Innovations and Contributions

Many of Jung’s innovations have been absorbed into mainstream thinking and independently affirmed by other schools of therapy and analysis.

  • One of Jung’s most significant insights is his recognition early in the history of analysis that the therapeutic relationship not only involves but also affects both the analyst and patient He underscored the role of the analyst’s own personality and participation in the work, and recommended that all analysts undergo their own extensive analysis as a prerequisite to their practicing as professional analysts.
  • Jung also formulated “complex” theory. Visualizing complexes as the building blocks that structure the psyche enabled him to understand how certain unconscious thematic groups of feelings and ideas powerfully impact our everyday lives. At the core of every complex is an archetype: our personal experience forms a shell around that particular archetype.
  • Jung developed the association test, an experimental procedure which is used to gather information on unconscious processes by having the patient verbalize their immediate responses to a list of words. The association test is still used in a variety of settings.
  • Jung’s theory of psychological types forms the basis for assessment tests such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. These instruments are used to help to clarify personal differences that affect vocation, relationships, and group dynamics. Jung’s theory distinguishes between introverted and extroverted orientations, and the four psychological functions, of thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation.
  • Jung also pioneered many expressive techniques to “dream the dream onward.” The practice he called active imagination encourages patients to create fantasies, paint pictures, sculpt forms in clay, write poems and stories, dance or move the body expressively, and construct scenes in sand trays in order to foster a relationship with the unconscious. Many of these forms of creative expression have generated particular therapeutic practices such as art therapy, movement therapy, drama therapy and role playing.

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Jung devoted his life to the study of psyche. His living legacy, analytical psychology itself, enables us to discover–as he did–that the mind is one of the “most mysterious regions of our experience” and that there is “no end to what can be learned in this field.”