An In-Depth Look At Jungian Therapy
Updated January 02, 2019
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Today, we will be looking at Jungian therapy, also known as analytical psychology. Created by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, it's an influential form of therapy.
What Is Jungian Therapy?
Jungian therapy is the type of talk therapy that is designed to make a person whole. It does this by combining parts of the conscious with the unconscious to create a balance. Jungian therapy typically involves the clients going deep into their mind and looking at all their parts, from their lighter to their darker side.
Jungian therapy is useful for those who are suffering from various mental health issues, such as depression, phobia, anxiety, relationship issues, or any trauma. However, you don't need to have a severe mental health issue to see its benefits. It can be good for those who want to understand themselves better and wants to make an effort to do so.
Jungian therapy involves talking, like most therapies, but will also use unique techniques as well. They may ask you to write a dream journal and ask what you think your dreams mean. You may be asked to be creative and make art. There may be word association tests, where the counselor says a word, and you name the first thing that comes to your mind. The idea is that what word you think of says a lot about you. There may also be scheduled sessions, and they may occur multiple times a week.
Ideas Of Jungian Therapy
Carl Jung believed that one should focus on not the symptoms of the problem, but the source. The source tended to be the person's unconscious and repression. This could be linked to what Jung referred to as the collective unconscious, which is a series of traits that everyone has. When there is an imbalance, it can affect you.
There is also a concept known as wholeness or individuation. The idea is that you must find the cause of your problems and repressed emotions to achieve this. Trying to take on the symptoms will just result in the problems coming back soon.
Let's look at some concepts and terms of Jungian therapy.
In Jungian therapy, as well as other therapies, the unconscious is the part of the mind you can't feel, but it's influential and active. With therapy, you can tap into the unconscious, and a good relationship between the conscious and the unconscious may be ideal if you want to achieve wholeness.
One way to tap into the unconscious is through your dreams. It's believed that your dreams may tell you some emotions and ideas that you're not consciously thinking. Dreams are essential in Jungian therapy, even if you think your dreams mean nothing. In Jungian therapy, dreams are the creative outlet your mind uses to express itself.
There is also the idea of the collective unconscious, which we mentioned before. Your personal unconscious is your own emotions and motivations. The collective unconsciousness consists of different archetypes and other emotions that are shared by humans. Collective unconsciousness can involve questions that all humans share, such as the meaning of life, what happens when we die, how to achieve happiness, and what we fear. There is a bit of a spiritual aspect to the collective unconsciousness as well.
Archetypes are an important part of the collective unconsciousness. First developed in 1919 by Jung, they are the framework of certain ideas that we all share. There may be interpretations that you can associate. For example, there is the archetype of what a mother should be. They are collectively shared, but there are individual archetypes as well, and they can show themselves in quite a few ways. Jungian therapy will take a look at the archetypes we all share as well as your archetypes.
Self-realization is a need we all have, and because of this, people tend to look at all the different parts to find it. Individuation is when someone explores who they are to become a different individual, and this is how self-realization is achieved.
It's believed there are two halves of our lives. During the first half, we make our own identity. This is why teens are so rebellious, and young people take so many risks. According to Jung, adults have their puberty once they approach middle-age. Instead of caring about the material and sexual parts of life, they begin wondering about spirituality and the community as a whole.
Now, let's look at the second half. The idea is that people become a part of the collective once again and want to contribute. They may volunteer, make art, and look at both their conscious and unconscious feelings. The belief is that young people, especially men, do not express their emotions because they are not part of the collective. They are too busy trying to find themselves.
So what is the goal? According to Jung, the goal for the collective is to be able to have the biggest spiritual experience possible. If one does not try to achieve this goal, they may have neurotic problems. Phobias, depression, and other mental problems stem from this.
In the unconscious mind, there is a shadow. These are repressed memories or disowned traits we have. We all are battling against our shadow, and we can do so in different ways. One way is that we project our feelings onto someone else. However, the shadow is not all bad, and there are constructive parts in addition to destructive parts.
When it comes to destruction, the shadow is a problem because it has qualities that people just don't accept. If someone doesn't like being mean, they may have unconscious desires to be mean. The opposite can be true as well, meaning a mean person may have an unconscious desire to be good, and this can reveal that there is a light in one's shadow.
What should one do about their shadow? Jung believed that one must be aware of what it consists of and bring it into the conscious. This can help prevent projection and other undesirable traits as well.
Anima And Animus
The anima is the unconscious feminine part of a man. For a woman, it's known as the animus, and it's the hidden male part. This is the original definition, anyway. In modern times, it's believed we have a little bit of both.
Jung believed that these two parts helped guide us to what our self is. By being able to have a connection with the anima or animus, it can be a rewarding way to grow. However, it's seen as quite difficult and can sometimes happen without planning. Jung's anima, according to him, talked to him out of the blue without planning.
When one does not listen to the anima or animus, they may project onto other people. What does this mean? Well, have you ever been attracted to someone you don't know? This may be because you can find your anima or animus in that person. You don't love them at first sight, but instead, you are projecting. This can especially apply to someone who believes in gender roles. A very masculine man or a very feminine woman may not have an easy time seeing the other side of them.
Jung divided anima and animus into two parts. He believed that the male side was judgmental, and the female side could be perceptive. Women could have a judgmental side, and men can perceive, in other words.
We all have our hidden side, and it's us to find what that is.
The Wise Old Man
One archetype that exists in the collective unconsciousness is the wise old man or woman. When we think of wisdom, we may picture an old man who has been through experiences. They have seen it all, and now they want to pass their knowledge to the next generation. In the archetypes, this is how we personify one's self.
This is a big aspect of Jungian therapy, as well as other therapies such as Freudian therapy. The analysis is how the therapist takes the known and combines it with the unknown. It's how they look for what behaviors and other emotions mean. A therapist may look at your dreams or your art pieces and examine them for their meaning. Even if you're unsure of their meaning, a therapist can help you. However, interpretations can be specific and subjective, and a therapist needs to realize that describing something is a complex process.
Jungian psychoanalysis is a bit different from what Freudian analysis is. Freudian analysis believes that our repressed memories are connected to sexual instincts, while the Jungian form of analysis has no assumptions about the person. There may be sexual desires, but a person may have other goals or fears they are repressing.
Jungian therapy is a valuable tool, and if you're interested in it, or any other form of therapy, talk to a therapist today.