creator of Story Image Therapy (SIT)®, Talk to Teens and The Mythic Toolbox.