Debut author and psychologist, James Shelly, draws on lessons from Carl Jung in his new picture book

May 2nd, 2021

By James Shelly

Alora’s Dreams tells the story of a young girl who dreams fantastic dreams and learns valuable life lessons from them. She starts to experience a recurring nightmare about a dark and sinister monster, and in learning to face this beast, so learns to face her own shadow.

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who was a pioneer in the fields of psychiatry and psychology. Among the concepts he conceived of and developed, were those of archetypes, the collective unconscious, introversion and extraversion, and the shadow.

The shadow is the unknown, dark side of our personality. It’s that part of ourselves (and yes, it exists in everyone) that we are too ashamed or too terrified to acknowledge. And, in order to individuate and develop a consistent sense of self, one needs to delve into this dark part of our unconscious, to face and process it, and thus to integrate it into our conscious awareness and our personality.

In Alora’s Dreams, Alora finds it futile to try to fight or flee the terrifying Tiamat, and has to learn radical acceptance rather than resistance. In simple terms, it is an allegory that teaches children and adults alike that anxiety is a normal, natural, healthy emotion, but an emotion that begets itself, and that by learning to acknowledge and observe anxiety, to accept rather than try to fight it, we can learn to tolerate it.  

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Tags: author, mental health, psychology

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