Jungian Therapy

Psychotherapy, New York
Senior Jungian Analyst

Max McDowell PhD, LP is past President of the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York.

Contact me to consult: maxmcdowell@jungny.com

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Psychotherapy helps your relationships, your friendships, and your career. In this brief video I introduce you to myself and my work.  Jungian psychoanalysis also helps your creative work by helping you relate to the collective unconscious. In an engaged, caring dialogue, you and I together explore feelings, thoughts and memories which get in your way. I am specially qualified to help you with interpretation of your dreams.

Self Esteem:  In this video I show how an infant may benefit from very early mothering and in   this very important 12-minute video I discuss autism as the emergent consequence of a very early disruption that we can identify.   I have a special interest in treating injuries to self esteem in, for example, the daughters or sons of narcissistic mothers or fathers. For the past 30 years I’ve practiced as a Jungian psychoanalyst in New York City with individuals, straight and gay, and couples. I lead an on-going therapy group. Most clients see me in-person but, for people who live in other parts of the US or in other countries, therapy can be effective by Skype or phone. Insurance may cover me as an out-of-network therapist.

Story: Carl Gustav Jung taught that dreams and myths use the same symbolic language in the human psyche. With vivid illustrations, stories and podcasts I show that fairytales and legends anticipate therapy. A tale begins with boredom, anxiety, depression, or injured narcissism and ends by showing how these may heal. Legends also show how a woman’s individuation may differ from a man’s.

Jung, Freud and Kohut: Jungian psychoanalysis diverged from Freudian therapy when Jung broke from Freud early last century. Jung emphasized the prospective (forward looking) meaning of symbols in dreams. Jungian therapy gives less weight to – but does not deny – repressed sexual feelings. It differs from traditional Freudian theory by considering obstacles to prospective striving to be as important as childhood conflicts. Like Heinz Kohut, Jung emphasized leading-edge interpretations (what is positive here? rather than what is the problem?). Jungian therapy or analysis is face-to-face. Jung said that only the therapist’s whole self could do justice to the patient’s whole self. In this way he anticipated intersubjectivity which is central to current thought in psychoanalysis.

Dreams: A Jungian psychotherapist often interprets dreams. Jung taught that the guiding Self uses dreams to support growth. An analyst interprets a dream in order to better understand the direction of the Self. Thus therapy’s agenda may be to increase consciousness: this means a better dialogue between consciousness and the unconscious, out of which dialogue direction emerges. A more conscious relationship with the unconscious leads to a greater sense of meaning and greater fulfillment. Dreams fairy tales, myths, and religious symbols all seek to bring unconscious forms and impulses into consciousness, thus widening the range of consciousness.

Archetypes: Jung showed that similar archetypal images occur in different people’s dreams, independent of the dreamer’s education. Similar images also occur in myths from unrelated cultures. Such images carry psychological energy and suggest future developments. An archetypal image appears to us because it represents an as-yet-unconscious potential. If it is blocked, an archetypal potential may lead to illness. When therapy helps us to relate more consciously to an archetypal image, it releases its energy for growth. Carl Jung’s approach resembles that of many traditional cultures because traditional cultures often attend closely to dreams.

Renewal: While an archetype-as-such is universal, the corresponding archetypal image is derived from the dreamer’s experience. The shadow, anima, animus, and Self are common archetypal forms and, in therapy, each of these may become more conscious. Each usually appears as a charged human figure. Archetypes, though numerous, are still limited in number because they represent objective, universal factors. The personality renews itself by integrating new archetypal potentials.