Psychology and Creativity
Underneath the flux of everyday life lies the seed of one’s personality. As in the acorn, the complete oak tree is potentially there, and it wishes to fulfil the manifestation of its own truth (see The world within – CG Jung in his own words). Its whole life is the story of this process of becoming. If one is able to connect to the deeper story of one’s life, it gives one a sense of meaning and purpose beyond the mere intellectual understanding of one’s everyday world.
The journey of self-discovery gradually opens up the pattern of one’s deep life. Together with the therapist or counsellor one undertakes this search for truth and connectedness. The connection to one’s deep life grows slowly, like a tree, for only swamp plants shoot up overnight.
Jungian depth psychology takes special note of dreams and their messages and aims at restoring the connection to one’s deep symbolical life. Another way of assisting dream work and of entering the dusk space of dreams and understanding one’s own symbolical language, is to develop a conscious relationship to creative work.
Often, a person finds himself unwillingly on the chair of the psychologist or counsellor, there because life brought about some impossible crisis. Mostly this is viewed as weakness, although it takes really a lot of effort and courage to confront one’s own depths. What is not generally known is that a crisis may be utilised as potential growth and expansion of one’s personality.
Creativity and the Inner Other
Creative work can be an indispensable tool in the process of individuation, although it cannot take the place of the therapeutic relationship.
The creative process, the act of creative expression, starts with creative play and fantasy, our imagination. My approach is based on my own experience with creative play and the unfolding of the creative process in my own life. Jung’s work on active imagination resonates with my own work.
Creativity is the life-force itself, and the whole process of individuation is aimed at the restoration of the relationship to that central creative force at the core of one’s being.
The work that we do in the analytical relationship aims at freeing trapped energy. Developing a conscious relationship to one’s creative work does not mean analysing it intellectually, but learning to relate to the world of images in a meaningful way. A conscious relationship with creative work has the ability to nourish, support and contain the personality.
Jung says in Memories, Dreams, Reflections p 340:
The need for mythic statements is satisfied when we frame a view of the world which adequately explains the meaning of human existence in the cosmos, a view which springs from our psychic wholeness, from the co-operation between conscious and unconscious. Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.