Embodied Imagination® is a therapeutic and creative form of working with dreams and memories pioneered by Dutch Jungian psychoanalyst Robert Bosnak and based on principles first developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, especially in his work on alchemy, and on the work of American archetypal psychologist James Hillman, who focused on soul as a simultaneous multiplicity of autonomous states.

The technique of embodied imagination takes dreaming as the paradigm for all work with images. While dreaming, everyone experiences dreams as embodied events in time and space; that is, the dreamer is convinced that he or she is experiencing a real event in a real environment.  From the perspective of dreaming, the image is a place.  Based on this notion, the dreamer can re-enter the landscape of the dream and flash back into its images to more fully and deeply explore and experience them. The dreamer explores the images of the dream while in a hypnagogic state, a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. While in this state, the dreamer is asked a series of questions that help her to re-experience the dream and describe in detail its landscape and image.

Once fully immersed in the images that the dream environment presents, the dreamer is then also invited to identify the feelings and sensations manifested in the body from a variety of dream perspectives. Perspectives explored are both that of the dream ego as well any “others” that appear in the dream. These “others” may be, for example, another person, an animal, or a physical object. Approaching dream figures in this way is consistent with archetypal psychologist James Hillman’s prescription for therapeutic work in regard to the phenomena of psychic multiplicity.

Drawing upon Carl Jung’s realization that “the ego complex is not the only complex in the psyche,” Hillman described the psyche not as a singular unified whole defined by the ego point of view, but rather as a self-organizing multiplicity of autonomous selves. In the technique of embodied imagination, for each of these “selves” or “states” representing various perspectives, the dreamer then identifies, and locates the feelings and sensations attendant to these “others” in his or her body. At the conclusion of the dreamwork session, the dreamer simultaneously holds in conscious awareness these differentiated and complex states of embodied feelings and sensations. The act of holding these multiple disparate states at the same time creates a psychical tension from which a completely new image or feeling state spontaneously emerges. This new image or state presents a completely previously unknown awareness to the dreamer. Using the technique of embodied imagination, the body becomes the theater for a vivid complexity of states, which leads along “alchemical” lines to profound psychical transformation.


Working with both dreams and memories, embodied imagination is practiced individually and in groups, in psychotherapy, medicine, theater, art and creative research. The technique has been used as a rehearsal method by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Bell Shakespeare Company in Sydney. Both its simple rules and emphasis on group participation augment working on the Internet, where this technique is practiced in small dream groups using on-line voice chat forums such as Skype and Zoom.

Professional Society

On November 3, 2006, The International Society for Embodied Imagination was founded at a conference in Guangzhou, China.

*Embodied Imagination® is an internationally trademarked method of working with dreaming and imagination

*The above edited rendering and definition was extracted from Wikipedia. For the complete article go to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embodied_imagination

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