JUNGIAN THERAPY - ANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY

The term Jungian Therapy refers to those therapeutic approaches based on the principles of Analytic Psychology, which was the result of the work and studies of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). For a short period of his life, Jung was a member of the small group of psychoanalysts who were followers of Freud in the Psychoanalytical Society of Vienna, actively collaborating in the development and growth of the psychoanalytical theories but, subsequently, on account of the divergences of opinion that distanced him from Freud, he left the Viennese group. Jung elaborated his own theory of psychic energy, according to which, unlike in Freud’s vision, human ‘libido’ was not exclusively a pure sexual drive but a more general concept of ‘psychic energy’ expressed in the individual in the form of tendencies and desires.

In Jung’s writings, the term libido refers to a vital force which drives people in the direction of self-realization (and not simply towards satisfying sexual instincts as postulated by Freud). It is psychic energy and a spontaneous tendency that drives the subject towards personal development and the process of ‘individuation’. Jung also saw the psyche as being composed of various regions, including the Unconscious. The subconscious mind envisioned in Jung’s theory however is much more complex than in the Freudian conception. Carl Gustav JungIt is not merely a receptacle of material removed from the consciousness of an individual but rather a dimension in which different psychological activities are allocated: activities more ‘objective’ than those identified in the Ego and in direct relation with the deepest or ‘ultimate’ psychic roots of our species (the collective Unconscious), which is expressed through the archetypal language of symbols, images and fantasies. According to Freud, the conflictual nature of the psyche, from which consciousness itself and thus the Ego are derived, is based on the dualistic concepts of libido-survival instinct / libido-death instinct. Jung however maintains that the Ego is situated at a point of conjunction between the inner and outer worlds and is always seeking a point of equilibrium, which changes constantly during the course of a human lifetime.

The archetypal images of Jung’s theory are inner representations of certain inherited ‘pre-structures’ defined as ‘archetypes’. These are constructed by the Ego, and the process initiates in its encounter with external reality. The archetypes exist – presenting precisely the same symbolism - in the Unconscious of every human being, regardless of his/her cultural background or ethnic heritage. They are apparently thus ‘trans-cultural’ and are functions of that area of the Unconscious which Jung calls the Collective Unconscious, i.e., the subconscious region common to all members of the human species. The most important archetypal images are the Person, the Shadow, the Anima/Animus and the Self. These images often appear in dreams and have the function of revealing to the dreamer the possibility of alternative modes of interacting with or relating to one’s internal or external reality. The Person represents the defined role every individual assumes in society. In this sense, it may occasionally be very different from the real, internally-perceived individuality of the subject that acts out the role, but for this very reason it provides an appropriate defence for the individual against an impact far too direct between the outer world and one’s internal reality.

The Shadow is similar to the Freudian concept of repressed psychic material, though these concepts are not entirely the same thing. The Shadow is not fully removed into the Unconscious or into a region of the mind of which we have little or no awareness: it is a part of our mind we simply remain unaware of. Thus, if an individual wishes to be truly honest with himself, he would be capable of encountering his Shadow. In Jung’s view, the archetypal images which are mainly linked to the deeper regions of the psyche are the Anima (Animus or Anima), the Spirit (the Old Sage, the Great Mother etc.) and the central archetypal image of the psyche, the Self. The ‘Anima’ is the internalized image every man has of the female world and the ‘Animus’ that which every woman has of the male world. In Jung’s opinion, the Animus and Anima direct an individual’s choices relating to emotional bonds and are the innermost components of the personality: those which we tend to project onto others. It is for this reason that they constitute the instrument of knowledge of the Unconscious. The Self is often represented in dreams by a person of exceptional character or by an animal, which symbolizes the instinctual nature of the dreamer and his/her ties with the external environment in which he/she lives.

The Unconscious thus contains psychic energy, which manifests in the innate drive towards the development of consciousness of the self, and this latter awareness tends to emerge, engendering the individuation process. In Jung’s view, individuation is the natural goal of human existence and, ideally, during the course of the process, we should reach a point where we discover and fulfil our innermost individual needs. Jungian psychotherapy, as its inventor himself pointed out, is most certainly indicated in middle-age crises or in any case for individuals who have entered a crisis state owing to some form of moral, philosophical or religious tension and are seeking the sense of their lives. Regardless of the severity of a disorder and its diagnosis (whether the individual has a neurotic or psychotic structure), Jungian therapy aims at attaining a re-adaptation to reality, which should include the subject’s deepest motivations and needs.

>>> (Adlerian Therapy)

 

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PSYCHOTHERAPIES --> INDEX:
8 - Bioenergetic therapy