The Therapeutic Relationship in Analytical Psychology
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The Therapeutic Relationship in Analytical Psychology

Theory and Practice

Claus Braun

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eBook - ePub

The Therapeutic Relationship in Analytical Psychology

Theory and Practice

Claus Braun

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Über dieses Buch

In The Therapeutic Relationship in Analytical Psychology: Theory and Practice Claus Braun presents a thorough exploration of the importance of the therapeutic relationship and explains how to encourage and develop it. Drawing on Braun's decades of clinical experience, the book clearly demonstrates the significance of establishing an intensive and living connection between client and analyst.

The book examines the crucial steps of the psychotherapeutic process, illustrated with a detailed case study that presents the personal development of an analysand through a series of dreams and drawings. Braun connects key concepts in analytical psychology, such as complexes, symbols, archetypes and amplification, with conscious and unconscious processes and the development of the therapeutic relationship during the analytic process. The book also examines why C. G. Jung put such a special emphasis on the therapeutic relationship and explores the ethical demands and social responsibilities of the analyst. Comprehensive and insightful, it skillfully makes the connection between Jung's analytical psychology and practical psychotherapeutic work.

The Therapeutic Relationship in Analytical Psychology will be an essential text for Jungian analysts and psychotherapists in practice and in training and a key reference for academics and students of analytical psychology, psychotherapy and Jungian studies.

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Chapter 1


Understanding the therapeutic relationship has been of great importance in the psychotherapeutic treatment practice of Carl Gustav Jung’s analytical psychology from the very beginning.
Jung had recognized at an early stage that while the analysand enters into a transference bond with the psychotherapist in the course of psychotherapeutic encounter, the unconscious psyche of the psychotherapist can also be stimulated, influenced and changed. He went as far as explaining the effect of induction of the transference projections possibly even causing a ‘transfer of the disease to the person treating it’ (Jung, 1946, GW 8, § 365). Arguably, the analysand and the analyst not only enter into a conscious relationship but engage in a relationship of mutual unconsciousness.
Communicative content in the space of the treatment room is therefore not only exchanged at the level of conscious encounter but unconscious sides of the psyche communicate actively, albeit subliminal, with each other. This latter form of communication may find expression in sympathies and antipathies, in reciprocal body language, in vegetative states, in moments of comprehension difficulties and in resistance, in the activation or weakening of defences, in moments of mutual encounter (Stern, 2005) as well as in feelings of abandonment. Furthermore, manifestations of such communication may be the experience of an ‘unthought-of familiarity’ (Bollas, 1997, p. 287ff.), the possibility of giving interpretations and accepting them, the shaping of dreams, and transference and in countertransference.
The energetic connection that is established between the analysand and the analyst in the course of the treatment might best be characterized using the concept of an intersubjective field, in which the transformational energy that the analysand needs for his development can unfold (McFarland Salomon, 2013).
While Jung mainly examined the contents of the unconscious and its symbolic forms of expression following the breakup from Freud, his early formulation of an interpersonal and intersubjective relationship model for treatment practice became neglected for a long time within analytical psychology. However, later research into early infancy articulated and described this model as fundamental a priori condition of any form of human communication. The examination of the intersubjective processes in analytical psychology has only recently regained theoretical and practical attention. Today, many Jungian psychotherapists pay particular attention to the circumstances of the early development of their analysands – thus working also with children, adolescents and young adults in order to improve their developmental outlook for the future.
Aided by the work of developmental psychology by analytical psychology- oriented researchers’ findings of psychoanalytical object relationship theory, infant research, mentalization theory, and attachment theory could be joined into a conceptual body circumscribing the intrapsychic relationship dynamics that Jung described as transcendent function (Knox, 2011, p. 421ff.). The transcendent function describes the ability to connect contents of consciousness with contents of the unconscious. It is to be understood as a dynamic comparative process in which, on the one hand, explicit, conscious information is compared with the memories and engrams that are collected in our unconscious, inner working models as general relationship knowledge and that constitute the basis of our self-esteem. On the other hand, the transcendent function translates transformational energy into symbols, thus making it experiential and tangible.
Such process of filtering, adjusting and evaluating of real and symbolic experience underscores the meaning-making function in analytical psychology. This function in turn serves the self-regulation of the psyche containing the idea of a purposeful, functional and balancing extension of the conscious stance via contents of the unconscious.
Psychotherapy in the spirit of C. G. Jung sees itself more as a common process of reflection in dialogue and less as a dogmatic application of psychoanalytic explanatory knowledge. Jungian psychotherapy and psychoanalysis is crucially aware that behind and through the analysand’s complaints rests a desire for integration and personality development or individuation, intentionally rooted in his own Self. A goal-driven process supports the use of the analysand’s personal perspective enclosed in a particular cultural and historical context and aims at the development of the greatest possible freedom of thought and feeling.
The history of psychoanalysis can be described as a history of a change in the configuration of relationships in the course of the psychotherapeutic process.
In Freud’s and his successors’ classic standard technique, the analytical situation is conceived as a scientific investigation. Within rest only objects: the analyst in his ‘mirror function’ poses as object of transmission, the patient and his material as object of observation and interpretation.
In later Freudian object relationship theory, a two-person model of psychology, the analyst assumes the role of a real counterpart. The analyst makes himself visible as a human interlocutor, and the analysand can now experience new emotional relationships with the analyst, since he no longer hides in a mirroring function. The interpretation technique was supplemented by a relationship technique that allows for modifications of setting and forms of intervention.
Approximating the last 20 years, the paradigm of intersubjectivity has increasingly shaped our understanding of the psychotherapeutic process, which is now seen as a fluctuating interactive mental field. The analytic encounter is referenced by subjectivity and real relationships which offer stimulating spaced and potential for development beyond transference and countertransference. In this interactive mental field or matrix, common spiritual creations of the analytical pair are realized as an intersubjective Third. The intersubjective or analytical Third stands for the aforementioned new cognitive and emotional quality that the respective analytical pair produces uniquely. It need not be understood as something representational, but as a medium for psychotherapeutic processes of change and healing. Within such intersubjective field of psychoanalytic processes, both interactional-communicative competencies as well as the ability to gain ‘in-sight’ and connecting to one’s own Self can grow and materialize.
Changes in the level of integration of the psychological structure based on such processes are also a prerequisite for better coping with intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts. Conflict management competences and personality development intrinsically belong together and should develop through psychotherapeutic processes of gaining insight and configuring relationship patterns. Psychotherapeutic experience serves the individuation of the analysand and proposes a working model for his everyday life.
In this sense, a Jungian psychoanalysis is always directional in ways of being orientated towards the present and future while holding the conviction that perceiving and accepting the lines of development, which are deeply rooted in the personal psyche, form the basis of mental healing processes.
According to the experiences of my own psychotherapeutic practice and those of other colleagues (Otscheret & Braun, 2004), I concur that there is neither the standard patient nor the standard psychotherapeutic method. Each psychotherapeutic encounter is profoundly unique, taking not only an essentially individual course but creating and developing specific methods of healing grounded in the analysand-analyst’s relationship. Whether this can happen depends primarily on the professional conduct of the analyst and his persistent effort to empathize with the analysand’s life experience and relationship history. At the same time, he must be able to realize the persisting otherness of a stranger, which the analysand embodies, and who must nevertheless be warmly acknowledged.
This volume has two main parts. The first part (see Chapters 2–6) is devoted to the theoretical foundations of the therapeutic relationship from a Jungian perspective. Important theoretical differences to psychoanalysis based on Sigmund Freud are explicated. Subsequently I highlight the conceptual coordinates of Jungian theory formation, which are important for understanding the psychotherapeutic relationship and goals of an analytical process. Therein, an excursus on mind and brain will highlight the most important neuroscientific and developmental psychological research findings explanatory for the emergence of consciousness and interpersonal relatedness.
Subsequently, in Chapter 3, I formulate prerequisite personality traits and ethical requirements for both the fit of a person as analyst and considerations for the fit of the analytical matrix analysand-analyst.
Chapter 4 describes psychopathological concepts of analytical psychology, Chapter 5 the psychotherapeutic treatment objectives, and Chapter 6 the therapeutic space and the therapeutic framework and rules that govern the setting of treatment.
I dedicated the second part (Chapters 7–11) to psychotherapeutic treatment and relationship practice. On the basis of a detailed, anonymized treatment history, the initial phase, process and end of a Jungian analytical psychotherapy are described, focusing mainly on the therapeutic relationship and – so I hope – on accessibility to discussion (Körner, 2003).
I particularly focus on the reciprocity of unconscious influences on the workings and pathways of differentiation of symbolic contents stemming from the personal and collective unconscious. Moreover, I paid particular tribute to the dream work and the Jungian method of amplification.
The volume concludes by considering the special circumstance of German insurance-financed psychotherapy, its procedure and relationship to various dimensions of healing processes of the name of individuation.
I have chosen this particular treatment example in order to be able to present in a somewhat fine-grained way important changes and integrative steps in the context of the intersubjective dynamics of analysand-analyst matrix embedded in social relationships and the social reality of life. Although I have chosen analytical psychotherapy in a long-term treatment setting as an example, all essential aspects of content and psychodynamics can be transposed to other forms of psychoanalytic psychotherapy approaches with adults, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychodynamic short-term psychotherapy. Various requirements for the analyst’s conduct in the execution of analytical and psychodynamic psychotherapies are described in the ‘Indication and dialogical processes’ section of Chapter 8.
The peculiarities of the psychotherapeutic relationship in group psychotherapy cannot be described in the required detail in this volume because of its complexity. They are reserved for a separate work.
While in the text I use the masculine form throughout, all sexes are equally addressed, and I would ask you to consider and excuse any possible limitations of my text that arise from a gender perspective.
Passive connotations underscoring terms such as ‘clients’ or ‘patients’ are circumvented by the use of the ‘analysand’, of which I speak consistently notwithstanding the form of psychotherapy (whether psychoanalysis or other psychodynamic and short-term approaches) in order to emphasize the common task of examination and understanding in psychotherapeutic work. I use the terms ‘psychotherapist’, ‘psychoanalyst’ and ‘analyst’ synonymously for the same reason since the practitioner in any form of psychoanalytically informed practice tries conjointly with the analysand to explore the unconscious psychodynamics of his sufferings and make them accessible on the conscious level.
In some parts of the text, I use verbs such as ‘should’ or ‘must’, especially in relation to the analyst’s activities. While such terminology ought not to give way to ascriptive demands for action or practical guidelines, I intend to stress what I might consider favourable or worth testing.
The bibliographic references should allow an extended reading of the respective terminology and the contextual lines of argument. The writings of C. G. Jung are quoted from the Collected Works in 20 volumes (GW 1–20). For reasons of comparability of different editions of the Collected Works and the English Collected Works, references include paragraph numbers. The quoted text passages are therefore made accessible not via the page numbers but via the year of the first publication, the respective GW volume, and the corresponding paragraphs (e.g. Jung, 1946, GW 8, § 365).
While the book is primarily targeted at the readership of psychotherapeutic colleagues and candidates for training and further education in all psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytical fields, I have tried to present all essential lines of argument in such a way that the text is understandable and accessible for other professional groups and interested laymen.

Chapter 2

The Jungian view of the psychotherapeutic encounter

From Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis to Carl Gustav Jung’s analytical psychology

The tragic development leading to the division of Sigmund Freud and his ‘crown prince’ Carl Gustav Jung, which affected both deeply, cannot be covered comprehensively here. However, at the heart of the debate that led to the separation of Freud and Jung lies a controversy about the essence of the mental conversion energy or libido. Jung did not want to see the libido restricted to sexual striving; he defined it as general psychic energy or life energy.
Both Freud’s and Jung’s varying models of the human mind were also subject to this controversy. To Freud, the unconscious mind was the place of suppression of incestuous desires and impulses that were too embarrassing and unacceptable to be held in consciousness. For Jung, the unconscious was ‘
the seed of eternal creative power, which makes use of old symbolic images but by which implies completely new spirit’ (Jung, 1930a, GW 4, § 760).
Both psychoanalytic researchers had been personally known to each other since 1907, after Jung had sent his monograph ‘On the Psychology of Dementia Praecox: An Experiment’ (Jung, 1907, GW 3) to Freud after having been made aware of Freud’s book ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ in 1900. He then applied Freud’s theories about psychological trauma and its suppression in his investigations with the word association experiment (see ‘The complex psyche’ section of this chapter).
The two men got along right away. The intensive correspondence between the 50-year-old Freud and the 30-year-old Jung from 1906 to 1913 shows the extent to which their friendship had developed – a high degree of intimacy and famili...


  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Foreword
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Chapter 1 Introduction
  10. Chapter 2 The Jungian view of the psychotherapeutic encounter
  11. Chapter 3 The Jungian psychoanalyst
  12. Chapter 4 Psychopathological concepts
  13. Chapter 5 Treatment in analytical psychology
  14. Chapter 6 The therapeutic space
  15. Chapter 7 First contact, indication, treatment
  16. Chapter 8 Context-guided treatment practice
  17. Chapter 9 The midwifery method of analytical psychology
  18. Chapter 10 Consciousness of the unconscious
  19. Chapter 11 Farewell to life
  20. Bibliography
  21. Index