In other areas of this website I have offered brief introductions to both ‘The Therapeutic Process’ and to ‘Jungian Analysis’. Here I wish to give you a more personal view of how the therapeutic process can unfold between myself (the therapist) and the individual client wishing to do personal work. As you can appreciate this is a general overview, and does not address the innumerable complexities, nor details of any specific individual’s therapeutic and or analytical process.
I meet the client right where they are. Their challenges, suffering, confusion, searching, questioning, etc. is what guides the process. I listen deeply and attune to where the individual finds themselves so that together we can come to better understand who they are, what they are dealing with, how their issues arose in the first place, and how change might be effected. This mutuality (working together in a related way) is what builds a constructive therapeutic relationship and container. I bring all of my psychological and analytical understanding, my years of experience in the field, my own humanity and life experience with me into the work, and call upon whatever may be most helpful at any given time. Asking sensitive and focused questions to support deeper understanding is part of the process.
We all have had big lives full of varying experiences, and have been conditioned in families with specific histories, and socialized into the cultural values that surround us. Such external experiences deeply touch our individual, psychological make-up, which may be highly sensitive, very robust, highly defended, somewhere in between and or a combination of these. The intersections between the outer and inner worlds can cause positive development, growth, but also hurt, dis-ease, suffering, devastation and trauma. It is therefore helpful in the therapeutic work to slowly co-build a flexible and living map (understanding) of the whole individual. This happens when the client shares their life experiences, difficulties, feelings, terrors, traumas, thoughts, history but also joys and successes, and in some cases dreams and fantasies. Then it becomes possible to better recognize the various patterns, which destabilize and or support their lives. When the client can better see their psychological challenges, put them in the perspective of their upbringing, social environment and life experiences, gain insights through this, and work on building helpful and more balanced ways of living, then often growth and change becomes possible.
In the psycho-therapeutic work I do, I always relate with the client as openly as possible, checking in with them to make sure we are moving forward in a manner that is helpful to them. There is always the danger that the therapist projects their own agenda or opinions onto the client and their process. In the 5 year, post graduate study and training I did to become a Jungian analyst and psychotherapist, we all had to do hundreds of hours of our own analytical, therapeutic work. We were trained to understand the human psyche both from the lived as well as from the theoretical point of view. We were trained to know ourselves and our own issues well enough not to let them interfere in a clients therapeutic process.
At times an individual comes into analysis because they have had life experiences which they do not understand, such as synchronicities, visions, fantasies, numinous (sublime) and or personal dreams, premonitions, spiritual awakenings, near death experiences, etc.. As a Jungian analyst, I also work in the arena of the symbolic, the archetypal, the spiritual and the unknown and greater mystery of things. There are many times when individuals seek to understand their inner symbolic life, which arises in such ways as mentioned above. When this is the case I carefully gather the client’s associations to these symbols, to help guide the interpretation and meaning-making. Where possible I further support this symbolic work by finding links to myths, fairy tales, visual art, literature, popular culture, etc., a process called amplification.