The orchid blossoms in Jungian Analyst Ted Fillery’s office seem serenely indifferent to the room’s occupants. “They have air-roots,” Ted tells me, “they get their moisture from the air rather than from soil. I have to work hard in the Winter to keep the humidity high enough in here for them.” He must have succeeded, because this plant has rewarded him with an explosion of pink blossoms.
It is just as important to be as attentive to my clients,” Ted explains. “Most of them come to me because they are stuck; they want to move on, yet they find it hard to acknowledge the ways that they unwittingly undermine their own progress. It is a subtle process of providing an environment that is safe and inspires trust. A place where a person does not feel judged and can reveal her or his inmost secrets. Yet it must be an environment where clients can face up to their own truths rather than run away from them.”
Many of our reactions to situations and events are over-reactions coloured by unconscious complexes; mother complexes, father complexes, inferiority complexes, money complexes. We have often developed these complexes as survival mechanisms for earlier times, but they tend to outlive their usefulness and can stop us from developing our potential in our work, our relationships and our lives. Ted uses dreams to help his clients realize their potential. Freud and Jung understood that dreams are the “Royal road to the unconscious.” Dreams occur in the micro-seconds before we become conscious; before our conscious minds wake up enough to suppress the truths of the unconscious.
“ Often a client will sit here and tell me about his week. He will give me his conscious sense of the week’s events; his perceptions of his triumphs and defeats. Then I will ask what he has been dreaming. As we work together, we get to know the symbols that are meaningful in a client’s dreams. And from the unconscious material in their dreams I hear quite a different commentary on those same triumphs and defeats. Many times the clue to unlocking a client’s potential is in that difference between the conscious and the unconscious interpretations of the person’s life-events.”
Originally trained as a scientist, Ted felt more fulfilled by the counselling he did for many years at Sick Kids and other Toronto hospitals. Then Ted took off for Z?rich, Switzerland to train for four years at the C.G. Jung Institute, the birth place of Jung’s Analytical Psychology. Ted opened his practice at Spadina and St. Clair in 1996, but moved to Queen’s Quay West in 2001. “It was Yoyo Ma’s music garden that sold me on the area.” He tells me. “ I grew up on the east coast of England aÃ I think I have the sea in my blood. The combination of music, flower gardens and water were irresistable.”
Ted explains that visitors often make fun of the “wet-land” at the foot of Spadina Ave, yet it really is a spawning ground aÃ especially for Northern Pike. “I watch the seasons pass in the harbour,” Ted explains, “I can show you the favoured spots that Northern Pike sit in, waiting for unwary prey. I watch late in the Fall as the Pin Tail ducks migrate in. Then in the Spring the cormorants reclaim their feeding grounds. I go across to the lagoons of the Toronto Islands early in the summer and watch Great Blue heron fishing to feed young in nearby nests. Night Heron move into the harbourfront late in the summer evenings after the party-boats have emptied.”
“ The harbour’s natural cycles keep me grounded,” says Ted, “We can get overwhelmed by the ups and downs of our daily lives. Nature’s cycles work on much longer time-lines. There is a wisdom in the unconscious that works on these same time-lines. My orchids have rewarded me this Summer for my attention to details of humidity last Winter. So too with my clients; careful attention to the unconscious detail of dreams pays off a hundredfold in realized potential!”