A Brief Introduction to Jungian Therapy

A Brief Introduction to Jungian
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
• 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
The Collective Unconscious
This is the realm of Kant’s Organizing
Principles or a priori functions which Jung
referred to as ‘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,
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.
(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
Domination / Submissiveness
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
• 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
• 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.
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
(Murray Stein, Jungian Analysis, 1995).