About Jungian Analysis: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Analytical Psychology?
What is Jungian analysis?
How does Jungian analysis work?
What is the difference between analysis and therapy?
How is Jungian analysis different from other forms of analysis?
Who can benefit from Jungian analysis?
Do l need to remember my dreams to work with a Jungian?
What is a certified Jungian analyst?
Are analysts licensed?
How can I find a certified Jungian analyst?
What can I expect if I decide to meet with a Jungian analyst for a consultation?
Analytical Psychology is 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 specialized 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.
How does Jungian analysis work?
Analysis requires both intensity and regularity. Sessions may be held from once to four or more times per week. However frequency is not predetermined but is decided upon by the analyst and patient in accord with the unique requirements of each individual situation. In current practice it extends over a period of several years or longer. The focus of sessions may derive from patients’ experiences in their daily lives; their memories of the past; their feelings and reflections in response to such experiences, memories, or interactions with the analyst; and their dreams, or other spontaneous forms of expression. The strength of the relationship between analyst and patient plays a critical role in this process. Confidentiality and privacy are strictly maintained.
This work requires a serious commitment on the part of both analyst and patient. Jung acknowledged that such work for the individual is demanding and difficult: “It is a matter of saying yea to oneself, of taking oneself as the most serious of tasks, of being conscious of everything one does, and keeping it constantly before one’s eyes in all its dubious aspects-truly a task that taxes us to the utmost.” It can also be a profound, transformative experience, and for many patients a spiritual rejuvenation as well.
While each analysis is different, the process often includes exploration of a number of particular aspects of the psyche. Analysts bear them in mind, but often do not mention these concepts in analytic sessions.
The PSYCHE itself is the totality of all psychological processes, whether conscious or unconscious. The EGO is the center of consciousness, whose understanding is limited to consciousness. The SELF is the center of the whole psyche, and comprises both consciousness and the unconscious. It is archetypal and like all archetypes can be known only through symbols and feelings. Analytic work moves beyond the ego and seeks to establish a relationship between ego and self, so that the psyche feels balanced and energized.
The PERSONA is a social identity that we frequently identify with the ego. Analytic work, however, differentiates it from the ego, so that we recognize that we are much more than the social roles we may play and can move beyond them.
The SHADOW contains the unconscious aspects of our personality that have been lost, rejected or never integrated. If we can identify and acknowledge these unconscious, unrecognized or disowned parts of ourselves we are less likely to blame others for our problems. In addition, the conscious integration of the energy inherent in shadow material can enrich and enliven us. Thus Jung viewed shadow integration as a moral as well as a psychological process which, he believed, holds the most hope for us as individuals and for society as a whole.
Jung also defined two other fundamental archetypes in the unconscious that appear often in dreams and fantasies. He labeled the inner feminine side of a man the ANIMA and the inner masculine side of a woman the ANIMUS. When we become conscious of these inner contra-sexual figures, their energy can strengthen and support our endeavors, opening us to new areas of thinking, feeling, and expression. When these figures remain unconscious, however, they can sabotage our efforts for growth and fulfillment.
See the Jung Lexicon for a fuller discussion of these concepts.
The terms “Jungian analysis”, “Jungian psychoanalysis” and “Jungian therapy” are frequently used loosely and interchangeably. Analysis, however, is a special form of psychotherapy that works closely with the unconscious, and requires that the analyst undergo more extensive post graduate training than therapists, and a rigorous personal analysis, which is not a requirement for psychotherapists.
Three important differences between analysis and therapy foster the deep personal change of the analytic process:
- The goal of analysis is to bring the patient awareness and understanding of what was formerly unconscious, whereas the aim of therapy is often merely symptom relief.
- Analysis examines motivations in our thoughts and actions that lie beneath conscious awareness to achieve deeper and more long lasting changes in the personality than traditional therapies can effect.
- Analysis focuses on process-what happens within sessions-in addition to content-the inner and outer experiences of our lives.
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 ongoing. 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 recognizes 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 utilize 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 catalyzes impulses to explore new realms of possibility and action that leads to personal transformation.
Jungian analysis can help most people who have a genuine desire to learn about themselves and are willing and able to commit to regularly scheduled meetings over a sustained period of time. Those who suffer from a range of emotional problems, including depression and anxiety, those who seek better relationships, and those who seek growth and deeper meaning in their lives can benefit richly from Jungian analysis. Many people engaged in spiritual exploration and the creative arts are attracted to Jungian work and find analysis quite rewarding. But because Jungian work seeks balance, and respects the many parts of our psyche, a particular way of thinking or personality type is not required for the process to be effective.
Although dreams often play a central role in Jungian analysis, it is not necessary to remember them to begin the process. There are many ways to access the unconscious; fantasies, memories, imaginative and creative projects, movement, the events of our daily lives, and analytic interactions themselves can all foster a symbolic approach to the psyche. Many patients discover, however, that Jungian analysis itself stimulates them to remember dreams even if they have not done so previously.
Certification as a Jungian analyst requires completion of an extensive and thorough post-graduate training program at an institute approved by the International Association for Analytical Psychology. Requirements for admission to such a training program include a graduate degree, supervised experience in a therapeutic field, and personal Jungian analysis, which continues throughout the training and lays its foundation. Jung believed that all analysts must of necessity undergo their own rigorous and sustained personal analysis. The analysts’ training generally extends over a four to eight year period. Training and certification are designed to ensure a high level of competence, quality and integrity among Jungian analysts.
Beginning in January 2006, the practice of psychoanalysis will require a license in the State of New York. For more information visit the New York State Education Department’s website at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/psyanbroch.htm.
In order to locate a certified Jungian analyst consult our online directory or contact Dr. Maurice Krasnow, the Coordinator of the Jung Professional Referral Service, at 1-646-522-6922, or by e-mail at JungReferrals@gmail.com. The Coordinator will assist you in arranging for an appointment with a Jungian analyst that meets your individual needs.
Generally analysts meet with prospective patients for one or two sessions to determine whether the therapeutic relationship feels promising for productive work. Often a patient’s dream can be helpful in reaching this decision. If both parties agree that the relationship appears to be satisfactory, they will agree to a regular schedule for sessions.
These mandala Images are from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9.1, “The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious” and are used with the permission of the Estate of C.G. Jung.