Anna M. Gassol
Doctor of Psychology and Jungian Analyst
Associate Professor, University of Barcelona
THE JUNGIAN APPROACH
The framework for my practice is founded on Depth Psychology– the Analytical Psychology approach of the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl G. Jung. He is known for the use of synchronicity in psychotherapy as well as for his theories of the Collective Unconscious and the concept of archetypes.
A central aim of analytical psychology is individuation, the process by which a person becomes himself or wholly individuated; that is a separate, indivisible unity or whole. Jung listened to more than 80.000 dreams through his clinical work, from which he continually researched into the human psyche.
Jungian Analysis and Psychotherapy
To become an analyst we first need to work on our personal analysis to learn progressively to look at our interior. Through our practice we continue exercising this type of approach because we need to grasp the inner being of our analysands. What we perceive in them, unless we actualise defensive mechanisms, at the same time touches our inner being in a constant reciprocity that never ends, and that creates a way of relating to our clients: a soul relationship. The task of our profession is to work out the analytical view. An analyst assumes that behaviour has a meaningful ‘inside’ and by getting inside the problem he or she will be able to understand its meaning. This approach is psychological. Or we can say, the soul is its first premise.
Why then are there some therapists, either psychiatrists or psychologists, who have in their mind “perfection”? Or why are they more oriented to the ego than to the path of the soul?
Psychiatry means “healing or therapy of the psyche oriented to wholeness”. In the field of Medicine we only find three specializations whose names use “iatreia” instead of “logos”: psychiatry, pediatrics, and geriatrics. The specializations that use “logos” are in charge of parts of the individual, as for example cardiology. Interestingly enough we find “gynecology” oriented only to women. Only female (or only male) means only a part, not wholeness. In Plato’s Symposium it was said that men and women were separated from their whole being (from an androgynous wholeness) and this is why they need to look for completeness. But children and the elderly are themselves complete; so we do not say “pediology” or “geriatrology”. Psychiatry is supposed to attain the wholeness of the individual by understanding the sicknesses of the soul and by treating these from a whole approach. But currently psychiatry tends to emphasize only the biological aspect (of the psyche), and in this fashion some psychiatrists end up orienting their work to a part of the individual – the brain -, instead of the soul.
Psychology means “Logos of the psyche”. We may understand “Logos” either as a psychological function oriented to the “discernment of the psyche in parts” or as “the telling”. As “the telling of the soul” we refer literally to the wholeness of the individual. Some psychologists understand psychological matters as this telling of the soul, and if so, they work overall with the soul and accept imperfection. But the discernment of the psyche in parts undertaken through judgments which do not take meaning into account result in an inadequate understanding of the psyche, in which the individual becomes divided: its psyche is studied by being analyzed in parts, for which a strong ego becomes necessary to the individual.
What makes human beings an enjoyable object of work for some analysts, as myself, might be their quality of imperfection, and so, of humanity (instead of divinity). Analysis approaches the process of achieving wholeness rather than perfection. Wholeness includes good and bad, beauty and ugliness, sanity and insanity, etc. Wholeness never means perfection. Wholeness aims for integration, not for separation.
Depth Psychology: C.G. Jung
In Jungian analysis, The analyst and the analysand sitting face to face are mutually involved in a both conscious and unconscious interactive process.
The aim of such kind of dialectical procedure is individuation, the process by which a person becomes himself or wholly individuated; that is a separate, indivisible unity or whole. In other words, the person becomes conscious in respect that he or she is both a unique human being and, at the same time, no more than a common man or woman. In order to become whole, not only consciousness but also the unconscious needs to participate. Therefore, the soul is involved. Psychology cannot explain soul, but Jungian psychologists must care for the soul and be passionate caretakers of it as well.
A truth of analytical psychology is far from similar to the type of truth with which experimental psychologists deal because, as it refers to the reality of the psyche, this psychic reality is conceived as different from only mental contents and behaviour. The nature of psychic reality can only be meaningfully grasped, but never submitted to experimental examination. In analysis we approach the unconscious as an indispensable requirement to attain the inner. We use dreams, for example, as the “language” through which we know of the unconscious, but without the intention to submit either the unconscious or the dreams to examination or any other type of constriction. Analysis means, in this case, amplification, and so the images in dreams want to be amplified by way of the individual’s personal association; they should never be reduced as these images are metaphors of the unconscious life.
Analytical psychology, in order to work out the process of individuation, focuses on the processes of the unconscious along with empirical facts of the individual’s biography with the understanding that those truths have been experienced by that individual both objectively and subjectively, as is the nature of life experience itself.
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Portrait of Carl Jung, unknown date