Analytical Psychology

tumblr_mdoupnXOZL1rjw8sqo1_400Analytical psychology approaches psychotherapy in the tradition of C. G. Jung. It is distinguished by a focus on the role of symbolic experiences in human life, taking a prospective approach to the issues presented in therapy. This means that while one’s life history is of great significance for understanding one’s current circumstances, the current circumstances also contain the seeds for future growth and development. The goal of Jungian analysis is what Jung called individuation, the achievement of a greater degree of consciousness regarding the totality of the one’s psychological, interpersonal and cultural experiences. Along with Freud, Jung recognized the importance of early life experiences, and the personal complexes that arise from disturbances in one’s life, which are found in the personal unconscious. Jung’s particular insight, however, was his recognition that individuals are also influenced by unconscious factors that lie outside their personal experience, and which have a more universal quality. These factors, which he called archetypes, form the collective unconscious, and give shape to the more universal narratives, myths and religious phenomena that shape the larger context of human experience. The analytic process is intended to bring these factors, both personal and collective, into consciousness, allowing the individual to see more clearly what forces are at play in his or her life. The role of the analyst is to help facilitate the individuation process by providing an informed interpretative environment for understanding the individual’s life experiences.