Over the last century, different schools of psychological thought and therapy have leaped off the springboard known as psychoanalytic therapy, pioneered by Sigmund Freud. One of the off-shoots that has persisted through the years is Jungian therapy.
Today, Carl Jung’s theories and approach to therapy have been adapted for modern people. Still, at the core of this therapy is the human drive for a deeper understanding of the self. Whether you are dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, broken relationships, feeling abandoned, having low self-esteem, or any other type of emotion-based issue, Jungian therapy might be just what helps you.
A Historical Glimpse at Carl Jung
First, let’s take a look at Carl Jung. This Swiss psychiatrist was originally a part of Freud’s inner circle of psychiatrists who studied and specialized in psychoanalytic therapy. While Jung was deeply fascinated with the unconscious, he and Freud didn’t always see eye-to-eye.
The Jungian theory emphasizes the collective unconscious, which is where impulses and memories are stored in the mind. This is an area that is restricted, so the conscious person cannot access its contents. This is also where archetypes exist. Archetypes are universal images and patterns that become actualized when something in the outside world triggers them to enter into the conscious mind. The four major archetypes Jung identified are the persona (how we present ourselves to the world), the shadow (our repressed life and sex instincts), the anima or animus (our feminine and masculine images), and the self (the united consciousness).
The whole point of Jung’s therapy was to establish the authentic self. In other words, the point is to get in touch with who you really are by exploring the latent content hidden in your unconscious mind.
What is Jungian Therapy?
That being said, this mode of therapy still focuses on finding the root of whatever is troubling you. In order to achieve individuation (which is a fancy way of saying that you’re a “whole” person), you and your therapist have to work together to find out what repressed memories or drives are causing an imbalance. In addition to talk methods, a Jungian therapist may also suggest dream journaling or self-expression techniques such as art or dance.
Think of it this way: Jungian techniques are more like a surgical procedure than a bandage over a gaping wound. The wound needs to be permanently mended in order to heal. A Jungian therapist helps you perform the procedure of diving deep into your unconscious mind and figuring out which repressed memories and urges are causing you to experience your emotional symptoms. Once you have figured it out, you and your therapist can start to close the wound.
How Can It Help?
Make no mistake, Jungian therapeutic techniques require a lot of work. But if you remain committed to meeting and working with your therapist, therapy can be successful. The thing about Jungian techniques is that they cater to the individual, and the more profound the rift between your conscious and unconscious mind, the more time and effort it might take for therapy to be effective.
Shining a light on the darkest areas of your mind requires a lot of dedication. If you are looking for, say, addiction therapy and try Jungian methods, expect to have to encounter whatever latent unconscious content is driving the addiction.
There are many situations in which Jungian counseling can be effective. Here are just a few examples of how this type of therapy can assist you:
If you feel trapped by certain behaviors that you know do not benefit you. (For example, engaging in drug use in order to escape your emotions.)
Feeling stuck in a decision-making process.
Feeling unmotivated or discouraged by a circumstance you encounter.
Having dreams that you would like to better understand.
Wanting to mend a broken relationship of any type.
Whatever the case, a Jungian therapist can help you dig deep into your psyche and analyze some specific elements of your mind.
What to Expect From a Jungian Therapist
So, what should you expect from a Jungian therapist? Well, there are a few core areas that Jungian psychologists will help you explore. Of course, you will venture into the unconscious so that you can understand how its content impacts what goes on in your conscious mind. You will also get to analyze your own conscious design.
Second, a Jungian therapist will help you analyze your dreams, which theoretically provide a voice for your unconscious thoughts and desires. They reflect Jung’s notion that these two parts of the mind really are not separate, just two parts of a whole.
Your complexes will also likely be explored. As any Jungian therapist will probably tell you, each and every one of us has at least one complex. That’s normal. It becomes unhealthy when the complex has you. Take, for example, the Achilles complex – the need to hide one’s weaknesses. We all have things that make us fragile, but overcompensating or trying too hard to hide them can become problematic. A Jungian therapist can help you identify this tendency and figure out a way to dial it back to a healthy level.
Personality types will also come into play. The Myers-Briggs indicator, which was largely based on Jung’s theories in the book Psychological Times, is a tool that many Jungian therapists use. While it has some limitations, it can help you identify your preferences, find where you lie on the introvert/extrovert scale, figure out how you process data and the world around you, and figure out whether your decisions are based more on judgments or emotions.
Addiction therapy comes in many forms, but Jungian techniques have mass appeal and a long history of efficacy. If you are searching for addiction therapy for yourself or a loved one, consider working with a trained Jungian therapist. You can start building a bridge between your conscious emotions and your unconscious memories and drives. For more information about Jungian Therapy or any of the other therapy modalities that we offer, contact us today.