HomeArt TherapyCarl S. Jung–Art Therapy in the Making

Carl S. Jung–Art Therapy in the Making

Carl Jung, known for the Jung art therapy theory, was one of the colleagues of the famous Austrian psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud, the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. Freud became internationally recognized with his groundbreaking theories regarding the conscious vs. unconscious parts of the mind. Simultaneously beginning his Jung art therapy theories, Jung felt that even though Freud made the goal of his therapy the unconscious conscious, he felt that it was made to sound as if it were an unpleasant “cauldron of seething wishs.”

But according to the American Art Therapy Association, Inc., Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud together, along with many other psychiatric individuals at the time, had a big hand in the development of art therapy. It was thought that these historical practitioners had the same insight that entered into the development of art therapy, along with its application of conflict resolution. The healing and learning that was derived from the “talk therapy” these men eventually became known for, was thought to have built a base for uncovering the unconscious levels of the mind. But many feel that it was the Jung art therapy that seemed to be the method upon which today’s art therapy received its roots.

One of the tools Carl Jung used for his patients to express their unconscious feelings was art, bringing forth the Jung art therapy method. Influenced by both psychology and psychiatry, Jung’s influence was based on his devotion to the psychological meaning that was inside of each art piece. Freud himself never had his patients do their own artwork, but Carl Jung encouraged it. “To paint what we see before us, ” Jung wrote, “is a different art from painting what we see within.”

Totally rejecting Freud’s theories, Jung expanded the field of psychoanalysis on a personal level. The Jung art therapy included artwork of all levels, the interaction of mythology and its influence on the present moment, and the thoughts of native people which included the round spiritual mandala and the Sanskrit. Many felt he had more common sense than Freud, as the he felt the individual’s psyche had more than one interacting systems. One of these was the ego, as he dismissed Freud’s superego and id, feeling that the ego alone was considered a personal unconscious state of the mind but as a fundamental collective unconscious one.

With much more of an optimistic view of art than did Freud, with his Jung art therapy views Carl Jung felt that psychological art originated within the psyche and was considered to be intelligible to the general mass. But even more, he discovered that another style called visionary art, dew on the collective unconscious and was a lot deeper and with less individual nature. This sort of art were of images–appearing in dreams and in the art form–and were more spontaneoius and were considered to be more fulfilling images. He considered them as metaphors that held the troubled individual’s separate worlds together in a world of trauma and chaos.

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