Mental Health
What is Jungian Psychotherapy?

What is Jungian Psychotherapy?

5 min read


Jareena Silva

Jungian psychotherapy is a form of therapy based on the theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jungian therapy attempts to help individuals become aware of and integrate the different parts of the psyche in order to achieve wholeness. This type of therapy can be helpful for people who are struggling with issues such as anxiety, depression, and identity.

What is Jungian Psychotherapy?

Jungian psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that is based on the theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jungian psychotherapy is typically conducted by trained psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists.

This type of therapy is used to help people explore their inner selves and find a deeper meaning in their lives. It is also used to help people explore their dreams, as well as their subconscious, to help them better understand themselves and their relationships with others.

The Foundation of Jungian Psychotherapy

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. He is best known for his concepts of the collective unconscious and archetypes, and for his work on dreams, synchronicity, and individuation.

Jungian psychotherapy, also known as Analytical Psychology, is a form of therapy that emphasizes the individual's unique psychological makeup. Jungian therapists work with patients to explore their inner worlds and help them to become more aware of their unconscious motivations. The goal of Jungian therapy is to promote individuation, or the process of becoming one's true self.

Jungian therapy is often used to treat patients with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. It is also used to help people who are struggling to find meaning in their lives. Jungian therapists use a variety of techniques, including dream interpretation, active imagination, and sandplay.

The Human Psyche

Jung believed that the human psyche is divided into three parts: the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The ego is the part of the psyche that is conscious and controls our everyday lives. The personal unconscious is a reservoir of memories, experiences, and impulses that are outside of our conscious awareness. The collective unconscious is a storehouse of archetypal images and symbols that are common to all humanity. Jung believed that we all have a natural tendency to grow and develop psychologically. He believed that the goal of life is to individuate, or become our true selves.

Jungian Archetypes

The analytical psychologist Carl Jung was the first to identify and name 12 archetypes of the human psyche. They are the following: the Anima, the Animus, the Demon, the Divine Child, the Hero, the Innocent, the Wise Old Man, the Caregiver, the Rebel, the Martyr, the Jester, and the Trickster. These archetypes are representations of the different aspects that exist in all humans, and they can be expressed in positive or negative ways. Here are 4 popular Jungian archetype examples.

The Persona Archetype

The Persona archetype, or the mask, is defined as, "...the outward face we present to the world. It conceals our real self and Jung describes it as the “conformity” archetype." The Persona is the way we present ourselves in the world and to others.

The Shadow Archetype

The Shadow archetype is part of the unconscious personality composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings. This archetype represents a person's thoughts and ideas that may go against their own personal values or societal norms. Carl Jung has noted that the Shadow archetype may appear in one's dreams in the form of monsters, snakes, and other dark figures.

The Anima or Animus

The Anima and Animus archetypes are related as the Anima represents femininity in males and Animus represents masculinity in females. Jung notes that although there are physiological differences in genders, external social influences can also impact one's gender identity.

The Self

The Self archetype is often described as a circle or square and represents the conscious and unconsciousness of a person. This archetype is holistic as the self is created through individuation, which is when differing parts of one's personality is unified.

When is Jungian Psychotherapy used?

Typically, Jungian Psychotherapy is used for individual therapy, but in recent years it's used by providers to support couples and families as well. Jungian Psychotherapy is used to treat various mental health experiences such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Personality Disorders
  • Grief and Bereavement
  • Relationship Obstacles

One foundational aspect of Jungian Psychotherapy is that it helps individuals develop a greater understanding of themself by bringing more awareness to the unconscious mind.

A mental health provider practicing Jungian Psychotherapy may guide their client through their past experiences to better understand the root cause of negative feelings or thought patterns. Jungian therapy is often a long-term process, as it can take years to explore the depths of the unconscious

What happens in Jungian Therapy session?

Talk Therapy

A large part of Jungian Therapy utilizes talk therapy. Talk therapy is when you and your mental health provider have discussions regarding what may be causing emotional distress in your life.

Your provider will listen attentively while identifying triggers, stressors, and the impact of your life experiences to best determine how they can support you and your healing. Generally, talk therapy sessions last 45 minutes to 1 hour.

There are different types of talk therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also known as CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, and Humanistic Therapy.

Dream Journaling and Interpretation

Since Jungian Therapy also incorporates dream interpretation and analysis, your provider may also suggest dream journaling. Dream journaling is a written record of what you experience while dreaming. Your provider may ask you to do this every night for a certain period of time. During sessions, you will talk about your journal entries to further interpret your dreams.

If you're curious of what to expect in your first therapy session, read our article "What Will My Therapist Ask Me in Our First Session?".

What is the effectiveness of Jungian Psychotherapy?

Many studies and research products on Jungian Therapy were conducted in Germany and Switzerland. All the studies show significant improvements not only on the level of symptoms and interpersonal problems, but also on the level of personality structure and in every day life conduct. The improvements shown as a result of Jungian Psychotherapy remained apparent in clients for up to six years. Additionally, studies showed that at the end of an individual's therapy utilizing Jungian Psychotherapy, there was a reduction in their use of healthcare. This research showed that Jungian Psychotherapy is an effective therapy technique when addressing certain mental health issues and experiences.

If you're ready to start therapy or are curious to talk to a mental health provider about Jungian Psychotherapy, take our Get Matched quiz today to get matched with up to 3 providers that are the *right* fit for you.

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About the author

Jareena is MyWellbeing's Community Manager and is dedicated to supporting MyWellbeing's providers in order for them to offer the best possible care for you. Jareena is a mental health advocate and aims to identify ways to destigmatize discussions around mental health and how to make care more accessible.

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