by Dr. Becky Spelman on 18/05/2019
What is Jungian Therapy?
A number of key concepts are used in Jungian therapy. These include the idea of universal archetypes, which are symbols that are universally recognisable, and which are often utilised in religious writing, oral and written narratives, and art (think, for example, of the archetypical “mother” depicted in art traditions all over the world). They are universal because they speak to, and have meaning for, everybody, regardless of cultural context.Archetypes can also be individual, arising from the individual’s unique set of experiences.
Jung also considered the role of extraversion and introversion as personality traits, among other things. Thus, we can classify people along a spectrum with each category at either end. Jung also took an interest in the spiritual side of life and saw spirituality in terms of the individual’s quest for meaning, and as often of great therapeutic benefit. The notion of a complex, which is understood to be a repressed compound of experiences and ideas that influences our behaviour, is also crucial. Neuroses are thought to result from a mismatch between the patient’s conscious and unconscious desires, and to lead to a range of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, and a range of personality disorders.
How can it help?
In therapy, a Jungian analyst draws on Jung’s key concepts, using techniques such as association and the exploration of dreams and fantasies to arrive at a better understanding of the individual. Dreams and other involuntary acts of the imagination are believed to reveal desires, fears, and other feelings that the patient may be experiencing, without understanding them on a conscious level. Because these feelings, desires, etc., are often expressed in a symbolic way, time and patience may be required to explore them and understand what they really mean, and what the implications are for their own lives and for their therapeutic progress.As social norms and pressures can make it difficult for people to openly acknowledge some of their feelings, it is important to explore these in a safe therapeutic space in which everything can be freely discussed.
By working together, the therapist and their patient can come to a greater understanding of the unconscious and conscious forces motivating their client’s behaviour. By bringing unconscious fears, desires, and so forth, to the surface, they can be integrated with the patient’s conscious needs in a balanced and harmonious way as they journey towards a healthier state of mind. Dreams etc., are thought to sometimes reflect the destructive aspects of the person, which are often referred to as their “shadow”. Other ways of exploring the unconscious include exploring creative works by the patient, which could include art, poetry, creative writing, and so on.
Jungian therapy can be used with a variety of patient populations, including both people with mental illness, and those who do not have mental illness, but who feel that something is blocking them from being as happy as they would like to be, or achieving as much as they could. While some therapists practice in a way that preserves as much of Jung’s approach as possible, many have integrated elements of his approach into their work, and his influence is widely felt across the therapeutic field.
Cambray, Jospeh; Carter.Analytical Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives in Jungian Analysis: A Meglomaniac’s Fantasy (Advancing Theory in Therapy). Routledge, 2004
Fordham, Michael. Jungian Psychotherapy. Routledge, 1978.
Fordham, Michael, Innovations in Analytical Psychology, ByJames Astor, 1995.
How can I get Jungian Therapy in London?
If you would like to talk to someone about Jungian therapy, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: 020 3887 1738 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.