Alchemy & Psychotherapy

~ a practitioner's workshop ~

with Dale Mathers  

Saturday 15th October 10.00am to 4.00pm

Jung became fascinated by the medieval art of alchemy, the process by which base metals could be turned into gold, through which the ‘Philosopher's Stone' might be discovered. In their magical, mystifying and mystical Opus , with its endless symbolism and seeming contradictions, he discovered metaphors which analytical psychologists continue to find useful; both in understanding the transference and countertransference, and in helping clients discover how to form and use symbols.

This workshop is designed for counsellors, therapists and analysts wishing to understand how alchemical metaphors for psychological change can be of value in this twenty first century. It will look at implications of alchemy within clinical practice, in society, politics and eco-psychology. Key themes are:

~ a brief history of alchemy

~ use of the alchemical metaphor in clinical practice

~ individuation

~ archetypal processes at work in the individual and society

We will use social dreaming to ‘put gold into' the workshop, discussion and drawing to ‘take the gold out'. Participants are invited to illustrate their take on the theme by bringing poetry, pictures and (fictionalised) clinical examples to share.

If you wish to prepare in advance, may I suggest:

Schwartz- Salant, N., (1995) C. G. Jung on alchemy London: Routledge. Chapter (8) on Alchemy and Psychotherapy

Jung, C. G., ‘An account of the transference phenomena based on the illustrations to the “Rosarium Philosophorum”, in Collected Works of C. G. Jung Vol 16: The Practice of Psychotherapy.

Enjoy the pictures; perhaps look particularly at the first two sections, The Mercurial Fountain, and The King and Queen.


Dr. Dale Mathers MB. BS., MRCPsych . Jungian analyst, a supervisor with the Association of Jungian Analysts. Also a humanistic psychotherapist, in private practice in South London. Teaches at several analytical psychology schools in the UK and Europe. Directed the Student Counselling Service at the London School of Economics and was Mental Health Foundation Fellow at St. George's Hospital, London. Member of the British Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Supervision (BAPPS). His publications include An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology, Vision and Supervision: Jungain and Post-Jungian Perspectives, and Self and No-Self: Continuing the Dialogue between Buddhism and Psychotherapy, all published by Routledge. His forthcoming book is on alchemy and psychotherapy.


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