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Jung and Analytical Psychology

“Our main task is to discover and fulfill our deep innate potential, much as the acorn contains the potential to become the oak, or the caterpillar to become the butterfly” ~ Carl Jung

Analytical Psychology is Carl Jung’s term for his theory and practice of psychology. He coined the term to distinguish it from Freud’s form of psychotherapy, which Freud called psychoanalysis. The phrase most commonly used today to describe Jung’s model of therapeutic practice is Jungian analysis. Whichever term is used, for Jung, psychoanalysis is ideally an attempt to bring conscious and unconscious elements of the psyche into balance.

Jungian analysis is a specialised form of psychotherapy in which the Jungian 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 it can also assist anyone who wishes to pursue psychological growth. At the heart of Jungian analysis is a realignment of conscious and unconscious aspects of the personality with an ensuing creation of new values and purpose.

Central to Jungian therapy is the concept of individuation, referring to the psychological evolution of an individual over time. Jung used the term to describe a lifelong expansion of consciousness, as well as the development of an increasingly differentiated personality.

Individuation involves the growth of a whole and unique human being and a concomitant deepening and widening of awareness. Jung felt that this was accomplished through the integration of unconscious contents and the reconciliation of opposites within the psyche.

The fundamental goal of Jungian analysis is to build a vital relationship between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind so that psychic development can be on-going. 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 be.

Like other forms of analysis, Jungian analysis recognises the important roles of sex, aggression, and human relationships in our daily lives, but it also respects our needs for creative expression, meaning, spirituality, and growth as essential aspects of the human psyche.

Jung believed that we develop symptoms when we are stuck in old patterns and fail to integrate creative potentials within our personality. Often such 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 or emotional blocks.

To forge a connection with the unconscious Jungians utilise symbols that emerge spontaneously in patients’ fantasies, dreams, creative projects and daily experience. Many of these images are archetypal and also appear in myths and religious traditions. Concentrating on such images generates energy that catalyses impulses to explore new realms of possibility and action that leads to personal transformation.

 “Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” ~ Carl Jung



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