Lisa Marchiano Psychotherapist, Certified Jungian Analyst | Philadelphia, PA

About C.G. Jung

Archetypes… collective unconscious… introversion and extroversion… synchronicity… Mother complex… persona… The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) contributed all of these concepts and many more to our understanding of psychology. Along with Freud, Carl Jung helped found the field of psychoanalysis in the early part of the 20th century. Although Jung is somewhat less well known than Freud, many of his ideas have entered mainstream thought and are important to how we think about ourselves today.

A sense of meaning: Jung believed that we are each born with unique potential. Like an acorn unfolding over decades into a spreading oak, something in us strives throughout our life to realize our individual destiny. This unfolding is supported by aspects of ourselves that are not part of our waking, conscious personality. While some believe that the unconscious is merely a repository of unacceptable or forgotten thoughts and urges, Jung asserted that parts of our inner unknown also strive with creativity and purpose to foster our growth. When a strong feeling we don’t understand, an odd coincidence, or a dream gives us comfort or a new outlook, we have been guided by our unconscious. This belief in a sustaining relationship with something larger than our conscious personality gives Jung’s psychology a spiritual dimension. In a world that treats emotional distress with medication or formulaic therapies to reprogram unhealthy thoughts, Jung’s theories champion depth and complexity.

Life stories: Jungian therapy concerns itself not just with the story the client already knows about his or her life, but the potential, untold stories below the surface that may reveal themselves through a fantasy, an odd coincidence, a strong feeling we don’t understand, or a dream. A Jungian therapy considers not only stories that explain a limitation, or that concern the past and how it may be affecting the present, but examines the overarching trajectory of a life – where a client may have been as well as where she or he may be going.

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