Using In-Depth Phenomenologically Informed Interviews in a Study of Archetypal Transference in Jungian Psychoanalysis: An Intuitive Inquiry

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In this special section on intuitive inquiry, this study investigated the experience of archetypal transference in Jungian psychoanalysis using a hermeneutically informed qualitative method called intuitive inquiry. In archetypal transference, the transference does not stem directly from past personal experience, but rather relates to the collective unconscious, archetypal image, or situation that is projected onto the analyst or patient. One such possibility that may appear in the analytic relationship in the form of idealizing transference is rooted in the archetype of the spiritual master–disciple relationship. Literature on Jungian psychology and spiritual traditions from around the world provides the background for this work. In-depth, phenomenologically informed interviews that were conducted with nine senior Jungian analysts are included in this study. The analysts shared their own experiences with archetypal transference and discussed its relevance and effects on the analytic relationship. Through the 5 successive cycles of intuitive inquiry, data was collected, analyzed, and compared with the initial set of interpretive statements on the topic. Results were interpreted and formulated into a theory regarding archetypal transference in Jungian psychoanalysis. The findings suggest that archetypal transference is inevitably present in the analytic relationship even if it is not evident or easy to distinguish from other types of transference and serves the psychological and spiritual growth of both the analyst and patient.

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