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The Importance of Symbolism in our Therapy

"Everything of which we are conscious is an image, and that image is psyche ... Which the ego is contained" - Carl Jung (Cw 13, p75)

There is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them. It is a question neither of belief nor of knowledge, but of the agreement of our thinking with the primordial images of the unconscious. They are the unthinkable matrices of all our thoughts, no matter what our conscious mind may cogitate. - C.G. Jung, The Stages of Life, CW 8: Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 794.

The unconscious is continuously compensatory in its action upon the conscious situation of the moment. It is therefore not a matter of indifference 'what' our conscious attitude is towards the unconscious. The more negative, critical, hostile, or disparaging we are, the more it will assume these aspects, and the more the true value of the unconscious will escape us. Thus the unconscious has a symbol-creating function only when we are willing to recognise in it a symbolic element. The products of the unconscious are pure nature. 'Naturam si sequemur ducem, nunquam aberrabimus' (If we take Nature for our guide, we shall never go astray) said the ancients. - C.G. Jung, The Role of the Unconscious, CW 10: Civilization in Transition, pars. 33-34.


While personal problems are not overlooked (the patient himself takes very good care of that!), the analyst keeps an eye on their symbolic aspects, for healing comes only from what leads the patient beyond himself and beyond his entanglement in the ego. - C.G. Jung, The Philosophical Tree, CW 13: Alchemical Studies, par. 397.

“The symbol reveals certain aspects of reality - the deepest aspects - which defy any other means of knowledge. Images, symbols and myths are not irresponsible creations of the psyche; they respond to a need and fulfil a function, that of bringing to light the most hidden modalities of being.” - Mircea Eliade

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