Spring 2023 Season Program

Speaker: Nora Swan-Foster

Jungian Art Therapy: Living A Creative Life

What does it mean to live a creative life? Jung’s initiatory journey into the “spirit of the depths was creative but required profound psychic courage, suffering, and patience as he confronted the unconscious and discovered “the third thing.”  Upon his “return,” when Jung wrote that “everything of which we are conscious is an image, and that image is psyche,” he elevated the imagination and creative processes. One of the gifts was his essay The Transcendent Function which conceptualized how unconscious and invisible psychic material became conscious and visible through play, dedication, endurance of wrestling with the opposites, and the respect for the ineffable and irrational aspects of the psyche.  Jung thereby came to understand the importance of the “third thing.”  Jung’s investigations into the unconscious through various creative means opened the door and gave credence for the expressive arts therapies. In this lecture the three-part initiation model provides a container in which we consider Jung’s wisdom and how the “third thing” may offer hints on living a creative life.

Creative Initiation Journey

Drawing from the three stages of a creative initiation journey – Gateway, Attending, Passage – we build a container, attend to the unconscious, and awaken the prospective psyche. The initiatory task of allowing for the “the third thing” or the “other” to present itself is a visual validation of the spontaneous psychic energy that gives meaning to lines, shapes, and colors. With our open-mind, curiosity, and determination, we will welcome the visual and expressive images as “strangers” and respect and honor the journey that unfolds.

Using art materials, writing, dreams, and/or active imagination,  each person will attend to creative tasks to mark and document the imaginal path of individuation. Various prompts and tasks will be provided, while individuals who are more comfortable with materials can follow their own process within the creative initiation process.

*Artistic skill not necessary, only the willingness to be on the Fool’s journey.

**Supplies: please have a large journal, container of water, several different brushes, watercolor paper, acrylics or watercolors, basic oil crayons, tissue paper, tape, glue. Additional materials: maps, postcards, magazines, scissors, clay, crayons, pencils, pens, colored markers, inks.

Nora Swan-Foster, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, NCPsyA, is a Jungian analyst and art psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado, where she has had a private practice for over 30 years. With a background in English Literature, Creative Writing, Artmaking and Expressive Arts Therapy, Nora is a senior training and supervising analyst with the IRSJA, a member of the IAAP, and an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Art Therapy Program at Naropa University. She currently serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Analytical Psychology. She has published and presented internationally, including two books: Jungian Art Therapy and Art Therapy and Childbearing Issues. Her website is www.swanfoster.com.

Speaker: Susan Clements Negley

The Coniunctio Gastronomique: God Becomes Flesh

Cooking, like alchemy, is the transformation of basic ingredients into refined substances. Psychologically, this alchemical process represents the development of the personality.  Understanding the psyche through the art and practices of cooking can heal the mind-body split that is the primary wound of modern life. The food we purchase or grow, cook and eat, link us to the cosmos: then God becomes flesh, (in-carne). We become what we eat. The lecture invites us into the sensuous, alchemical temenos of the kitchen.

Sweating The Salmon

Our psyche is hungry for manifestation in the world, and through its appetites the soul makes itself known to us. The workshop delves into the symbolism of cooking and the personal and cultural myths of cooking and feasting. We amplify and work with archetypal dreams to reveal, through the ordinary and mundane imagery of the kitchen, its tools, methods and environment, possibilities for healing and glimpses of spiritual truth.

Susan Clements Negley, M.A., LCP,  is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. Susan is a faculty member and training director for the Texas Seminar of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts (IRSJA). A graduate of the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, her first career was as a professional chef. She then trained at the Texas Seminar of the IRSJA, where her diploma thesis, The Coniunctio Gastronomique, explored the individuation process expressed in the metaphors of cooking, food, and feasting.

Speaker: Dennis Merritt

Ecopsychology and the Environmental Catastrophe

At the 2022 climate change meetings in Egypt, the UN Secretary General said, “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing.” Psychology has been embarrassingly slow to respond to the frightening deterioration of our planetary environment, but ecopsychology emerged in the 1990’s to address the issue. A case will be made that a Jungian version of ecopsychology offers the best framework for understanding the problems at the deepest levels and gives us a vision for the future. Hermes is the main god that will lead us into a better future or a continuation on a path to oblivion.

Jung, Hermes, the Tao and Complexity Theory

The Greek myth of Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle explicates the dilemmas we humans face in relating to each other and to the environment. The secret is in the symbol of his wand: a figure 8 with a gap at the top. Hermes is about the transactions in the gap between opposites (the two upper arms on the 8). As such, Hermes is the god of ecopsychology because he is the god of businessmen, psychologists, diplomats, the advertising that sustains our consumer culture, and the human-environment relationship. Hermes’ association with the originating source, what happens between non-existence and existence—is symbolically associated with the Tao and with  complexity theory—the mathematics of what happens between stability and chaos when change occurs.

Dennis Merritt Ph.D., holds an MA in Humanistic Psychology, a Ph.D. in Insect Pathology from UC-Berkeley, and is a graduate of the Zurich Jung Institute. He is a Jungian analyst, sandplay therapist, and ecopsychologist in Madison and Milwaukee, WI. He grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin where he developed a deep connection with the land, hence the title of his four-volume Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe: Jung, Hermes and Ecopsychology. He is interested in the ecopsychological dimensions of Jungian theory and practice, beginning at the intra-psychic level and extending to others and the environment.

Speaker: Donald Kalsched

Trauma, Innocence and the Core Complex of the Dissociating Psyche

Following early relational trauma, a dissociative system is set up in the psyche, composed of part-self personifications including an innocent/wounded child and his or her archetypal protectors. The main purpose of this Self Care System is to keep the innocent/injured child-self separated from the suffering of affective experience that might annihilate (or transform) it. Dreams during the psychotherapy process give us a picture of this core complex and its defensive “efforts” on behalf of the “child.” Working with these archaic energies in the transference can be a stormy affair. The Friday Talk will address and illustrate these archaic energies in the core complex that frequently stretch our understanding of the analytic situation in the direction of enactments and counter-enactments.

The Saturday workshop builds on the Friday lecture, deepens the work with the archaic energies in relational trauma, provides several clinical vignettes as illustrations, expands on the Self Care System, and invites conversation and engagement with attendees.


Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist who practices in Brunswick, Maine. He is a senior faculty member and supervisor with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts (IRSJA), and lectures nationally and internationally on the subject of early trauma, its effect on the inner world, and its treatment. His celebrated book The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit (Routledge 1996) explores the interface between contemporary psychoanalytic theory and Jungian thought as it relates to practical clinical work with the survivors of early childhood trauma. His next book, Trauma and the Soul: A Psychospiritual Approach to Human Development and its Interruption (Routledge, 2013) explores some of the mystical or "spiritual" dimensions of clinical work with trauma-survivors. He and his wife Robin live in Topsham, Maine, during the winter, and summer in Newfoundland, Canada.