Active Imagination

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.




Murray 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.



Handouts and lunch included:

Confer member:
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2 x Self-funded:

Psychotherapy trainee:
£80 (10 places only)


Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event


6th Floor, Foyles Bookshop
107 Charing Cross Road



09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:15 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
15.15 Tea
17:00 End


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  • You cancel in writing to 60 days before the first date of the event you have booked, in which case you will be entitled to a 100% refund.
  • You cancel in writing to 30 days before the first date of the event you have booked, in which case you will be entitled to a 50% refund.

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We reserve the right to change a speaker at one of our conferences without offering a refund. However, if a solo presenter cancels we will offer a full refund OR transfer of your fee to another Confer event. If the entire event is cancelled we will offer you a full refund.

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