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  • Furthering Your Self Understanding with Jungian Analysis

    Many people on the web rightly or wrongly call themselves “Jungian” — but what really is Jungian analysis, and how can it further your self understanding?

    Jungian analysis

    Let’s answer that question by starting with C.G. (Carl) Jung…

    1.  Jung

    Jungian analysis

    Jung’s approach, called Jungian analysis, involves an extensive investigation of the unconscious mind of the client. Unlike many, Jung sought  to “look at a [person] in light of what is healthy and sound, rather than in light of [his or her] defects.”  He focused on a person’s strengths, and on the things that were trying to emerge from the unconscious of the individual.

    Jung recognized that the unconscious may have a different attitude to life issues than the conscious mind.  Also, the unconscious may know things about our selves and our lives that the conscious mind doesn’t.  Jung thus anticipated many of the findings of modern neuroscience, which has established that up to 95% of the functioning of the brain/mind is unconscious — and that the unconscious part of the mind is often aware of much of which the conscious mind is not.

    2.  It All Centers on Individuation

    As Prof. Samuels tells us, individuation is “a person’s becoming himself, whole, indivisible and distinct from others”, and concerns individuality, and with the psychological conditions that may interfere with conscious living.  Jung tells us that it’s very common for the individual to be at odds with him- or herself.  The way the individual has consciously structured life may be fundamentally at odds with his or her own basic nature, in important ways.  Jungian analysis is about becoming aware of unconscious contents, so that the individual may integrate them into consciousness, furthering self-understanding.

    3. Images of the Undiscovered Self

    jungian analysis

    Jungian analysis stresses that we often go through life “believing our own propaganda” — accepting superficial stories about ourselves.  Often we have an understanding of who we are based on how we have experienced our conscious life, and what others have told us, leaving out an enormous part of our inner richness.  As our unconscious self begins to emerge through previously unacknowledged feelings, dreams, or possibly  art or writing, we confront the undiscovered self, and the fullness of the person we are.

    Example*:  X, a 40 year old financial services expert, hit an impasse in her career and relationship.  Through Jungian analysis, X realized that her career, though lucrative, was completely at odds with her actual personality, and that the perfectionism and workaholism that drove her had roots in inner pressures to “make good” and to “be perfect”.  Over time, she creatively remade her financial career in ways that aligned with her values.

    4.  What is My Unique Way?

    Jungian analysis brings us to greater self understanding by unfolding our own uniqueness.  What form might that adventure take for you?


    *NOTE: This is a composite drawn from several cases, with all potentially identifying details changed to protect client privacy.
    PHOTO:  Attribution Share Alike  Some rights reserved by  meddygarnet ;
    © 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)
    1. Patrick McCurry
      March 6, 2014 at 9:35 am -

      Thank you for this post, Brian. I appreciated your succinct explanation of Jungian ideas and loved some of the phrases, such as the unconscious having ” different attitude to life issues than the conscious mind.” The case study also resonated with me, having spent the early years of my working life in work that only partially satisfied me.

      1. Brian C
        March 6, 2014 at 8:49 pm -

        I’m glad that you found the post meaningful, Patrick! I think that many of us have had the experience of needing to adjust our career and overall stance towards our life, as you suggest. I feel strongly that Jungian analysis has a fairly unique contribution to make in this way.

        Thanks very much for your comment, Patrick!

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