Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mark Winborn - Aesthetic Experience and Analytic Process

"We each have an aesthetic sensibility that is collectively influenced, archetypally potentiated, and intimately connected to our individual subjectivity. When conducting an analysis, we implicitly evaluate almost every element on an aesthetic level. Our analytic aesthetics, which are strongly influenced by the culture of our training, significantly impact our sense of what analysis should feel, sound, and look like. Our theoretical orientations are likely adopted because a particular set of theories conform to an internal aesthetic ideal or provide a sense of aesthetic satisfaction. All analysts have aims and ideals in analysis, even these are implicitly held (Sandler & Dreher, 1996). I would extend this idea by saying that all analysts have an aesthetic sense they are working from and responding to, even if they are unaware of it.

Analysis is a work, both active and receptive, in which there is a creative product contributed to by both parties. Therapeutically, we could say analysis is a restoration of an aesthetic response to life in which meaning plays an important organizing role. Attention to the aesthetic elements of analysis brings the interaction alive, awakening our psyches and stirring our imaginations. Aesthetics is a way to give ourselves over to experience – a way of entering into experience, rather than thinking about experience. Hopefully, these sensitivities become something that complement our other ways of ‘being with’ in analysis, rather than becoming one pole of a dichotomized set of opposites where one mode of working analytically is inevitably seen as better than another mode. There must be a moving back and forth between understanding and knowing, which are related to meaning, and a creative response to the analytic situation which is the aesthetic element. In the end, the process of meaning making is itself an aesthetic object rather than a process unto itself." (p. 104)

Mark Winborn - Aesthetic Experience and Analytic Process, International Journal of Jungian Studies, 2015, Vol. 7, #2, pp. 94-107.

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