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What Is Analytical Psychotherapy?

Patient are encouraged to explore their dreams with their therapist in analytical psychotherapy.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
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Analytical psychotherapy involves in the principles advanced by Carl Jung, an influential figure in the field of psychology. Jung argued that psychological problems like anxiety and depression were rooted in an lack of integration between different psychological components of the self. In analytical psychotherapy, patients work with therapists to awaken the unconscious mind and integrate themselves. The goal is greater awareness, which can lead to a deeper understanding of behaviors and the surrounding world.

This is also known as Jungian analysis or Jungian psychotherapy, depending on the preference of the practitioner. It can require several years of intense work. Patients starting therapy may attend multiple sessions a week, reducing to one session a week or every two weeks over time. Relationships cultivated in therapy can be intense and part of the process can include transference, where the patient starts directing emotions at the therapist, creating an environment to start working through those emotions.

A key component of analytical psychotherapy is an exploration of the unconscious and the lack of the connection people may experience with the unconscious mind. Dreams can play a large role in analysis, with patients discussing the themes and images that appear in their dreams. Therapists can discuss the symbolism of elements of dreams with patients to determine what the unconscious might be trying to communicate. This can also involve an exploration of the shadow, a part of the unconscious that is rejected or suppressed and needs to be integrated for the patient to be whole.

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Ultimately, wholeness is the goal of analytical psychotherapy. The patient wants a deeper understanding and connection with the unconscious to start placing everyday events in the context of unconscious motivations and desires. People may start therapy because they have specific concerns, like addressing events in their past or dealing with a mental health crisis. Over time, therapist and client may uncover a series of issues that need to be addressed as they develop a more trusting and deep relationship.

Not all schools of psychotherapy are for everyone. Patients interested in analytical psychotherapy can request information from therapists in their area to learn more about different approaches and treatment philosophies. They may want to consider asking for a single explorational session to see if a therapist is a good fit before committing to a relationship. Insurance coverage for psychotherapy can vary, and patients with concerns should ask insurance companies for preauthorization and make sure they are familiar with the payment policies set out by their therapists.

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