Depth Psych
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Depth Psych
Pioneered by William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Gustav Jung, Depth Psychology is the study of how we dialogue with the Unconscious via symbols, dreams, myth, art, nature. By paying attention to the messages that show up from beyond our conscious egos, we can be guided to greater understanding, transformation, and integration with the world around us, inner and outer. Join the conversation in community at
Curated by Bonnie Bright
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Dreaming with Open Eyes: On Jung's "Active Imagination"

Dreaming with Open Eyes: On Jung's "Active Imagination" | Depth Psych |

Carl Jung believed that active imagination is a channel for messages from the unconscious.


In December 1913, Jung first experienced what he was later to call active imagination. However, he did not talk about these experiences until twelve years later, when, in May and June 1925, he “spoke for the first time of his inner development” at two sessions of a series of weekly seminars he was giving in Zurich. The contents of these lectures were not published until 1989,  but a partial account of these experiences was given in 1962 by Aniela Jaffé in Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, which she largely wrote. This account is the foundation myth, the charter, for active imagination.


In 1913, according to this account, Jung, profoundly distressed at his break with Freud, began to experiment with different ways to enter into his own imaginings. As James Hillman describes it, “When there was nothing else to hold to, Jung turned to the personified images of interior vision. He entered into an interior drama, took himself into an imaginative fiction and then, perhaps, began his healing — even if it has been called his breakdown.


In this imaginal world, Jung began to confront and question the figures who appeared to him; and, to Jung’s surprise, those imaginal persons replied to him in turn. “Near the steep slope of a rock,” Jung says, “I caught sight of two figures, an old man with a white beard and a beautiful young girl. I summoned up my courage and approached them as though they were real people, and listened attentively to what they told me... (Click title for more)

Erel Shalit's curator insight, January 30, 2015 2:15 AM

For an example of Active Imagination following a dream, see Introductory Chapter in The Dream and its Amplification

Maxwell Purrington's comment, January 30, 2015 2:18 AM
Eva Rider's curator insight, March 24, 2015 12:09 AM

Jung, Active Imagination and The Red Book

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Jung’s model of the psyche - Ann Hopwood

Jung’s model of the psyche - Ann Hopwood | Depth Psych |

Jung writes: ‘By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious’, (CW6 para 797) so we use the term ‘psyche’ rather than ‘mind’, since mind is used in common parlance to refer to the aspects of mental functioning which are conscious. Jung maintained that the psyche is a self-regulating system (like the body).


The psyche strives to maintain a balance between opposing qualities while at the same time actively seeking its own development or as he called it, individuation. For Jung, the psyche is inherently separable into component parts with complexes and archetypal contents personified and functioning autonomously as complete secondary selves, not just as drives and processes. It is important to think of Jung’s model as a metaphor... (Click title for more)

Eva Rider's curator insight, April 10, 2014 1:40 AM

A little more on  Jung's model of "Psyche"  ]

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Personal Branding and the Jungian Persona

Personal Branding and the Jungian Persona | Depth Psych |
The persona is simply your public personality. The better developed your persona is the better you will get on in the world.


Jung identified the persona as the bridge between the ego and the external world; in just the same way as the anima forms the bridge to the inner world. The persona is simply your public personality, the face you show the world. The better developed your persona is the better you will get on in the world.


This is a generalisation and suffers the limitations of any generalisation. Naturally some people get on pretty well with a very poorly developed persona, but these are the exceptions not the rule and then almost undoubtedly their progress in the world would have been enhanced had they a better, more cultivated, persona.


Bottom line, the persona is an invaluable tool in public life and social interaction. It plays an important role even in private life, your interaction with intimate friends and... (click title for more)

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The Psychoanalytic Muse: Edward Edinger: The Ego-Self Axis

The Psychoanalytic Muse: Edward Edinger: The Ego-Self Axis | Depth Psych |

In what follows we shall be using three terms repeatedly to describe different forms of relatedness between ego and self. These terms should perhaps be introduced at the outset. They are: ego-self identity, ego-self separation, and ego-self axis. The meaning of these terms is indicated by the following figures representing progressive stages in the relationship between ego and self.

Clinical observation leads one to the conclusion that the integrity and stability of the ego depend in all stages of development on a living connection with the self...

Damage to the ego-self axis leads to ego-self alienation. In this condition the ego loses, to a greater or lesser extent, its vital contact with the self—the ego's origin and source of energy and stability. Although ego-self alienation ... (Click title for more)

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Zombie Apocalypse: a symbol of collective transformation

Zombie Apocalypse:  a symbol of collective transformation | Depth Psych |

Given a plethora of television shows and films about zombies, what is a Jungian to see but a collective attempt to dream the unsayable.  Carl Jung showed that what cannot be worked through at the conscious level is often worked through at the unconscious level, in symbolic fantasy (CW 5, para 4-45).


 Encountering that for which there is yet no fantasy, we confront the limits of sense.  For the collective social body, film and art are an unconscious attempt to work through collective transformation at the limits of reason and sense.  In the case of zombie movies and the growing zombie apocalypse movement, we may be seeing an attempt to dream ‘apocalyptic’ change.


Zombie are the  ‘Undead’: not living, not dead, driven yet not alive, the zombie images emerge from the recesses of the collective unconscious.  Animated yet with out life, they move.  Driven, yet without desire, they seek. ....(Click title to read more)

Eva Rider's curator insight, January 22, 2014 10:56 PM

T.V. Shows about Zombies and movies about being alone and adrift in the world, in the cosmos, in the stratosphere. We are floating and stranded between worlds. As systems break down, dissolve and transform. We find our old mythologies have lost their meaning and the new ones have not yet been formed. We are in an epoch of unprecedented change stretching the limits of our imaginations in our seeking for reanimating Body and Soul.


Mandy Webster's curator insight, February 7, 2014 9:56 AM

A psychological explanation for the literary world's current obsession with zombies. The zombies are US!

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Depth Insights - What is Depth Psychology?

Depth Insights - What is Depth Psychology? | Depth Psych |
Depth psychology, a term first coined by Swiss psychiatrist, Eugene Bleuler, around the end of the 1800’s, has its beginnings in the work of Sigmund Freud and another Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, along with Pierre Janet and William James. Depth Psychology, which encompasses the field of Jungian Psychology, explores the hidden or deeper parts of human experience by seeing things in depth rather than taking them apart.

The self we think we know is only a tiny portion of the self that really exists. The ego self, the self we are aware of and can observe, is just the tip of an iceberg in a vast ocean of unconsciousness. Since what is unconscious is not known, our known version of our self is limited and confined. We are vastly influenced by the immense hidden aspects of the greater self that surrounds us, which is mostly out of sight or understanding.

Depth Psychology seeks to uncover or reveal repressed or hidden aspects of our self, rather like opening a window from inside the limited (click title to continue reading)...
Jane Brody's curator insight, January 1, 2013 3:58 PM

I have been working using these concepts as an acting teacher, with no name for my practice.  I am grateful to have come upon this concept which is completely related to the work of Sanford Meisner and other great acting theoreticians.

Eva Rider's curator insight, October 5, 2014 3:25 PM

more on defining the depth of Depth Psychology by Bonnie Bright , Founder of Depth Psychology Alliance.