What Is the Definition of Analytical Psychology?

Carl Jung is to thank for this approach to mental health

Psychologist therapist working with patient. Credit: Thierry Dosogne / Getty Images

What is the definition of analytical psychology? Get the facts on this branch of mental health study, including how it came to be, with this overview.

Defining Analytical Psychology

Simply put, the analytical psychology approach to mental health views a person's beliefs and behaviors as stemming from both conscious and unconscious beliefs. This theory and approach to the practice of psychology was developed by Carl Jung in the early 1900s.

Jung had been a student and colleague of Sigmund Freud, the famous founder of psychoanalysis.

In addition to viewing a person's behaviors as stemming from unconscious and conscious beliefs, the analytical psychology approach suggests that the human species has a collective unconscious as well as archetypes that influence our development as individuals and as a species.

Choosing the Psychological Approach That Suits You

If you're looking for a psychologist for yourself, your child or your entire family, you can choose from a variety of different approaches. You can use online resources, including websites that feature networks of psychologists, to find out which disciplines a mental health provider has a background in studying or researching.

If you can't determine this information from an online search, call the therapist in question to get more information about his background. Alternatively, you can ask the psychologist about his background during a consultation appointment.

If you're unsure which branch of psychology is most appropriate for you, your child or your family, conduct research of your own about the fields available. You may also want to discuss the matter with the teachers or personnel at your child's school. They themselves might have a background in psychology and the expertise to point you in the right direction.

Remember, however, that while you might be dead set on meeting with a therapist who specializes in analytical psychology, the exact discipline that the therapist specializes in may not matter as much as their experience working with, say, children with learning disabilities--if that's the primary reason you want to visit a mental health provider.

What a Psychologist Can Offer a Child With Learning Disabilities

Therapy has proven to be helpful to children with learning disabilities. Psychotherapists can work to combat some of the emotional effects learning disabilities can have on a child, such as low self-esteem or even depression. Psychotherapists can also help these children improve their interpersonal skills and give them the tools needed to function independently (or as close as possible to it).

In some cases, psychologists can help children overcome a learning disability altogether. They can do this if the learning disability is rooted in self-destructive behavior. This may be the case if a child is diagnosed with an emotional disturbance disability.

Some children diagnosed with ADHD may also be acting out as a result of emotional problems or trauma. In other cases, psychologists give children the academic tools needed to succeed in school. 

Psychologists who specialize in learning disabilities will not only work with an individual child but also with the child's resource teacher, doctors, parents and other key parties in the child's life.

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