What Is Jungian Analysis?
“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole.” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections p.3)
Jungian psychology came to be through the work of C.G. Jung. Using the above quotation from Jung himself, I want to explain briefly a few basic things about what Jungian analysis is and how it works. Life is a process of bringing to consciousness – to our knowledge, the unconscious, which has its own ways of calling to us and reaching us.
This life long process of understanding and knowing more is called individuation, becoming more whole and more connected with awareness. This process is not easy at all especially when one has to integrate within oneself those aspects which we don’t want to see in us, which we disown, and project onto others. Often what we do in the analysis is to make this process possible, not by forcing it but rather by creating the right conditions to allow it to happen and then understand its meaning for our life.
We open a channel of communication between consciousness and unconsciousness, learn to read what the unconscious is seeking to show us, take ownership and employ our ego to make change happen. The unconscious speaks symbolically as if its messages are so to speak encrypted. Unconscious messages come to us personally through our dreams, visions/fantasies, anything we come across that strikes us and stays with us, through somatic symptoms, mental health conditions, our creative work.
The unconscious speaks to us as a collective too and human beings have been seeking answers and knowledge about living and dying since time immemorial. What is special about Jungian analysis is that it creates a safe container where our individual transformation can happen not just our adaptation to the world. And the Jungian analyst is more the midwife than the prescriptive doctor.