Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Jungian approach to therapy - becoming more yourself

When you come for therapy you may not notice or be aware of the theoretical orientation of your therapist. They don't always say much anyway, do they? Does it make any difference what approach they say they use?

Stepping stones across the waterI would like to say that it can make a difference. I was reminded the other day, how much value I put on the approach that I use, by seeing it in contrast to other ways of working. In any approach, there are basic assumptions and they inform the perspective and the way we work. I use a psychodynamic approach, that is influenced a fair amount by Jungian concepts and ideas.

For me, the Jungian element gives depth and breadth to therapy. In this perspective, the unconscious is seen to contain not just a collection of repressed thoughts, feelings and memories. It is that, but so much more than that also. It is the source of the 'darker' side of our nature but at the same time, (or perhaps because of this), it contains our creativity and spiritual sides too.

People may often come for help and want to be told what to do. They may be unaware of the resources they already possess. The Jungian approach assumes that these resources are there - perhaps just a bit hard to find. Making this assumption, it is possible to work in a way that encourages people to learn to trust their own abilities. It's empowering and it's hopeful without being 'Pollyannaish'.

It also contains a sense of balance. We may be aware of certain aspects of our personalities but less aware of other parts of ourselves. Discovering that there is more to us than we previously supposed can be challenging but rewarding and enriching. We can feel more 'whole' or that we have come home in some sense, discovering things about us that we weren't aware of before and yet we've always known.

Of course not everyone wants to use the same approach. What may suit one person may not suit another. However finding one you feel comfortable with can make a difference. This is something of what works for me.

Lin Travis Counselling Services

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