Art and the Psyche: A Jungian Exploration

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This seminar gives a view of art through the lens of Analytical Psychology.

Lucienne Marguerat explores what visual art does to everyone and why this “moving” experience does not leave people unchanged, why it has in fact the same capacity as music to open everyone’s psychic space to humanity and the universe.  As an illustration of this Lucienne will examine several works by the artist Adolf Wölfli.

What is it that makes the crude, bizarre drawings of the uneducated, hopelessly maladjusted, psychotic Swiss Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930) so forceful? More than his amazing sense of space and color, what grips people is the authenticity and the tension they convey. His strange symbols and astounding compositions conjure up longings, lust, fears, and tensions of which few are aware.

Linda Carter has been a part of the “Art and Psyche Working Group” leading to the development of two conferences.  These conferences successfully brought together a wide range of artists with members of the psychotherapeutic community. These events were alive, dynamic and temporary communities emerged as a result. By creating a container for interaction, new life came forward as the transcendent third. She talks about these collective experiences and why she believes that they are important and life-giving for those of us interested in depth psychology.

Linda then moves from discussion of collective experiences to a focus on one particular clinical case where “The Virgin and Child with St. Anne,” a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, became a central axis in clinical treatment. It was her hope that through an intense therapeutic alliance, a young mother could move toward an “earned secure attachment” and be able to offer her new baby a secure base, something missing in the young mother’s own history. Linda attempts to use the art as amplification of interaction and to use attachment research as a scientific ground.

In her section of this webinar Linda’s shows the deep importance of the conjunction of art and psyche in the collective as well as in individuals.   These conjunctions create new life within artwork and the powerful dynamics of emergence.


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.

Linda Carter MSN, CS, IAAP is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Boston and in Providence, RI where she lives. She is a graduate of Georgetown and Yale universities and has been in practice for over 30 years seeing children, adolescents and adults. Currently, she is the US Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Analytical Psychology, the foremost clinical Jungian journal, based in London. For three years prior to taking this position, she was the Book Review Editor for the same journal. Linda is a co-editor of Analytical Psychology, Contemporary Perspectives in Jungian Analysis (2004) and co-author of a chapter in that book called “Analytic methods revisited.” She has published many articles linking her 30 year interest in infant research with dynamic systems theory, neuroscience, Jungian psychology, psychoanalysis and art. A pivotal paper called “Reflections on bidirectional influence in the Matisse/Picasso relationship and in Complex Adaptive Systems” that links the areas noted above. In addition, she is a founder and now chair of the Art and Psyche Working Group, an organization dedicated to developing and producing international conference experiences that bring together members of the arts communities with psychotherapists committed to a depth psychological approach.

Lucienne Marguerat lic. phil. graduated with a degree in sociology from the University of Ge¬neva. She had been working for over 10 years as a computer specialist in Zürich when she finally returned to her interest for the human condition and started her training at the C.G. Jung Institute Zürich. She has a private practice in Zürich, is a training analyst at ISAPZURICH and is co-director of the Counseling Service. She has given lectures and workshops about various subjects at the Antenne Romande in Lausanne, and at both the C.G. Institute, Zürich and ISAPZURICH. Her areas of interest include fairy tales, dreams, time, the archetypal feminine and outsider art.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To demonstrate the value of art as amplification in the therapeutic relationship.
  2. To define the concept of “earned secure attachment” and demonstrate how it is relevant in clinical practice.
  3. To explain how (passive) art can have a healing effect
  4. To discuss how the practice of art (as an example for any creative activity) can bring solace and relief to the soul

Outline of Talk:

  1. Introduction by Murray Stein
  2. Lucienne Marguerat explores Adolf Wölfli and how art played a roll in his treatment
  3. Linda Carter lectures on cases where has been used in clinical study and treatment
  4. The panelists take questions from the live audience.

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