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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading von-Franz's book on psychotherapy and was wondering if anyone tried to self-induce 'active imagination' (even though its not recommended) as a way to communicate with your unconscious. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept,

Active imagination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, share your experiences/techniques/pitfalls with this method :)
 

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That sounds very similar to guided imagery. I think it's different in that it's more directed, but it's similar in that it taps into the subconscious. You can just "guide" yourself through it, describing what you see, or afterwards you can take specific elements out and ask them questions via dialogue.

I've had mixed success with it. Yes, it's tapped into my subconscious and brought some things to my attention, but at the same time it was very intense and I wasn't emotionally prepared for it.

When I want to tap into my subconscious, I prefer working with my dreams instead.
 
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I'm afraid I don't understand well the active imagination. I understood it as contemplating images like dreaming awake ? Is it that ?
Yes, it can be that. Also, contemplating moods.
 

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Yes, it can be that. Also, contemplating moods.
I see, then, isn't it something already natural to human being, to have moments like that regularly ?
That what makes me thinks I'm understanding something wrong about this, since it seems to be talked as though some preparation and certain conditions are required to enter such state ?

Thank you for your reply !
 

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I see, then, isn't it something already natural to human being, to have moments like that regularly ?
That what makes me thinks I'm understanding something wrong about this, since it seems to be talked as though some preparation and certain conditions are required to enter such state ?

Thank you for your reply !
It's quite flexible (as I understand it), but not quite as flexible as say, general musings or daydreaming. Is that what you're thinking of?

Active imagination involves staying with the image and not allowing your mind to wander too far away from it. If you hold the image long enough, without forcing It, it should begin to change and unfold.
 

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It's quite flexible (as I understand it), but not quite as flexible as say, general musings or daydreaming. Is that what you're thinking of?

Active imagination involves staying with the image and not allowing your mind to wander too far away from it. If you hold the image long enough, without forcing It, it should begin to change and unfold.
No, I was thinking alongside the act of been in a sort of "transe" like state, like almost sleeping awake, eyes open. During these times, there is "images" emerging (can be image of words, or more abstract things). I guess it is just a misunderstanding of my part anyway I found this article about active imagination : https://medium.com/@SteafanFox/carl-jungs-active-imagination-technique-2a622e00311
If it is the process, it reminds me of automatic writing instead.
 

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So, share your experiences/techniques/pitfalls with this method :)
I practised Active Imagination in psychotherapy until I got good enough to practice it for self-therapy on my own. It is profound and I sort of find myself not wanting to say much about it. I can say that it is an excellent method to deal with anxiety and to heal past trauma. It is also an amazing window into the self - I have found out things about myself I never would have had I not learned how to do this.

As Jung cautioned as well, I would not recommend doing this without a therapist. Definitely don't try to do it on your own if you don't have someone there to help you. It's very intense and one can disconnect from reality in a very creepy way if the technique is off.

I really like what I call "Active Imagination Lite" where I project certain attitudes, beliefs, or ideas I have onto a stuffy and then argue with the stuffy until I gain clarity. This is sometimes seen as a bit infantile by those who don't know me if I get them in on it. But it's an excellent way to sort things out. I have found that personifying my feelings, ideas, beliefs, etc ... is a really great way to explore them.

Edit to add: yes, Jung has said that Active Imagination is natural once one activates the transcendent function which opens up the mind to the unconscious realm. However, I believe that the typical psychological response to this is psychosis.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I practised Active Imagination in psychotherapy until I got good enough to practice it for self-therapy on my own. It is profound and I sort of find myself not wanting to say much about it. I can say that it is an excellent method to deal with anxiety and to heal past trauma. It is also an amazing window into the self - I have found out things about myself I never would have had I not learned how to do this.
In my experience, active imagination felt like digging into myself and letting whatever comes come without passing judgement. It requires a type of acceptance and vulnerability to one's own demons and helped me understand feelings that would otherwise have remained unconscious. Of the various mediums that have smoothed out the process, I found writing to be the most effective.
 

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Plague Doctor
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In my experience, active imagination felt like digging into myself and letting whatever comes come without passing judgement. It requires a type of acceptance and vulnerability to one's own demons and helped me understand feelings that would otherwise have remained unconscious.
Yes, there's definitely a sense of non-attachment and passive observation once one gets good at it. This was difficult for me at first because I started when I was not in the best mental state. But now it has that quality for me, too.

I see you're a type 5 as well. Do you think Active Imagination is easier for type 5s?
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Yes, there's definitely a sense of non-attachment and passive observation once one gets good at it. This was difficult for me at first because I started when I was not in the best mental state. But now it has that quality for me, too.

I see you're a type 5 as well. Do you think Active Imagination is easier for type 5s?
It's easy as type 5 to withdrawal into one self and become cutoff from new information when the direction in life becomes unclear and motivations uncertain. I use active imagination during such times to figure out how to move forward and what my motives are. In terms of practice, Jung spoke about sacrificing part of the dominant function to engage with the unconscious through the inferior. I think this is synonymous with learning to detach from one's own ego which for type 5 may be conflated with splitting but shouldn't be treated as such. Splitting is to disown a quality of yourself whereas active imagination is an integrative process but which requires partial sacrifices.
 

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Plague Doctor
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Since the last time I posted this thread quickly became active again from the various people who have posted here, I was wondering during Active Imagination if any of you have encountered anything that resembles Jung's definition of the Collective Unconscious. And, if so, if you would mind sharing that?
 
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