Conferences 2022-08-22T13:17:06+00:00


Buenos Aires, Argentina, from August 28 to September 2, 2022

Art and Unus Mundus in the age of Mass Media

Ancient works of art were created for the purpose of sacred rites; ritual gave them their unique meaning and importance. A ritual art work’s authentic qualities were its tangible presence, its physical inaccessibility and its connection to faith and tradition. Such works of art did not have an identified creator or audience. Ancient man saw the world of phenomena as an expression of transcendental and transpersonal sanctity. The world was experienced as unus mundus (a unitary world), which is, by essence, preverbal. This created profound challenges for artists. The development of modern Western culture introduced a rupture between consciousness and the primal world. A distinction appeared between man and nature, reality and imagination, the internal and the external, and – more than ever – between man and the work of art. The Hero’s Journey, encouraging rational thinking and the development of consciousness, attained wondrous peaks. The arrival of photography and cinematography, the breakthroughs of technological development, the Internet, online communication … all heralded a new era. In this new era, as Walter Benjamin argued, reproduction technology – which implies mass production – represents the collapse of the metaphysical assumption about the existence of a single unique and authentic artistic entity. It removes the reproduced object from the realm of cult and tradition, and transforms it into the viewer’s contemporary; it cancels the link between the work of art and the archetypal world. Many psychologists have studied and analyzed works of art in an attempt to understand their relation to psychic life. Erich Neumann drew a parallel between three axes of development: the development of culture from matriarchate to patriarchate; man’s development from birth to adulthood; and the development of the psyche from unconscious to conscious. In this talk, I will adopt Neumann’s threefold perspective to discuss the implications of the single canonical artwork’s extinction in view of the omnipresence of countless reproductions and variations that are accessible to all. Juxtaposing originals, copies and variations, the talk will explore how these different works still maintain a link and, in some instances, allow for new perspectives and insights. Addressing clinical, social and cultural contexts, the talk will conclude by re-examining the use of art today in Jungian therapy. In my view, in our modern times, humans eagerly seek contact with the unity experience. The reproductions and re-interpretations of contemporary art are easily accessible and encourage such contact. I believe that Jung himself, well known for his openness, would see in the mass production and mass transformation of images today a new vitality, a new resurgence of sacred, preverbal ritual, and even a glimpse of the unus mundus. This talk will be accompanied by artwork samples and clinical vignettes.

The first International Conference of Jungian child and adolescent analysis, organized by the Russian Society of Analytical Psychology, together with the Russian Society of Child Analysis


A model of Music Therapy based on Jung's approach

In my talk, I shall present the case of David, aged 5.5, with whom I used a model of music therapy (originally developed by the late Noa Blass) based on Jung's approach to child therapy.

Eric Neumann, who was Jung's disciple, maintained that a benign early mother-child relationship is the basis for a positive development of ego strengths, which are in charge of finding the balance between self-expression, social adjustment and relation to the other. An unfavorable early mother-child relationship may cut the individual off from his origins and bring about unintegrated aggression, thus undermining social adjustment.

According to Jung, since young children are by nature closer to the world of fantasy and the unconscious, a child precociously cut off from the benign relationship with his mother will also be cut off from his own unconscious – his source of inspiration – and will consequently lose his ability to fantasize or play.

Seeing creativity as part of the experience of life, Neumann recognized the great importance of fantasy and play for children and adults alike. He maintained that a child's development may be seen in the way he connects to the world of drives and fantasy, just as much as it may be seen in his ability to establish a rapport with the external world and society.

The model of music therapy leads the patient on a musical-therapeutic journey, in which he encounters animals, figures, archetypes and myths. The model uses program music, which incorporates legends, folklore and myths into the therapeutic process, and instrumental music, through which the patient becomes acquainted with basic formal musical structures. The model is based on diverse techniques including dramatization, symbolization, orchestration, role-playing, drawing, and improvisation.

The central idea in this model, is that regardless of the patient's level of impairment, there will always remain at least some measure of expressive ability, even if extremely restricted. The combined use of images, symbols and musical principles leads to emotional development and allows patients to touch their creative abilities and express themselves, quite literally, as best they can. The ability to engage in free, creative, and symbolic play encourages patients to be in touch with their own unconscious.

The use of program music (which,by definition,comes with a story, a myth or a tale) and instrumental music (which has a clear and understandable structure) encourages ego strengths and promotes the experience of order and meaning in the patient's inner world. In parallel, the therapeutic model brings into action the inner positive Good Mother and stimulates the re-building of an ego-Self axis.

In my talk, I shall present David's journey and show, how by the end of the therapeutic process, David's creativity and ego strengths became stronger, as was seen in a distinct development of the forces of life, in the integration of split aspects, in a better adjustment to reality and in a deepening of our relationship.

Musical examples shall be played during the talk; no prior musical knowledge is required from the audience.