Jungian (pronounced YOONG-ee-an) psychotherapy is a comprehensive approach to the human psyche that is based on the psychology of Carl Jung. Working with dreams is a unique and valuable part—though not a requirement—of the Jungian psychotherapy approach, and is one of the things that sets it apart from more conventional forms of therapy.
Dreams are messages from the Self, the center or core of the personality. The Self is a source of wisdom that is wiser than the ego (conscious mind). When a person’s worldview is outdated, the person may have destructive dreams: earthquakes, tidal waves, burning houses or cars, war, people chasing him or her, etc. These dreams may correlate with psychological symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
Part of the reason for the anxiety or depression at these phases is that the old outlook is under attack (in the case of anxiety) or is dying (in the case of depression). A depressed woman dreams: “I am standing in a building with my children, waiting for the end of the world.” In the woman’s case, her depression correlated with the loss of her old worldview. The depression was lifted as she developed a larger, more fitting worldview for the stage of life she was entering.
It appears that each individual has a unique life path, and the Self helps guide a person to his or her psychological maturity along that life path. The Self is like a coach who wants to bring out the full potential of the individual he or she is working with. The Self, especially through dreams, guides the individual through his or her various life stages.
Dreams are concerned with what a person is capable of becoming. They are future-oriented because they give images or pictures of the more mature personality that can be developed.
Certainly, alleviating childhood trauma and childhood psychological injury is within the domain of Jungian psychotherapy. However, especially through dreamwork, Jungian psychotherapy doesn’t just stop with the historical (personal history) approach but moves into the future to help develop the full human being.
Learn more about Jungian Terms here.