Karen A. Smyers Ph.D.
Jungian Analyst
Former President, Western Massachusetts Association of Jungian Psychology

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Psychotherapy is at bottom a dialectical relationship between doctor and patient. It is an encounter, a discussion between two psychic wholes, in which knowledge is used only as a tool. The goal is transformation—not one that is predetermined, but rather an indeterminable change, the only criterion of which is the disappearance of egohood.

--C.G. Jung (CW 11:904)

Jungian Analysis

First and foremost, Jungian analysis honors the unique individuality of each client. Therefore, it is not a set program or technique, but shapes itself to the client's situation. Typically it involves dream analysis, but if a client does not remember dreams, that is fine. It may also include sandplay, painting, drawing, and other kinds of expressive arts, if the client is inclined. Or it may consist solely of talk therapy.

Jungian analysis deals with the typical experiences that bring people to therapy such as life transitions, depression, neurosis, anxiety, illness, and loss. These painful times can provide a chance to find the larger meaning in the situation, even the myth of one's life. The process of doing this is called individuation, the movement toward wholeness, or becoming what one truly is. This process involves surrendering control to something inside ourselves that is wiser than the ego, which Jung called the Self. Jungian therapy is primarily forward-looking, focusing not on assigning blame and looking for past causes, but rather on what one will make of the situation, how one rises to the challenge. In alchemical symbolism, this is transforming the lead into gold.


C. G. Jung (1875–1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist who based his theories on his own rich experiences of the psyche, his “confrontation with the unconscious.” Although sometimes dismissed as a “mystic” and not highly regarded in most academic circles, studies have shown that many of Jung's notions have been validated by recent scientific research. Interestingly, it seems that while consciousness behaves in a linear, Newtonian manner, the workings of the unconscious parallel the behavior of the very small particles observed by chaos physics. As this new paradigm becomes more familiar, Jung's insights will become better understood.

We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic processes to grow in peace. It would be simple enough if only simplicity were not the most difficult of things.

--C.G. Jung (CW13:20)