Active Imagination: An Introduction
Friday 17 July 2020 - London
With speaker Murray Stein
Active imagination is one of the pillars of Jungian psychoanalysis. Along with the developmental concept of individuation, the activation of transference in the therapeutic relationship, and the interpretation of dreams, active imagination is a key component that constitutes the essence of Jungian clinical work. Paradoxically, however, active imagination has been neglected as a method by many Jungian psychoanalysts since Jung’s death in 1961.READ MORE...
Classical Jungians have maintained it to an extent, but not until the publication of The Red Book in 2009 has it been seen as central to Jungian work. Today there is resurgence of interest in this method as a result of recent studies in the importance Jung himself assigned to the method.
This will be a workshop that introduces the method of active imagination as a contemporary form of “inner work” and as a method of clinical relevance for fostering psychological growth and wholeness. Some comparisons will also be drawn between active imagination as a practice and various types of meditation such as found in Zen Buddhism and contemporary mindfulness training.
SPEAKERSMurray Stein, ,
Registration and Coffee
What is Active Imagination?
The opening session will be focused on defining what active imagination is and is not, and on how it is practiced. Jung’s Red Book will be used as an example of the method in action. This will be followed by offering a set of instructions on how to do active imagination and an opportunity to try it out. The experiential portion will be entirely voluntary and without any requirement to reveal personal experiences encountered in the session. However, there will be an opportunity to share, time permitting.
When to Use Active Imagination in a Clinical Setting
This session will be devoted to clinical applications of the method. There are important considerations regarding when and when not to use this method in psychotherapy. Various adaptations of active imagination to specific clinical problems will also be considered, such as working in the transference, deepening the experience of dreams, the related methods of active imagination such as sand-play, psychodrama, drawing and painting, authentic movement. Clinical examples will be discussed. Participants will be encouraged to share case material for consideration, with respect of course for confidentiality.
Pauli’s The Piano Lesson
In this session a filmed reading of Wolfgang Pauli’s active imagination, “The Piano Lesson,” will be shown. The famous mathematician and nuclear physicist produced this active imagination in 1952 and dedicated it to his analyst, Marie-Louise von Franz. The text raises a number of fascinating issues about the nature of active imagination and its various uses. The filmed reading will be followed by discussion. There will be an opportunity to engage in experiential work as well, time permitting.
Zen Meditation and Active Imagination
A lot of attention has been given in recent years to mindfulness training as a method for reducing stress and psychic tension. A source of this practice is Zen Buddhism. Zen’s well-known “Ten Ox-Herding Pictures” offers an opportunity to consider comparisons between the method of Active Imagination as a type of meditation practice and Zen meditation. Are their final goals similar in any way? Is the process comparable? Can these be compared to the goals of mindfulness training? This session will be a lecture followed by discussion and reflection, drawing on personal experience.