Counselling, therapy, analysis – terminology

The terminology around the “talking therapies” is complex.  Counselling has come to be used by many people to refer to any kind of psychological help. Sometimes it is used more specifically to describe focused short-term work on a particular difficulty.

Different terms used

If you are not used to the different terms – counselling, psychotherapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Jungian psychotherapy, psychoanalysis or Jungian analysis – they can seem bewildering and meaningless. It doesn’t help that different people will sometimes use the terms in different ways and to describe different things.

As our members have had a thorough, in-depth training they are able to help in all the areas described below. They can bring their considerable experience to focus on a particular difficulty or can work on more long-term difficulties in depth.


As a rule of thumb the term counselling tends to be used to describe meetings over a short period of time, usually with the focus on a particular difficulty, such as a relationship break-up, a bereavement, or some other life event, or a more personal concern such as anxiety or lack of self-esteem.

Although Members of the SAP can help with focused short-term work we are not counsellors, but rather Jungian analysts who can bring our expertise to bear on specific difficulties. Anyone wanting a specific form of counselling, for example, person-centred counselling or humanistic counselling should search on the appropriate websites for more information.


Often, when looking at a particular problem, the person may find that the difficulties extend beyond the particular, current problem and relate to difficulties that have been going on for much longer. For example, a difficulty meeting new people may be part of a lifelong pattern of shyness and anxiety. At these times it is necessary to look more broadly at someone’s personality. This broader look at the difficulties is usually described as psychotherapy.

One particular characteristic of psychotherapy is that the therapist will often look at the way that someone’s difficulties are affecting them at that moment with the therapist. For example, if someone struggles with social anxieties the therapist will very likely explore what it is like for the person to be talking to the therapist. In this way there is immediate access to the anxieties that the person struggles with, rather than having to describe these difficulties second-hand. This allows the difficulties to be ‘worked through’ in the relationship with the therapist, as well as being understood in the context of the person’s previous life-experiences.

Analysis and psychoanalysis

Sometimes, when it is necessary to create a particularly safe space for someone to work through their difficulties, and to be able to explore things in more depth, it is necessary to meet more frequently than once a week. It can be helpful to meet twice or three times per week, or four or five times per week. Meeting four or five times per week is usually what is described as analysis. The frequency of meetings will always be decided through discussion between the analyst and the analysand (the person in analysis).

Although what occurs in a session when meeting four or five times per week is not necessarily very different from what may occur in a session meeting once or twice a week, there is a greater depth and continuity, a greater focus on important detail, and the frequency of meetings may make the sessions ‘feel’ different, for example, feeling more secure or safe. Such frequency of meetings can facilitate the working through of particularly difficult feelings and states.

Psychoanalysis and analytical psychology

Psychoanalysis is the term that Sigmund Freud used to describe his particular method of analysis, whilst Jung used the term Analytical Psychology. For a brief guide to some of the ideas that are distinctive in Analytical Psychology see the page in this website or follow the link here.

Jungian psychotherapy and analysis

The members of the Society of Analytical Psychology have studied across the whole field of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis with particular reference, of course, to the work of C.G. Jung. The training has required them to have four times a week in-depth analysis themselves for a number of years, so they have personal experience of analysis to complement their theoretical understanding and, as importantly, their practical experience of working with and helping many different people.

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