Discovering innate potential: Jungian analysis is based on Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung’s approach to the psyche (the totality of all psychological processes, conscious and unconscious). The Jungian method pays special attention to complexes (ideas and images with a particular feeling-tone that relate to a common theme), the unconscious and working with dreams and imagination towards the development of the personality, a process Jung called individuation. As we examine unconscious assumptions about ourselves and others, we are able to remove blocks to our growth and relieve disturbing symptoms, allowing our innate potential to unfold.
Self-acceptance and greater meaning: While the primary goal of analytic work is to alleviate emotional distress and suffering, an additional goal is to help us deepen our understanding of ourselves, accepting and embracing who we are as unique individuals. In many instances, people entering analysis are emotionally healthy and well-functioning individuals seeking to find greater meaning in their lives by deepening their sense of self-awareness.
Analysis stresses the importance of uncovering the unconscious influences that are continually operating in our lives. The analyst works to guide and facilitate the process of identifying and understanding the impact these unconscious influences have on behavior, relationships, feelings and emotions. The task of finding greater meaning and purpose in our life requires an increased awareness of those aspects of our personalities that are unconscious, unrecognized or unacknowledged.
The language of the unconscious: A Jungian approach looks at the problem not only through the symptom and its origin, but also from the viewpoint of the unconscious. In analysis we ask what the symptom might be trying to express. For instance, symptoms can be attempts to restore equilibrium to the psyche, or they might be an attempt to slow a person down so that they can look inward. Contrary to popular opinion, analysis is not focused on the past, but on how earlier parts of our lives can influence our reactions to present situations.
Jungian analysis works with the symbolic language of the unconscious, accessed through dreams, imagination and many kinds of creative or reflective endeavors. The emphasis is on working deeply rather than working quickly or in a certain span of time. As a result, this approach brings greater depth to the personality, increases our capacity for self-understanding and expands our ability to self-reflect.