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  • Psychotherapy, Jungian Analysis and Creativity

    Some fear that case studies, even Jungian case studies will lack creativity.  They envisage talking endlessly to a minimally responsive therapist who records everything, but shows little of his or her reaction.  They even fear that it will be overly rational, and distant from feeling.  But it doesn’t have to be so.  Proper therapeutic work can bring genuinely creative possibilities into being.

    The Water of Life

    Psychotherapy can enable encounters with enlivening, vital elements in the psyche.  Often, such contents emerge, and take us partially, or sometimes entirely by surprise.  They may take the form of things that we discover attract us, for reasons that we would find it hard to explain.  Or maybe there are things that we’ve yearned to try for much of our lives that suddenly become urgent.  Or else there are feelings that we discover ourselves feeling, that suddenly make us seem that much more alive.

    The Spectrum of Aliveness

    On the other hand, I’m not talking about that kind of ungrounded “being positive” prevalent in our time.  Often we find ourselves opening to a whole range of widened feeling possibilities.  Often this may mean both possibilities for feeling that move us towards new passions and joys, and also capacities for genuinely feeling the sorrows, angers and difficult emotions in our lives.  It seems almost to be a psychic law that, as the capacity to experience one of these things increases, so does the other.  An approach that is one-sided, that only offers joy and exhilaration would involve a fundamental denial of what it is to be human.  As we experience the whole spectrum of our feeling in more depth however, we feel more alive.

    Opening; Emergence

    The particular importance of the best case studies involves opening those parts of the psyche that are poorly connected to, or disconnected from, consciousness.  There is a whole range of thought, feeling, intuition and sensation experience that is actually or potentially part of us.  From the perspective of consciousness, it might almost seem as if it were the experience of ‘somebody else”!  Yet it is that full spectrum of psychic content that carries the fullness of our life.  This is not to say that it is easy or effortless to let it emerge into consciousness, but the full impact is real.

    Image and Possibility

    To the best of my knowledge, it was American archetypal psychologist James Hillman who was the first to refer to “imaginal” reality.  Images and feelings that emerge from the unconscious levels of people, particularly people in case studies, can have a compelling reality.  And they can reveal a great deal about the unique psyche of the individual.  As individuals creatively explore such psychic content, and take steps to bring its reality into their own lives, people start to flesh out new possibilities for their lives.

    What Will Your Deepest Self Create?

    The creative powers released in case studies can be vast and compelling, and might not take the form and direction that the conscious mind would expect.  Have you had experiences of unexpected creativity coming to the fore from within yourself?  Or, the experience of having the unconscious mind solve something that the conscious mind could not?  A living, vital experience of case studies can often bring an individual into contact with a creative wisdom that the person did not know that she or he had.

    Wishing you creativity and vitality on your journey to wholeness,


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    PHOTO CREDIT:  © Jackq |

    © 2011 Brian Collinson

    Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)
    1. jamenta


      April 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm -

      You read account after account of those who have dared to look within and bring out what they observe from the unconscious – and that once the door is open, the creative well-spring is abundant and copious.

      Thanks Brian.

      1. Brian C
        April 5, 2011 at 10:48 am -

        Thanks for your comment, John. I agree with you: there are many, many people who have found the process of looking within to be a wellspring of creativity and energy for engagement with their lives, and also, ultimately, a profound source of stability. I suppose the most powerful example of that would be Jung himself, in his Red Book, which is the record of his profound inner explorations. Jung would be the first to tell us, though, that the door is open to all, and we only need to commit ourselves to walking through it. I see clients who have found their way into very rich inner landscapes, which have been deep resources of creativity and energy for their lives, as they have explored the hitherto unexplored and unacknowledged aspects fo themselves. That world is there for all of us, if we can manage to make ourselves open to it, without judgment or the censorship of the ego.

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