Posts tagged Sexual dysfunctions
A Primer on C. G. Jung’s Writings and Perspectives on Sexual Concerns and their Treatment
Jungian image of wholeness light and shadow copy.jpg

A Primer on C. G. Jung’s Writings and Perspectives on Sexual Concerns and their Treatment

(These statements are paraphrased directly from Jung's writings on analysis, sex, and sexuality.)

On Human Instincts:

  • One encounters sexuality everywhere; thus in anything one is involved, their sexuality will appear too

  • No instinct rivals the spirit as strongly as the sexual instinct

  • Essential to give instincts their rightful place

  • Pressures to conform or deny natural instincts creates psychological splits between inner needs versus outer demands

  • Natural sexual instincts are reduced to widespread denial and repression

  • Psyche is formidable, hostile, and can even thwart one’s will; sexual instinct is often beyond human ability to expressly control or direct

  • Some psychic contents have an autonomous nature

On the Nature of Complexes:

  • Fear of complexes is a deeply-rooted prejudice; complexes are normal and basic parts of the psyche

  • Complexes are signposts to the unconscious

  • The erotic complex is omnipresent in the psyche, acausal, and paradoxical in nature

  • An erotic complex can dominate at the expense of other psychic material, then everything becomes sexualized and geared toward the sexual purpose

  • Every important affective event becomes a complex

  • The strongest feelings and symptoms are connected with the most powerful complexes

  • Denial of instincts and complexes increases power of the unconscious

  • Complexes and struggles manifest in places where one is most weak or less developed

  • The presence of an erotic complex is certain even if denied by the patient

  • Must expect powerful emotions and difficulties to congregate around sex because it is where adaptation is least complete and where one faces the most challenges to natural expression

On Individuation:

  • Individuation and a new level of consciousness are possible through integration of the erotic complexes

  • Goal of wholeness is achieved through the union of conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche

  • Struggle in reaching wholeness is rooted in the conflict between instinctual nature and civilization

  • Must work out the problems of our moral aspects or risk repression

On Cultural Issues:

  • Cultural pressures are to blame for making struggles with sex difficult and universal

  • Best opportunity for society is for each person to be in possession of one’s own personality

  • Culture must unburden itself from the erotic shame and guilt carried from previous centuries

  • Jung’s own contradictory statements demonstrate the challenges of overcoming cultural and moral biases, which are mostly unconscious

On Sexual Phenomena:

  • Essential to penetrate the deeper layers of the psyche common to all humans

  • Sexual struggles are deep driving forces that seek expression

  • How things are expressed by the psyche are not as important as what needs to be expressed

  • Repellent things belong to the psyche and are natural

  • Must place greater value on the roots of psychological problems than on surface expressions of symptoms

  • Psyche is purposive and directed

  • Should always search for the meaning of psychological phenomena

  • Disregarding psychological phenomena creates consequences, such as a split personality or loss of consciousness

  • Psyche communicates through powerful experiences, images, and symptoms

  • Sexual phenomena have multiple layers and meanings beyond universal or simple explanations

  • Psyche cannot be defined by categories or labels

  • The conscious psyche is always the smaller circle within the greater circle of the unconscious

On Spiritual Dimensions:

  • Spirituality and sexuality cannot be excluded from each other

  • Sexuality is a creative power equal to the spirit

  • Grave consequences for ignoring the spiritual side of sex; one becomes unconsciously driven by instinct and it hinders individuation and development

  • Sexuality has numinous aspects

  • Numinous experiences simultaneously elevate and humiliate

  • Concerned with engaging the numinous not with the treatment of neuroses; the numinous ultimately helps release one from the curse of pathology

  • Sexuality is both divine and hellish; it compels one to experience forces beyond ordinary domains

On Treatment of:

  • Illnesses affecting patients are mostly unconscious attempts to cure themselves

  • Analytic approach is symbolistic

  • All-simplifying theories serve an injustice to the patient and the soul

  • No single theory to explain the human psyche; no general criterion of judgment

  • There is no single method of treatment; it is not mechanical or procedural work

  • Profound experiences and conflicts, like sexual ones, evoke deep parts of the psyche, which explains the cautionary approach to engaging sexual issues in therapy

  • One can thrive and feel harmony only when instinct and spirit are balanced, otherwise imbalance creates one-sidedness and veers one toward neuroses or pathology

  • The main concern in treatment is being non-reductive toward the psyche; viewing the psyche as complex

  • There is a breaking point for the suppression of instincts that creates a split or neurotic individual, which is not usually conscious and requires support for realization and integration

  • Shadow aspects might produce violent responses from conscious positions of patients

  • The treatment goal is integration and rebalancing of inner conflicts through conscious awareness

  • Every situation requires the context of the individual

  • Expect high patient resistance, difficulty of treatment, and prevalence of sexual material; the unconscious erects significant barriers to treatment

  • Most patients are highly resistant to disclosure and create insurmountable obstacles to exploration

  • The patient senses something repellent in their own psyche; the shadow is a difficult moral challenge to ego consciousness

  • This work places extreme difficulties on the patient and the therapist; therapy is painful and challenging to both

  • Analyst or therapist must be appropriately trained and prepared by examining their own psychic contents

  • First duty is to keep close to the patient’s psychic material and not allow prejudice and subjectivity to distort emerging psychological phenomena

  • Important for therapists to open themselves to deeper and unknown experiences

  • A patient’s deviation into sex is sometimes used to escape one’s true problems

  • Therapists must first know how symptoms help and serve patients

  • Can never know beforehand what is what

  • Sexual issues may not have direct sexual aspect or direct means of treatment

  • Avoid attitude of a missionary out to cure patients and eradicate symptoms

  • Requires emerging crystallization of goals and a direction originating from the patient

  • Requires conscious attitude of cooperation and dialogue or the unconscious can be driven into opposition

IMG_1570.JPG

Implications of a Depth Psychological Approach for Patients

Potential Benefits:

  • Reduce the labeling of sexual dysfunctions and the pathology of categorically defined symptoms

  • Help patients view their symptoms as potentially deeper aspects of the psyche or soul; remove stigmatizing perspectives regarding the surface expressions of psychopathology

  • Open up possibilities for viewing symptoms as important aspects of psychic expression calling for healing or attention from the unconscious

  • Provide a view of the numinous or spiritual aspects in the psyche expressed through sexual symptoms

  • Assist development and growth through the process of integration and individuation by becoming conscious of inner struggles and conflicts raging within

  • Develop understanding of deeper cultural and universal layers of the psychic situation

  • Provide an approach to understanding the root causes of sexual issues that are beyond symptomatic appearances

  • Develop greater awareness and consciousness of self and spiritual dimensions

  • Engage in mysteries of sexual expressions and desires by viewing them through wider perspectives

  • Recognize how diverse aspects belong on a spectrum of human complexity

  • Work toward integration with the shadow and unwanted aspects to foster a greater sense of wholeness

  • Understand how disunity of the self creates psychic suffering and split personalities or dissociation

  • Potentially reduce reliance on pharmaceutical solutions or medical interventions

  • Provide individualized treatment approaches tailored to patients’ unique psychological positions

  • Offer archetypal, imaginal, and mythological perspectives to help patients understand layers of the psyche and to add collective context to the repellant or unknown elements of the psyche

  • Allow more room to explore a range of potential affective causes and how the unconscious is purposive and directed in its expressions of suffering

Potential Challenges:

  • Some might not be ready for or welcome the challenges of the depth approach

  • Some patients might wrestle with a lack of answers or the uncertainty of a direction or method, which can increase frustration and impatience with the process

  • Difficulty coping with their own challenging psychic material, which creates feelings of confusion and more entanglement with the unknown

  • Experiencing greater vulnerability and feeling exposed on a level for which one’s conscious mind or ego is unprepared

  • Making the problem feel worse and more complex than originally thought

  • Havingresistances and avoidance of sexual issues brought into awareness

  • Facing the possibility of intensifying a patient’s resistance, which drives the unconscious into greater opposition and fuels increased symptoms

CG Jung pointing at mandala symbol for the psyche.PNG

 

Get the PDF version here: Primer on C. G. Jung’s Writings on Sexual Concerns and their Treatment

 

Jung and Sex: Re-visioning the Treatment of Sexual Issues, Edward Santana, Ph.D.

Available at Amazon:  https://amzn.com/1138919152

*For potential patients or clients, call or text (415) 644-3400 or email for free consultation (all messages returned within 24 hours).