Alchemy and Psychotherapy: Post-Jungian Perspectives by Dale Mathers

By Dale Mathers

Alchemical symbols are a part of pop culture, so much lately popularised within the Harry Potter books. Alchemy intrigued Carl Jung, the founding father of analytical psychology. It encouraged him as he wrote ‘the purple Book’ - the magazine of his voyage of inner discovery. He dedicated a lot of his lifestyles to it, utilizing alchemical symbols as metaphors for subconscious tactics. Alchemy and Psychotherapy explores the difficulty of alchemy within the consulting room and its program to social and political concerns. This booklet argues opposed to the dominant discourse in modern psychotherapy - clinical materialism - and for the invention of religious meaning.

Alchemy and Psychotherapy has 4 major sections:

‘Alchemy and meaning’ - appears to be like on the historical past of alchemy, fairly the logo of the coniunctio - sacred marriage - a metaphor for the healing relationship.

'The symbolic attitude’ - explores operating with desires, fairytales, astrology and the physique: every one of that is a symbolic language.

‘The spirit and the normal world’ - discusses the concept that of 'burn out' - of therapists, our ecological assets, the magical facets of quantum physics and the philosophical underpinning of image formation.

‘Clinical Applications’ - exhibits alchemy’s use with sufferers of abuse, these suffering to safe gender id, in anorexia and in ‘social healing’ - atonement and restorative justice - which follow the belief of the coniunctio.

Alchemy and Psychotherapy is illustrated all through with medical examples, alchemical photographs and poetry which emphasise that alchemy is either an artistic paintings and a technology. Bringing jointly individuals from quite a lot of disciplines, Dale Mathers and individuals exhibit that remedy is either paintings and technology, that the consulting room is the alchemical laboratory, and that their learn is their inventive engagement. Alchemy and Psychotherapy might be a precious source for practitioners, scholars in any respect degrees of psychotherapy, analytical psychology, psychoanalysis and inventive, art-based cures and for artistic practitioners (in movie, literature and acting arts) who draw on Jung’s principles.

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Example text

231) Traditionally Gnosticism is thought of as an ancient heresy which arose from second-century Christianity and then died out. This is not the case. It was preChristian and existed throughout the whole ancient world. It would be more accurate to say it encompassed Christianity rather than Christianity encompassed it. A simplified description of Gnosticism is of an antithetical dualism between 20 THE STONE THAT THE BUILDERS REJECTED immateriality (deemed to be good) and materiality (deemed to be evil).

At least three volumes of his Collected Works are devoted to it. I will look at the ancient art of alchemy examining the archetype of the self, fundamental to the Jungian model for understanding the psyche. This leads on to the concept of the individuation process as mirrored in the experiments and processes of the alchemists. Jung saw these as a most profound metaphor whose symbolism he felt was closer to the unconscious than any other. The search for the philosopher’s stone, the gold, from base metal demonstrates the stages in the archetypal journey of the ego towards its acknowledgment of and final submission to the central archetype that Jung called ‘the self’.

This reduces the danger of reification, of turning an idea into a thing, of turning counselling/therapy/analysis into a ‘musical bank’. Any creative process involves an investment. You can’t get gold out of this text unless you ‘give us the gold’ of your time. You are interested . . perhaps hoping this book will give ‘mystical insights’, rather than question cherished, and financially rewarding, beliefs. In developmental discourse, phrases like ‘mother– infant dyad’, and ‘anxious attachment’ are the kind of theoretical gold a counsellor/therapist/analyst expects to find.

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