Jungian Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

The people with whom I work in psychotherapy and analysis are usually seeking psychological healing. People may be disabled by their problems, or functioning well in their lives. Some are seeking analysis as a journey of a spiritual nature, some as a means of self development, others as part of a training process. Many have been in counselling or psychotherapy before, and feel that there is further work to be done.

Examples of difficulties that I have treated analytically include: recurrent difficulties in relationships, identity problems, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, abuse of many kinds, eating disorders, self-harm, trauma of many kinds, and the psychoses. All my work begins with an assessment which enables me, and the prospective patient, to think together about the patient's inner and outer circumstances, and to determine the most appropriate way forward for the patient - which may mean a referral to a different form of therapy.

In my approach, the problem that troubles a person sufficiently to bring him or her to therapy, such as suicidal thinking and actions, self harming, anxiety states, panic attacks, addictions, compulsive behaviour, sexual perversions, disturbed eating patterns, shoplifting, and other destructive patterns, is thought about as a sign of an underlying disturbance. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis attend to the disturbance that underpins the symptomatic behaviour. The behaviours in themselves can be treated by other forms of therapy without attending to these unconscious patterns.

All my work begins with an assessment, the aim of which is to develop understanding of the issues that are bringing a person to consult me, to discern whether psychotherapy or analysis can be an appropriate approach, and if so, to think about what will be involved in working together. Sometimes the work of assessment is in itself sufficient to enable the person to move on in his or her life, and no further work is needed. Sometimes referral on to a different form of therapy, or a different therapist, is appropriate. 

My approach to the patient aims to understand the trauma, or multiple traumas, underpinning the problems with which the individual struggles consciously on a day to day basis, and to enable this understanding to be accepted by, and integrated with, the patient's conscious sense of who he or she is as a person. Analyst and patient both commit to a relationship that remains consistent, and reliable, over the period of time that is needed.

The analytic relationship proceeds on the basis of meetings at a specified time or times, which take place between one and five times weekly. This relationship provides conditions within which the patient can discover the wounded areas of his or her psyche at his or her own pace, and share this journey with a person trained to be with his or her woundedness in a way that can lead to healing.

The experience of feeling understood by the analyst can in itself be deeply relieving to the patient who has often been feeling lonely, desperate, and overwhelmed. As insight and understanding increase, aspects of the patient's inner world that have been put out of awareness become more conscious, and can be integrated. This process strengthens the patient's sense of his or her wholeness as a person with feelings, thoughts, a mind, and a life of his or her own, and empowers him or her to live this to the full.

The coping strategies and defences that have enabled the patient to survive have often acquired a life of their own which interferes with the patient's ability to live his or her life to the full. They are ineviitably destabilised by the healing process. Also, the experience of feeling understood, however relieving, is usually accompanied by anxiety, and feelings of shame and guilt are common as the process begins to take effect. Accordingly, patients often 'feel worse' at times when the  fundamental changes that can come about through analytic work are taking place.

Please look at my FAQ page for answers to questions that many people have asked about Jungian psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. You can find out more about the training that I have undertaken, and about Jungian psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, by looking at the Society of Analytical Psychology website, and about the broader field of the psychoanalytic psychotherapies by looking at the British Psychoanalytic Council website.