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February 20, 2018

Out Of The Shadows...Exposing The Trickster

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Carl Jung addressed the dark side of human experience. The dark side is defined as those aspects of thinking and feeling that at the moment are beyond our conscious level. One aspect of the dark side that counselors can have clients get in touch with are positive parts of self that either are forgotten or have never been exposed. When these aspects of self are revealed the individual literally becomes enlightened. On the other hand, a more day to day aspect lurking in the shadows is the dark side of self called the "Trickster".
The trickster is often that component of self that either keeps good behaviors from happening or potentiates negative behaviors or thoughts. The trickster is most usually tied up with negative family accents or in worse case scenarios family curses. Often times this elusive component of self that does a kind of guerrilla warfare on the soul seems resistant to change. But in reality the trickster is like Dracula in the horror films. When the trickster is exposed to light he/she becomes powerless.

Tricksters need not be confronted they need to be carefronted. Clients can be taught to ask themselves, is what I am doing or not doing a function of healthy, positive aspects of myself or is what I am doing or not doing a function of the trickster. It is like splashing a bit of water on the wicked witch of the west.
See if exposing the inappropriate fashions of the trickster might help clients in their out of counseling experiences. Personally I have found it extremely helpful in my work. A homework assignment might be to ask the client at the next session to report back ways in which the trickster was exposed. The very nature of asking the question in this way potentiates the kind of growth that we hope for as our clients move in more positive directions in both their thinking and behaving.