Professor Toshio Kawai Presented at the Journal of Analytical Psychology Latin American Conference 2021
Prof. Toshio Kawai presented at the Journal of Analytical Psychology Latin American Conference 2021, held online from April 9th to 11th, hosted in São Paulo. The title was “The symbolic and non-symbolic aspect of image: Clinical and cultural reflections.”
This conference was supported by the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) and was held for 3 days, focusing on the theme of “Civilization in Transition,” the title of the 10th volume of Jung’s Collected Works. Presentations at the conference consisted of plenary and breakout sessions.
The details of the conference can be found on the following website:
In his presentation, Prof. Kawai discusses the meaning of non-symbolic images. Jung made it clear that the basic principle of analytical psychology is to understand images symbolically, but on the other hand, he described prophetic dreams in which the content of a dream later occurs in reality as synchronicity. Thus, Jung also gave many examples of the non-symbolic aspects of images. Based on these, Prof. Kawai assumed that there are two sides to the lack of symbolism in an image.
For example, the non-symbolic nature of images, which can be dreams of what we have actually seen in reality, or which arise in connection with pathologies such as psychosomatic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder or autistic spectrum disorders, can be seen as a lack of symbolism.
On the other hand, Prof. Kawai points out that non-symbolic images sometimes have deeper meaning than symbolic ones. One such image is Jung’s vision of Wilhelm before his death. Taking this into account, Prof. Kawai considers non-symbolic images with directness, as if a soul appeared.
In today’s world, where the boundary between reality and virtual reality / fiction, or individuals is fading, the symbolism of images is also being lost. Prof. Kawai then discusses what the directness of non-symbolic images implies. He cites Haruki Murakami’s recently published collection of short stories entitled ‘First Person Singular : Stories’ as an example. In these stories, like Jung’s vision, there are unexpected encounters with souls leading to the healing of characters and the resolution of their psychological problems. Prof. Kawai concludes that these non-symbolic and direct encounters are meaningful today, and can also occur in psychotherapy and dreams.
Toshio Kawai. The symbolic and non-symbolic aspect of image: Clinical and cultural reflections. (Journal of Analytical Psychology Latin American Conference 2021. 2021.4.9-11. Sao Paulo (on-line))