Studies in Archetypal Psychotherapy:
The Foundation Study Course Curriculum
The A1 & A2 Foundation Course requires physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dedication. It involves research, extensive reading, private study and numerous written papers, as well as attending 5-day residential study courses four times during the year, over the two year cycle. It is also required that every student continue with personal therapy, as a basic ‘training analysis’, for the entire two year period. Participating in Interactive Group meetings is encouraged.
The minimum entry requirement would be some of the foundation workshops, an agreement to continue with the more advanced workshops when possible, an undertaking to apply or to deepen the application of basic practices in everyday life, a personal assessment and the commitment to all the above study requirements.
The curriculum explores many of the more advanced contemporary insights into and understandings of human consciousness. This is applied especially to the fields of psychological philosophy and practice, art and creativity, the construction of memory and identity, the dynamics of intimacy and the development and implications of the encounter with the Divine.
The course includes a detailed exploration of writings of C G Jung, the theory and practice of psychotherapy and especially the post-Jungian teachings of James Hillman and Archetypal Psychology.
Subjects covered in the first year of study include: the study and applied practice of the work of relevant pioneers in psychotherapy; the history, methods and future of Western therapeutic practice; dream analysis and other varieties of Image-based work; a critical evaluation of ‘New Age’, clinical- and neuro-psychologies; understanding and treating all types of addiction; depression, ‘mental’ illness and the use of medication, emotional breakdowns, breakthroughs and spiritual emergencies; intimacy and relationship issues; sex therapies and sexual health; physical pathologies and body-based processes; art-therapies and other creative approaches; the place for physical health, yoga and other body-based practices; diet and health matters; world work and money; establishing a therapeutic practice and a support community; meditation and personal spiritual practice and numerous other topics. Most importantly, we begin to understand the transition from Jungian to Archetypal psychology and how this affects our personal lives and the practice of the art of therapy.
In the second year of study, psychological material is viewed through the ‘archetypal’ lens. Subjects explored include: examining projection and transference and deepening therapy practice; understanding the perversions of desire and sexuality; God’s shadow, the nature of evil and the search for wholeness; death, suicide, mutilation and the challenges of transformation; love, suffering, relationships and sustaining intimacy; chaos theory, quantum views and archetypal structures of consciousness; psychopathology and the ordinary nature of illness; family dynamics, the sustaining fictions of childhood and memory in the development of identity; creative imagination, the autonomy of psyche and the dialogue with the Divine.
On training as an Archetypal Psychotherapist. On successful completion of this initial two year course, together with the other requirements, some students might be interested enough to want to follow a more dedicated path towards a basic practice in Imaginal Psychology. However, people study for different reasons. For most who study, the courses are undertaken for the studies themselves and the wide range of the learning and for the student’s own emotional and creative development. For others, it is the additional desire to become a practicing psychotherapist. For this latter group, at the end of the second year of study, a suitable student would be supported in understanding the particular demands of a practice as an Archetypal or Soul-based Therapist. At some later time, these trainee-therapists would be supervised in beginning therapy with patients. The review and oversight of this work, based on the interactions with their patients, and on written reports, with all the processes that arise within this practice, will form part of continuing work that includes mentoring, evaluation and support, with the trainee-therapist continuing with further study, practice and learning.