1619 Woodcut, Michael Maier
Jungian Analysis is the psychotherapeutic approach of Analytical Psychology in which the analyst and patient work together to bring unconscious elements of the psyche into a more balanced relationship with conscious awareness and experience in an effort to discover meaning, facilitate maturation of the personality, improve mental health or provide relief to psychological suffering.
The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
~ Wendell Berry,
Standing by Words, 1983
It is also a shared exploration of the various realms in which the materials of the unconscious reside. These materials are brought to conscious awareness by exploring the personal unconscious in the images and patterns that arise in an individual's dreams, fantasies, memories, developmental history, creative expressions and the events of daily life.
In an effort to raise one's conscious awareness about relational dynamics experienced out in the world, consideration of the interpersonal experience of the unconscious observed in the natural, here-and-now, relational dynamics that occur between the client and the analyst is encouraged. Self awareness is further expanded by observing the concrete manifestations of the collective unconscious revealed in the archetypal stories, patterns and images found in mythology, fairy tales and the arts that mirror human behaviors and patterns.
Such a plumbing of depths sheds light on the unconscious and our un-lived parts, as well as, motives, passions, impulses, defenses, insecurities and our projections onto others -- both positive and negative -- in service of becoming a more conscious and fulfilled human being.
"What youth found and must find outside,
the man of life's afternoon must find within himself."
~ C.G. Jung
Jung's theory of Individuation -- the inner process of self-realization -- describes a life-long process through which a person becomes his or her true self by seeking wholeness -- not perfection. The theory proposes, among other things, that after the necessary and external accomplishments of work and family (however that might constellate) are attained in the first half of life, the primary questions regarding the second half of life shift to the process of pursuing psychological maturity, i.e., finding genuine meaning in life and, ultimately, in death. Reckoning with these existential questions develops and expands one's knowledge of self.
"There is no light without shadow
and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.
To round itself out life calls
not for perfection but for completeness;
and for this the "thorn in the flesh" is needed,
the suffering of defects
without which there is no progress
and no ascent."
To that end Jungian Analysis is foremost a chosen place where one can safely reflect upon the meaning of one's own life. Thus, the analysis becomes a personal Temenos (Greek: land marked off as a sanctuary) where one can take an honest accounting of one's own life choices and experiences -- for better or worse -- while voicing the deepest longings, losses and questions of one's soul. All the while this exploration is undertaken in the presence and support of someone who knows well the unpredictable terrain of psychological wilderness as well as the inner imaginal realm.
To ensure the analyst's craft, there is, at the heart of all IAAP accredited, academic, Jungian training programs (and what separates them from other purely academic programs) the required fulfillment of Jung's "Training Analysis" mandate; that anyone in training to become a Jungian analyst, must first and foremost, wrestle with the material of his or her own life within the context of an extensive, personal, training analysis.
This requirement ensures that analysts in training are maturing psychologically in tandem with their professional aspirations; that they participate first-hand in the rigors of a deep, emotional, intellectual, psychological and creative encounter with the unconscious in all its manifestations; and that they experience a growing awareness of the potential complications of their own blind spots and complexes as they work with patients.
Thus, before becoming a Jungian Analyst, a training candidate must complete a training analysis of approximately 350 hours with an IAAP registered analyst during their training in addition to the 100 hours of analysis that is required prior to applying to an IAAP accredited Jungian Institute.