Active Imagination Techniques for Shifting Creative Blocks, by Michele Simon

Creative expressions and endeavors like playing music, acting, writing, dancing, singing, painting and dream interpretation can become portals to make contact with unconscious psychic material. The unconscious mind stores the disowned parts of ourselves (shadow) and often we find the complexes (such as a Mother/Father Complex, Victim and Hero Complexes) there.  Unresolved complexes can overwhelm the conscious ego and create disruption in daily life and creativity.  

An active imagination technique is a conscious intention to communicate with the unconscious by focusing on a particular symbol or image (from a dream for instance), or a feeling state (“I can’t seem to let go this depression/anxiety/fear”). 

Once the object or issue is identified, it is simply observed as it begins to emerge and move. From there, the object begins to have a life of its own, bringing important messages up into the conscious state. Jung described this experience as:

“Continual conscious realization of unconscious fantasies, together with active participation in fantastic events, has… the effect firstly of extending the conscious horizon by the inclusion of numerous unconscious contents; secondly of gradually diminishing the dominant influence of the unconscious; and thirdly of bringing about a change of personality.” (1)


  1. Tamsin Embleton interview with Michele Simon, 29th January 2021.