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Dissertation Title:

A Time of Fate: Romantic Love in the Analytic Relationship


Elizabeth Anne Colistra

Date, Time & Place:

October 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Lecture Hall, Lambert Road campus


The purpose of this study is to explore the meaning of the experience of real romantic love when it emerges mutually between analyst and analysand from the perspective of C. G. Jung’s concept of individuation. In this dissertation, the real romantic love relationship is defined as a romantic mutual love involving less projection and more objective experience of who the other uniquely is.

The real or non-transferential relationship has been widely acknowledged by analytical psychologists, existing alongside or instead of the transferential relationship. Although Jungian theory may be useful, for example in understanding the nature of projections, especially in love, it can also be misused or applied carelessly in ways which invalidate the reality of romantic love developing in the analytic encounter. Ironically, the theory created in service to the objective psyche may be used to defend against its reality when it manifests as love between the analytic couple. This study assumes that such experience is possible and continues to take place in the consulting room, longing for a deeper understanding that radically acknowledges the workings of the unconscious.

Utilizing an alchemical hermeneutic method of research, this study examines the particular nature of the analytic relationship as Jung conceived of it, the transference versus the real or non-transferential relationship, Eros, and ethics, both as understood in analytical psychology. The findings indicated the phenomenon at the heart of this study includes various opportunities for encountering the numinous. Although the experience poses many problems and challenges for the analytic couple, the findings also suggest a teleological thrust towards the possibility for mutual individuation.



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  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Psychotherapy, Track T, 2008
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Nelson
  • Reader: Dr. Allen Koehn
  • External Reader: Dr. John Haule
  • Keywords: Individuation, Mutual Individuation, Analytic Relationship, Transference, Real Relationship, Non-transferential Relationship, Eros, Ethics, Numinous