Jungian Psychotherapy is based on the work of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961). Jung was strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud but when still quite a young man began to develop his own distinctive understanding of people. Jung accepted Freud's great discovery that the choices an individual makes may be powerfully influenced by unconscious factors - thoughts and feelings of which the individual is unaware. But he departed from Freud over the idea that the unconscious is a 'rubbish bin' containing all of the individual's childhood feelings and thoughts which were considered unacceptable and therefore were repressed. Rather, Jung likened the unconscious to the vastly greater part of an iceberg submerged below the surface, with a relatively small portion, the conscious mind, above in the light.

Jung became interested in the images which occurred in the dreams of his patients and began to notice similarities with images collected by anthropologists from many so-called primitive cultures. He came to the view that within every person there is an unconscious substrate, the 'collective unconscious' underlying the Freudian 'personal unconscious', which contains the entire inheritance of the species - the archetypal forms which encompass all the possibilities of human life. The life of each individual is a journey, firstly of development out of and separation from the unconscious into the individual's identity; and then a coming back into relationship with unconscious over the course of one's life so that one lives out, to the greatest extent possible, all that each individual has it in them to be.

Energy for living, Jung believed comes from the depths of our being. If an individual's life experiences have disrupted the connection between conscious and unconscious, then at some point the individual will come to a crisis - a point where either they run out of energy or their conscious intentions are overwhelmed and thwarted by forces arising from within. Jung believed that the unconscious acts as a counterweight to the conscious mind - if a person strays from the path of self-realisation the unconscious can intervene with psychological or physical symptoms and compel that person to stop and take stock and make some adjustment to their lives so that they come back into alignment with the person they really are.

So, for Jung, psychological symptoms have a meaning which is vital for the individual sufferer. He believed that symptoms are the psyche's way of compelling the sufferer to stop and pay attention to himself and his life. It is my experience that as we give attention to the person in therapy - listen carefully to their personal story, gather dream images and waking images they produce, and attend to their experience of being in the therapy situation - we can come to a better understanding of that individual and the life they need to create for themselves so that they can be the person they have the potential to become.

The therapeutic relationship provides opportunities for trying out different ways of being with another person. Once a new way of being is tried and found to work, a new confidence can begin to grow within the person that being more fully themselves is creative - creates a more meaningful and satisfying life for themselves, including the possibility of enjoying loving relationships with others.