Roshanak Vahdani, Max Phillips | Journal of Humanistic Psychology
C. G. Jung’s openness to the transcendent nature of the psyche has appealed to those seeking an alternative to the more ego-centered approach promoted by traditional Freudian psychoanalysis. Yet despite the significant philosophical implications of Jung’s ideas, he always emphasized their pragmatic and clinical nature: helping grapple with neuroses/psychoses and sundry symptoms borne of mental conflict. While abstract concepts from analytical psychology provide a useful schema to make sense of suffering, such theoretical conceptualizations can, when dogmatically misapplied in the consulting room, permit both analyst and patient to by-pass the concrete existential reality of the analytic relationship. The ability and willingness to be fully present to the angst of both patient and “self-as-therapist” is perhaps the most essential aspect of existential psychotherapy. In this article, the authors propose a concordance between existentialist and Jungian approaches that positions the work of analysis as a creative engagement with patients’ subjective experiences without avoiding or diminishing the here-and-now experience of the therapeutic encounter, arguing that such cross-fertilization could offer an integrative form of treatment more faithful to the unique existence of each individual and analytic pair than either approach on its own.