Active imagination is a self-investigation technique introduced by C.G. Jung with the aim of bringing the conscious and the unconscious into communication. The validity of this technique is demonstrated by the fact that it is still used today in psychotherapy and that its essential definition is still correct.
The way in which I learned one of the most modern forms of this technique, is not within the Jungian school of thought, but rather with the more post-modern currents of the Rogerian current. This application makes use of the same principle, creating a channel of communication and exchange between what we are aware of and what influences us but is unconscious.
Common applications of active imagination, as I apply it, are as follows:
- Journey of discovery;
- Inner conflict;
- The dialogue between two opposing perspectives;
- Returning to the dream;
- The confrontation with the obstacle.
The most important part of using this technique is identifying a precise goal or a clear question to ask the unconscious. Only in this way, in fact, will it be possible to activate the unconscious to send you suggestions and images to work with inside the active imagination.
But isn't that fantasizing? Fantasy is used at the beginning of the process to introduce the first images and to accompany you in the first part of the journey, but then, we move from fantasy to imagination. This transition occurs quite naturally, if this does not happen there are techniques that can be used to support it. You will not be aware of anything while I check if you are imagining or fantasizing and, where necessary, help you transition.
Journeys made with active imagination are defined as journeys into one's inner world. This denotes not only the territory that is explored, but also the authority that exists in this territory. In fact, there is a spontaneous protection mechanism put in place by your psyche so that the experience of exploring the inner world is pleasant, functional, challenging but never in conflict with your internal protection systems. You will notice this during your active imagination, but it is good to know in advance that this is the case. This is a safety mechanism that guarantees you an experience aligned with your needs, sensitivity and strength in that moment.
A lot happens inside your inner world, much more than you will be able to tell me while we talk. Yes, we will talk while you are actively imagining, I will ask you questions and I will help you, where necessary, navigate this adventure. There are different rules in your inner world, from those you know in this world. I will help you discover everything that is possible and I will remain close to you as a guide to accompany your experience.
After each of these journeys, you will have a broader, sometimes surprising, vision of yourself. Your world and what is really happening in it will reveal itself. What you really feel you need or what you had not yet seen or understood about yourself and your life may become clear. It will take a couple of weeks for this experience to fully reveal itself to you and for its effects to unroll like a carpet and allow your energy to carry out its transformative process.
It commonly happens that, after an active imagination session, people tell me things like 'I'm fine, I don't know what happened, but I'm fine'.
In eight years of actively practicing this technique with clients, there has never been a negative experience in the inner world with the use of active imagination. On the contrary, this is the technique that manages to unlock what nothing else can move and activate what no other technique can set in motion.
A precious tool that gives me, as well, every time, surreal and exciting experiences.
And if you rolled up your sleeves and tried to formulate a question to take on a journey of active imagination, what would you ask? Remember that you are talking to your unconscious. The unconscious is intelligent and knows you well, you can't fool it.
It could also be that it seems surreal to you to be able to ask such a question to such an entity as your unconscious. Remember that it's still you, just the part you know less about, but still you.