Carl Jung > Theory

What is Analytical Psychology

The best introduction to the specificity of analytical psychology comes from highlighting the differences from Freudian psychoanalysis.

Carl Jung called his psychology "analytical" to differentiate it from Freudian psychoanalysis. But how do these two disciplines differ?

Theoretical plane

Theoretically, we have many differences. Although to a certain extent Jung followed Freud's theories about mind disorders and libido, he later broke away by denying the sexual quality of the libido and especially the sexual etiology of mind disorders. Jung sees the libido as psychic energy, just like electricity, which can take any form or usage (at Freud the libido is sexual). Finally, the psyche includes the collective unconscious - without excluding the personal one - but also other elements such as archetypes, the Self, etc.

In the theory of dreams there are also significant additions and differences. I have already specified Jung's contributions on the page dedicated to this topic. For Jung dreams are natural products (expression of the total psychic) and have a prospective aspect (different from the reductive or retrospective at Freud). Jung rejects the Freudian concept of deformation as effect of some dream censorship - according to him, the dream is exactly what it represents, without suspecting a "facade", as is the case with Freud.

There are other differences, but the above are the most striking.

 

The practice plane

Regarding the practice of analysis there are also several differences. Jung doesn't hesitate to intervene in the monologue of the patient who is no longer obliged to lie on the couch with his back to the analyst. Jung even invites the patient to express his opinion about his case, to take part in the healing process, even if he/she does not have the necessary psychoanalytic knowledge. Jung does not act according to prescribed criteria. He proposes an attitude of maximum openness towards the patient's problems, without any prejudice. He advised his disciples, in this regard, to forget everything they had learned. Perhaps here, however, we find a trace of that empathy that reproduces the discourse of theother's unconscious, noticed and advised by Freud.

Sometimes the analysis ends after a brief clarification in which Jung explains in plain terms the reason of the patient's problem. This is not always the case, but only when he deals with very intelligent persons. Most often he interprets dreams, asks for anamnesis, proposes special techniques such as active imagination or drawing of mandalas. This stimulates the creativity of the patient who gives voice to the emotions that affect him/her, other than through speech. We could say that the Jungian approach is a dynamic, active one, as opposed to the Freudian one, which is passive.

The individuation process

It is important to remember the role played by the individuation process in Jungian psychotherapy. Often the treatment is not completed even if certain inhibitions have been eliminated or the much-desired adaptation to reality has been achieved. Jung believes that the analysis continues further, this time in a direction that has nothing premeditated, but automatically imposed, to what he calls the realization of the Self. There's nothing similar at Freud.

Moreover, the Jungian analysis has no limits and no strict schedule. It may be suspended for a while to be resumed later, even after years!

Finally, Jung placed much emphasis on patients' ability to engage intellectually in his studies. That is why many of them were invited to study and write papers on the different aspects of normal and abnormal psychic life.

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Paper by J Jones

 

© Carl Jung Resources, 2019.