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Jung on Active Imagination Paperback – July 7, 1997
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
From the Publisher
All the creative art psychotherapies (art, dance, music, drama, poetry) can trace their roots to C. G. Jung's early work on active imagination. Joan Chodorow here offers a collection of Jung's writings on the active imagination, gathered together for the first time. Jung developed this concept between the years 1913 and 1916, following his break with Freud. During this time, he was disoriented and experienced intense inner turmoil he suffered from lethargy and fears, and his moods threatened to overwhelm him. Jung searched for a method to heal himself from within, and finally decided to engage with the impulses and images of his unconscious. It was through the rediscovery of the symbolic play of his childhood that Jung was able to reconnect with his creative spirit. In a 1925 seminar and again in his memoirs, he tells the remarkable story of his experiments during this time that led to his selfhealing. Jung learned to develop an ongoing relationship with his lively creative spirit through the power of imagination and fantasies. He termed this therapeutic method "active imagination."
This method is based on the natural healing function of the imagination, and its many expressions. Chodorow clearly presents the texts, and sets them in the proper context. She also interweaves her discussion of Jung's writings and ideas with contributions from Jungian authors and artists.
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Someone contacted me recently about the contents of the book so here are the essays as they appear in "Jung, On Active Imagination."
Confrontation with the unconscious. From: Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Chapter 6, pages 170-199.
The Transcendent Function. From: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. Collected Works, Volume 8, paragraphs 131-193.
The technique of differentiation between the ego and figures of the unconscious. From: The relations between the ego and the unconscious, in Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. Collected Works, Volume 7, paragraphs 341-373.
Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower. Excerpts from: Alchemical Studies. Collected Works, Volume 13, paragraphs 17-45.
The aims of psychotherapy. From: The practice of psychotherapy. Collected Works, Volume 16, paragraphs 66-113.
A study in the process of individuation. Excerpts from: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works, Volume 9.1, paragraphs 525-626.
The Tavistock Lectures. Excerpts from: The Symbolic Life. Collected Works, Volume 18, paragraph 4 and paragraphs 390-415.
The psychological aspects of the Kore. Excerpts from: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works, Volume 9.1, paragraphs 319-334. (Note: Kore is pronounced Kori and it is defined as "The Maiden"; synonymous with Persephone or Proserpine, Queen of the Infernal Regions, wife of Pluto/Hades).
On the nature of the psyche. Excerpts from: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. Collected Works, Volume 8, paragraphs 397-404.
Three letters to Mr. O. From: Letters, Volume 1, pages 458-461.
Mysterium Coniunctionis. Excerpts from: Collected Works, Volume 14, paragraphs 705-711.
Forward to van Helsdingen: Beelden uit het Onbewuste. From: The Symbolic Life. Collected Works, Volume 18, paragraphs 1252-1255.
The best part is that it is a relatively easy to understand book. It is much more accessible than many of Jung's other writings (e.g. The Red Book). Jung provides a good overview of his basic beliefs about the unconscious in this text. However, don't expect a step-by-step guide because some previous psychoanalytic experience is implied if you want good results (don't expect instant results when you do it yourself). There is essentially one page of technique surrounded by various speeches Dr. Jung made about the topic. Supplementary notes, results and case studies (perhaps added by Jungian analysts) could make the text even better now.
For an intro to Carl Jung, check out Man and His Symbols. Jung on Active Imagination has managed to hold its value.
If you have a complete collection of Jung's works, you don't really need this book, because these are excerpts from Jung's various books.
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