BRIEF AND IN-DEPTH
Brief and In-Depth’ analytical work finds its roots in the theoretical contributions of Carl Jung as well as the earliest days of psychoanalysis.
‘Brief and In-Depth’ (BID) with its emphasis on the importance of dreams is compatible with the ideas and early contributions of Jung, Ferenczi, Rank, Alexander and French. These early pioneers of short-term work believed that a phenomenological and affective experience was needed to replace the search for an intellectual and genetic understanding of a patient’s symptoms.
In an effort to expand on the short-term work of these renowned analysts, ‘Brief and In-Depth’ offers an innovative approach which, at its heart, attempts to explore and chisel out new territory that draws on ancient, Greek, Asklepian incubation practices and the Embodied Imagination® method of working with dreams and memories developed by Robert Bosnak PsyA¹.
Anchored in the traditional practice of analytical psychology, a ‘Brief and In-Depth’ approach, does not replace the traditional practice of analytical psychology. In the early 1940’s, significant historical events marked the resurgence of brief therapies. The 21st century is no exception as we find ourselves living in the midst of major psychoanalytic changes. With the initiation of a national health insurance, clinicians are being asked to find shorter more broadly applicable modes of therapy or risk excluding many of their clients and themselves from new programs. As a consequence, we can anticipate that briefer modes of group therapy, cognitive-behavioral approaches, and family therapy will emerge more strongly in the years ahead. In spite of this trend, the fact remains that the vast majority of analytical clinicians are committed to a longer-term, one to one model. Nevertheless, it might behoove those of us who are so inclined, to consider both, a longer approach and a briefer, more time-limited one, contingent upon our client population.
‘Brief and In-Depth’, initially conceived of by Heyong Shen PsyA and Robert Bosnak PsyA, and expanded upon by Jill Fischer PsyA, focuses on ground-up unconscious processes, rather than top-down cognitive approaches to brief treatment. For a series of eight to ten consecutive sessions both the analyst and client meet to explore a particularly difficult core issue. With the help of ancient Asklepian dream incubation techniques, the creative imagination leads the way. The analyst does not provide answers or have a prescribed notion of how the treatment will evolve. The intelligence inherent in the dream images and their associated bodily responses help illuminate the client’s situation and bring new insights that over time disclose previously unconscious points of view and in the words of C.G. Jung, “new ways of getting over a dreaded impasse.”²
‘Brief and In-Depth’ analysis, with its emphasis on traditional Jungian concepts, is both versatile and resilient enough to allow for a creative and inventive approach to brief work. What were once considered radical changes in practice, are now the essential criteria for a successful approach to short-term work.
In support of a Brief and In-Depth model, Jung emphasized that we should always remember that the life of the unconscious goes on and continuously produces problematic situations. There is no need for pessimism and this need not prevent us from recognizing that any psychological work is no once and for all “cure”. It is no more, at first, then a more or less thorough readjustment. There is no change that is unconditionally valid over a long period of time. Life is always to be tackled a new.
1Bosnak, Robert. Embodiment: Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art, and Travel. New York: Routledge, 2007.
2Jung, C.G. CW8: para.549