The constellation of the archetypal feminine : a psychic process essential to psychodynamic psychotherapy

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The aim of this study is to explore and demonstrate the necessity for a psychodynamic psychotherapy which embodies and thus evokes the qualities of the Archetypal Feminine. C.G. Jung's concept of the coniunctio, or union of psychic opposites, forms the central theoretical premise on which the study is based. It is with the constellation of the coniunctio that psychic tranformation is achieved. The re-evocation and hence constellation of the archetypal feminine is viewed here as essential for the attainment of psychic integration, in view of the denigration and splitting off of psychic feminine aspects so evident in the histories of most cultures. The role of the feminine in personality development is described by way of an analysis of the archetype of the Feminine, and a documentation of early infant object relations as posited by such Analytical Psychotherapists as Michael Fordham and Mara Sidoli. These early infantile experiences can potentially be re-evoked in the therapeutic transference, particularly when a regressed psychic state is facilitated. This is well documented by analytical psychotherapists, and it is posited here that in order for this process to occur, a therapeutic approach which reveres and hence evokes the Feminine in all her manifestations is critical. This theoretical proposition is examined by way of an analysis of a series of dreams. The dreams were recorded by the dreamer while in a psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapy. The dreams occurred over a seven month period, and were presented in written form to the researcher with accompanying associations. Without gaining any further insights from the dreamer, the researcher analysed the dream series by utilising the associations provided, and amplifying archetypal material. In this way, the need for a therapeutic approach which facilitates the spontaneous emergence of feminine symbolism is demonstrated, and hence the gradual constellation of the coniunctio is shown. The implications for psychotherapy which emerge from this analysis involve the need for an approach to psychic healing which allows for the facilitation of the constellation of the archetypal feminine. Such an approach would provide a sense of secure therapeutic boundaries which would evoke the qualities of the containing vessel. Within this holding environment, a state of regression would occur in which the patient could re-experience infantile levels of relating, levels at which original damage occurred. With an awareness of the dynamics of such early relating, and the potential for their re-evocation,the therapist would facilitate healing and psychic transformation. Myth and fairytale would provide a rich source of reference for the interpretation of dream symbols, and for understanding the myth being lived out by each patient.

Bibliography: leaf 59-60.