I'm currently working on an article to explore the evolution of the notion of the unconscious through the ages and how a good coach can pick up on unconscious processes to work better with their clients within the boundaries of the coaching relationship! Watch this space...
I deliver MBTI workshops, often as a nice team activity as part of a team building day. Sometime I dig deeper with individual Step 1 or Step 2 MBTI coaching for developing capabilities, making career changes or getting a little understanding of that mid-life crisis. In this article I wanted to share some insight into why I love this personality inventory so much and the work of Carl Jung. I am just offering my personal take on analytical therapy, Carl Jung and the MBTI.
What analytical therapy is:
Analytical therapy follows the work of Sigmund Freud's theories that painful childhood memories contained in the subconscious are the cause of emotional disturbances.
Analytical therapy deals with emotional issues from the past and relies on the process of transference and counter transference. The goal of the treatment is to make the unconscious conscious so that clients may start to see maladaptive patterns of thoughts and behaviours and that they can start changing them. One of the leading fathers of analytical therapy is Carl Jung.
Jungian therapy (analytical psychotherapy) came as an alternative to Freudian psychoanalytic psychology. The major goal of therapy for Jung was for the client to attain individuation: becoming whole, reaching self-realisation. This process was reached by transcendence, the harmonisation of opposing forces. (Stevens, 1994)
A little more about Jung:
Jung rejected Freud’s view on sex being the sole source of behaviours motivation. He developed an approach surrounding his theory about personality development. He had a more positive view of the unconscious and believed that it could be trusted and that it could help individuals to reach their full potential. Jung saw problematic symptoms as helpful in drawing the attention to an imbalance in the psyche, preventing the individual from reaching their natural goal of becoming whole and well grounded.
Jung believed consciousness or the psyche was made of three different levels; the conscious mind, providing consistency and direction, handling feelings, emotions; the personal unconscious, holding forgotten memories that are easily brought back to mind as well as those that have been suppressed and; the collective unconscious. He labelled the collective unconscious as the source of all humankind experiences and universal knowledge that influences one’s experience of reality and behaviours.
According to Jung’s theory the collective unconscious is filled with archetypes (universal archaic images and symbols) and instincts (impulses that determine our actions). Jung believed that these archetypes, these innate modes of perception, could be activated throughout the different stages of life. Thus, Jung viewed therapy as an active way to stimulate this process through a more participative analysis, using techniques such as automatic writing, drawing, active imagination and lucid dreaming. He thought that the aim of life was to become whole (reaching a state of individuation). Therapy was a way of reconnecting the patient with archetypal experiences and reach wholeness.
According to Jung, dreams were a way of communicating with the unconscious and served as a way to awaken and guide the self to achieve oneness. Interpretation was done by both the patient and the analyst, proactively associating elements of the dreams with facts, religious symbols and mythology. Hidden meanings were released into the consciousness by means of amplification, thus restoring balance of the psyche.
Some of Jung’s best-known archetypes include the self, the persona, the mother, the shadow, the anima and the animus. The self represents the unconscious sense of who we are, our own unique personality as a whole, our full potential, as opposed to the limited way we see ourselves cut off from our true hidden nature. The persona represents the public image, the mask one puts on before the outside world, filling the roles imposed by society. The mother is a built-in ability to recognise mothering. The anima is the eternal image of woman in men and the animus, the eternal image of man in women. The shadow is associated with the dark side, the animal instinct, the primal drive. The amoral is unacceptable and hidden; it is often associated with demons and monsters.
Jung believed that individuals projected the unaccepted parts of their personality - their shadow - onto other people. Through analysis these displaced thoughts, feelings and behaviours were identified and resolved. He saw counter-transference as adding to the therapeutic relationship if properly managed. Jung himself used these feelings productively and learnt a great deal about his own personality.
Where the MBTI comes from:
Jung was the greatest theoriser of personality development. He invented concepts such as Introverted and Extroverted personality types. (Stevens, 1994) He developed a type theory where he divided personality into personal preferences. He thought that individuals used certain functions of personality as dominant or superior, and others as auxiliary or inferior. He identified four different functions (thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition) and two different attitudes (extroversion and introversion). Extroverts gain energy when they engage with the outside world while introverts favour internal processes and being solitary. Individuals also prefer to receive information about the world around them either through their senses or by deploying their intuition, and they tend to process the information they receive in thinking rational mode or in a feeling and evaluating mode.
Jung’s personality classification has become so powerful that the terms extrovert and introvert are now part of everyday speech. It helped the development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the most popular non-clinical measurement of personality type in the world today. The MBTI questionnaire identifies a person’s set of preferences and these insights can be applied in a wide variety of business and personal contexts. The questionnaire is a powerful tool to assist therapists today in assessing clients’ preferences, adapting to them and in turn build strong rapport.
Jung saw life as dynamic and the psyche as self-regulating. He had a deeply spiritual approach to analysis in the way in which he encouraged the experience of listening and being guided, but also in bringing into it, elements of philosophy, physics, mythology and religion. He believed that individuals are meant to progress and move in a positive direction and that they are all connected. Jung made a formidable contribution towards bridging the gaps between Eastern and Western therapies, introducing elements of mysticism and concepts of transcendence and self-realisation that are still very commonly used today.
Firstly, let us understand how hypnotherapy works. Hypnotherapy uses some key tools like intense concentration, guided relaxation and highly focused attention to achieve a condition of heightened awareness. This state is often referred to as a trance. In this state of trance everything else happening around the person is completely ignored or blocked out for a temporary period of time. With the help of a trained hypnotherapist a person can achieve a state of awareness where he/she can only focus on a particular thought or task. This method is now being utilized for helping people with problems related to stress and anxiety.
One must understand that this state of heightened awareness occurs completely naturally with the guidance of trained therapist and does not require the use of any medication or drugs.
Hypnosis has been used successfully to help patients with stress, anxiety, phobias, problems with over eating and much more. This heightened state of awareness allows individuals to be more open to suggestions or discussions.
How does hypnotherapy help to deal with stress and anxiety?
The word stress can be explained as the painful way one feels when they are under too much pressure. The pressure can have variable sources. It can either work or home or some other personal problem. Every other individual copes with stress in a very different way. What may seem highly stressful to one person may not seem so troublesome to another and he/she may only think of it as mildly stressful, whereas someone else may not find it stressful at all. The main problems with stress can be felt when people feel that they are not capable of coping with the amount of pressure they are facing or are not able to combat their stress.
Although stress can also have positive implications where it helps individuals to perform their very best at the optimum level of their energy and talents, it mostly has a negative effect on majority of people. The physical symptoms connected to stress include: fatigue, upset stomach, nausea, chest pain, dizziness, headache, indigestion, weight loss or gain, pounding heart, depression, mood swings, negative thoughts, confusion and many more.
Cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling, and psychotherapy can help to reduce the effects of stress by helping people to perceive better why they think the way they do and how they can change these thoughts in a positive direction to manage stress and anxiety. Hypnotherapy can help us alter our reaction to a certain situation which lies to be the root cause of stress and thus, help us manage it effectively.
The main hypnotherapy theories:
Neo-dissociation, is a theory based on the idea that there exist multiple cognitive systems under the control of the ‘executive ego’, the ‘central control structure’ (Hilgard, 1974).
This central control system is responsible for monitoring functions of personality and actions. It is believed that under hypnosis we can bypass this control by dissociating. The different cognitive systems can work independently of each other, making suggestions for change easy to integrate.
The social learning theory attached to hypnotherapy came in the mid-eighties with Spanos, who believed that attitudes, beliefs, imaginings, attributions and expectancies, all shaped hypnotic phenomena. This is a 'cognitive-behavioural perspective’.
Another approach by Kirsch developed roughly at the same time goes along the lines that expectancies can directly alter our subjective experience of internal states. When we expect a particular outcome we sometimes unwittingly behave so as to produce that outcome. This describes his response expectancy theory.
In more recent years talks about an integrative approach (Dienes & Perner, Brown & Oakley, Bowers, Kihlstrom) have surfaced. Hypnotherapy becomes goal orientated, with the notion that a successful response to hypnotic suggestions can be achieved by forming an intention to perform the action or cognitive work required.
Today we talk about hypnosis as a therapy using both cognition and an unconscious process. It is goal orientated, the client is active and the relationship with the therapist is also playing an important part in the therapy.
For me, this is an interesting evolution. I sometime tell my clients about this evolution, to explain this integrative approach that I use, using both cognition and unconscious processes.
When I first started working with hypnosis I used to do a lot of smoking secessions and I was working from a place where the unconscious was working alone, using a script that I would tweak from client to client. I had some successes but I never quite understood how this was working and I never felt satisfied that I really understood my client nor really facilitated change. With further studying and understanding of hypnotherapy and other therapy techniques,
I became more versatile, able to adapt better to different clients and really working with both conscious and unconscious processes.
What is interesting about this approach is the way it has evolved over time and is still in evolution today. Gerald Corey, (Theory and Practice of Counselling Therapy, Fifth Edition,1995) summarises this evolution quite well.
He describes the first phase (1940 – 50), as ‘non-directive psychotherapy’, a permissive and non-interruptive process allowing the client to get insight into themselves and their life situations.
He then goes on to talk about a second phase (1950 – 57), reflective psychotherapy, when both the client and the therapist explore the feelings of the clients and avoided threats. Through this the client was able to achieve a greater degree of congruence between real self and ideal self.
The final phase he mentioned was experiential therapy (1957 – 70), a therapeutic approach that encourages patients to identify and address hidden or subconscious issues through experiencing with various activities such as role playing, guided imagery, the use of props, and a range of other active experiences.
This practice originally introduced by Rogers is still evolving today, equine therapy, expressive arts therapy, music therapy, psychodrama etc. all derive from this ongoing evolution. They are all therapies that encourage clients to experience something different, get their guard down and receive specific feedback regarding specific actions or behaviours.
With hypnotherapy, it is common practice to incorporate other approaches or elements of other approaches (CBT, EFT, EMDR, NLP etc.) within the sessions to provide a way of breaking through some barriers and give the clients more tools to use once the sessions are over.
I do not use the same technique with every client as every person is an individual with specific preferences and some clients may be more receptive to one approach than the other.
A little about NLP and EFT:
NLP has interesting tools to work with and although it was created in the 70ies it has changed a lot since these days.
Founded by Richard Bandler and John Grinder at the University of California, Santa Cruz, began a process of discovering how masters in the domain of therapeutic communications performed what these researchers began referring to as ‘magic’. Primarily NLP was a study of language used by exceptional therapists of the time: Fritz Perls (Gestalt Therapy), Virginia Satir
(Family Therapy) and Milton Erickson (Medical Hypnotherapy). Bandler, started to study and mimic the nonverbal elements and worked on a modelling concept. Other famous people then came along studied and brought other elements from different psychology fields to the original NLP concepts, thus creating a toolbox for the therapist to use. Anchoring, sensory acuity, reframing, time line, regression etc. are all tools that were developed later on and form part of NLP. Today, many NLP tools are used within a clinical hypnotherapy setting thanks to the people who put them there in the first place. This is not to say that NLP has stopped evolving, now it has diversified, it has caught up with time and courses are more focussed towards specific aims such as NLP for Change, NLP for Resilience, NLP for Business etc. I enjoy sharing some of these techniques with my clients as I find them very effective both during and out of trance.
Another tool I use quite a lot is EFT. The tapping journey has come on a long way since the late TFT founder Dr. Roger Callahan “cured” Mary's water phobia by tapping under her eye in the 1980s.
Callahan began experimenting with tapping meridian points and soon discovered that by bringing in other meridian points to tap on he could increase his success rate. His ideas were initially known as “Callahan Techniques” but later became Thought Field Therapy. In 1991, Gary Craig became a student of Dr. Roger Callahan, devised EFT a simpler version of TFT.
EFT was originally dealt with phobias, fears, pains etc. the focus was to let go of them in a simple way. Some followers, such as Silvia Hartmann, with a vision that the past should not be revisited and that focus should only be on the present moment and the future have created Positive EFT focusing current needs, dreams and ambitions to help clients. Robert G. Smith, developed Faster EFT, cutting some of the steps and adding some positive visualisation. Another recent form of EFT being developed at present by Gary Craig is called Optimal EFT, which focus on spirituality and Quantum Physic.
As you can see, there is more to hypnotherapy than just putting someone in a trance and making suggestions for change. Every therapist should keep up to date with their skills and knowledge and they should also keep up to date with trends and adapt their practice to a changing society and client base.
I found this interesting article by R.E. Boyatzis and M Smith on positive renewal and managing your stress. Although it is an old article it is well worth a read. You can calculate your renewal ratio by using the simple formula they provide. Read it here.
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Marie claude Bouchet
Professional development, Personal development, mental wellbeing, stress management, resilience etc.