Analytical Psychology Concepts

Analytical Psychology: Jungian Concepts

The forefather of analytical psychology was Prof CG Jung. Unlike his onetime mentor, Sigmund Freud, Jung believed that the goal of psychoanalysis was not just to cure neurosis, but to achieve wholeness of the personality.

To that end paying attention to, and the study of the individual’s dreams and fantasies, brings unconscious content into consciousness. Once integrated this leads to a more creative and harmonious balance between the conscious and the unconscious; between reason and instinctive drives, between the individuals’s inner life and their community.

With that said, there are a few psychotherapy concepts involved in this branch of psychology that are important to understand. They include active imagination, individuation, collective unconscious, shadow, logos and nekyia. Read on to learn about each concept.

Active Imagination

Active imagination describes the process that Jung developed by which the individual interacts, and dialogues with images from imagination and/or dream. Here, drawings, fairytales, and role-play all fulfil a role. In Jungian analytical psychology dream content is not prescriptive, but by allowing undirected observation of the imagination interacting with dream content, a profound relationship can develop between the conscious and the unconscious.


Jung described the process of moving towards the wholeness of the personality as “individuating”. This is where the person , through developing their unfulfilled potential, and by integrating contents of the unconscious into the conscious personality, becomes truly individual, but not egoistic. This is because the deeper levels of the unconscious, according to Jung, are collective and belong to everybody.

Collective Unconscious

The term “collective unconscious” was coined by CG Jung to describe levels of the unconscious that are not personal to the individual but that belong to all humans and ultimately to all living things. Hence, many experiences derive their intensity and meaning from the collective level of the unconscious. Its images cannot be explained in terms of the individual’s history but rather through the mythological and archaic history of all mankind. Here myths and fairy tales, and some storues and films gather their capacity to speak to whole generations or cultures. Thy exist as an evolutionary by-product according to Good Therapy.


Jung used the word shadow to describe the aspect of the personality that belong to the individual but that the individual is not conscious of, and denies is a part of them; the aprts that are unacceptable and rejected. By coming to know the shadow and integrating its contents much inner conflict is reduced and much potential is fulfilled.


Jung used the term logos to represent fact and reason, where it contrasts with feelings and imagination; between conscious and unconscious. i.e. logos versus mythos. Jung also aligned logos with the male counterpart; rationality, and the feminine with Eros, representing psychic accessibility and feeling connectedness.


One of the key components of analytical psychotherapy according to Jung is Nekyia. This concept describes the process of diving into, or surrendering, to the unconscious in the process of deliberating or moving toward decisive action. Jung understood that at certain times during the process of individuation the individual was called on to make a “dark journey into a dangerous place” but that that was essential to achieve the goal. Without a “confrontation with the unconscious” and the subsequent integration of the individual shadow, individuation would not be possible.

These concepts outline the necessary steps in the process of individuation in analytical psychology and many who practice this method of psychotherapy like Stuart MacFarlane, an Jungian analyst, have used these concepts to help patients.

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