Notes from Art and Psyche IV, conference​ days 1 and 2


The Art and Psyche Conference is designed to engage the imaginative processes of psychotherapists of all kinds alongside members of the art community in order to creatively expand one’s understanding of depth psychology. Bringing together professionals from various fields creates an environment of cross-fertilization and the opportunity to experience psychology through painting, music, poetry, and literature as well as through psychological theories and clinical practices. The work of C. G. Jung, particularly through his vividly illustrated The Red Book, will offer a historical backdrop that continues to inspire artists and psychotherapists individually and collectively.

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The Dying of an Elephant: Hemingway and Hillman, by Pat Berry

Within Hemingway’s posthumous novel The Garden of Eden lies a story-within-a-story of a father and his 11-year-old son on a hunting trip in Africa. During the trip the father and native guide will kill an elephant. Hemingway describes the death of this great creature in wrenching, nearly unbearable detail. We realize the traumatic effect this situation has on the boy. Hillman’s commentary describes how a more ritualized understanding would have made the situation tolerable—even transformational. Whereas I don’t disagree with Hillman, I do want to take a different point of view—that which Jung called the “subjective perspective,” which here would mean to see the boy and other characters in the novel as aspects of Hemingway’s psyche as well. The tension here lies between a more symbolic and general point of view versus a more personal (Hemingway as person) and clinical one. Both views are important but, I feel, the second one needs articulating here too.

Patricia Berry. Ph.D., has been a Jungian Analyst since 1975. She lived and trained in Zurich and was for over 20 years, during the founding of Archetypal Psychology, Hillman’s wife and partner. Currently she teaches at Pacifica as well as at other universities and training centers. She is author of Echo’s Subtle Body: Contributions to an Archetypal Psychology. Her Analytical practice is worldwide via Skype.


Psyche as Palimpsest: The Potency of Image and Image Making in C. G. Jung, James Hillman, and Ben Nicholson by Mary Wood

Through the work of C. G. Jung, James Hillman, and the British painter Ben Nicholson, this talk will propose that psyche, or soul, revels in the making, erasing, and re-layering of images much like the making of a palimpsest (a manuscript featuring traces of previous illumination underlying and mingling with new text and imagery). This talk will build upon the palimpsest as the imaginal ground for exploring the power and autonomy of images, along with the psychic effects of image making upon the human image-maker.

Mary Antonia Wood, Ph. D., is Co-Chair of the Engaged Humanities & Creative Life program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is also a visual artist, writer and artist’s mentor. Her areas of focus include Jungian and archetypal approaches to creativity, aesthetic sensibility, image, and the complexities of inspiration.

Jung’s Red Book as a Ritual Embodiment of Trauma by Christian Swenson

In this presentation, I’ll argue that trauma is a mismatch between the motor and perceptual aspects of the human being, what happens when you are unable to delimit the motor significance of an event, how it affects me, by expressing it perceptually. This is why art therapy works. It’s also why self-harm entices those with PTSD. I argue that Jung’s Red Book is a massive perceptual delimitation of a motor event this way, a collective attempt to ritually embody trauma. It was a healing discharge of motricity into the world of perception, a ritual embodiment, a healing symbol.

Christian Swenson is a graduate student in the Comparative Studies MA Program at Brigham Young University and the outstanding philosophy graduate from Westminster College for the year 2015. Swenson studies representation in art, philosophy, and religion, and how our collective assumptions about representation reinforce prejudice, conflict, and neurosis.


Flashback to Portland JSSS conferenec last year


The Practice of Service as a Form of Individuation by Barie Wolf-Bowen

Individuation is a process of recognizing archetypes and using them to better understand the unconscious in order to realize the Self and become a whole person. Archetypal energies can help to question or encourage behaviors in order to live a symbolic life. To live a symbolic life is to be connected to something outside one’s self. Living a life of service is often overlooked as an activity that leads a person to explore archetypal energies to bring unconscious material to the surface. This presentation will discuss personal practice of service and how this practice aids in the process of individuation.

Barie Wolf-Bowen is a nonprofit arts administrator in the San Francisco Bay Area and holds a Masters degree in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life with an Emphasis on Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.


As Far Away as She Can Get: Prodigality and the Woman Artist by Ginny Sykes

The absence of a prodigal journey narrative for women within most Western mythologies has historically left female artists with a paucity of archetypes to identify with regarding separation, individuation, artistic growth, and transformation. The Prodigal Daughter archetype is present in my video and performance works as embodied imaginative research into the nature of female empowerment. I will demonstrate how working with this archetype contributes to the symbolic function of art on my life and as an artist, its impact on the feedback loop between maker and audience, and in relationship to Jung’s writings on “the purposive nature of dreams”. Ginny Sykes is a multidisciplinary artist who works, exhibits, performs, and collaborates with artists and institutions in the US and internationally. She brings a feminist lens to Jungian ideas regarding the alchemical nature of artistic process as a healing and transformational experience for both artist and audience.

Dancing with Salome: From the Transmogrified Daughter to the Transformative Feminine (Performance) by Loralee Scott-Conforti

Evidence abounds that Salome lives on in the collective consciousness of cultures around the world as an icon of dangerous female seduction. In the Red Book, Jung shows us a blind Salome who he repeatedly reviles and rejects even as she pleads with him to love her. This multi-media dance performance lecture featuring Blakeley White McGuire, and Masha Maddux, formerly principal dancers with the Martha Graham Dance Company, will offer a view of Salome as seen through the feminine gaze.

Incorporating dance videography and lecture, we will explore the possibility that Salome’s continued dance in the collective consciousness is evidence of a cultural complex but also holds the possibility of transformation.

Loralee Scott-Conforti is the Founder and Director of Seeing Red and former Executive Director of the Assisi Institute. Her graduate studies focused on the interdisciplinary links between Jungian psychology, brain science, creativity theory, and dance pedagogy. Her past choreographic work resulted in the passage of anti-trafficking legislation and is featured in “Grief and The Expressive Arts” published by Routledge.

Border Images: Claiming Social Space, Voice, and Vision through Mural and Wall Art with Mary Watkins, Brenda Perez, and C.A.R. Hawkins Lewis

Friday 9:10-9:55am – Corwin Pavilion

This plenary explores mural and wall art that contests oppression and bodies forth marginalized histories, realities, and visions. The life of such art is both vibrant and precarious, always at peril for erasure. Investigating gentrification as a form of internal colonialism in the historic Mexican neighborhood of Highland Park, Los Angeles, Perez shows how whitewashing Indigenous iconography in community art and constructing fenced walls around gentrifier homes exemplify the defenses and disavowal of the neoliberal psyche. Focusing on separation wall art at the U.S.-Mexico Border, Watkins explores how border art can act as an agent of conscientization, of memorialization, and of community vision, acting as a solvent to dissolve the fixity of the border wall. While conducting fieldwork in the Amazon with the Shipibo-Conibo people, Lewis examines how traditional artwork displays the anima mundi and its patterns of interconnection between all living things. In Pucallpa, Peru, mural art depicts the epistemological border between Indigenous cosmovisions and the degradation of rainforest land and water by capitalist extraction practices. At this tragic historical juncture of separation walls being normalized and multiplied, border art disrupts, questions, and provokes. It holds open the very space we need in order to reject destructive division.

Mary Watkins, PhD, Chair of Pacifica’s Depth Psychology Program, is the co-author of Up Against the Wall: Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border and Towards Psychologies of Liberation. Her work focuses on the criminalization and detention of forced migrants and the construction of welcoming spaces for those who must cross international borders.

Brenda Perez, MA, is founder of grassroots project Restorative Justice for the Arts mobilized to preserve murals, cultivate decolonial pedagogies of creativity, and to protect the cultural identities narrated through community art. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, specializing in Community, Liberation, Indigenous and Eco-Psychologies (CLIE).

C. A. R. Hawkins Lewis researches community art, healing systems, and the changing relationship between people and plants. Working with Indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia and South America, he began studying depth psychologies at NYU in 2008 and is currently a student at Pacifica Graduate Institute in the CLIE doctoral specialization.


Symbol-making and Bereavement: A Tlingit Folktale and the Temples at Burning Man by Kim Bateman

The Temples at Burning Man host a collection of private and public pieces commemorating grief. The artwork, objects, and words offer richly complex views of the bereavement process and illustrate creative outcomes to mourning, allowing the bereaved to recognize, contain, release, and stay in relationship and keep loving. A Pacific Northwest folk tale, Temple themes, selected pieces, and participant interviews are profiled to illustrate the cathartic effect of symbol-making in bereavement.

Dr. Kim Bateman has presented a TEDx talk, “Singing Over Bones,” and is the author of Crossing the Owl’s Bridge: A Guide for Grieving People who Still Love. Dr. Bateman serves as the Executive Dean of the Tahoe-Truckee Campus of Sierra College and teaches Psychology. Her research interests include bereavement and humor.


Vital Flux of Old and New Emotions by Vivienne Meli and Silvia Romano

We led a group of art therapy for refugee women, included in a program of welcome and support at the “Progetto Tenda” cooperative: within the group there was different nationalities, Chinese, Nigerian, Somali and in each meeting one gives suggestion, an invitation, to try to reflect on oneself and one’s own history and to compare with the other. In our presentation we want to bring you an echo of this experience, through the story and the stories images: an experience that show us how the flow of emotions can anyway flows, even in life stories largely marked by abandonments, dangers, traumas and despair.

Vivienne Meli is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and a psychodramatist in private practice in Turin. For several years she has worked with refugees and women victims of trade in a Social Cooperative.

Romano Silvia, born in Torino, Italy in 1965, is a psychologist and psychotherapist specialized in art therapy.


Art as Psyche Researching the Future: From The Red Book to The Frankenstein Prophecies by Susan Rowland and Robert Romanyshan

Susan Rowland’s discussion of Jung’s neglected theme of visionary creativity uses The Red Book to set the stage for an exploration of Robert Romanyshyn’s The Frankenstein Prophecies. He shows how one can respond to the trauma of Shelley’s visionary work by emphasizing being questioned by the figure of the Monster who lingers in the margins of her work as a compensatory shadow of Victor Frankenstein who haunts us with messages to a suffering future. This presentation focuses upon not only the value but also the necessity of visionary art in times of political, economic, and psychological upheavals.

Susan Rowland, PhD, is co-Chair of MA Engaged Humanities at Pacifica Graduate Institute where she has been developing Jungian arts-based research, soon to be a book with digital literary artist, Joel Weishaus. She is also faculty in Pacifica’s doctoral program Jungian and Archetypal Studies. Susan publishes on Jung, the arts, and feminism.

Robert Romanyshyn is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is the author of seven books, including a book of poems. His latest publication, Diagnostic Fictions, is a plea to include literature in psychological and psychiatric evaluations. His latest book, The Frankenstein Prophecies, will be published in May 2019.