Date(s) - Sat 14 Mar 2020 - Sun 15 Mar 2020
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Psychosynthesis Trust, London
Imagination is not just hidden inside. The activity of images is alive in all our actions, relationships and sense of belonging. This workshop explores what it means to be imaginative.
The practice of ‘waking dreams’, also known as ‘guided imagery’ and ‘active imagination’, will be used to explore a non-interpretative approach that emphasises the process of how we imagine in-the-moment rather than an analysis of content in retrospect. The skills and aptitudes developed will then be related to the activity of images in generic psychotherapy sessions and everyday life as an ongoing ‘eyes-wide-open’ waking dream.
Who is this for?
It will be of interest to anyone who want to learn more about imagination.
In particular: Artistic creators (writers, painters, directors etc.); therapists, counsellors and coaches (especially those from the art therapies such as psychosynthesis, gestalt, psychodrama, art therapy, play therapy as well as ecopsychology).
The practice of waking dreams, also known as ‘active imagination’ and ‘guided imagery’, is often presented as no different to a sleeping dream – as a means to generate image content which is then studied afterwards for insights into our psychological lives. Unfortunately, interpretation alone rarely leads to deep and lasting change. If our aim is to inhabit a more imaginative life, as it is on this workshop, then caution needs to be taken.
A safer route towards imagining is to simply spend time with images. To this end, the workshop has an experiential emphasis that presents hitherto under-explored opportunities within waking dream practice. In particular, the obvious advantage of a waking dream over a sleeping dream, which is to inhabit the dreamworld with an awareness of doing so, as sometimes happens spontaneously on either waking-up or falling asleep. The in-between waking/dreaming state makes possible an exploration of the process of imagining not in retrospect but as it is happening in real-time. A process orientation that allows for a slowed-down familiarisation with the complexity of how we imagine that can be carried over beyond set-piece ‘eyes-closed’ exercises. As we will see, the principles discovered in waking dreams provide a basis for a wider image-centric approach to psychotherapy and everyday life as an on-going ‘eyes-wide-open’ waking dream.
The workshop draws upon and develops ideas from many sources. The genesis is a critical development of the hidden potential in the transpersonal ‘techniques’ of Roberto Assagioli. The respectful language towards imagining on the fringes of Jungian psychotherapy has been an important influence: James Hillman, Mary Watkins, Robert Bosnak and Russell Lockhart. In ecopsychology I found an articulate re-connection of psychology to the land: Theodor Roszak, Jerome Bernstein, Nick Totton. The work of cultural ecologist David Abram gave me the hints to bring all these influences together into something of an ecology of the imagination.
Participants will leave with an understanding of:
– The skills and theory of waking dream practice.
– How to work with the process of imagining in-the-moment rather than analyse it in retrospect.
– How to apply fractal geometry to notice and work with the repetition of image patterns across multiple scales – in waking dreams, in therapy, in everyday life, past and future.
– An image-centric approach to psychotherapy and everyday life as an ‘eyes-wide-open’ waking dream.
– The embodied, non-dual and animistic aspects of imagining.
– How contact with images is healing and transformative in itself with no need for interpretation.
– The relevance of waking dreams to other methods such as drawings, empty-chair dialogue, creative journaling, memory work, transference/countertransference dynamics,etc.
CPD Credits: 12 hours