What Do You Do In An Analytic Session?

Each client and analyst has a different approach to sessions but in general the following occurs:

  • the client talks about their week in terms of the material dealt with over the past sessions
  • dream interpretation
  • how the dream material relates to the client’s life and core issues
  • discussions of how the analytic relationship is developing, and
  • exploration of unconscious material through drawing, painting or some other projective technique.
  • working through complexes that have come to the client’s awareness
  • dealing with interpersonal relationships

No Rules ????

Even though the above describes what may occur, many clients experience their analysis in a substantially different manner: some never bring dreams to the sessions, some on the other hand, may bring dozens; others may choose not to deal with material in projective art form. There is no rule, in other words, there is no agenda, no recipe, no formula – the sessions happen as they need to happen for the client on that day and at that time.

This “no rule” attitude may be unsettling to some, yet it has its roots in a fundamental attitude towards the psyche within Jungian theory – you cannot dictate to the psyche what it has to do, as the psyche has within itself the inherent wisdom that it requires to unfold the personality in an appropriate way. Whitmont states this well:

“Eventually the unconscious will begin to provide not only descriptions of the existing impasse but also positive suggestions for possibilities of development which could reconcile the opposing positions, showing us what avenues of development are available to us, what paths are required of us or closed to us, according to the inherent plan of the Self” (1969, p. 294).