In my work I am frequently, unintentionally asked to carry the projection of a client’s inner healer, which they have lost touch with, a part of themselves which is already whole, despite the confusion they may be experiencing. It is a calling, at times, to bear witness to the struggle of friends or clients or even strangers when the world around them seems to have gone a bit mad. It takes practice to accept and tend to this projection without becoming identified with it. More than anything it requires that I be in touch with my own darkness and unconscious content which will inevitably be a part of the relational field. In every relationship projections come and gp . . . but unfortunately, it's not easy to be aware of how shadows can become engaged . . . or how the fantasy that the shadow has been transcended can be problematic. Professionally, my goal is to return a client’s projection back to them according to a timeline that is not premature while also not holding on too long to representing for them what they cannot see in themselves. Navigating this territory is more art than science and often requires some messy experimentation. I have to deepen my experience of my heart, to cultivate compassion to allow this projection when needed (and to cut through it when it is no longer serving) and to provide a relational container that can help my client or friend relocate the qualities of their own inner healer within themselves. Rather than shaming them for this very ordinary activity, the intention is to validate the genuine longing to reunite with qualities of hope, wisdom, mercy, and wholeness with which they may (temporarily) have lost contact within themselves. There is a negative connotation associated with projection, of course, that we are all familiar with, but we are all doing it all the time; such is the nature of the psyche. It’s so human, really. Without projection, it is difficult to work with the contents of the shadow. By definition, what is in the shadow remains obscured. Perhaps the goal is not to never project, but to bring more and more consciousness to the ways we dislocate our subjective psychic states onto others, into the relational field, and into the collective.
As consciousness expands over time and we become more aware, we can withdraw the projection, own both the positive and negative shadow so that we do not place the burden of its metabolization on another. Through doing so we can bring some relief to this world which seems to need it so badly.