Goals of Counseling and Psychotherapy

The goals of Jungian analysis vary depending on the developmental stage of the person. In general, the primary goals are individuation and the integration of the personal conscious with the personal unconscious. Individuation occurs when a person becomes aware of the unique self by coming to terms with his or her own strengths and weaknesses and by bringing the unconscious to conscious awareness while living in the here and now. According to Jung:

But the great thing is the here and now, this is the eternal moment, and if you do not realize it, you have missed the best part of your life; you will have missed the realization that you are the carrier of a life contained between the poles of an unimaginable future and an unimaginably remote past. Millions of years of untold millions of ancestor have worked up to this moment. Anything that is past is no longer reality, anything that is ahead is not yet reality, reality is now. flung, in Wilmer, 1987, p. 3)

Jung believed that the splitting off of two powerful complexes was at the root of neurosis and mental illness. The dissociation is a defense to the unbearable psychic pain and emotional suffering that usually stemmed from traumatic experiences. Jung was intrigued by the opposites and polarities he observed in the complexes exhibited by his psychiatric patients. In today's psychiatric jargon, many of his patients would be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Jung believed that everyone splits his or her personality to a degree. It is when the splitting cuts too deep and interferes with activities of daily living that it becomes pathological. What differentiates Jungian psychotherapy from other theories is the collective unconscious; Jung believed that some of the complexes originate in the collective unconscious as archetypal images rather than life experiences or biological urges. Jung viewed the symptoms of his patients as opportunities for "wholeness" (Sander & Beebe, 1995).

When complexes take over patients' lives, resulting in serious personality and psychiatric disorders, Jung described the patients as having been possessed by the complex. Jung wrote, "Everyone knows nowadays that people 'have complexes', what is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us" (Jung, 1934, p. 96). This interpretation shows the influence of Jung's interest in the paranormal, with the primitive belief that possession causes mental illness. He believed that complexes can wage a coup d'etat and take over. Under these conditions, the ego-projected archetypes take over the personality and are fraught with emotions, instability, labile mood, and being out of touch with reality.

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