“The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.”
Each of us is a unique individual – but: in the course of our lives we spend much time, energy and effort to be like others, to fit in, to meet expectations. We compare ourselves to others and even try to be better, bigger, wealthier, healthier and happier than those around us. Everyday living does require certain adjustments and accommodation to our environment, but we tend to over do it. We need a process that can help us reconnect to our own uniqueness in the world of our daily lives – a way to recover and connect back to our “soul”. Jungian analysis is one such process.
“Jungian” refers to the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustaf Jung (1875 – 1969). Jungian Psychology is also known as Analytical Psychology to distinguish it from Freudian Psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) and Carl Jung were close collaborators for some years but eventually they each went their own way.
Jungian analysis is certainly not for everyone, but it can be a life-altering experience, as it was for me. Usually an analyst and client meet once or twice a week. They sit facing one another in conversation and exchange of thoughts and ideas. Their relationship is less of one of hierarchical authority than one of two people, intent on making space for unusual, client centered solutions for issues and problems. In an analytic process the attention is focused on the individuation journey of the client. The analyst brings her or his perspective gained from personal analysis and training to bear on the analysand’s concerns.
While Jungian analysis, like all therapeutic interventions, is concerned with alleviating the clients’ emotional distress, it differs from psychotherapy and counseling in several ways. It intends understand and accept themselves – und thus discover new creative energy. Although most persons enter an analysis because of a serious dissatisfaction or pain in some area of their lives, analytic clients generally are not psychologically “sick”. Most analysands are highly functional, healthy persons who desire to lead a richer, fuller life by going “deeper”. In this sense analysis is a type of “inner work”, something more akin to a spiritual path of discipline rather than psychological “treatment” for a mental disorder.
All Jungian analysts are required as part of their extensive training to undergo their own lengthy analysis. This means that analysts can be expected to be aware of the potential interference of their own “complexes” or “blind spots” in their work with individual clients.
In a Jungian analysis we emphasize the important contributions the unconscious can have on our emotions and behavior. Jungian theory introduced such concepts as “extrovert/introvert”, “shadow”, “anima/animus”, “synchronicity” and “archetype” to the psychoanalytic vocabulary.
Analysis is typically a lengthy process. It is in this way an anomaly in our fast-paced, busy, extraverted and materialistic world. The care of the soul is at the heart of our work.
The Training of an Analyst
To enter training, you must have completed a graduate degree in your field of choice – usually this means a terminal degree. In my case, I received a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Later, to gain clinical accreditation, which is required in order to practice in my state of residence, I became an LPC (I received an M.A. in Counseling and Therapy from the University of Alabama in Birmingham).
Analytic training includes classroom instruction on theory and practice, examinations and required papers, a minimum of 300 hours of personal analysis, extensive work with one’s own analysands, supervision and control sessions with senior analysts and the completion of a thesis. Such training takes a minimum of four years, but usually the training lasts much longer. Again, in my case, I spent 9 semesters ( four and a half years) studying at the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich, Switzerland. Every Jungian analyst must be a graduate of an accredited Jungian training institute. There are a number of such institutes both in the USA and now world-wide.
FOR FURTHER READING:
C. G. Jung et al., Man and His Symbols.
Harry Wilmer, Nuts and Bolts of Jungian Psychology.
Peter O’Connor, Understanding Jung, Understanding Yourself.
Copyright © 2020 Jutta von Buchholtz, PhD, LPC
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