Jungian Analysis

“The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.” — C.G. Jung

What Is Jungian Analysis?

Jungian analysis is a form of psychotherapy developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, one of the leading pioneers of modern depth psychology.  It is a specialized approach that is aimed at activating the individual’s innate healing capabilities. Our symptoms, our struggles, our suffering and our dreams are all regarded as messages about unknown or neglected parts of ourselves which need attention. By listening to these messages, we gain new perspective on our difficulties, a deeper connection to ourselves and others and the strength to change old patterns. Along with relief from pain, Jungian analysis works toward developing access to our own inner wisdom, self-acceptance, authenticity and renewed energy for life. It is as much a form of “inner work” as it is psychological treatment.

Like other therapies, Jungian analysis is concerned with easing emotional suffering.  But while it may include solving problems or coping with crisis, analysis aims at deeper and more lasting change, helping people to grow psychologically by understanding aspects of themselves that were previously unconscious.

The goal is to help people become mature, vital, well-functioning human beings with a renewed sense of their own individual path in life. This process involves not only the healing of psychological wounds, but the uncovering of the unconscious blocks that prevent emotional growth and the realization of creative potential. The aim is not perfection but wholeness.

Key Features of Jungian Analysis

  • Analysis is a highly individualized process that relies on the patient’s innate potential for growth. The setting is specifically designed to encourage deep exploration.
  • The analyst doesn’t set the agenda for the sessions or decide which issues the client will discuss. Clients are encouraged to speak freely about whatever is on their mind without censoring their thoughts or feelings. For example, clients might speak about dreams, fantasies, important daily events, significant interactions, feeling about themselves, events from the past, or feelings about the analyst. The client and analyst work together to understand the client’s reactions to these experiences. Through this process, helpful patterns of meaning gradually emerge.
  • Jung’s particular insight was his recognition that individuals are influenced by unconscious factors that lie outside their personal experience, and which have a more universal quality. These factors, which he called archetypes, give shape to the more universal narratives, myths and religious phenomena that shape human experience. The analytic process is intended to bring these factors into consciousness, allowing the individual to see more clearly what underlying forces are at play in his or her life.
  • Contrary to popular impression, analysis is not preoccupied with the past. Memories from earlier life are primarily used to understand one’s reactions in the present moment. This integration of the past with the present is part of the holistic growth associated with analysis.  Ultimately, analysis is about taking responsibility for our own lives.
  • The relationship between client and analyst is an important part of the process. This takes place in an atmosphere of emerging trust, in which difficult experiences can be safely explored and understood.
  • Because it takes time to heal, change and grow, analysis can be a long-term process. This may seem out of place in today’s quick fix world. However, the length of time involved is individual and it is not necessary to meet more than once each week in order to work analytically.

The Jungian Analyst’s Training

Certified Jungian analysts undergo rigorous and extensive training. Individuals interested in analytic training must first complete a graduate degree and the supervised clinical experience to become licensed psychotherapists. They then then receive about eight additional years of specialization, including extensive coursework and in-depth supervision focused on understanding the unconscious forces that influence our feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

In addition, training to be a Jungian analyst involves extended personal analysis, to help them recognize and confront their own emotional issues which might interfere with providing the best possible treatment for their patients.
Only graduates of accredited Jungian training institutes can ethically present themselves to the public as Jungian analysts.

The following local groups offer workshops or training in Jungian psychology: