The Allegories of Autumn: The First Day of the Fall Season has Arrived 

Though the weather may still be quite warm in Southern California, the calendar has alerted us that the first day of the Fall season is here. Quite literally this means that kids will return back to school and the days will gradually become shorter. The brightness and lightness of summer will transform into cooler days and darker autumn nights. Like all seasons, a transition is slowly beginning to take place. 

As psychotherapists, we understand these seasonal transitions are not just literal but also highly symbolic. Each new season breathes a poetic metaphor about our psychology and what it means to be human. Greek philosopher Heraclitus waxes, “the only thing that is constant is change”. At times, that truth is a comforting reality. At other times, the inevitably of change causes frustration or even feels cruel. Seasonal transitions acknowledge the existential truth about the seasons of life: life plans and conditions can steadily and subtly move along or sometimes violently and harshly metamorphose. With this symbolic sensibility in mind, Gesell Psychotherapy plans to honor the figurative messages that each season offers throughout 2018 and 2019. 

Each clinician in our group plans to submit a clinical take on how a new seasonal change may embody developmental transitions and significant life experiences. Please check back on our blog throughout the year for meaningful, fun and artfully crafted posts from our talented team of psychotherapists. They will be highlighting the many ways seasons can illuminate our psychological processes. 

And for now, we begin with the Fall season. The next several blog posts will examine the allegories of Autumn. A season emblematic of adulthood. The end of youthful summer turns us toward adult responsibilities. In September, we grieve the end of youth. In October we honor reaping of harvest (i.e. emotional and physical investments that are now paying off). Holidays like Halloween remind us of the demons that still pester us within and the ghosts of our past that still haunt us. November brings gratitude and thanksgiving; an opportunity to reflect on our blessings. As summer ends and fall begins we invite you to consider what this transition may represent on a deeper level. 

You find a flower half-buried in leaves,

And in your eye its very fate resides.

Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;

Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

Terrible to love the lovely so,

To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"

To see a flower half-buried in leaves

And come face to face with what you are.

-  Han Shan, circa 630 CE  (Translated by Peter Stambler, Cold Mountain Buddhas) 

-Dr. Brenda Gesell