Life Transitions – Beginning a New Career at ICPPD


I recently began a new journey in life by stepping into the role of Academic Director at ICPPD. On the surface, this could appear to be simply a career progression, which makes sense in a fundamentally pragmatic way. And that would be true. However, for me personally, it is more than that. The move, when it happened was the outcome of time feeling a bit stagnant in life and going through many deep reflective processes in relation to this. 

I studied and worked as a musician for many years, and eventually came to the path of psychotherapy training and working as a therapist in private practice. I have always liked the idea of being self-employed. It sat well with the side of me that wanted to be true to myself in the world. I also had a mistrust and fear of going into workplaces from a young age. AH Almaas writes about the type-9 Enneagram personality as having a basic lack of trust in ‘being held’ by the world. With any deep core beliefs and fears like this, the problem seems to be our identification with the belief. This, at least, is true in my experience. Almaas writes that the key practice is to stay with the shaky fearful part, without distraction, while not buying into the delusion that it is who you are. It is, rather, the result of your childhood conditioning. 

When the potential opportunity of the role at ICPPD came up, this old fear rose strongly within me as I projected forward to the possibility of a change in direction. I used my supervision and meditation practice to stay with it, and sure enough, by steadfastly staying with the feeling the fear subsided, and opened into a state in which the experiences of love and trust were palpable. So, what I am trying to say is that the process of arriving at ICPPD, and my own personal human journey have somehow been intrinsically linked. As well as this I noticed that other aspects of my life seemed to somehow fall into place quite naturally around making the career change. My understanding of the Jungian concept of synchronicity, is that the outer reflects an inner truth. This is not a superficial occurrence but comes about as confirmation and enhancement of insight and understanding achieved through deep reflective practice.

And so now, having arrived in my new role at ICPPD, the challenge is to allow myself to be held by what life has presented. I am lucky to be part of a college whose ethos of holistic care and creativity I can row in behind without pretence. It is a big challenge and I regularly frighten myself by looking too far ahead, but it steadies me to remember that the inner and outer seemed to align through the course of this transition. My goal is to embrace the ongoing change, with enough perseverance, patience, and trust to become efficient and confident in the new role. In many ways, it is a process of discovery. Maybe I am not who I thought I was!

Alan Jordan, May 2024