"The unconscious is ... in very truth the eternally living, creative, germinal layer in each of us, and though it may make use of age-old symbolic images it nevertheless intends them to be used in a new way... [A] living effect is achieved only when the products of the unconscious are brought into relationship with the conscious mind." Carl Jung
Analytical psychotherapy draws on the ideas of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Donald Winnicott and many other thinkers and clinicians. Jung emphasised the importance of what he called the Self - which he understood as embracing the whole of who we are, and who we are becoming. I am committed to accompanying people in their own individuation - in other words, in the unfolding of their own authentic process of becoming themselves.
This process may involve being open to that which is beyond us, however we understand that. It can also involve becoming conscious of aspects of ourselves which we haven't been in touch with before, and integrating what Jung called the shadow. His view was that everything has its opposite, and that those things which we consciously prefer about ourselves also have a shadow side, which is also active but in an unconscious way. By allowing ourselves to explore and understand that, we gradually gain access to a wider understanding of who we are. We also develop a more compassionate relationship with the whole spectrum of our feelings and experiences, including aspects we are used to thinking of as negative. We might also need to think about the shadow aspects within our families and in the wider culture, and to find ways of articulating things which we have somehow known but not been able to put into words. This can be a painful process but it can also be a profoundly liberating one.
A psychotherapy session allows for an interweaving of different elements. We might explore current life events, whether these are work difficulties, issues arising in relationships, family dynamics, anxiety or depression - or many other issues. This is often interwoven with an exploration of earlier life experiences, so that we gradually come to understand how patterns might have been formed and how they continue to affect us. The relationship between the therapist and the person is also important, and we might think about the feelings that evokes and how that relationship is taking shape. This can also help to cast light on how our internal world and early experiences shape our interactions in the therapy room and outside it. We might also explore dreams and dream images, and allow space for something new to emerge which can allow a different way of relating.