Psychology in Writing: The Collective Unconscious – Therapeutic Presentation

Therapeutic Presentation


Mother and Child watching each other

Mother and Child watching each other (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When focusing on the collective unconscious in therapy the focus is primarily on the archetypes and the client’s identification and association with them. There is an entire branch of psychology focused on archetypal therapy.  At its root, this form of therapy focuses on a search for meaning through an identification with and exploration of different mythologies and their associated archetypes that make up the client’s world.  The role of the therapist is to help the client identify the archetypes present in her/his world and what they mean.  By understanding the archetypical structures that the client identifies with and what is possible through understanding other archetypes, the client begins to understand how to change through tapping into this innate themes.


Another way that archetypes can manifest in therapy is through a misidentification of an archetype that can lead to a reoccurring relational error.  An example would a client who has a non-supportive or abusive mother.  The client’s archetype for mother figure becomes an inconsistent caregiver, which may replicate in later relationships.  For example, the client may enter an intimate relationship with someone who is abusive or demeaning to them, but does provide some support, as the client’s archetype for mother/caregiver matches this person, the client may stay in an unhealthy relationship because of the appearance of normality.  The role of the therapist is to help the person reconstruct the archetype of mother/caregiver, which may include an exploration of myths, literature, or other examples of a positive archetype.  Based on the exploration of a positive archetype the client can then begin to change her/his own internal schemas.




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