Frequently Asked Questions
What is Analytical Psychology?
Analytical Psychology is Jung’s term for his theory, approach to psyche, and method of analysis or depth psychotherapy. He coined the term to distinguish it from Freud’s approach and type of analysis that Freud called “psychoanalysis.” The phrase most commonly used today to describe Jung’s model of therapeutic practice is “Jungian analysis.” Irrespective of what term is used, the goal of the work is an attempt to bring conscious and unconscious elements of the psyche into better relationship with each other.
What is “Jungian” analysis?
Jungian analysis is a specialized form of depth psychotherapy based on Jung’s approach to psyche in which the analyst and “patient*” work together to increase the “patient’s” consciousness in order to move toward psychological balance and wholeness, and to bring relief and meaning to psychological suffering. The process can treat a broad range of emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety, and in addition it can assist anyone who wishes to pursue psychological growth. At the heart of a Jungian approach to depth psychotherapy or analysis is a realignment of conscious and unconscious aspects of the personality with an ensuing potential for the creation of new attitudes and purposefulness.
* “Patient” is used in its original meaning, namely, “a patient is someone who is suffering.”
How does Jungian analysis work?
Analysis or depth psychotherapy using a Jungian approach requires both commitment and regularity. A minimum requirement is a weekly session but depending on various factors more frequent sessions may be recommended. Frequency of sessions is not predetermined but is decided upon by the analyst/psychotherapist and patient in accord with the unique requirements of each individual situation. The duration of the depth psychotherapy/analysis varies depending on each individual’s needs and may extend over months or years.
The focus of sessions derives from patients’ experiences in their daily lives, their memories of the past, their feelings and reflections in response to such memories, interactions with the analyst/psychotherapist, dreams, or other spontaneous forms of expression of images from the unconscious. It is important that there be freedom to talk about anything that comes to mind. The integrity and strength of the relationship between analyst/psychotherapist and patient plays a crucial role in this process. Confidentiality and privacy are strictly maintained.
This work requires a serious commitment on the part of both analyst and patient. Jung acknowledged that such work for the individual is demanding and difficult: “It is a matter of saying yea to oneself, of taking oneself as the most serious of tasks, of being conscious of everything one does, and keeping it constantly before one’s eyes in all its dubious aspects—truly a task that taxes us to the utmost.” It can be a profound, transformative experience leading to a life lived more meaningfully in alignment with one’s authentic self.
What is the difference between analysis and therapy?
The terms “Jungian analysis” and “Jungian therapy” are frequently used loosely and interchangeably. Analysis, however, is a special form of depth psychotherapy practiced by an analyst who, in addition to psychotherapeutic experience, has undergone an extensive post-graduate training in depth psychotherapy and Jungian theory, and has had a rigorous personal analysis from an experienced analyst, to promote consciousness of self as well as of patients. This is not a requirement for most psychotherapists. In general, analysis and depth psychotherapy differs from other forms of psychotherapy including cognitive-behavioral therapy practiced by professionals who are not required to undergo any personal analysis or depth psychotherapy as part of their training. Many therapists receive little or no post-graduate training in psychotherapy.
The goal of analysis is to facilitate an awareness and understanding of aspects of the unconscious that may be causing suffering or dysfunctional behaviors whereas the aim of therapy is often merely symptom relief.
Analysis examines motivations in our thoughts and actions that lie beneath conscious awareness to achieve deeper and more long lasting changes in the personality than traditional therapies can effect. Analysis focuses on process, namely, what happens during sessions, in addition to the content of sessions.
How is Jungian analysis different from other forms of analysis and depth psychotherapy?
The fundamental goal of Jungian analysis is to build a vital relationship between the conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche so that psychic development can be ongoing. Rather than regarding the unconscious merely as the repository of repressed memories, Jung viewed it as the wellspring of psychic energy and healing. He acknowledged the importance of understanding how the deficits and trauma of our history influence us, but stressed the need to look to the future as well, to understand our inner urge to become the unique individuals that we each have the potential to become. Like other forms of analysis, Jungian analysis recognizes the important roles of sex, aggression, and human relationships in our daily lives, but it also respects our needs for creative expression and spirituality as essential aspects of the human psyche.
Jung believed that we develop symptoms when we are stuck in old patterns and have become too one-sided in our functioning. For example, when we become too rational and logical in our approach to life at the expense of including input from our intuition or feeling side we tend to become imbalanced. Alternatively, when we focus too much on work and fail to integrate our creative potentials within our personality we begin to live a life out of balance. Often discomforting symptoms motivate us to begin analysis. If we do not understand the deeper causes underlying those symptoms and focus merely on their relief, problems are likely to resurface in other ways, such as difficulties in relationships, addictive behaviours, or emotional blocks.
To forge a connection with the unconscious Jungians utilize images that emerge spontaneously in patients’ fantasies, dreams, creative projects and daily experience. Many of these images are archetypal and occur in myths, fairy tales, and religious traditions. Concentrating on such images generates energy that catalyzes impulses to explore new realms of possibility and action that leads to personal transformation.
Do l need to remember my dreams to work with a Jungian?
Although dreams often play a central role in Jungian analysis as they offer one way of accessing and working with aspects of the unconscious, it is not essential to remember them in order to engage in the process of analysis. There are many ways to access the unconscious. These include fantasies, memories, imaginative and creative projects, keeping a journal, movement, the events of our daily lives, and analytic interactions themselves, all of which can foster a symbolic approach to the psyche. Many patients discover, however, that engaging in the process of Jungian analysis stimulates them to remember dreams even if they have not done so previously.
What can I expect if I decide to meet with a Jungian analyst for a consultation?
Generally analysts meet with prospective patients for one or two sessions to determine whether the therapeutic relationship appears to be conducive for productive work. Often a patient’s dreams can be helpful in reaching a decision. If both parties agree that the relationship appears to be satisfactory, they will agree to a regular schedule for sessions.