How did you become interested in this line of work? (tell us a little bit about your background)
I got interested in writing about motherhood very early on in my career as a therapist. I had just begun training to become a Jungian analyst shortly before my second child was born. I had loved being a mom to my first child, but I found caring for a toddler and a newborn difficult, lonely and exhausting. One December day, I had put the kids in the double stroller hoping to take a walk around the block simply to get us out of the house, but it was bitterly cold. I remember thinking that everything about mothering was really hard. And then another thought came to me–yes, and I’m learning so much about myself as a result. I was really struck by the idea that the challenges of motherhood could be a catalyst for growth.
Carl Jung talks about individuation–the life-long process of growing into wholeness. What if motherhood offered an opportunity for individuation? When the kids napped later that day, I scoured the internet looking for books on this topic–and couldn’t find any. I knew then that I wanted to start thinking about this and I hoped to write about it someday.
Please share a wellness tip or word of advice that relates to the workshop you will be presenting.
It’s precisely because motherhood is so difficult that it can be an invitation to know ourselves better. If you find yourself struggling with an aspect of parenting, invite yourself to get curious about what is happening for you. Set aside self-judgment and notice what is coming up. See if you can befriend it.
What or who inspires you? (This could be anything from your mentor to your favorite quote)
I’m so grateful to author and Jungian analyst Linda Leonard. Reading her books inspired me to become an analyst, and when it came time for me to write, I took inspiration from her again. She is able to explain complicated, profound ideas in a way that makes them accessible but in no way reduces or oversimplifies them. I hope I managed to do the same!
What personal or professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of having parented my kids in a very active and involved way while still engaging in my own personal and professional growth. When I first had kids, I was worried that I might have to sacrifice either being the kind of parent I wanted to be, or realizing my professional and creative aspirations. I definitely had a lot of luck, but I was also very determined, and in the end, I felt I was able to invest generously in both of these priorities that were so important to me.
Lisa Marchiano, LCSW, is a clinical social worker, certified Jungian analyst and a nationally certified psychoanalyst. She co-hosts This Jungian Life, a podcast devoted to exploring current topics through the lens of depth psychology. She lives in Philadelphia.
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