Analytical Psychology

 

 

 

Analytical psychology (or Jungian psychology) is the school of psychology originating from the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and then advanced by his students and other thinkers who followed in his tradition. It is distinct from Freudian psychoanalysis but also has a number of similarities. Its aim is the apprehension and integration of the deep forces and motivations underlying human behavior by the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, folklore and mythology. Depth psychology and archetypal psychology are related in that they both employ the model of the unconscious mind as the source of healing and development in the individual.

 

Overview

 

Jung developed his own distinctive approach to the study of the human mind. In his early years when working in a Swiss hospital with schizophrenic patients and working with Sigmund Freud and the burgeoning psychoanalytic community, he took a closer look at the mysterious depths of the human unconscious. Fascinated by what he saw (and spurred on with even more passion by the experiences and questions of his personal life) he devoted his life to the exploration of the unconscious. Unlike many modern psychologists, Jung did not feel that experimenting using natural science was the best means to understand the human psyche. For him, an empirical investigation of the world of dream, myth, and folklore represented the most promising road to its deeper understanding. That method's choice is related with his choice of the object of his science. As Jung said, "The beauty about the unconscious is that it is really unconscious". Hence, the unconscious is 'untouchable' by experimental researches—actually it is out of any possible kind of scientific or philosophic reach precisely because it is unconscious. Although the unconscious can't be studied by using direct approaches it is according to Jung, at least, a useful hypothesis. His postulated unconscious was quite different of the model that was proposed by Freud, despite the great influence that the founder of Psychoanalysis had on Jung. The most known difference is the assumption of the collective unconscious (see also Jungian archetypes). Although Jung's proposal of collective unconscious had been usually misunderstood as a proposal of the existence of images or mind contents thought to be innate to humans, it is nothing more than an assumption of the existence of psychic (mental) patterns. These patterns are not like any conscience's contents - thoughts, memories, et al. - which came from life experience. They are common to each human being and, actually, they're precisely what makes every human being have something in common.

 

The overarching goal of Jungian psychology is the reconciliation of the life of the individual with the world of the supra-personal archetypes. Central to this process is the individual's encounter with the unconscious. Humans experience the unconscious through symbols encountered in all aspects of life: in dreams, art, religion, and the symbolic dramas we enact in our relationships and life pursuits. Essential to the encounter with the unconscious, and the reconciliation of the individual's consciousness with this broader world, is learning this symbolic language. Only through attention and openness to this world is the individual able to harmonize his or her life with these suprapersonal archetypal forces.

 

"Neurosis" results from a disharmony between the individual's consciousness and the greater archetypal world. The aim of psychotherapy is to assist the individual in reestablishing a healthy relationship to the unconscious: neither being swamped by it — a state characteristic of psychosis — nor completely shut off from it — a state that results in malaise, empty consumerism, narcissism, and a life cut off from deeper meaning. The encounter between consciousness and the symbols arising from the unconscious enriches life and promotes psychological development. Jung considered this process of psychological growth and maturation (which he called the process of individuation) to be of critical importance to the human being, and ultimately to modern society.

 

In order to undergo the individuation process, the individual must be open to the parts of oneself beyond one's own ego. In order to do this, the modern individual must pay attention to dreams, explore the world of religion and spirituality, and question the assumptions of the operant societal worldview (rather than just blindly living life in accordance with dominant norms and assumptions).

 

Fundamentals

 

Unconscious

 

The basic assumption is that the personal unconscious is a potent part — probably the more active part — of the normal human psyche. Reliable communication between the conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche is necessary for wholeness.

 

Also crucial is the belief that dreams show ideas, beliefs, and feelings of which individuals are not readily aware, but need to be, and that such material is expressed in a personalized vocabulary of visual metaphors. Things "known but unknown" are contained in the unconscious, and dreams are one of the main vehicles for the unconscious to express them.

 

Analytical psychology distinguishes between a personal and a collective unconscious.

 

The collective unconscious contains archetypes common to all human beings. That is, individuation may bring to surface symbols that do not relate to the life experiences of a single person. This content is more easily viewed as answers to the more fundamental questions of humanity: life, death, meaning, happiness, fear. Among these more spiritual concepts may arise and be integrated into the personality.

 

Collective unconscious

 

Jung's concept of the collective unconscious has often been misunderstood. In order to understand this concept, it is essential to understand Jungian archetypes.

 

The archetypes of the collective unconscious could be thought of as the DNA of the human psyche. Just as all humans share a common physical heritage and predisposition towards specific gross physical forms (like having two legs, a heart, etc.), so do all humans have innate psychological predispositions in the form of archetypes, which compose the collective unconscious.

 

In contrast to the objective material world, the subjective realm of archetypes cannot be fully plumbed through quantitative modes of research. Instead it can be revealed more fully through an examination of the symbolic communications of the human psyche — in art, dreams, religion, myth, and the themes of human relational/behavioural patterns. Devoting his life to the task of exploring and understanding the collective unconscious, Jung theorized that certain symbolic themes exist across all cultures, all epochs, and in every individual.

 

Archetypes

 

The use of psychological archetypes was advanced by Jung in 1919. In Jung's psychological framework, archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations. A group of memories and interpretations associated with an archetype is a complex, e.g. a mother complex associated with the mother archetype. Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological givens that arose through evolution.

 

Self-realization and neuroticism

 

An innate need for self-realization leads people to explore and integrate these rejected materials. This natural process is called individuation, or the process of becoming an individual.

 

According to Jung, self-realization can be divided into two distinct tiers. In the first half of our lives we separate from humanity. We attempt to create our own identities (I, myself). This is why there is such a need for young men to be destructive, and can be expressed as animosity from teens directed at their parents. Jung also said we have a sort of “second puberty” that occurs between 35-40- outlook shifts from emphasis on materialism, sexuality, and having children to concerns about community and spirituality.

 

In the second half of our lives, humans reunite with the human race. They become part of the collective once again. This is when adults start to contribute to humanity (volunteer time, build, garden, create art, etc.) rather than destroy. They are also more likely to pay attention to their unconscious and conscious feelings. Young men rarely say "I feel angry." or "I feel sad.” This is because they have not yet rejoined the human collective experience, commonly reestablished in their older, wiser years, according to Jung. A common theme is for young rebels to "search" for their true selves and realize that a contribution to humanity is essentially a necessity for a whole self.

 

Jung proposes that the ultimate goal of the collective unconscious and self-realization is to pull us to the highest experience. This, of course, is spiritual.

 

If a person does not proceed toward self-knowledge, neurotic symptoms may arise. Symptoms are widely defined, including, for instance, phobias, fetishism, and depression.

 

Shadow

 

The shadow is an unconscious complex defined as the repressed, suppressed or unowned qualities of the conscious self. According to Analytical psychology there are both constructive and destructive aspects of a person's shadow.

 

In its more destructive aspects the shadow can represent those things which people do not accept about themselves. Someone, for instance, who identifies as being kind can have a shadow that is harsh or unkind. Conversely, a person who is brutal may have gentleness as a shadow quality.

 

In its more constructive aspects, a person's shadow may represent hidden positive qualities. This has been referred to as the "gold in the shadow".

 

Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness in order to avoid projecting shadow qualities on others.

 

The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.

 

According to Jung the human being deals with the reality of the shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation.

 

Anima and animus

 

Jung identified the anima as being the unconscious feminine component of men and the animus as the unconscious masculine component in women. However, this is rarely taken as a literal definition: many modern day Jungian practitioners believe that every person has both an anima and an animus. Jung stated that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth. Jung reported that he identified his anima as she spoke to him, as an inner voice, unexpectedly one day.

 

Often, when people ignore the anima or animus complexes, the anima or animus vies for attention by projecting itself on others. This explains, according to Jung, why we are sometimes immediately attracted to certain strangers: we see our anima or animus in them. Love at first sight is an example of anima and animus projection. Moreover, people who strongly identify with their gender role (e.g. a man who acts aggressively and never cries) have not actively recognized or engaged their anima or animus.

 

Jung attributes human rational thought to be the male nature, while the irrational aspect is considered to be natural female. Consequently, irrational moods are the progenies of the male anima shadow and irrational opinions of the female animus shadow.

 

Psychoanalysis

 

Analysis is a way to experience and integrate the unknown material. It is a search for the meaning of behaviours, symptoms and events. Many are the channels to reach this greater self-knowledge. The analysis of dreams is the most common. Others may include expressing feelings in art pieces, poetry or other expressions of creativity.

 

Giving a complete description of the process of dream interpretation and individuation is complex. The nature of the complexity lies on the fact that the process is highly specific to the person who does it.

 

While Freudian psychoanalysis assumes that the repressed material hidden in the unconscious is given by repressed sexual instincts, Analytical psychology has a more general approach. There is no preconceived assumption about the unconscious material. The unconscious, for Jungian analysts, may contain repressed sexual drives, but also aspirations, fears, etc.

 

Psychological Types

 

Analytical psychology distinguishes several psychological types or temperaments.

  • Extravert (Jung's spelling is "extravert", which most dictionaries also use; the variant "extrovert" is not preferred)
  • Introvert

 

The attitude type could be thought of as the flow of libido (psychic energy). An introverted person's energy is generally directed inward toward concepts and ideas whereas an extraverted person's energy is generally directed outward towards other people and objects. There are several contrasting characteristics between extraverts and introverts: extraverts desire breadth and are action-oriented, while introverts seek depth and are self-oriented.

 

Some research has suggested that there may be a positive correlation between introversion and extraversion with psychological disorders. Introverts may be more inclined to catatonic type schizophrenia and extraverts towards bipolar disorder.

 

According to Jung, the conscious psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distinguishes four basic functions:

  • sensation - perception by means of the sense organs;
  • intuition - perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents.
  • thinking - function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions;
  • feeling - function of subjective estimation;


Thinking and feeling functions are rational, while sensation and intuition are nonrational. According to Jung, rationality consists of figurative thoughts, feelings or actions with reason — a point of view based on objective value, which is set by practical experience. Nonrationality is not based in reason. Jung notes that elementary facts are also nonrational, not because they are illogical but because, as thoughts, they are not judgments.

 

In any person, the degree of introversion/extraversion of one function can be quite different from that of another function.

 

Generally, we tend to favor our most developed, dominant function, while we can broaden our personality by developing the others. Related to this, Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person's least developed, inferior function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped function(s) thus tend to progress together.

 

Complexes

 

Early in Jung's career he coined the term and described the concept of the "complex". Jung claims to have discovered the concept during his free association and galvanic skin response experiments. Freud obviously took up this concept in his Oedipus complex amongst others. Jung seemed to see complexes as quite autonomous parts of psychological life. It is almost as if Jung were describing separate personalities within what is considered a single individual, but to equate Jung's use of complexes with something along the lines of multiple personality disorder would be a step out of bounds.

 

Jung saw an archetype as always being the central organizing structure of a complex. For instance, in a "negative mother complex," the archetype of the "negative mother" would be seen to be central to the identity of that complex. This is to say, our psychological lives are patterned on common human experiences. Interestingly, Jung saw the Ego (which Freud wrote about in German literally as the "I", one's conscious experience of oneself) as a complex. If the "I" is a complex, what might be the archetype that structures it? Jung, and many Jungians, might say "the hero," one who separates from the community to ultimately carry the community further.

 

Clinical Theories

 

Jung's writings have been of much interest to people of many backgrounds and interests, including theologians, people from the humanities, and mythologists. Jung often seemed to seek to make contributions to various fields, but he was mostly a practicing psychiatrist, involved during his whole career in treating patients. A description of Jung's clinical relevance is to address the core of his work.

 

Jung started his career working with hospitalized patients with major mental illnesses, most notably schizophrenia. He was interested in the possibilities of an unknown "brain toxin" that could be the cause of schizophrenia. But the majority and the heart of Jung's clinical career was taken up with what we might call today individual psychodynamic psychotherapy, in gross structure very much in the strain of psychoanalytic practice first formed by Freud.

 

It is important to state that Jung seemed to often see his work as not a complete psychology in itself but as his unique contribution to the field of psychology. Jung claimed late in his career that only for about a third of his patients did he use "Jungian analysis." For another third, Freudian psychology seemed to best suit the patient's needs and for the final third Adlerian analysis was most appropriate. In fact, it seems that most contemporary Jungian clinicians merge a developmentally grounded theory, such as Self psychology or Donald Winnicott's work, with the Jungian theories in order to have a "whole" theoretical repertoire to do actual clinical work.

 

The "I" or Ego is tremendously important to Jung's clinical work. Jung's theory of etiology of psychopathology could almost be simplified to be stated as a too rigid conscious attitude towards the whole of the psyche. That is, a psychotic episode can be seen from a Jungian perspective as the "rest" of the psyche overwhelming the conscious psyche because the conscious psyche effectively was locking out and repressing the psyche as a whole.

 

John Weir Perry's book The Far Side of Madness explores and fleshes out this idea of Jung's very well. The story is a psychological description of a psychotic episode.

 

Post-Jungian Approaches

 

Andrew Samuels (1985) has distinguished three distinct traditions or approaches of "post-Jungian" psychology - classical, developmental and archetypal. Today there are more developments.

 

Classical

 

The classical approach is that which tries to remain faithful to what Jung himself proposed and taught in person and in his 20-plus volumes of work. Prominent advocates of this approach, according to Samuels (1985), include Emma Jung (C.G. Jung's wife, who was an analyst in her own right), Marie-Louise von Franz, Joseph Henderson, Aniela Jaffe, Erich Neumann, Gerhard Adler and Jolandi Jacobi.

 

Developmental

 

The developmental approach is primarily associated with Michael Fordham and his wife, Frieda Fordham. It can be considered a bridge between traditional Jungian analysis and Melanie Klein's object relations theory. Laings and Goodheart are also often mentioned. Samuels (1985) considers J. Redfearn, Richard Carvalho and himself (Andrew Samuels) as representatives of the developmental approach. Samuels notes how this approach differs from the classical by giving less emphasis to the Self and more emphasis to the development of personality; he also notes how, in terms of practice in therapy, it gives more attention to transference and counter-transference than either the classical or the archetypal approaches.

 

Archetypal

 

The archetypal approach (sometimes called "the imaginal school") was developed by James Hillman in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its adherents, according to Samuels (1985), include Murray Stein, Rafael Lopez-Pedraza and Wolfgang Giegerich. It may also be associated with mythopoeticists such as Clarissa Pinkola Estés who believes that ethnic and aboriginal people are the originators of archetypal psychology and have long carried the maps for the journey of the soul in their songs, tales, dream-telling, art and rituals; Marion Woodman who proposes a feminist viewpoint regarding archetypal psychology, and other Jungians such as Thomas Moore. Most mythopoetic/archetypal psychology innovators either imagine the Self not to be the main archetype of the collective unconscious as Jung thought, but rather assign each archetype equal value. Others, who are modern progenitors of archetypal psychology (such as Estés), think of the Self as that which contains and yet is suffused by all the other archetypes, each giving life to the other.

 

Robert L. Moore has explored the archetypal level of the human psyche in a series of five books co-authored with Douglas Gillette, which have played an important role in the men's movement in the United States. Moore likes to use computerese so he likens the archetypal level of the human psyche to a computer's hard wiring (its fixed physical components). Our personal experiences influence our accessing the archetypal level of the human psyche, but personalized ego consciousness can be likened to computer software.

 

Process-Oriented Psychology

 

Process-Oriented Psychology (also called Process Work) is associated with the Zurich trained Jungian analyst Arnold Mindell. Process Work developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was originally identified as a "daughter of Jungian psychology". Process Work stresses awareness of the "unconscious" as an ongoing flow of experience. This approach expands Jung's work beyond verbal individual therapy to include body experience, altered and comatose states as well as multicultural group work.

 

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