An Overview of Depth Psychology and Jungian Techniques
The goal of Jungian analysis is to move clients towards wholeness, authenticity, and fulfillment. To do this, therapy is often used to find ways to encounter our unconscious motives. This can be done through dream interpretation, shadow work, and symbolic interpretation of the archetypes (universal patterns) that exist within our psyches.
Jungian psychology is, of course, all thanks to the wonderful Carl Jung, who taught psychology so much about how the human unconscious has such profound effects on our life. From his theoretical basis, came Depth Psychology, which is a whole field of psychology dedicated to understanding the language and dynamics of the unconscious.
What I appreciate most about Jung’s psychology is his equal emphasis on deep psychological growth alongside the relief of distressing psychological symptoms. The major goal of work within this framework is to connect with and communicate with our unconscious.
If your dreams are having any kind of effect on your waking life, even just enticing you with a smidge of curiosity, then it may be productive to look at them more deeply during therapy. By analyzing your dreams, you may unlock insight that has profound effects on your life and perspectives.
Our shadow is the parts of us that we reject, or refuse to acknowledge. Shadow work is all about self-reflection and allows us a safe place to own up to our deep-rooted fears, insecurities and destructive tendencies, and gives us a template to integrate these parts of ourselves into more productive patterns.
We all have moments where we play the Hero or the Victim, but did you know that these symbolic characters are actually part of the collective unconscious? Myth and motif show up in everyday life all the time, that’s why mythology is such a powerful learning tool, because the heroes and heroines of these stories remind of us something deep within ourselves. By understanding which archetypal patterns we tend to recreate in our own lives, we can gain insight into who we are, what motivates us and we can begin to construct new meaning.
This tool is what makes up the most of my therapeutic work. Active imagination is just purposefully directing our imagination to interact with different parts of our psyche. This can be done through guided visualizations or on your own. I use it to interact with and uncouple our deeply ingrained patterns (which often show up as archetypes). I find that by creating an image for a part of you that you are struggling with, it is easier to conceptualize the pattern and create something healthier, or more in line with your values. Active imagination is also a great tool for general self-discovery.
NOTE: I am NOT a Jungian Analyst, rather, I integrate the techniques that resonate with me into my own model for psychotherapy.
For More Information:
New York Association for Analytical Psychology “What is Jungian Analysis?”
Mind, Body, Green “The Value of Shadow Work and 3 Exercises to Get Started”
Pacifica Graduate Institute “What is Depth Psychology?”