How is Carl Jung's
Active Imagination
Being Used Today?

“The dreambody begins with a subtle feeling or sentient experience, which manifests in the body in terms of symptoms and uncontrolled movements, in dreams, in synchronicities"

What is active imagination?

Active imagination is a technique used by Carl Jung to explore the subconscious. It involves using the imagination to create images and scenarios that can be used to gain insight into the psyche. Active imagination can be used in both personal and therapeutic settings.

The process of CJ Jung’s Active Imagination is one in which the contents of one’s unconscious are translated into images, narratives, or personified as separate entities. It serves as a bridge between the “ego” and the unconscious, and can be used for exploring the sub- and unconscious. This technique was developed by Carl Jung between 1913 and 1916, and has been found to be therapeutic in psycho-therapeutic settings. It is a process of personal discovery that can be used to better understand oneself, others, and the world around them.

Jung believed that the imagination was not just a faculty for making up stories, but was actually connected to a deeper level of reality. He saw it as a way to access the hidden parts of the psyche and as a tool for transformation. Active imagination is used to bring buried material from the unconscious into consciousness. It can help us to understand our shadow side and to come to terms with our innermost desires and fears.


How To Practice Active Imagination?

There are many ways to do active imagination. Jung suggested using dreams, fantasies, art, or writing as a way to create images that represent the contents of the unconscious. If you are interested in using active imagination for personal growth or exploration, there are a few things you can do to get started.

  1. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
  2. Allow your mind to wander and create images or scenarios that come to you spontaneously.
  3. Pay attention to your body sensations and emotions as you imagine.
  4. Journal about your experience afterwards.


How Has Process-Oriented Psychology built on the Concept and Practice of Active Imagination?

Processwork Psychology is one school of thought that has expanded on Jung’s active imagination. Processwork practitioners believe that by engaging the imagination in a creative and somatic way, we can gain access to previously hidden parts of ourselves. This type of work can be used to explore issues such as identity, relationships, and creativity.

Mindell’s work expands on Jungian theory by conceptualizing the “Dreambody.” The Dreambody is the embodiment of the dream, and it is through the body that the dream communicates. Symptoms and uncontrolled movements are some of the ways in which the Dreambody communicates. Dreams, synchronicities, and other events in life can also be seen as expressions of the Dreambody.

Processwork uses active imagination as a way to access the Dreambody by following sensory grounded information. This involves a close examination of the non-verbal signals within the client, which can include unintended movements, spontaneous imagery and observation of proprioceptive feelings. The Processworker helps the client to stay with, amplify, and explore these signals in order to gain new insights. (For a more in-depth exploration of how this process is achieved, see our blog post on channel and blank access.)

Ultimately, Process-oriented psychology has built on the concept and practice of active imagination by providing a methodology by which the deeper meaning of what is calling to be discovered can be explored. This exploration can enhance awareness of usually unknown aspects of individuals, relationships, groups and systems.


What are the Similarities and Differences Between Jungian Psychology and Processwork?

There are many similarities between Processwork Psychology and Jungian Psychology. Both schools of thought believe in the power of the imagination to facilitate personal growth and transformation. Both Processwork and Jungian psychology utilize active imagination as a tool for exploring the psyche. In active imagination, the individual engages in an imaginary dialogue or interaction with an aspect of the self, often in the form of a character or archetype. This allows for greater insight into the dynamics at play within the psyche. The use of active imagination can be particularly beneficial in cases where there is resistance to exploring certain material or complexes in therapy. It can also be helpful in facilitating growth and integration within the self.

However, there are some key differences between the two schools of thought. Processwork’s focus on the dreambody and active imagination sets it apart from Junigian psychology. In Processwork, the dreambody is seen as a non-consensus reality that can be used to gain insight into the deeper meaning of what is calling to be discovered. Active imagination is a technique that can be used to access the dreambody and explore its contents. This approach differs from Junigian psychology, which focuses on using active imagination to access the unconscious mind. Processwork practitioners believe that by engaging the body in the creative process, we can access previously hidden parts of ourselves. Jungian Psychology does not place as much emphasis on the body and instead focuses on analysis and collective symbology.


Conclusion and More Resources

If you are interested in learning more about modern day Active Imagination, there are many resources available. The Processwork Institute is a good starting point for learning more about Processwork Psychology. The C.G. Jung Institute is a good resource for learning more about Jungian Psychology. For the most thorough exploration of the connection between depth psychology and Processwork, read Margret McNeal’s Process Work and the Living Unconscious: Embodied Praxis for Depth Psychology

Want to Dive Deeper into Processwork?

Become a Member to Join our Classes & Community Events


SLiding Scale

Flexible Pricing


What to expect

​Strategic Topics &
Optimized Learning

Course content curated for personal growth, individual facilitation, organizational facilitation & social change.

Ongoing Learning &

Each seminar recording comes with unlimited access to the seminar content. Watch as many times as you want, whenever you want!

Global Community Network

Learn from presenters and participants all over the world, sharing experience and expertise drawn from their unique contexts.

Experiential Exercises &
Written Handouts

Be guided through experiential exercises via the video clips and follow along with written handouts.

Subscribe to our Newsletter and Stay Updated!

Contact us

Wherever you are in the world, you can be a part of our vibrant learning community! Contact us with questions or to host your own event through Processwork Online.

Join our Facebook Group!

Copyright 2021 © Processwork Online

Scroll to Top