Jung - Clninical Social Work.

Why is Jung relevant today? How is a Jungian approach compatible with a clinical social work perspective? As social workers, we are oriented to be concerned with empowering our clients, seeing what is healthy in them as well as where there may be maladaptive patterns. Jung's psychology is fundamentally a prospective one. That is, he was not only interested in understanding the etiology of a given symptom, (what he termed the reductive approach). He saw symptoms as the psyche's attempts (albeit, sometimes maladaptive) to regulate itself and to further the psyche's inherent plan of growing into wholeness, a task that Jung termed individuation. Hence, when a client comes to treatment for the first time, the questions about the presenting problem become not only, "what might have caused this problem?" but also "what is the meaning of this problem?" and "to where might it be leading this person?"

A Jungian perspective is also very consonant with social work in that it provides a psychoanalytic framework that accommodates an appreciation of a spiritual dimension to psychopathology and treatment. When I was in social work school, there was much discussion of a need to include an assessment of a client's spirituality, and how this might be a strength that could be drawn upon throughout the therapeutic process. As clinicians, most of us recognize that, whether the issue being addressed is addiction, grief and loss, or trauma, a person's spiritual resources can have a significant effect on treatment outcomes. Jung explicitly acknowledged a spiritual drive, and much of his psychology concerns itself with the individual's relationship to something greater than the conscious ego.
Jung's Model of the Psyche
The Jungian psyche is complex, made up of many different elements. I will briefly review the main elements.

Persona – Jung's term has found its way into the culture at large. He drew the name from the Greek word for the masks that tragedians wore when...