In this intimate study Juliet Miller maps the artworks that have influenced her throughout her life and examines how she has integrated them into her development as a psychotherapist.
Working from the premise that our initial reactions to art provide a crucial key to self-analysis, Miller interrogates the significance of different artists, including Bourgeois, Vermeer, Rousseau and Kahlo, and analyses how personal circumstances, recollections and emotions have affected responses to their work. Chapters incorporate clinical material from Miller’s practice, linking into her own anxieties about sitting with and connecting with patients, and touching on themes including creativity, character, identity and communication.
Through this exploration she questions many of the conventions of art and psychotherapy and suggests ways in which looking at art can be used as a psychological tool. Art, Memoir and Jung offers a highly personal and innovative perspective on meaning in art and how it can be used to explore Jungian thought as based in the aesthetic, and how the aesthetic can inform depth psychology.
Table of Contents
1. Shock 2. Affected by Art 3. The Gaze 4. Red Paint 5. Stillness 6. Touch 7. Beads and Threads 8. Struggle 9. Multiple Selves 10. Space 11. The Dream 12. Silence 13. Alchemy 14. The Heretic 15. Walking 16. Afterword
Juliet Miller is a writer and Jungian analyst based in the UK. She is fascinated by the interface between art and psyche. She is also the author of The Creative Feminine and her Discontents: Psychotherapy, Art and Destruction.
'An intriguing series of self-portraits refracted through tender, sensitive meditations on art.' – Michèle Roberts
'As a film maker, Jungian analyst, and writer, Juliet Miller has been continuously engaged with images, and aspects of the intense interface between life and art. The events she narrates in this sensitive memoir provide the reader with an opportunity to meditate on certain crucial moments in life when an encounter with a work of art can psychologically mirror, accompany, or challenge us, providing a temenos for self-analysis and healing. Her book will be of interest to therapists, art-lovers, and the general public.' – Diane Finiello Zervas, art historian and Jungian analyst, Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists
'A compelling autobiography that teaches us the value of looking and listening to our inner reactions in our encounters with creative works. We readers move from exquisite descriptions of Juliet Miller’s connections with paintings as a child, to seeing how her maturing life in art parallels and enhances her life as a psychoanalyst. She is a Jungian and as such the spiritual is never far away. What a pleasure to be alongside her developing understanding. This is a brilliant sequel to Juliet’s previous books on art and creativity.' – Caroline Pick, film-maker and artist
'Juliet Miller explores the nature, value and potential meaning(s) of art from within a Jungian depth psychology paradigm allied to a scholarly appreciation of art. Her understanding and use of this is central to the book and it is the emphasis on the experience of things, not theory (as Jung would value) that is the teacher here. We are encouraged to reflect more, stay still, listen closely and go deeper. Treasure to find and deep connections to make. Drawing together, and reflecting on different strands of her own rich experience, she helps us to think about art: the experience (and often difficult) processes of creation; engaging with it; and finding and making meaning. As a practising psychotherapist, and artist I found this book illuminating and helpful.' – Sally Dhruev, psychotherapist and artist