Aesthetic experience and analytic process

In: International Journal of Jungian Studies

In this paper, it is proposed that all individuals have an innate (archetypal) aesthetic urge that is a central organizing influence for our actions, experiences, perceptions, self-perceptions, and relationships. The attitudes towards aesthetics held by Freud, Jung, and later theorists are reviewed. Drawing on ideas from aesthetic philosophy and neuroscience, it is suggested that many of the experiences associated with analytic process – such as the experience of depth, the emergence of meaning, transcendence, coherence, narrative flow, or moments of meeting – can be viewed through the lens of aesthetic experience. This aesthetic substratum is discussed in terms of analytic narrative and interpretation as well as exploring the impact that various artistic modalities, such as poetry and music, can have on analytic process.

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