A Brief Introduction to Jungian Therapy Opposites, Dreams, and Individuation Dr. Peter Demuth Clinical Psychologist & Jungian Analyst (Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts) Nothing is more deleterious than a routine understanding of everything. Carl Jung • Analytic Psychotherapy is an attempt to create, by means of a symbolic approach, a dialectical relationship between consciousness and the unconscious. • The psyche is seen as a self-regulating system whose functioning is purposive with an internally imposed direction towards a life of fuller awareness. Continued … • In psychotherapy, a dialogue ensues, via dreams, fantasies, and other unconscious products, between the conscious state of the analysand and his personal, as well as his collective unconsciousness. Yoram Kaufmann, Analytic Psychotherapy,1979: In Current Psychotherapies, Chapter 3. • The unconscious is not directly available to consciousness. The only communication seemingly available is the symbol. Symbols are attempts to express something essentially unexplainable but nonetheless postulated as existing. • It is a basic tenet of Jungian therapy that all products of the unconscious are symbolic and can be taken as guiding messages. Thus, the symptoms, the neurosis itself, are not merely indications of psyche malfunction, but show the way out of the conflict underlying them, if symbolically understood. Jung’s Basic Concepts Consciousness: • ego awareness • Reality Testing • the sense of one’s self and one’s identity The Personal Unconscious • Jung’s idea about the personal unconscious was exactly as Freud envisioned it. This was the place where all the things once in sense, that is, all the things that have been experienced are now residing in one of the following three states. They can be readily recalled. They have been forgotten. Or, they have been repressed. The Collective Unconscious This is the realm of Kant’s Organizing Principles or a priori functions which Jung referred to as ‘archetypes’. Archetypes Jung stated that “Archetypes are systems of readiness for action, and at the same time images and emotions. They are inherited with the brain structure- indeed they are its psychic aspect. They represent, on the one hand, a very strong instinctive conservatism, while on the other hand they are the most effective means conceivable of instinctive adaptation. Thus they are essentially, the chthonic portion of the psyche… that portion through which the psyche is attached to nature. (Jung, CW 10, Par. 53). Archetypes continues… Again, archetypes are a priori ordering principles for potential personalities. They are the prototypes for all future and existing functions. Archetypes are out of the reach of consciousness and cannot be know directly, but over the ages they have given rise to equivalent forms of imagery that manifest in the myths, fairy tales, and the art works of all cultures. They are universal. Some of the more common motifs include stories of transformation, death and rebirth, the journey of the hero, and the birth of the divine child. Jung’s Typology • Extroversion v. Introversion • Sensation v. Intuition • Thinking v. Feeling • Judgment v. Perception Archetypes exist within us as potentialities. Our life circumstances and the life and culture we are born into will determine in which unique way which of the infinite number of potential archetypes are actualized in our experiences. (In Yoram Kaufmann, Analytic Psychotherapy, 1979, Current Psychotherapies, Ch. 3). The Ego • The ego is the center on consciousness, the experiential being of the person- one’s identity. It is the sum total of one’s ‘personal’ thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories, and sensory perceptions. The Persona The persona is the face we show to the outside world. The word originally meant “actor’s mask”. The job of this mask is adaptation to one’s circumstances. We act differently in different situations. Jung states: “The persona is that, which in reality, one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is”. (Jung, CW, 9i, par.221). The Shadow The Shadow represents our other side, that which we exclude from our personas. It is all that we would like not to be and imagine that we are not. It is the compensatory side of the conscious egothat which is needed in order for us to be psychologically whole. It is all the things that we would never recognize readily in ourselves but seem always willing to see in others. (Jekyll and Hyde). Ego Development The beginning of Therapy As a general rule, therapy starts with a thorough investigation of the patient’s conscious state. Jung felt that each person had a story to tell and that you should give them the opportunity to tell their story. (EX.) Since the unconscious is viewed as compensatory to the conscious state, the latter has to be established first. The same dream, for example, can have multiple interpretations depending on the conscious attitude. Opposites / Polarities From John Heider’s The Tao of Leadership: All behavior consists of opposites. If I do anything more and more, over and over, its polarity will appear. (Theory of compensation). For example… Striving to be beautiful makes a person ugly. Trying too hard to be kind is a form of selfishness. An obsession with living suggests a worry about dying. True simplicity is not easy. Is it a long time and a short time since we last met? The braggart probably feels small and insecure. He who would be first ends up last. Heider continued… Knowing how polarities work, the wise leader does not push to make things happen, but allows the process to unfold on its own. The leader teaches by example rather than by lecturing others on how they ought to be. The leader knows that constant interventions will block the group’s progress. The leader does not insist that things come out a certain way. The wise leader does not seek a lot of money or a lot of praise. Nevertheless, there are plenty of both. Enantiodromia: (Heraclitus’ concept of opposites) If a person goes continuously in one direction he or she will unwittingly wind up in the opposite position. Jung expanded this concept to include four ways in which opposites interact. I call them… Domination / Submissiveness Indifference Coniunctio Cold War Dream Work Individuals vary considerably in their capacity to remember dreams (but we all dream). There are some who never remember any dreams, but they are rare in the typical patient population. As dreams are honored and taken seriously, they tend to happen more frequently- as does any communication from the unconscious that is respected. • The most profitable way to look at a dream is to see it as a metaphysical drama unfolding before your eyes. In a well conceived play, the setting is first established, physically as well as psychologically. This is called the expositional phase. The mood is then suggested as are the possible conflicts to be faced. All stories worth telling usually have a likely protagonist and a antagonist. • Then, there is usually a crisis of sorts, a challenge, or conflict is thrust to the fore. The various forces hinted at in the exposition stage now emerge more fully and the drama unfolds. • Then as a general rule a solution is introduced, sometimes in the form of there being no solution as in a stalemate or impasse. • Dreams can either be Objective hereby the dream material seems to be about actual events and actual people or Subjective where is pertains to something more universal or to the inner world of the collective psyche. • The main difference between the Classical Freudian approach to the dream and the Jungian approach is that the Freudians tend to see the dream as a form or repression or a disguise. Freudians view the dream as the result of repressed contents from the (personal) unconscious seeking expression The unconscious part of the ego seeks to distort in order to reduce anxiety, support sleep, and to generally protect the ego. The distortion must be unraveled. • In the Freudian method the actual dream is referred to as the ‘manifest content’ behind which there lurks the latent or hidden intention of the dream. • A Jungian views the dream phenomenologically, that is the dream is an unconscious message expressed in symbolic form- which is the preferred language of the unconscious. The message is not necessarily hidden- but rather it seeks to reveal itself. References Heider, J. (1985). The Tao of Leadership. Humantics Limited. Stein, M. (1995). Jungian Analysis. Open Court Publishing. Kaufmann, Y. (1979). In Current Psychotherapies by Corsini, Chapter 3 on Analytic Psychotherapy. According to Murray Stein • It is an essential feature of Jungian Analysis that in pursuit of human wholeness the unconscious is given a central voice. For, if this factor is ignored, as is oftentimes the case with more ego based and cognitive-behavioral approaches, wholeness can be nothing but an illusion or an idealistic vision without any grounding in reality. Stein continued… • Psychological change does not become an effective, long term transformation of either personality or ego functioning unless it is grounded in structural change that in itself has an archetypal basis (p.47). (Murray Stein, Jungian Analysis, 1995).