In this blog series, I answer a few questions I was asked by my colleague Gauri Ramesh about Jungian Coaching. Gauri is the Certificate Program Coordinator at Jung Platform and wondered if I could say a little bit more about the Jungian Coaching Certificate Program that I developed.
What is Jungian coaching?
Jungian coaching is about partnering with a client and following the Self’s hints where to go. In the coaching we focus on the relationship a client has with their psyche. Often the Self is experienced as the guide within, and so we tune in, and listen deeply. We follow the hints, listen to the desires of the Soul and support it.
What is the story that prompted you to develop Jungian Coaching?
At age 21 I started reading Carl Jung and I was deeply drawn to it. I envisioned myself, at age 40, being a Jungian analyst, working with people and doing dreamwork. After completing my Master’s Degree in Psychology, 6 years of Jungian analysis, and starting my training to become an analyst, the imagination suddenly started to wear off. The image of becoming a Jungian analyst lost its aliveness.
This didn’t make sense to me at the time. But it’s not me (my ego) that makes my life. Rather, it was up to me to allow my Soul to shape my life, and I followed the hints as they were pointing the way to me. This attitude to life rests on Jungian ideas. I let go of the ‘old’ image and waited for a new image to arise.
For some time, I was in a liminal space, a phase of transitioning between two images. During this time, I was coaching clients and conducting courses in coaching skills. Simultaneously, I continued to study (post) Jungian thinkers like James Hillman, Thomas Moore, Robert Bosnak, Marion Woodman and Tina Stromsted.
Slowly and gradually the fantasy appeared of merging the two fields. Initially, I didn’t see how, but over the years I increasingly started to incorporate Jungian ideas in my coaching. It became clear how we can honor the individuation process in a short partnership with a client. The image of the Jungian Coaching program became vibrantly alive. At one point it truly grabbed me with a sense of urgency and pulled me towards it. As if it had been waiting for me to find it and teach it.
Can you say a bit more about coaching and Jungian psychology?
Conventional coaching is a short-term partnership; it is oftentimes “results-focused”. The desired results are usually formulated from an ego perspective (‘ego’ is what a person identifies with as ‘I’). The underlying worldview seems to be that we ourselves create our lives. We can choose who we want to be, and if we choose well, we can live a comfortable life.
Jungian analysis is a type of therapy that lasts for several years and is about exploring the depths of the unconscious. It is focused on awareness raising and becoming whole. The underlying worldview is one in which it is the task (and privilege) of our lifetime to become our true selves. Like the acorn that will turn into an Oaktree, we need to become aware of our own essence so we can facilitate its expression in our lives. This requires a willingness to let go of our ego desires and learn about the desires of the Self. Through analysis, we learn to develop an ongoing relationship to the Self.
Jungian Coaching combines Jungian psychology with temporary companionship. We partner with our client on their life journey, just for a short time. We’re not the guide or mentor for our clients, rather we tune in and the Self guides the process. It requires deep listening from the coach and the client.
In Jungian coaching sessions, we follow what has aliveness and imagination for the client. We engage in shadow work, and we might have to change the course of the coaching a few times. Rather than ‘willing a way through’ to get a desired outcome, in Jungian Coaching the client learns to listen to the guide within and to follow its hints.
I’ve developed a coaching model and several tools that take key Jungian concepts into account. In an on-demand course I explain the model, provide examples and offer a few tools people can easily apply in their coaching.
In the Certificate Program, we dive into the depths of Jungian Coaching. We put the soul at the center of the coaching. We reflect on key concepts in Jungian psychology and apply them in conversations. Apart from shadow work, we work with the imagination, dreams, and mythology. These skills are necessary for sparking the individuation process of our clients. Deep transformation may happen.
Akke-Jeanne is Jung Platform’s co-founder & Jungian Coach. Her background consists of a Master’s in Psychology, and several years of training in Jungian Analysis. She is the author of ‘Psychology of Heartbreak’ (in Dutch) and has offered trainings on coaching for over a decade.More Posts by Akke-Jeanne Klerk