Date(s) - Fri 6 Dec 2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A Trans Imagination : Images in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life

Public Talk at the Psychosynthesis Trust, London



A talk that turns imagination back on itself and wonders what we have imagined of imagination. What exactly is imagination? What is going on when we imagine? How might we live a more imaginative life? And why would we want to? These are questions of immediate practical interest to the enhancement of imagining. What we find is that common-sense ideas of imagination, still embedded within much of psychological theory, are not just unimaginative but based upon a false premise and unfit for purpose. Via a phenomenological enquiry into the complexity of lived imaginative experience an alternative understanding is proposed, inspired by transpersonal psychology. Clinical strategies, case studies and stories from everyday life are presented to illustrate the activity of images in our actions, relationships and sense of belonging. An imagination of the consulting room as much as the street and park.


The talk will cover:

-The everyday assumptions and psychological theories that limit imagining

-A phenomenological description of imagination

-An embodied imagination

-Why contact with images is healing and transformative in itself

-The distinction between thinking and imagining

-How to emphasis the process of imagining and avoid turning images into ideas

-How the activity of images in therapy reflects that in everyday life and vice-versa

The talk draws upon and develops ideas from many sources. The phenomenological approach to imagination is influenced by the cultural ecologist, David Abram. The transpersonal critique of modern psychology is drawn from Jorge N. Ferrer, Jean Hardy and Roberto Assagioli. The image-centric approach owes much to the post-Jungians: James Hillman, Mary Watkins, Robert Bosnak and Russell Lockhart. The anthropological literature has also been important, in particular the sense-based animistic imagination of pre-modern peoples: Hugh Brody, Sean Kane and Keith Basso.

Allan Frater has been a core trainer at the Psychosynthesis Trust in London since 2011 and teaches on the Essentials, Foundation and Counselling Diploma programmes. He is currently writing a book for the Transpersonal Press, provisionally titled: ‘Waking Dreams: Imagination in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life’. In his teaching and psychotherapy practice he is interested in the meeting place between imagination, ecology and culture. His MA dissertation ‘The Imagination Imagined’, explored the assumptions towards imagination in therapeutic theory and how different conceptions qualitatively shape imaginative experience. Find out more:

Share This