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 confusing. It doesn’t help that different people use the terms in different ways to describe different things.
As a rule of thumb the term ‘counselling’ is used to describe meetings over a short period of time. The focus is usually on a particular difficulty, such as a relationship break-up, a bereavement, or some other life event. It could also be about 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. We are Jungian analysts and psychotherapists who use our expertise to help with specific difficulties. Anyone wanting a specific form of counselling, for example, person-centred counselling or humanistic counselling, should search online for more information.
When looking at a particular problem, we may find that the difficulties experienced go beyond the specific, current problem. They often relate to difficulties that have been going on for much longer. For example, someone finding it difficult to meet new people may have experienced long term shyness and anxiety. This is when it is necessary to look more broadly at someone’s personality. This broader look at the difficulties is usually described as psychotherapy.
Often, the therapist will often look at how the patient’s difficulties are affecting them at that moment with the therapist. For example, if someone struggles with social anxieties, the therapist might explore what it is like for the person to be talking to the therapist. This enables the therapist and patient to get right into the problem in the ‘here and now’. This way issues can be worked through within 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 patient.
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 that takes place once or twice a week. However, meeting more often each week provides greater depth and continuity. It also allows for deep focus on important detail. The frequency of meetings may make the sessions ‘feel’ different, for example, feeling more secure or safe. A higher number of weekly meetings can help work through particularly difficult feelings and states.
Psychoanalysis and analytical psychology
Psychoanalysis is the term that Sigmund Freud used to describe his particular method of analysis. 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.
Jungian analysis and psychotherapy
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. As part of their training they had four times a week in-depth analysis themselves for a number of years. This means they have personal experience of analysis and understand what it is like to be ‘on the couch’. This complements both their theoretical understanding and their practical experience of working with and helping many different people.