The Creation of Symbolic Meaning on the Path to Individuation



C. G. Jung wrote extensively on symbols, beginning importantly with the work that heralded his break with Freud, Symbole und Wandlungen der Libido (Symbols and Transformations of Libido). The Red Book, which followed shortly afterwards, is itself a symbolic work in many respects, not only for its content of narrative and the painted images but for the meaning it held for Jung personally.

In this 3 hour seminar, Murray Stein and Warren Coleman look at Symbols and the symbolic process. Jungian psychology has been known for its interpretation of symbols as they appear in cultural materials such as myths, fairy tales and religious rituals. They also powerfully appear on a personal level in dreams, active imagination, projection and transference (or countertransference). Symbols often lead us through the transcendent function in psychic life and can become a primary motivator of change. Join us in this seminar as we look at personal symbols and how they effect our lives.


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.

Warren Colman, M.A., is Editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology and a Training Analyst at the Society of Analytical Psychology (SAP) in London, UK.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To compare traditional and contemporary Jungian thinking about symbols and their place in psychotherapy

  2. To analyze the creation, use and misuse of symbols in culture

  3. To create symbolic meaning and describe its impact on individuals and culture

  4. To describe symbolic processes in psychotherapy

  5. To critique new conceptualizations in analytical psychology that bear on symbols and the creation of symbolic meaning

Outline of Talk:

  1. “Introduction: Jung on Symbols and the Symbolic Life,” with discussion, by Murray Stein.
  2. “Some Reflections on the Creation of Symbolic Meaning,” with discussion, by Warren Colman.
  3. “Zurich vs. London on Symbols, Symbolic Meaning, Symbolic Life.” A dialogue between Murray Stein and Warren Colman and audience.
  4. “Some reflections on symbolic images and processes in analysis” by Murray Stein.


Bovensiepen, G (2002) Symbolic attitude and reverie: problems of symbolization in children and adolescents. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol 47:2, 241-257

Colman, W. (2010) Dream Interpretation and the Creation of Symbolic Meaning. In Jungian Psychoanalysis (ed. M. Stein), pp. 94-108.

Jung, C.G. The transcendent function. In CW 8, paras. 131-193.

________. The Tavistock Lectures, Lectures 3 and 4. In CW.18. Paras. 145-303.

________. The Symbolic Life. In CW 18, paras. 608-696.

________. “Symbol” in Definitions. In CW 6, paras. 814-829.

Ronnenberg, A. (ed.) (2010) The Book of Symbols.

Stein, M. (2009) Symbol as Psychic Transformer. In Symbolic Life 2009 (ed. M. Stein), pp. 1-12.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Creation of Symbolic Meaning on the Path to Individuation”