This week in CCA1103 we were treated to another guest lecture, this time from the energetic and entertaining Tanya Visosevic. Tanya introduced us to the warring worlds of Freud and Jung (both before and after their famed falling-out), discussed Jung’s theory of the creative psyche, and created her own giant inkblot (Visosevic, 2012).
From my background in Psychology I have developed a keen loathing for Freud’s self-indulgent, restrictive theories of the human psyche; so I was more than happy to move on from the phallic-focused Freudian discussions of the Week 3 readings onto the more reflective and client-lead concepts of Jung. Tanya walked us through the relationship of Freud and Jung, which laid a foundation for the insights in this week’s readings with regard to Jung’s self-reflection, process of healing through play and finally construction of his theories on active imagination (O’Shaugnessy & Stadler, 2002).
Jung’s perspective of working through issue by means of play was, in my opinion, incredibly progressive considering the times. Many aspects of his theories continue in mainstream therapies today, for example through sandplay therapy (Jung, 1997). I have been lucky enough to have spoken with practitioners on the subject before through my current work at a health services. Sandplay involves the act of playing with toys, figurines and models in a sand pit as a means of walking one through their feelings, problems and concerns (Visosevic, 2012; Young, n.d.).
Womens Health and Family Services is a centre in Perth that has offered the therapy, and I have had the process explained to me in the past by one of their art therapists. In essence, when working through sandplay the therapist and client can talk and work through feelings expressed from various aspects of the play, such as the toys/items they choose to represent themselves, others and their surroundings; the way they place and move these items through the sandpit; and even the stories they choose to portray while playing.
Another form of reflective therapy discussed in the lecture was that of ink blots (Visosevic, 2012). Tanya even went so far as to create her own enourmous ink blot with coloured paints and a large white shower curtain! Unfortunately I couldn’t see the paint pile from where I was, so I guess I’ll never know what it was (or might have been in any case). However I must admit that irrespective of the potential creative visions within any one inkblot, my first thought always goes straight to the Watchmen comic (and more recently movie) character, Rorschach.
Named after the famous psychological test which makes use of the infamous inkblots, the character of Rorschach is a crime-fighting vigilante who wears a white mask with a constantly moving inkblot on the front. He considers his mask to be his ‘true face’ whereas he believes his everyday, unmasked self to simple be his disguise; undoubtedly a reference to Jung’s concept of the persona, which acts as the mask we put on to appear acceptable to the world (although purposely reversed in the case of the character) (O’Shaugnessy & Stadler, 2002).
Inkblots are still used in many countries today, including Australia, as a means of assessing interpretations and associations as part of psychological testing. While we did not do any inkblot tests in class (alas, but perhaps for the best) we did take part in a few activities around associations and evoking images and emotions. In particular the class went through a short story, which each member adding a section before continuing on.
As the tale did not make it to my side of the room, we were tasked with continuing the story within our blogs. The scene is set as you find yourself running from an unknown laughter, trying to get away you trip before making your way over a small wall. You reach a rickety old bridge, it doesn’t look safe but you cross it anyway and then….
Jung, C. (1997). Introduction. In J. Chodrow (Ed.), Jung on active imagination (1-33). Location: Publisher.
O’Shaugnessy, M. & Stadler, J. (2002). Carl Jung. Media and Society: An introduction. Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Visosevic, T. (2012, August 24). The Creative Psyche. Guest lecture presented in Creativity: Theory, History and Practice. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Young, S. (n.d.). Sandplay – Susan Young, LPC. Retrieved 29 August, 2012, from http://www.susanyounglpc.com/sandplay.htm
[Image 2] Rorschach [Illustration]. (2012). Retrieved from http://graphicnovel.zachwhalen.net/content/figuring-out-rorschach
[Image 3] Sandplay [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.susanyounglpc.com/sandplay.htm