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Generally speaking, psychotherapy means the treatment of the psyche, its difficulties, disturbances and/or enfolding of the psyche as such by psychological rather than medical means.

For Jung, psychotherapy is the treatment of the soul (CW16, §212), and at the same time, treatment guided by the soul. By this he meant that soul is simultaneously the object of transformation and the subject that makes this change possible. So to speak, in psychotherapy soul or psyche is the agency that conducts the process of metamorphosis and the very entity that has to be treated by itself.


Analytical psychotherapy or analysis is the psychotherapeutic method derived from theory and practice of analytical psychology that presupposes long-termed dialectical relationship between two psyches:analyst and analysand (client) directed towards an investigation of the client’s conscious and especially unconscious psychic material. Analytical psychotherapy is an intimate, deep, caring discussion between two persons,dialectical process between two psychic systems that react and respond to each other aiming at exploration of the client’s psychic condition, its processes and contents. Analysis as a dialectical process means both participants, analyst and analysand are equally involved and there is a two-way interaction between them. In that sense, Jung wrote: “You can exert no influence if you are not susceptible to influence…”(CW 16, §176). 

In a more technical sense, Jungian analysis is the procedure consisting of several elements: 
  • regular meetings, 2. 
  • with individual patients/analysands, 3. 
  • face to face, 4. 
  • in analyst’s premises, and 5. for a fee.

Jungian analysis could be defined as a line of treatment in an atmosphere of trust, warmth, confidence and sympathy between the analysand and the analyst for a fee, which treatment may be seen as educative in various senses, ethical in various senses or curative in various senses and which proceeds principally through collaborative interpretative exploration of maladaptive behavior, traumatic events and of varied classes of psychic phenomena that have been traditionally termed emotions, feelings, memories, dreams, fantasies, reveries, ideas, constructs and attitudes, and where the exploration accompanies a coherent set of methods, concepts, ideas and experiences stemming mainly from Jung, where focus is mainly upon the irrational, the unanticipated and affectively charged material, and whose goal is the transformation or change (both subjectively and objectively determined) of the analysand and the termination of the treatment.

Although analyst is considered to be highly educated professional with the long-termed experience of personal analysis as well as knowledgeable of the ways the psyche itself operates, it is his development as a person that cures not his knowledge or method by itself. Analysts also bring to the analytical process their whole personality, training and experience.

For this reason Jung was the first to initiate a training analysis as a must (sine qua non) for those wishing to practice analytical psychotherapy (CW 4, §536). Jung believed the primary curing element in psychotherapy is an ‘inner knowing’ of an analyst gained through own personal experience and understanding of the psyche.

Analysand is a person who by his own free-will undertakes the process of analysis in order to improve his/hers mental health and psychological functioning, to get to know oneself better, resolve psychic difficulties or in order to become an analyst himself (training or didactic analysis). To be a ‘good enough candidate’ for analytical psychotherapy, one is supposed to possess certain characteristics such as: to be enough motivated to work on oneself, intelligent, psychologically minded, educated, sensitive, reflective, imaginative and introspective.

Although analytical psychotherapy evolved from the analytic methodology of depth psychology especially Freudian psychoanalysis, as Jung developed his own theory, different analytical practice came out. 

Some of the basic presumptions of analytical encounter in Jungian practice could be summarized as follows: having in mind that psyche functions as a play of opposites, Jung insisted on analytic approach that is ‘synthetic’, i.e., leading to synthesis of the opposing psychological forces within personality rather than ‘reductive’ that is more close to Freudian analysis; in spite of the fact that he did not deny the influence of the instincts on psychic life, he emphasized spirit as an archetypal force necessary for the well being of personality; Jung preferred prospective or teleological perspective in the treatment of the psyche meaning that he “ looked at the person in the light of what is healthy and sound rather than deficient or missing” (CW 4§773-4); his standpoint of religious stuff was highly positive supposing religious material is linked with the Self and meaning in life. His personal and professional experience helped him to put forward the existence of the ‘religious instinct’, i.e. the instinct to make meanings.


Analytical psychotherapy aims at establishing the optimal relationship between the ego and the rest of the psyche emphasizing the persistent dialogue between conscious and unconscious. Although it is the never - ending process, the ultimate value is not reaching the goal as such but a process of continuous psychic integration facilitated by the help of a symbolic experience of unconscious contents.

Coming to terms with the symbolic, creative and healing potential of the unconscious material is a road to individuation that means person to become whole, himself and distinct from other people or collective psychology although also in relation to them. In analytical psychotherapy all material that comes up during the process of inner work (fantasies, symptoms, defenses, resistance, images, dreams) is understood in terms of their creative function and teleology having in mind their potential option for the future. 

In order to sum up
 the most important elements of Jungian psychotherapy, one should have in mind it is not mainly concerned with making the unconscious conscious or analyzing primarily past difficulties, however, when necessary all of these come into play. The object of Jungian analysis is the process itself – coming to terms with the unconscious that will help with future difficulties and promote creative integration of psychological experience.