What is Jungian Analysis?
Jungian analysis is a systematic examination and cultivation of the inner life. It is applicable not only to those with neurosis but also to those with a normal psychology who wish to promote their own psychological development. The basic instrument of this procedure is the personality of the analyst. Major care and attention is thus given to the selection and training of potential analysts.
The primary requirement for an analyst is that he or she have undertaken a thorough personal analysis which leads to a higher level of psychological development. Fundamentally, it is the patient's opportunity to have a living relationship and dialogue with a more developed conscious personality that produces the healing effect.
The analyst takes not only the conscious attitude of each patient into account but also what is going on in the unconscious that may be affecting that person's behavior. The major approach to the unconscious is through dream interpretation. A dream is considered to be an objective expression of the psyche describing, in symbolic language, the nature of the current psychic situation. The understanding of dreams, therefore, becomes a powerful aid in the growth of consciousness.
A dream is a symbol which must be approached by the method of analogy which amplifies the unknown meaning to the point of visibility. Personal amplification is done by asking the patient for associations to each of the specific images and figures in the dream. Association to dream elements provides the personal context of the dream which can lead to significant meaning.
General amplification is done by the analyst on the basis of his or her own knowledge. It provides the collective, archetypal associations to the dream elements via mythology, legend and folklore. General amplification establishes the collective context of the dream enabling it to be seen as referring not only to a personal psychic problem but also to a general, collective problem common to all human experience.
This understanding can free the ego of the patient from identification with the unconscious by seeing the problem as a universal one as well as their own personal experience.
In addition to dreams, imaginative and expressive activity of all kinds is encouraged. Drawing, painting, sculpture, story-writing, etc., may be suggested as a means of expressing emerging unconscious material. Such creative products are then examined in much the same way as dreams. This objectification of the psychic image can be a profound source of healing psychic energy. A creative relationship between the ego and unconscious is now possible.
In summary, the development of a patient's consciousness, through assimilation of previously unconscious contents, allows that person to become much more psychologically grounded, and able to make more conscious decisions in life. In this way Jungian analysis can be a very powerful and practical tool.
Personal Jungian Analysis
If you are interested in Jungian analysis. Please refer to our Find an Analyst page to find an analyst in your area.
- Adapted from Edward Edinger's "Outline of Analytical Psychology"