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Active Imagination

Active Imagination

Another important technique in Jungian psychotherapy is a visualization technique Jung developed to facilitate a dialogue between the conscious mind (the Ego) and the deeper wisdom of the unconscious. He called this technique “active imagination” or “dreaming the dream onward.” This technique allows direct, controlled contact with the contents of your unconscious while you are fully conscious and maintaining a firm centeredness in your subjective experience.

Often one begins with a dialogue with dream figures that may represent a part of your personality that you are not fully aware of. The situations or persons encountered are allowed to have their say without being censored. These dialogues with inner figures can be silent, verbal, or written in your personal journal.

Jung elaborates his view that active imagination is similar to dreaming with your eyes open:

In the latter case you choose a dream, or some other fantasy-image, and concentrate on it by simply catching hold of it and looking at it. You can also use a bad mood as a starting point, and then try to find out what sort of fantasy image it will produce, or what image expresses this mood. You then fix this image in the mind by concentrating your attention. Usually it will alter, as the mere fact of contemplating it animates it. The alterations must be carefully noted down all the time, for they reflect the psychic processes in the unconscious background, which appear in the form of images consisting of conscious memory material. In this way conscious and unconscious are united, just as a waterfall connects above and below.

In your deep inner work, active imagination can become a powerful tool for achieving psychological balance and wholeness.


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