The Transformative Image
Many fathomless transformations of personality, like sudden conversions and other far-reaching changes of mind, originate in the attractive power of a collective image.
-- C. G. Jung
"Listen to me," she said leaning forward. "I want to change. This is not the person I want to be. This is not the person I AM!" She spoke in a voice filled with passion and energy, the words bitten off in a clipped and clearly enunciated accent.
"Can a person enter a second time into her mother's womb and be born?" I asked. "How can I possibly help you? You are looking for a miracle."
This conversation never took place in reality, but it has occurred in my private thoughts many times during psychotherapy sessions. I can see the urgent desire in the eyes, the need, the driving force behind the wish for transformation, and it is awesome. People want to change. How can they do it?
On August 5, 1989, the New York Times carried an obituary of William Larimar Mellon, Jr. It caught my attention. Two half-columns of print were juxtaposed with a picture that showed Mellon dressed casually in an open-necked shirt, his hair a bit disheveled, squinting through thick glasses, smiling slightly. A good-looking man, he appeared to be in his sixties when the picture was taken. The article