What Is Jungian Analysis?

Jungian therapy (analysis) is a specialized form of psychotherapy based on the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. This therapeutic approach is based on the notion that psychological experiences and conditions find their reference “below the surface” in the unconscious mind. By emphasizing the primacy of affect or emotion as the central organizing principle of psychological life within a therapeutic relationship of mutuality and empathic resonance, this therapeutic modality encourages the innate healing capabilities resident in each of us. As we work with emotional disturbances, life struggles, and dream or artistic images, unknown or neglected aspects of the personality come into focus, seeking our care and attention. Emotional pain finds relief as the patient accesses their inner wisdom, self-acceptance, and authenticity -- enabling them to move from stuckness into meaningful transformation.

Jungian analysts must have completed a graduate education and supervised experience as a licensed psychotherapist before entering extensive analytic training. The most important aspect of the training is a long-term analysis where the candidate processes personal emotional issues that could interfere with the treatment of patients. Analytic training includes several years of extensive coursework and in-depth supervision, all with the unique focus on understanding the underlying unconscious forces that influence feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

 



 

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A 25-year old college student sought therapy regarding relationship obstacles he was encountering. As he reported, girls liked him at first but quickly became disinterested in him and often took advantage of his kindness. Months into the analysis, he recounted a repeated dream that left him feeling depressed for no known reason. In the dream he is about 13 years old and playing sports when he suddenly gets knocked down and can’t get up. When I asked him about his 13th year, he shyly disclosed that his mother died that year. I asked him to tell me about that experience and he wept saying he thought he had put it behind him. Further exploration revealed he stopped playing sports and disengaged from social activities around that time, suggesting to me that he “got out of the game of life” and fell into a depression he could not get up from. These revelations became pivotal in this young man’s analysis and he consciously began to engage in the “game” of life again with renewed energy. And guess what — girls responded more positively to his less moody presentation… and so did he!