Using Junglian Therapy to Find Emotional Balance

March 30, 2018

Jungian therapy or Jung’s Analysis seeks to illuminate the dark areas of our psyche and favor self-realization. It is an intensive and thorough psychological therapy. Thanks to a close relationship between the analyst and the patient, it is possible to unite their conscious and unconscious parts. This will give shape to a more genuine self and to a true emotional balance.

Carl Jung and his legacy has attracted, inspired and enthused many many people. The father of analytic psychology was much more than a psychiatrist and analyst who took Freudian concepts to another level. Jung was also an expert in the worlds of science, anthropology, astrology, art, religion and dreams.

Far from seeing each of these areas in isolation, he applied them to psychology to make them deeper, more unified and more dynamic. In this way, the explanation of the unconscious improved, and so did that of the whole universe. He brought everything under the umbrella of his methodology. Our conflicts, needs, drives and whatever else makes it difficult for us to enjoy good mental health.

Not many Jungian therapists

It must be said, however, that there are not many practicing Jungian therapists. This type of therapy is not as common as many others that are based on more usual approaches. Approaches that are better known, such as cognitive-behavioral or even humanistic approaches. In this sense, Jung’s work, as well as Jungian therapy, despite the originality of his contributions, has been considered somewhat unsystematic and complex.

“The psychotherapist must view each patient and each case as something unprecedented, as something unique, wonderful and exceptional. Only then will it be closer to the truth “

-Carl Jung-

However, universities like the one in Berkeley have been teaching Jungian psychology since the 70s. Likewise, in the last decade a resurgence of this type of therapy has been seen, especially in South America as well as in some European countries. In Spain, for example, there is the “Spanish Society of Analytical Psychology”, responsible for extending Jung’s legacy and training future Jungian psychotherapists.

It is, therefore, a type of therapy that is beginning to find its place in the field of psychological care. It is also one that deserves to be better known.

Carl Jung

Jung and Jungian therapy

What is the purpose of Jungian therapy?

Jungian therapy is a specialized form of psychotherapy that aims to facilitate the psychic integrity of the person by reaching an “agreement” with our unconscious. Something we must understand in the first place, is that within this psychotherapeutic framework we all have a “psychic substrate”. These sometimes have very complex unconscious dynamics that have an impact on our attitudes, and way of thinking and relating to others.

The objective of the Jungian therapist is to make us aware of these unconscious factors in order to create a reconciliation with the unconscious. In this way, we can promote what Jung called a process of individualization. That is to say, with this type of psychoanalysis we can achieve a harmony between needs and achievements and past and present. We can reach a genuine maturity where our self can truly define itself. This will enable it to feel free and make it capable of growth.

At what time or in what situations would Jungian therapy be useful?

Jungian therapy can help us understand and cope with such complex processes as depression, anxiety or even possible addictions.

This psychotherapeutic approach is based on a process the patient must go through with the help of their therapist. He will go through three very specific phases: self-awareness, transformation and actualization. With this approach we will be able to see what lies in the darkest and most inaccessible part of our psyche in order to transform it and change it.

This approach will be useful in the following times and situations of our life:

  • Times when we feel discouraged, apathetic, and uncertain.
  • Times we feel angry or  frustrated with or about something without really knowing the reason.
  • Problems we go through in our love lives and other relationships.
  • Starting a new stage in our lives, and where we have a fear of making the same mistakes all over again.
  • When we feel “lost”, without knowing which direction to take or what decisions to make.
  • When we realize that we are “stuck” in behavior types that only produce unhappiness.
  • For artists or professionals whose work is based on creativity, and who find it difficult to have new ideas.
  • People who need to understand certain dreams.
Man facing two roads

Man before two roads applying Jungian therapy

Therapeutic objectives

As we have pointed out before, Jungian analysis is a special form of psychotherapy where the patient is led to a personal “reconciliation” with his unconscious side. What does this actually mean?  Basically, therapeutic strategy means we become explorers of our psyche. We can do this in the company of a professional expert in this field, who will help us understand why certain dynamics and unconscious “presences” affect our behavior. To achieve this, Jungian therapy will aim to analyze a series of very specific dimensions.

They are:

1.Working on our unconscious

In Freudian psychoanalysis the unconscious is nothing more than a space where a large part of our repressed sexual impulses and desires are contained. Carl Jung, however, takes the focus away from all these explanations. He claims that in the depths of our mind there is a whole design consisting of content, symbols, archetypes and meanings. He says that we must bring all these to light. In this way, and to address all that unconscious material, Jungian therapy uses two well-defined stages.

  • Understanding our unconscious design. Through a series of very specific strategies such as the analysis of dreams, art, dialogue or imagination, the therapist should identify and understand each symbol and archetype that exists in our unconscious. However, the patient takes an active part. This is because a good part of these symbols can have a very specific meaning for the person in question. They are like energetic forces which are covering over a problem.
  • Understand how our unconscious matter has an impact on our conscious life. The second therapeutic objective will be to understand how everything that resides within us in a non-conscious way alters our ability to feel good, and to feel fulfilled.

2. Interpretation of dreams

Jungians have a very specific vision of what our dreams are really like. The dream world has a direct relationship with the ego. It is like a theater where important aspects are revealed for their self-realization, needs, fears, and limitations. Freud told us that dreams are nothing more than an area to satisfy certain repressed needs. Jungians, however, think that dreams sometimes act as critical voices. As paths that open us up and draw new alternatives in our conscious world so that we can have a richer life.

Therefore, far from seeing the conscious and unconscious world as two separate entities as Freudians do, Jungian therapy sees it as a whole. Only when we integrate these two parts of our psyche into one, will we feel free.

Submerged brain

The submerged brain representing Jungian therapy

3. Identify our complexes

We all have complexes, but what is not healthy is that complexes “have us”. This is when life loses its spontaneity, opportunities, and its potential for development and growth.

Jung explained to us in his legacy that complexes are related to our inherited ideals and our personal experiences. By using these ideas, and according to this particular approach of analytical psychology, we are able to differentiate the following:

  • Croesus complex: the need to have money and power in order to feel superior.
  • Cain Complex: related to jealousy.
  • Achilles Complex: the need to hide our fragility.
  • Brunilda’s Complex: in which we see our partners as heroes.
  • Eróstrato’s Complex: the search for constant attention.
  • Antigone Complex: the need to care for and protect.

4. Personality type

One of the most widely used evaluation tools in Jungian therapy is undoubtedly the Myers-Briggs indicator, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs. This scale was created based on Jung’s book Psychological Types, and has the following objectives:

  • To understand at what point we are on the scale between itroversion and extroversion.
  • Knowing how we process our environments and the information that we store in each of them.
  • To know how we make our decisions, whether based on our emotions, judgments, etc.
  • To discover what our preferences, emotional needs and work preferences are.

What techniques does Jungian therapy use?

It is interesting that Jung always refused to standardize his theories and to clearly define his clinical practice and its methodology. Therefore, the heirs of Jungian therapy were forced to resort to his articles, books and essays. Using them they were able to find a consensus that is still maintained today.

Therefore, what we have is a set of techniques developed through a dialectical relationship between the specialist and the patient. In this relationship there must be a closeness, trust and a sense of partnership. Likewise, Jung made it clear in his writings that we should achieve the following:

“It is essential that in the dialectical procedure the therapist, at all times, respects the patient’s personality. He should be treated with dignity, and we should strip ourselves of preconceived ideas. We must accompany the person in this sometimes complex journey of discoveries and developments in order to facilitate psychotherapeutic change. There should be no “psychiatric allergen” left by the doctor or therapist in the patient’s mind in this process of individualization”.

Respecting the patient and gaining and maintaining their trust is essential in Jungian therapy. Only in this way can we create a good partnership and carry out the following techniques:

Conversation Therapy

Jung’s therapy is based above all on conversation. The patient must feel safe and comfortable. Only then will you be able to carry out other techniques such as dream analysis or other creative strategies. In these, both the patient and therapist will be able to travel together to understand the unconscious world and head towards the goal of transformation.

Therapy Session

Jungian Therapy Session

Dream Analysis

We may think that when it comes to interpreting and understanding a dream, we’ll just need to buy one of Jung’s books on the subject. This isn’t the case. Jungian therapists know that the set of symbols and archetypes that arise in the dreams of a patient relate specifically to the personality and personal circumstances of that person.

This is, therefore, a very delicate, meticulous and at the same time deep and revealing process.

Word association

The test of word associations is a common strategy in Jungian therapy. In this, the therapist says a word, phrase or an idea. The patient is then asked to say the first word that comes into their mind. The speed or delay in the response can reveal certain unconscious resistances or complexes.

Creative activities

Each Jungian therapist will judge different types of creative activities as more or less valid depending on the personality of the patient. However, activities as simple as painting , drawing, dancing or keeping a dream journal are always brilliant strategies.

Any actions that favor expression, imagination and reflection and bring aspects of our unconscious world to the conscious world are ideal.

Is Jungian therapy effective?

At this point, we are likely to be quite drawn to this type of psychotherapeutic approach. However, after becoming interested, we will often ask ourselves – is it really effective? Many of us are familiar with the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for different types of disorders. The answer to the question is “yes”. 

Jungian therapy is useful for dealing with psychological distress. It can also help us achieve greater satisfaction in our lives and improve our work performance and family and love relationships. It encourages self-knowledge and helps us to overcome times of personal crisis.

A study published in 2013 endorses Jungian therapy. It claims that with 90 sessions we can attain a complete therapeutic success. If we think that this type of psychological approach will fit our needs and if we think we’ll be comfortable working with a Jungian therapist, then we shouldn’t be afraid to take the step. It will be a journey of discovery that will be highly worthwhile.

Woman in countryside

References

Hall H, Norby L. (1968). Fundamentals of Jung’s Psychology. Buenos Aires

PsiqueHocheimer W (2004). The Psychotherapy of Jung,  Barcelona

Herderfordham, M (1999). Technique in Jungian Analysis (The Library of Analytical Psychology), Boston.

Karnac Jung, C. G. (1981). Archetypes and Collective Unconscious. Barcelona, ​​Paidos.

Jung, C.G (1993). Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. Editorial Paidós, Buenos Aires.

  • Hall H, Norby L. (1968). Fundamentals of Jung’s Psychology. Buenos Aires
  • PsiqueHocheimer W (2004). The Psychotherapy of Jung,  Barcelona
  • Herderfordham, M (1999). Technique in Jungian Analysis (The Library of Analytical Psychology), Boston.
  • Karnac Jung, C. G. (1981). Archetypes and Collective Unconscious. Barcelona, ​​Paidos.
  • Jung, C.G (1993). Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. Editorial Paidós, Buenos Aires.