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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Creating a New You

This article was written by Keith Randolph on May 31, 2002
posted under Creative Visualization

The effectiveness of visualization as a method of dealing with psychological problems has long been recognized. Sigmund Freud believed that images were the "language" of the unconscious. "Thinking in pictures … approximates more closely unconscious processes than does thinking in words," he wrote.

Psychologists and psychiatrists use images in a number of ways. Sometimes they encourage pa-tients to relax, let images arise spontaneously from the unconscious mind, and then interact with these images in some appropriate manner. The great psychologist and philosopher C.G. Jung spent years practicing visualization of his own inner images, describing this period as "the most important in my life."

This sort of unguided free exploration of the unconscious is different from the kind of visualization with which we are concerned. In creative visualization we enter the unconscious in search of a particular something; our quest, in other words, has a specific goal. Most importantly, at all times the conscious mind is in full control, so that we need not worry about being drowned in a flood of unconscious images—a very real danger, since insanity occurs when the unconscious mind overwhelms the conscious.

Creative visualization involves the fashioning of an image in the conscious mind and the charging (and constant recharging) of that image by the enormous psychic energy of the unconscious.

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