Jungian Psychotherapy

Jungian psychotherapy, jungian therapy

Carl Jung was a protege of Sigmund Freud and a seminal figure in the development of psychoanalytic theory. In 1912, he published “Psychology of the Unconscious” and broke with Freud in creating Jungian psychotherapy, also known as analytical psychology. 

He disagreed with Freud’s emphasis on sexual development and theorized that there were two parts of the unconscious, the personal unconscious (repressed or forgotten memories of an individual’s life), and the collective unconscious (behavior and thought universally shared by all human beings). Jung believed that harmony between the conscious and the unconscious was necessary to achieve individuation.

Individuation is the ultimate goal of Jungian psychotherapy. It is the search for personal growth. In the process of individuation, individuals learn to differentiate from each other while also living in harmony with other people and the environment. When that process is blocked, problems occur. Jungian therapy aims to clear those obstacles and free the person on their journey toward self-realization.

Concepts of Jungian Psychotherapy


Jung was instrumental in promoting the idea of psychodynamics as the psychological forces behind human behavior. He, along with Freud, posited that the internal conflicts of the unconscious—and the interplay with the conscious— fueled a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. While Freud thought internal conflicts were fueled primarily by a person’s upbringing and subsequent psychosexual development, Jung relied more on the struggle between the personal and collective unconscious.

Collective unconscious

Jung believed, like Freud, that people had a personal unconscious filled with repressed or forgotten memories from their life. But what set him apart was his belief in the collective unconscious. He postulated that all humans shared unconscious content that they do not personally experience. These are aspects of our personality that represent themes that have been experienced across generations of humankind. Jung believed that these themes influence all human beings, along with their interaction with personal experiences, and must be examined to truly understand an individual’s motivations.


Archetypes in Jungian psychotherapy are universal ideas of the collective unconscious that are often represented in mythology and symbols. Some examples include the shadow, which is the part of ourselves that we prefer to hide, and the hero, the part of us that thrives when challenged.

Depth psychology

Depth psychology forms the basis of all psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy. It is the belief that unconscious content must be moved to the conscious to be examined and understood. It is only when a person becomes aware of their repressed and forgotten thoughts and feelings that healing may occur. It is the therapist’s job to help the individual reveal and make sense of this unconscious material.

Active imagination

Active imagination was a technique Jung used to help clients make the unconscious more accessible to the conscious. He would have clients focus on a fantasy, dream, or something in their imagination and ask them to express it in a conscious way. Art and movement therapies, for example, can trace their roots to Jung’s concept of active imagination.

Dream analysis

Dream analysis is possibly the most well-known form of active imagination. Jung believed that dreams were a way for unconscious content to express themselves. As such, it is a common practice in Jungian therapy for a client to keep a dream journal that can be interpreted during the therapeutic process.

Word association

This is a therapy technique in which the client says the first word that pops into their head after hearing another word. This exercise can help reveal unconscious associations with different themes.

Pros and Cons of Jungian Psychotherapy


1. Jungian psychotherapy focuses on deeper underlying issues and takes a holistic approach, which may appeal to people that are attempting to examine their behavior on a more extensive level.

2. Although research into Jungian psychotherapy is limited, what has been conducted shows effectiveness in symptom reduction and improvement in well-being. It should be noted, however, that most of these studies have some design weaknesses, leading to questions about their validity and reliability.


1. While insurance companies don’t closely supervise the type of therapy being administered, they do monitor the number of sessions and the length of treatment. It is not uncommon for an individual in Jungian psychotherapy to attend multiple sessions a week for many months, if not years. This is sure to raise red flags within insurance companies. It is unlikely that an insurance company would cover this type of therapy for very long. As a result, you may be hard-pressed to find a Jungian therapist who takes insurance.

2. As you might imagine, attending therapy multiple times a week for years without insurance is going to be a costly and time-consuming venture.

3. The research supporting Jungian therapy is weak at best. It is very difficult to operationalize and does not lend itself to study using randomized controlled trials or other hallmarks of strong psychometric research. As such, it is difficult to conclude with any authority that it actually works.

4. Jungian therapy involves certain ideas that may be hard to grasp. Concepts like the collective unconscious and archetypes are a bit outside mainstream thought. It may be too “out there” for certain clients and therapists.

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Resources for Jungian psychotherapy

Certified training in Jungian psychotherapy is an expensive and long process. Training at a Jungian institute will take years and cost thousands of dollars. For example, the training program at the CG Jung Institute of Chicago will take four to seven years of post-graduate work. The program at the CG Jung Institute of LA costs over $4000/year and also requires the therapist to be undergoing Jungian psychotherapy. It is a major commitment and not something to be taken lightly.

Many of the Jungian institutes also offer shorter educational opportunities on related topics.

Dr. Todd Grande created a video that does a good job of describing the complexities of Jungian therapy in a concise manner.

This website is a compilation of Jungian therapy resources, including books, internet links, and videos.

If you are looking for quicker, cost-effective, and more convenient learning options, check out the online courses offered here.

Jungian Psychotherapy has roots in Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, but expanded the idea of the unconscious and focused more on personal growth and individuation. It is designed to treat the person as a whole but can be applied to specific problems with anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. 

If you would like more information about Jung’s analytic psychotherapy and other forms of treatment, Theraplatform is exactly what you need. Theraplatform is an all-in-one teletherapy, practice management, and electronic documentation software for clinicians. It contains numerous resources—including worksheets and articles–to help therapists grow their practices. In this day and age, you need a reliable and secure practice management platform. Try a 30-day free trial of Theraplatform today.

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