This workshop explores the nature and language of dreams and how to draw upon Jung’s method of active imagination and modalities of the expressive arts to “dream the dream onwards.” There is a focus on bringing dreams and imaginal material into clinical practice in an embodied way. Jung’s four-fold schema of dream interpretation from his 1936-1941 ETH dream seminars is utilized as a model to learn how to circumambulate around the dream’s various meanings to uncover their deeper significance. We explore ways in which dreams and the imagination can alert us about certain psychological dynamics, such as the transference and countertransference; and provide an integrative, compensatory, prospective, and synthetic function towards psychological growth. We keep in mind that by broadening our understandings and embodied experiences via entrance into the dreamworld it can help connect us with the personal, spiritual, archetypal and cultural dimensions of the psyche. The workshop includes case material and experiential components. Major writings from C. G. Jung’s Collected Works and post-Jungian literature is assigned (& recommended) and discussed.
Active imagination is the process of allowing contents of the personal and collective unconscious to emerge freely while maintaining some working relationship to images, feelings, sensations and thoughts springing forth from the unconscious into consciousness. It is the process of turning attention within, toward one's inner world and then expressing it creatively, while maintaining a reflective and psychological point of view.
About the use of this method Jung writes, "The essential thing is to differentiate oneself from these unconscious contents by personifying them, and at the same time to bring them into relationship with consciousness." (C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, 1961, p. 187)
In this workshop, we explore the method of active imagination and ways in which to utilize the practice for healing and transformation. We draw upon difference expressive arts modalities including movement, drawing and writing. Active imagination provides an excellent foundation for engaging with the imagination and body for the facilitation of personal, cultural and collective change.
Jung writes again, "I therefore took up a dream-image or an association of the patient's and with this as a point of departure, set him the task of elaborating or developing his theme by giving free rein to his fantasy. This according to individual taste and talent, could be done in any number of ways, dramatic, dialectic, visual, acoustic, or in the form of dancing, painting, drawing, or modeling." (C. G. Jung, Collected Works, volume 8, para. 400)
In this experiential workshop, we explore the discipline of Authentic Movement. It is a practice in which attention is paid to the somatic unconscious, the unconscious as it is experienced and expressed on a bodily level. In this practice of authentic movement, the mover is guided to allow oneself to be directed from within and to give form, through movement, to the images, sensations, feelings which arise from attending to one’s somatic experience, as well as any somatic memory that may arise. This material can be explored as communication from the unconscious or a deeper aspect of the self.
There is an emphasis on learning to wait for the “inner impulse” to move, rather than directing or planning the movement. This movement is also called “authentic movement” to distinguish it from more ego-directed planned movement.
In the practice, there is a witness, for example the therapist/facilitator, who helps to create a secure and containing environment in which the person or group participants moving can experience feeling held and seen. Typically, the witness remains silent while the mover(s) moves, and holds the mover’s experience in her mind and body. The witness utilizes his or her somatic responses, or countertransference, including any images, feelings and bodily responses which arise while witnessing the movement, as a way to understand and respond to the mover’s material. There are times in which the witness may share an aspect of her experience as a witness once the mover has shared. This can be an important aspect of the mover-witness dyad experience. Often, other creative modalities are utilized such as writing, poetry, drawing to further express what's arising in this body-focused practice.
Authentic movement was developed in the 1960’s with the work of Mary Whitehouse. Whitehouse was a dance therapist who had experienced her own Jungian analysis as well as having studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich. She developed an approach to working with the unconscious which she called “movement-in-depth.”
“The shuttling to and fro of arguments and affects represents the transcendent function of opposites. The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing—not a logical stillbirth in accordance with the principle 'tertium non datur' but a movement out of the suspension between opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation.” — Jung, C. G. (1916/1958), CW 8, ¶189)
The omnipresent, powerful and compensatory nature of the unconscious, the constructive or synthetic method, and the analytic role of mediating the transcendent function, and the method of active imagination are described in Jung's paper.
The transcendent function is a psychic agent that unites the opposites, or different attitudes in the psyche, and active imagination is a method or way to achieve this aim. When we speak of this psychic process, we often speak about the tension created between the opposite positions of conscious and unconscious contents and their resolution in a “third.” As we bring the two into relationship with each other, in direct confrontation, impregnating the psychic contents that arise in the dialectical process, a third position arises, a new birth emerges to conjoin them. These different positions that are united can be something other than opposites or polarities.
In addition to personal healing and change, divisive splits become activated in our cultural, societal, and political realms where there lives unacknowledged material that needs to be identified, discussed and brought into awareness in order to help alleviate the pain and suffering that these unconscious processes can create between self and other. As we work with the transcendent function and engage with opposites, opposing points of view, and the creation of a container, these opposites can be held, mediated upon by a transcendent force, and move towards the emergence of something new or transformative.
In this workshop, the practical application of the transcendent function and active imagination for the transformation of consciousness is discussed for purposes of personal, cultural and collective change. To bring it into Life!
Early in Jung’s career as a psychiatrist, he developed the theory of affect-toned complexes.In working with unconscious material, he later found that the emergence of complexes can both interfere with the process of psychic integration and are natural channels of the potential for transformation, in relationship to self/Self and others. In this workshop, participants will develop an understanding of the nature and structure of complexes and acquire an increased capacity to work with complexes within the relational context of depth psychotherapy.
We begin our study of Jung’s Complex Theory with a presentation of the background to Jung’s development of the concept of complexes, and the nature and structure of complexes. This will include topics such as: the autonomy and the dissociability of the complex; and the personal and archetypal core of the complex.
We continue our discussion of the nature and structure of complexes including the bipolarity of the complex and how complexes can become activated within the transference dynamics in our clinical work. There will also be an introduction to the concept of the cultural complex.
We look closely at how complexes are expressed symbolically in dreams and imaginal material. There will be an introduction to the concept of the transcendent function, an integrative function in the psyche.
This workshop is primarily for clinicians who want to deepen their clinical practice in depth Jungian psychotherapy.
Goldrich, L. (2018) Psychic Pregnancy, Birth & Transformation, Journal of Sandplay
Therapy, Vol 27: 1, pp. 37-52.
Summary of Paper:
Psychic pregnancy and birth often emerge in a sandplay and active imagination process in the context of analysis, analytic psychotherapy, or sandplay therapy. Such images can symbolize something pregnant and being born, or something being filed up with meaning, in relationship to a person's intrapsychic and interpersonal world. C.G. Jung writes about the symbol, "The symbol is alive only so long as it is pregnant with meaning" (1971, para.816)
In this paper, I discuss the process of active imagination and sandplay therapy in light of the writings of Elie Humbert (1988), a French analyst who trained with Jung. Humbert defines three German verbs (Betrachten, Geschehenlassen, Sichauseinandersetzen) that Jung used to describe conscious activity in confrontation with the unconscious, an essential component
of active imagination and sandplay. One of these verbs, betrachten, means "to make pregnant" (Jung, 1976, p.260) and connotes contemplation on an image until it becomes pregnant or enlivened with meaning. These word images, such as betrachten, also mirror the process of transformation in which images of psychic pregnancy and birth often appear, especially when sandplay, dreams, and other imaginal practices are employed. Knowing these verbs can offer insights for us into the subtleties of the process, in Jung's native language.
Picture: Photograph at Green Gulch Zen Center
Photographer: Kathee Miller, MFT
Copyright © 2017 Lori Goldrich, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.