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Jungian analysis: how specific?


Only hints of the nearly perceptible care for the fibres of the intimacy (Francine Carrillo)

The specificity of Jung's therapeutic work has slowly grown from Jung's own "individuation"; from his confrontation with his own overwhelming inner world of images.


He hesitantly cast this empirical world of images into theoretical concepts: the shadow, the anima, the animus, the archetype, the Self.


With Jung it is always about introvert feelings, internal sensations, and not about intellectual concepts. That is why he always describes himself as an empiricist: “... since I do not wish to construct a world of speculative concepts, which only lead to the barren concepts of a philosophical discussion, I do not attach too much importance to those reflections. If, for the time being, those concepts can serve to order the empirical material, they have fulfilled their purpose. The empiricist has nothing to say about concepts. (CW14: 129 nt. 66). ”It is therefore about organising empirical material, nothing more.


The purely intuitive concept of "Self" is the most controversial and fundamental of Jung's psychology, described as a sort of cornerstone only in the late 1950s. It is the key to his theory and therapeutic approach. It gives Jung a unusual position in in-depth psychology and psychoanalysis: it actually places him outside psychoanalysis.


Why? Because Jung, in addition to the instinctive pole of libido, which he acknowledges and in which he gives Freud his rightful place, also and above all describes the creative pole of libido - from his own empiricism – as the driving force     of a 'Self' - the objective psyche - that seeks to realise itself and therefore needs the conscious ego as a mirror. This naturally has implications for his therapeutic approach: the unpredictable, autonomous, spiritual nature of the unconscious - the lens through which Jung saw the dreams, symptoms, slips and errors, sudden intrusive events, synchronicities.

In Jung’s case, the conflicts therefore lie in two different registers: on the one hand    the conflict between  the  I and a repressed impulse or memory - the neurotic conflict - and on the other the conflict between the I and the whole other, the objective psyche.

The therapeutic approach will therefore also recognise this: in addition to the causal coherence, attention will also be paid to new developments: the teleological aspect focused on the future. This is expressed in Jung's descriptions of the symbol, the archetype, the transcendent function, the transference, dynamics focused on meaning and the future.

Jungian therapy therefore not only involves more or less freeing oneself from a neurotic tangle, but above all a lifelong evolution, individuation, through thorough attention for, and a confrontation with the objective psyche.


Dirk Vergaert, 31/07/2019

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