An Archetypal Approach to Coaching

  • Daniel Hercules du ToitEmail author


The purpose of this chapter is to motivate the utilization of Jungian depth psychology as an approach towards coaching through (a) positioning archetypal psychology as a paradigm, (b) providing an overview of archetypal psychological constructs, and (c) to indicate how archetypal coaching can be utilized for aiding the coachee in dealing with irrationality and to facilitate personal growth. Archetypal psychology, as coaching approach, works at its best when dealing with irrational behaviour and reactions, and also for personal growth. Archetypal psychology provides an approach to stimulate true growth and awareness. This approach can be used for individual coaching and adds specific insights for group coaching by approaching the group as an “individual” with a personality, a shadow and possible neuroses. One of the main aims of coaching, is to facilitate sustained behavior change. An archetypal approach addresses behavioural problems at its roots. By changing the root cause of problematic behavior, chances of bringing about sustained behavior change are better than when only looking at the behavior without considering its unconscious drivers. This chapter will position archetypal psychology within the tradition of coaching, (as opposed to its clinical applications) through comparisons with traditional coaching approaches. Flowing from this, the chapter will highlight the profile of the coach likely to utilize archetypal psychology as a paradigm for coaching. The main constructs relating to Jungian archetypal psychology, such as the unconscious, complexes, archetypes, persona, shadow, anima/animus and individuation will be discussed as it relates to the coaching process to assist the coachee in dealing with irrational behaviour and to foster personal growth. Archetypal psychology provides unique methods and models for assisting coachees to deal with irrational behaviour, such as anger outbursts, shyness/withdrawal, and conflict avoidance as well as methods to change reactions and habits, such as fear of presentations or even to aid the coachee to stop smoking. Methods to managing irrational beliefs and behaviour will be discussed. Finally, we postulate the use of Jung’s three-stage model (nurturing stage, adaptating stage and integrating stage) of individuation as a mechanism to aid in personal growth. Specific coaching strategies to facilitate change will be presented and discussed. The chapter will conclude with applying these concepts in transcultural coaching.


Archetypal psychology Personal growth Irrationality Jungian coaching Individuation Higher levels of awareness 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Optentia Research Focus AreaNorth-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa

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