If someone asks if I am a Jungian, my answer is “yes.” Perhaps a more specific response would be that I am also a post Jungian and a post-post Jungian, too.
I was first drawn to Jung’s work when I attended a gallery talk on Kuba (African) weavings. The docent who led the tour used Jung’s work on symbols to frame her discussion. Intrigued by the experience, I carried my curiosity and excitement with me and eventually took a summer course at the Jung Institut in Zurich.
There I learned amazing techniques for writing from the unconscious from Jungian Analyst Tess Castleman, about symbols in art, fairytales and dreams– ways of working that I have incorporated into my teaching at Goddard.
Since I returned from my study in Zurich, I have been influenced by post Jungians like Marion Woodman whose work about the body and healing resonates with me.
Woodman discusses the Soul as an aspect of the unconscious. It is related to the body and may be encountered via the creative act of perception, through he five senses. For Woodman, muscles and nerves are “portions of the soul.” This theory is the basis for her psychoanalytic work that incorporates bodywork as well.
Mary Watkins’ writings on Liberation Psychology inform and sustain me as I work in the immigrant communities and in jails and immigration detention centers.
Studying with analyst Lionel Corbett I learned about human experiences of the sacred including the evolution of “organized religious systems” as well as other ways individuals experience the Divine. From this work, I have learned to consider spirituality as a legitimate, relevant, and appropriate aspect of the relationship between client and psychotherapist, in Corbett’s words, as “The Sacred Cauldron.”
I have been drawn into Robert Bosnak’s way of working with images in a process that he has named Embodied Imagination. In this work that is based in psychoanalysis, he leads the dreamer as he or she enters the embodied experiences of the dream figures. Via metaphor, the Embodied Imagination experience speaks to the dreamer’s everyday life.
Lastly, Jungian and Post Jungian theory is an excellent fit with Expressive Art practices, especially the precedence of symbol, image, and the concept of the Self, which is defined as the union of the ego of the individual engaged in creative processes with aspects of the Divine.
Photo credit for photo above: Wendy Phillips “La Limpia #15″