Embodied Imagination is a therapeutic and creative form of working with dreams and memories pioneered by Robert Bosnak and based on principles first developed by Carl Jung, especially in his work on alchemy, and on the work of James Hillman, who focused on soul as a simultaneous multiplicity of autonomous states.
The technique of Embodied Imagination takes dreaming as the paradigm for all work with images. From the point of view of the dreaming state of mind, dreams are real events in real environments. From the dreaming perspective, an image is an environment in which we find ourselves. Based on this notion, one can “re-enter” the landscape of a dream and flashback to the images, whether it is a memory from waking life or from dreaming. One enters a hypnagogic state—a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, and then, through the process of questioning, images are explored. One can explore these from a variety of perspectives through feelings and sensations manifested in the body, enabling new awareness to develop. The body becomes the theater for a vivid complexity of states, which leads along ‘alchemical’ lines to profound transformation.
Embodied Imagination, in the work with dreams and waking memories, is practiced individually and in groups in psychotherapy, medicine, theater, art and creative research. Its simple rules and group emphasis also lend itself to the Web, where this technique is practiced in private voice-over-IP (VOIP) chat groups. The technique has been used as a rehearsal method by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Bell Shakespeare Company in Sydney.
- Bosnak, Robert, "Embodied Imagination," Journal of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Volume 39, Number 4, October 2003.
- Bosnak, Robert, Embodiment: Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel. Routledge, London/New York, 2007
- Bromberg, Philip M., On Being One’s Dream: Some Reflections on Robert Bosnak’s “Embodied Imagination.” Journal of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Volume 39, Number 4, October 2003.
- Sonenberg, Janet, Dreamwork for Actors. Routledge,London/New York, 2003
On November 3, 2006, the International Society for Embodied Imagination was founded at a conference in Guangzhou, China.
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