What Is Jungian Therapy?

Woman lying on couch with therapist.

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What Is Jungian Therapy?

Jungian therapy is a form of psychotherapy that originated in the theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who found that many of his patients suffered from deeply rooted feelings of gloom and inadequacy. He began to speak about the "divine" inside of people, which he called their "self." He felt that we had overlooked this divine aspect in psychology.

Jung's therapy emphasizes helping people find their true selves, and it often uses tools like art and myth to help patients make contact with these deep feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. In addition, Jungian therapy involves getting in touch with the unconscious mind, which he believed plays a large role in shaping people's thoughts and behavior.

Today, some therapists still use Jungian therapy. It can be helpful for people who are struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. Because it focuses on the whole person, not just their symptoms, it can be helpful for people who haven't found success with other therapies.

Jungian Therapy Techniques

Jungian therapy techniques vary but often involve working with dreams, symbols, and mythology. The therapist will help the client explore these concepts and understand the meaning they hold for the individual. This can be a lengthy process, as it can take time to uncover all of the unconscious material influencing a person's life.

Below is a list of some of the techniques used in Jungian therapy:

  • Art. Art can provide a way to access the unconscious and explore images that arise. Through art, we can learn about our self-image and what symbols and themes emerge when concentrating on a particular problem.
  • Dream analysis. One of the most important means of achieving insight in the Jungian analysis is through dreams, which often provide material to work with in therapy. As a Jungian client, you might keep a notebook by your bed to record your dreams when you wake up because they usually fade rapidly from memory afterward.
  • Active imagination. This technique allows you to imagine yourself in scenes that represent the unconscious material you are working on. In this way, you can explore the material further and understand what it means for you.
  • Word association. This is a technique in which you say the first word that pops into your head after hearing another word. This exercise can help reveal the unconscious thoughts and feelings that influence your behavior.

What Jungian Therapy Can Help With

Are you wondering whether Jungian therapy could help you with your particular problem or situation? Jungian therapy tends to be most effective for people interested in self-exploration and personal growth.

If you are dealing with unresolved emotional issues or psychological problems, Jungian therapy may be able to help you address and resolve them. However, it is important to note that Jungian therapy is not a cure-all; it is only one tool that one can use to delve into your psyche and heal what needs healing.

A Jungian therapist will not be able to give you the answers or tell you what to do; instead, they will provide you with an opportunity to discover the root cause of your issues through dreams, fantasies, art, play, and active imagination techniques.

Below is a list of psychological disorders for which Jungian therapy might be used:

Benefits of Jungian Therapy

You may find Jungian therapy advantageous as it provides the opportunity to peel back the layers of the psyche and discover hidden parts of yourself. Once you learn about your subconscious mind, you may feel more in control and able to make positive changes throughout your life by tapping into this deep well of knowledge and inspiration.

Jungian therapy can also provide a safe environment for exploring issues that you may be afraid to talk about with friends and family. As your therapist will not judge you for anything you say, you can explore difficult emotions and memories without fear of repercussion or censure.

Jungian therapy also helps you to build a more meaningful and satisfying life. The theory of the collective subconscious states that we are all connected, and this is something Jungian therapy can help you explore and understand on a deep level. You'll come to see the big picture as you learn how your role intersects with those of people around you, as well as our planet as a whole.

While Jungian therapy is not a quick-fix solution, the value that you will derive from it means that the time and money you invest in this type of therapy will pay off exponentially.

Effectiveness

A 2013 review study of the effectiveness of Jungian therapy showed significant improvements in the level of symptoms, interpersonal problems, and personality structure. These improvements remained for a period of up to six years. In addition, there was evidence in some studies of improvements after the end of therapy.

Patients also were shown to reduce health care utilization below the average of the general population. Finally, patients were seen to move from a level of severe symptoms to psychological health. On average, patients in the studies attended 90 sessions of therapy.

Things to Consider

Jungian therapy may not be the right choice for everyone. If you aren't comfortable working with symbolism, metaphors, and the subjective nature of your experiences, this type of therapy may not be a good fit for you.

In addition, it may be difficult to find a Jungian therapist who is right for you. Be sure to do your research and ask around to see if anyone you know has had a positive experience with a Jungian therapist. You may find it difficult to find a therapist who practices this type of therapy, but finding a good match is worth the extra effort.

How to Get Started

If you feel that Jungian therapy would benefit you, your first step is to find a therapist who is qualified to practice it. The International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) is a good place to start looking for a therapist.

If you are already in therapy, ask your therapist if they are familiar with Jungian psychology. If not, they may be able to refer you to a Jungian analyst or psychotherapist.

During the intake session for Jungian therapy, you and your therapist will begin to establish a therapeutic relationship. They may ask you questions about your background and family history and your symptoms or concerns to help them determine what approaches would be most helpful for you.

During the course of Jungian therapy, which typically lasts several years, you'll meet with your therapist at least once per week. Due to the length of this type of therapy, these appointments can be costly. Be sure that you either have insurance that covers Jungian therapy or can afford the cost.

A Word From Verywell Mind

Jungian therapy is an in-depth type of therapy that can take a long time to achieve its goals. This doesn't mean it's not worth pursuing, particularly if you feel as though you want to delve into your subconscious and not just deal with the surface level of your problems.

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3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Jones RA. Jung's "Psychology with the Psyche" and the Behavioral SciencesBehav Sci (Basel). 2013;3(3):408-417. Published 2013 Jul 18. doi:10.3390/bs3030408

  3. Roesler C. Evidence for the effectiveness of jungian psychotherapy: a review of empirical studiesBehav Sci (Basel). 2013;3(4):562-575. Published 2013 Oct 24. doi:10.3390/bs3040562