Archetypal Art Therapy
Archetypes evoke an understanding that is universal throughout humanity, thus providing a connection to wisdom through the ages. Archetype comes from the Greek root archein, which means “original or old”; and typos, which means “pattern, model or type”. The combined meaning is an “original pattern” of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are replicated. Psychologist, the late Carl Jung, used the concept of archetype to describe ideas of the psyche which are often found in religious art, mythology and fairy tales across cultures. Jung proposed that art can be used to alleviate or contain feelings of trauma, fear, or anxiety and also to repair, restore and heal. Although there are many different archetypes, Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits and fall into 4 subsets. The Ego Types: the innocent, the orphan, the hero, the caregiver The Soul Types: the explorer, the rebel, the lover, the creator The Self-Types: the jester, the sage, the magician, the ruler Most, if not all, people have several archetypes at play in their personality construct; however, one archetype tends to dominate the personality in general. It can be helpful to know which archetypes are at play in oneself and others, especially loved ones, friends and co-workers, in order to gain wisdom into behaviors and motivations. Jung analyzed the alchemical symbols which he felt were strongly related to the inner process of the psyche. He argued that the alchemical process was the transformation of the impure soul (lead) to perfected soul (gold), and a metaphor for the individuation process, or personal growth. My archetypal studies have also included Depth Psychology and specifically works by the late James Hillman. Hillman said, “Nothing creates without love, love is the origin and principle of all things”. He pioneered work to amplify the image or archetype, causing it to expand and opening new paths and options to clients. This work includes metaphorical writing and amplifying art images to deepen the understanding or expand the opportunities and gifts within an issue.