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Te use of stories and active imagination in group psychotherapy with work release clients

16 December 1988


This study sought to assess the effects of listening to stories and the experience of Jungian active-imagination on mandated work release clients. Stories have been a means of education and initiation into cultural values since the beginning of time, as all literature is story. The literature reviewed suggested that stories are capable of side stepping the defenses and initiate a process of self-evaluation. Active-imagination is a special technique discovered by Jung where one experiences a direct communication with the unconscious via the inner felt experience of imagery. Johnson (1986) says that active-imagination is capable of creating awareness to the ego of what is of primary concern to the unconscious and is capable of bringing together fragmented parts of oneself that have previously created neurotic symptoms. He goes on to say that it baffles many people to hear that the imagination is an organ of coherent communication. Mandated criminals are a very difficult population to work with psychotherapeutically and are resistant to emotional uncovering of emotions through traditional therapy approaches. The Story-Imagery psychotherapy offers a unique approach to treat a very difficult population. The task of the Story-Imagery group was to listen to a story and then meditate on an image prescribed by the therapist and observe what ever appeared. No significant results emerged from the data except that story grammar structures increased for all three groups, indicating that learning through test repetition occurred.


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