Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

The Jungian Psychotherapist & the Power of the Image

December 1st, 2012 · No Comments · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapist, psychotherapist

If you work with a Jungian psychotherapist, he or she is going to want to know about the images at work in your life.

Jungian psychotherapist

For a Jungian psychotherapist, inner images have far more lasting and influential power over the way that you or I live our lives than do the concepts tossed about on a daily basis by the conscious mind.

Images?  What images?

The Image as Fantasy

What does Jung mean by an image?  As he says, “the image has the psychological character of a fantasy-idea… it never takes the place of reality, and can always be distinguished from sensuous reality by the fact that it is an ‘inner’ image.” [CW 6, para. 743]  So, he’s not referring to hallucinations, but to the images stirred up within us by fantasy, particularly unconscious fantasy.

Unconscious fantasies?  Do we have such things?  Yes.  How we react to people and situations, what we “project” or put on them is constantly conditioned by images that reside in the unconscious.  If you have ever had a violent emotional response to a person, place or thing come upon you out of the blue, it’s likely rooted in an unconscious image or fantasy.  Sometimes, we may even be aware of these images, or “fantasy ideas” being present in the background, as we confront various situations in our lives.

Images: Where Conscious and Unconscious Meet

As Jung says, “the image is an expression of the unconscious as well as the conscious situation of the moment.”  For the Jungian psychotherapist, those inner images coming up from the unconscious are interpreted and understood in a definite way.  They represent the way that our unconscious mental situation is interacting with our consciousness, as it deals with the situations in our lives.  If we can surface these images, we can understand a lot about what is going on within us as we encounter the situations in our lives.

Jungian psychotherapist

The Power of the Image Goes Beyond Language

Often incredible emotional power is associated with inner images and fantasies, and they can often be associated with a major complex. Consider an individual who has the semi-conscious image of sitting down across the kitchen table from his abusive, alcoholic father, every time he sits down in his bosses office, .  Or, on the other hand, the individual who cannot help the images of his lost first love that arise every time he sees his children’s nanny.  Individuals confronted with such compelling inner fantasies may find that the emotions generated in the situation powerfully affect their responses to life situations.

What are the Images in Your Life?

Becoming conscious of inner images may be a major, very important piece of soul work.  It can be very important to be aware of how these inner images affect the way that we experience and respond to outer reality.  What are the emotionally charged images that underlie the characteristic situations in your life?  Working with a Jungian psychotherapist is, in part, a journey into the emotionally charged images that structure our lives.

Attribution   Some rights reserved garlandcannon