A Historic and Unique Collaboration of Jungian Psychology on Aruba

By Juni Odor

ORANJESTAD – Dr. Michael Conforti, director of the Assisi Institute – ‘The International Center for the study of Archetypal Patterns’ in Connecticut -, will soon be in Aruba for what is looking to be a unique and historic encounter regarding the development of psychology on the island. Dr. Conforti is also a very well-known lecturer in Switzerland which is the home of renowned psychologist Carl Jung. Jungian Psychology is based on the work of Dr. Jung, which emphasizes the importance of the individual psyche and the personal quest for wholeness.

In the Netherlands for example – where we base our local medical system on in Aruba – they are more inclined towards Freudian psychology in comparison with Jungian. The Jungian psychology deals more with the sub-conscious and esoteric spirituality, and Freudian is more based on the chemical and medicinal part of healing.

Indigenous roots
“This is very important to know because our national health insurance (AZV) is dealing with the Freudian therapy which is more medical/chemical based. They do not acknowledge the other side and it is coincidental that they are bringing in Dutch psychologists. However, this other side of psychology is luckily also reaching Aruba”, says local psychologist Dimitri Halley. By creating this alliance with Dr.
Conforti’s institute, Aruba can start aspiring to become the center for this type of psychology and mental care in the region. Halley is the only psychologist on the island who has a center that deals with this type of psychology. “This type of work will help strengthen our connection on the island with our Afro- Caribbean indigenous roots”, he says.

Symbolic event for Aruba
Halley says that the visit of Dr. Conforti is a very special event for the island. At the moment, according to him, we are living in two timelines as humans: one is focused on escapism through drugs and entertainment, and the other is a more spiritual nature where people are trying to find out who they are and what they came here for, a higher connection with nature and yourself. “This is symbolic for Aruba because it’s basically an acknowledgement as well of the work I’ve been doing on the island for all of these years. This is now going to give us an alternative to move closer to this area of healing for the,island.”

Trauma
Jungian Psychology, as previously mentioned, deals with the sub-conscious and here is where all of your traumas are deeply hidden. “I have various patients that come to me, telling me it’s hard for them to remember the core of their trauma. This for example is only possible to deal with through what is known as Dream Work. The results that for example a more surface level of psychology offers can be very mundane, according to Halley, because they do not tap into the hardware or core of the problem. Carl Jung was a psychologist who travelled all over the world and studied the indigenous cultures knowing that they had some type of strong connection with the ‘mind of God.’ Halley’s research shows that we are still very much indigenous on Aruba, so this is a path that we must continue to walk that will surely connect much faster with the community according to the psychologist.

Alternative mental care
“When you ask an Aruban how he is doing, he will answer you ‘rustig’ or ‘trankilo/suave’ which means
cool, good/chill. In Europe they interpret that as laziness but this comes from our indigenous culture
which is known always to be in a calm state no matter what is happening around us”, says Halley. Aruba should be looking more into this alternative mental care and there should be some sort of timeline where the person can choose whether to get this type of treatment, or continue with medicines if required or desired. Halley: “We have been colonized and mentally programmed to think that things are better in the West. This is also why the development of the cycle of consciousness is very crucial to study and understand.”

Spirituality

Halley continues to say: “If you watch the movie Black Panther, they are talking about this particular
place in Africa that is outside of time and space, a type of Garden of Life. This is what we are coming
back into, this type of connection with ourselves, we are going back to the beginning.” According to
Halley, the Caribbean is actually the one that has to start showing Europe and the rest of the West the
path to walk, and not the other way around. The problem is, we have to understand who we are and that we have this connection that Europe seeks. Without this type of connection with yourself, you start seeing for example suicide rates going up, which you can see taking place in these bigger countries according to the psychologist.

“What we call spirituality is a form of ‘high’ that a person needs to feel good and be happy. Every patient that comes to me is because of this, because they know we can talk on this level. I have patients that come to me talking about spirits and demons, which all of it is spiritual.” The psychologist concludes that the Aruban is still indeed much connected to his ancient indigenous
ways, and Jungian psychology is an example of a type of treatment that can assist in helping the
community understand more about themselves.

Mr. Conforti will be on the island for a special event discussing these topics together with local
psychologist Dimitri Halley. The event will be on Wednesday March 28 at Faro Blanco from 7-9 pm.
Those interested can call at +(297) 583-0114 to register.