Certificate Programme Review: Jungian Psychology with Art Therapy

Course Leader: Mathew Mather

Sept – Dec 2012 at LIT, Tipperary Institute in Clonmel

Reviewed by Monika Rejtner

Between September and December 2012, I participated in the Jungian Psychology Course with Art Therapy at the Tipperary Institute in Clonmel and I would wholeheartedly recommend this course to any therapist. Despite the course title, it is not only aimed at people with a special interest in art therapy but would also be very useful for any therapist who wants to broaden their knowledge of their practice.

The course takes place twice a year, in the autumn and spring time, for twelve weeks, once a week plus three weekends. Each course day had two separate parts: lectures relating to concepts of Jungian psychology and an art therapy session which included an art therapy approach as well as a practical application of Jung’s psychology.

Lectures and facilitators were experienced Jungian psychotherapists or experts, each with their own unique methodology in accordance with their personality and interests. This gave students a wonderful opportunity to see Jung’s works with varying perspectives and attention being given to different parts of his legacy.

The art therapy session theme was always connected with the subject of the lecture and Jung’s concept of a shadow, archetypes, Jung’s typology, an inner marriage or an alchemy. The teaching style allowed students to see the illustration of concepts in art works, even without having an expert knowledge of them.

The lectures also included practical and experimental activities. The trainers used many exercises and examples from their own therapeutic practices. Using these realistic background details gave students an important grounding in such a spiritual and complicated subject as Jung’s theory. Lectures were grouped into categories; in the beginning more basic ideas such as the psyche, the unconscious and the ego, to more integral concepts like the dream and image interpretation or the process of individuation. The provision of prepared materials as well as an extensive collection of books in the library allowed for a thorough study of these interesting subjects.

At this point I have to write about one reservation or caveat. This course is very intensive. Throughout the twelve weeks we explored and studied a lot of complicated terms from Jungian psychology. Despite the transparent and outstanding teaching style of the lecturers, the comprehension of these terms needs time.

Also the Jungian theory is very detailed and deep and often touched our personalities in unexpected ways. I think it is necessary to allow time for the integration of personal reflection and association. The course also included four assessments: two reviews, a presentation and an essay. All of the assessments gave an opportunity to check our understanding and insight. However this intensive timetable made it difficult to fully investigate all of the subjects.

Jung said that “it all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves” (Jung, 2001). So how do I look at things? For a long time I have been interested in Carl Gustav Jung and his works. I found that the course allowed me to solidify and deepen my knowledge of Jung. The course achieved this on many levels. I was able to organize my previously random information and I was inspired by the experts’ knowledge. I had the occasion to express my doubts and discuss these doubts with lecturers. Also as a person, I experienced the power of unconscious activity and it had a strong impact on my life’s journey. This changed not only my therapeutic awareness but also my personal growth. So I would recommend this course both for therapists and but also for anyone wanting to explore the self in the light of Jung’s theory.

Monika Rejtner, MA (Theatre Studies), MA (Drama Therapy), is a drama therapist registered with the Irish Association of Creative Arts. She has a private practice in South Tipperary, working with groups and individuals. Contact: mrejtner@gmail.com.

Reference:

Jung, C., 2001. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. London: Routledge.