Active Imagination



C. G. Jung utilized imagination and the creation of images as key features of his psychotherapeutic work with patients. Among Jungian psychotherapists this has continued to be an important method for working with contents of the unconscious, including complexes rooted in traumatic life experiences and archetypal motifs that emerge in dreams and fantasy. This seminar will describe the role of active imagination in Jungian psychotherapy with special attention to making pictures and interpreting their meaning. The seminar will answer the question of why Jungian psychotherapists continue to utilize active imagination and the making of pictures as important methods in their clinical practices. The seminar will also address the practical matter of how Jungian psychotherapists work with such material in actual cases.

Dr. Murray Stein & Dr. Paul Brutsche, renowned Jungian analysts from Zurich, take an in-depth look at the the Jungian technique known as Active Imagination.

In the classic form of Jungian psychoanalysis, active imagination played a key role as a method for engaging the unconscious and for promoting the more advanced stages of the individuation process. An important tool in the practice of active imagination was and remains “making pictures.’ Using pencil, pen, paint, clay and other means of expression, the practitioner gives concrete reality and embodiment to the images generated in active imagination. This seminar examines how the method came into being, how it is used, and how it has evolved during the past several decades into its contemporary forms. Murray Stein introduces the method of active imagination and Paul Brutsche shows how the making of pictures is interpreted within the context of long-term Jungian psychotherapy.


Murray Stein, Ph.D. is a training analyst and president of the International School of  Analytical Psychology in Zurich, Switzerland (ISAP Zurich). He is the author of The Principle of Individuation and many other books and articles in the field of Jungian Psychoanalysis. He is a founding member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts. From 2001 to 2004 he was president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. He is a highly sought after international lecturer and presently makes his home in Switzerland.

Paul Brutsche, Ph.D. studied philosophy and psychology, and received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Zürich. He trained at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich. He is a former President of the Swiss Society of Analytical Psychology, of the C.G. Jung Institute and of ISAP Zurich. His special areas of interest are art and picture interpretation

Learning Objectives:

  1. To gain an understanding of Jungian thinking about active imagination and the use of images in psychotherapy.
  2. To learn practical application of Jungian active imagination in psychotherapy.
  3. To understand the meaning of such products of the unconscious as symbolic.
  4. To learn about personal and archetypal levels of images and their meaning.

Outline of Talk:

An interview with Paul Brutsche.
“Introduction to active imagination as a psychotherapeutic method: History and Contemporary Forms.” – Murray Stein. Followed by questions and discussion.
“Working with Pictures in the Psychotherapeutic Setting” – Paul Brutsche.
Followed by questions and discussion.
Questions and discussion with Murray Stein and Paul Brutsche.


Abt, T. 2005. Picture Interpretation according to C. G. Jung. Zurich: Living Human Heritage.
Cwik, A. 1995. “Active Imagination: Synthesis in Analysis,” in Jungian Analysis, 2nd  Edition (ed. Murray Stein). Chicago: Open Court.
Hannah, B. 2001. Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination as Developed by C.G.  Jung. Wilmette, IL.: Chiron Publications.
Jung, C.G. Visions: Notes of the Seminar given in 1930-34 (ed. Claire Douglas).  Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Raff, J. 2000. Jung and the Alchemical Imagination. York Beach, ME.: Nicholas-Hays.
Schaverein, J. “Art, Dreams, and Active Imagination,” in JAP 50:2 (2005), pp. 127-153.
Schlamm, Leon. “C.G. Jung’s Visionary Mysticism,” in Harvest Vol. 52, No 1, 2006.
Swann, Wendy. “Tina Keller’s analyses with C.G. Jung and Toni Wolff, 1915-1928,” in JAP 51:4 (2006), pp. 493-510.



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