DOI: 10.14704/nq.2013.11.3.679

An Hypothesis about Jung’s Collective Unconscious and Animal-assisted Therapy

Giuliana Galli Carminati, Rachel Lehotkay, François Martin, Federico Carminati


Jung has described the collective unconscious as a layered structure starting from a central fire (Jung 1925), and composed by several groups (layers) of beings arriving progressively to the individual. In this schema Jung describes animal ancestors as one of the more ancient groups involved in human development. We relate this vision of the unconscious to our clinical experience with animal assisted therapy. Although properly speaking, animal-assisted therapy is not a new technique, we have adapted the approach to a specific context of intervention as a complement to conventional therapy, where the animal plays an intermediary role between therapist and patient. In case of patients presenting psychiatric disorders, animal-assisted therapy with a dog permitted a significant decrease in behavioural troubles with a real improvement of mood. Animal assisted therapy, used in the context of other therapeutic mediations, appears to have a significant impact in the population with severe autism spectrum disorders that cannot be easily treated verbally. In this study we explore the hypothesis that the improvement of the relationship with the others, obtained via the animal, can be related to a rewinding of the patient's unconscious to very primitive phases of his development. The patient relinks himself with a very ancient (temporally far and yet present) component of his unconscious. The present study offers elements of reflexion involving the therapeutic process in animal-assisted therapy and the Jungian theory of the collective unconscious.

NeuroQuantology | September 2013 | Volume 11 | Issue 3 | Page 451-465


Jung’s collective unconscious; animal-assisted therapy; autism spectrum disorder; intellectual disability; behavioural disorders

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