International School of Analytical Psychology Zurich

The Analytical Psychology of C.G. Jung: Key Concepts

The pioneering work that Jung contributed to the understanding of humanity and soul can be characterized as follows:

  • Jung discovered the collective unconscious as the universal basis of our experience of soul and the urge to live life creatively.
  • Jung brought the concept of the archetype into scientific discourse.
  • Jung created a new typology, to which the concepts of extraversion and introversion belong. These concepts are now a normal part of everyday speech practically world-wide.
  • Jung developed the concept of individuation. The individuation process implies that the development of soul belongs to a coming-to-one’s-self. This process requires diverging from collective norms and supporting the development of the full potential of the personality.
  • In seeking an authentic self, one becomes confronted with many different aspects of the personality. These include the persona, the shadow, the anima and animus as well as the Self. These terms have also become a part of everyday language.
  • As researcher of the deeper dimensions of the unconscious, Jung dealt especially with fairy tales, mythology, religion and alchemy. In so doing he developed a completely new conception of symbol.
  • The interpretation of unconscious contents follows in consideration of a telos or final aim. Thereby emerge compensatory meanings that spring from the psyche’s self-regulating tendency.
  • Jung conceived of the psyche as presenting an objective reality, which could also express itself in so-called synchronicities. In his view this supports the fact of correspondence between the inner world of the psyche and the concrete world outside.
  • Jungian therapeutic treatment is not a matter of following generally applied methods. Far more, therapy is oriented to the variable characteristics and needs of each individual.
  • The suffering of soul is not simply seen as a curable disturbance. Rather, it is considered to be a necessity and impulse for psychological development. The tasks of therapy are to support the individual on the way to becoming one’s self, to support his or her developing consciousness, to enable a greater sense of personal authenticity, and to bring one’s own creativity to life.
  • The goal of therapy is to enable the individual to experience something larger than him/herself, to open to the language of the unconscious, and to discover meaning in life.
  • The therapeutic relationship is seen as a real relationship between two people, and also as a container which is fundamental to the therapeutic process.
  • Analytical Psychology understands psychic reality to be determined by the interplay of opposites. Therefore the Jungian perspective is characterized  by work with many polarities, for instance:
    • Individual vs. Collective: The priority of the individual in relation to the collective is stressed, but at the same time the importance of collective factors is acknowledged, in particular how they influence the unconscious of the individual, the community and culture.
    • Consciousness vs. Unconsciousness: Development of consciousness is considered an urgent task, but at the same time one’s relatedness to the unconscious and its instinctive knowledge is considered necessary for reaching the therapeutic goal.
    • Reality of the Inner world vs. Reality of the Outer World:  While the creative encounter with personal feelings and inner images is considered the core of therapeutic work, the necessity and importance of a realistic relatedness to the outer everyday world is acknowledged as well.
    • Scientific Knowledge vs. Psychological Reality: While striving to recognize and further the scientific knowledge of the day, Analytical Psychology also guards against reducing complex psychological realities to generalizable concepts and subjecting them to normative strategies of treatment.

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