“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” – Carl Jung
If you are here, and you are considering a form of “talk therapy,” your first thought may be to wonder if you will be expected to lie on a couch whilst I smoke a pipe and take notes behind you. Fortunately, things have progressed a very long way since the days of Sigmund Freud.
As a psychological treatment, individual analysis (psychoanalysis) is considered to be a method of psychotherapy that can be very useful if you are struggling with enduring issues related to the way you feel/think about yourself, the world, and those you are close to: friends, colleagues, partners, parents, children.
After all, it is not at all unusual for anyone to experience a sense of anxiety or depression due to a life event that has caused one to feel “disconnected,” or simply “overwhelmed.” You might be experiencing a recent bereavement or loss (a job, a relationship, a marriage); or issues may have arisen related to dating, getting married, or ageing and retirement.
Alternatively, the issues may be simply about being able to be “yourself,” and the desire to nuture other aspects of your personality that seem underdeveloped: a lack of confidence to take risks and engage life, an ability to slow down, or an ability to be honest about your feelings. The relationship with the analyst allows you to begin to risk being yourself in a safe environment, regardless of the issue.
From a Jungian perspective, therapy (analysis) begins with the understanding that every person (including you) is unique and has the potential to become fully “individual.” This will often entail looking at the way your past experiences may have affected you and the way those might continue to get in the way of “you becoming you.”
Suffice it to say, the fundamental goal of Jungian analysis is to build a vital relationship between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind so that psychic development can be on-going. Rather than regarding the unconscious merely as the storehouse of repressed memories, Jung viewed it as the wellspring of psychic energy and healing. He acknowledged the importance of understanding how the deficits and trauma of our history influence us, but stressed the need to look to the future as well, to understand our inner urge to become the unique individuals that we each have the potential to be.
For Jung, dreams were of the utmost importance to this, suggesting that dreams serve as a bridge between our unconscious and conscious lives, and doing the work of integrating them help us move toward what he called individuation, the mind’s quest for wholeness, and what we might consider wisdom. And while dreams are not required, they can most certainly assist the journey of analysis.
In this context, analysis is a dialogue between two people – the client (analysand) and the therapist (analyst), whose aim it is to help get in touch with inner sources of healing and growth, uncovering personal solutions and answers.
Again, everyone is unique, including you, and it is important to remember that the relationship between the analyst and the analysand is one built upon trust, collaboration and process. In fact, most all schools of psychology and psychoanalysis see the relationship that develops as a critical factor in the change and healing processes.
With this in mind, ideally the analyst and analysand would want to meet at least once a week, though in many cases two and three times a week are more ideal, with each session lasting an hour. As for the couch, it’s been replaced by a comfortable chair that you sit in, across from me.
“Visita Interiora Terræ Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem”
”Visit the interior of the earth, and [by] purifying [yourself] you will find the hidden stone, which is the true medicine.”