Jungian Depth Psychology and Counselling

David Johnston, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist
Victoria, British Columbia

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Jungian Depth Psychology

A Jungian approach to therapy responds to the deeper needs of individuals in the contemporary world. This includes providing answers to such questions as the nature of both women's and men's psychology and the place of religious, spiritual and other higher values in life.

Although one may be attracted to this approach to therapy for various reasons, a typical client often experiences a sense of alienation and meaninglessness in life along with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In some cases one is already on a spiritual path and seeking more self-awareness. Others have read books by Jung or some of his disciples and are interested in individuation and the individuation process. Jung used the latter term to describe a life that is creatively directed by the Self or wholeness. To put oneself consciously on that path is the ultimate goal of Jungian therapy.


There are essentially three aspects to Jungian depth therapy. The first is to work on questions of conscious vital concern to the person in therapy. The second is to examine dreams and other products of the imagination in order to bring the unconscious to conscious awareness along with the implications. The third is to creatively allow for the resulting increase in consciousness to affect the actual conduct of life.

The Role of the Therapist

The therapist has the dual role of representing an "ideal other" and of acting as a mirror for the individual in therapy. The latter is done through sympathetic attention to both conscious concerns, thought, feelings and intuitions and to material that emerges from the unconscious by way of dreams and fantasy.

Jungian Depth Therapy

Jungian depth therapy is grounded on the work of C.G. Jung. It can be described as the psychological orientation of therapists who believe that it is not the surface appearance but what lies in the deeper unconscious levels of the psyche that denotes the true personality.

Jung conceived personality to be organized around the Self, which is both the centre of wholeness and individuality and wholeness itself. The principal psychological task, therefore, is to become reconnected to the Self, from which we have all become separated because of our own personal history and societal pressures. This means getting in touch with the uniqueness of our being.

The second major goal of this form of therapy is to become aware of the archetypes or instinctive patterns of behaviour as they affect one's personal psychology and life. One can do so by way of becoming conscious of images as they are presented to the inner eye through dream, imagination and vision. The goal in this regard is greater consciousness and the fulfillment of the Self in life.

Jung uses the term individuation process to describe a life that is creatively directed by the Self or one's wholeness. To put oneself consciously on this path is the ultimate goal of therapy.


«The Self is our life's goal, for it is the completest expression of that fateful combination we call individuality.»
  ~ C.G. Jung

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