Jung's Technique of Active Imagination and Desoille's Directed Waking Dream Method : Bridging the Divide book cover
1st Edition

Jung's Technique of Active Imagination and Desoille's Directed Waking Dream Method
Bridging the Divide

ISBN 9781138318700
Published July 23, 2020 by Routledge
232 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Jung's Technique of Active Imagination and Desoille's Directed Waking Dream Method brings together Carl Jung’s active imagination and Robert Desoille’s "rêve éveillé dirigé/directed waking dream" method (RED). It studies the historical development of these approaches in Central Europe in the first half of the 20th century and explores their theoretical similarities and differences, proposing an integrated framework of clinical practice.

The book aims to study the wider European context of the 1900s which influenced the development of both Jung’s and Desoille’s methods. This work compares the spatial metaphors of interiority used by both Jung and Desoille to describe the traditional concept of inner psychic space in the waking dreams of Jung’s active imagination and Desoille’s RED. It also attempts a broader theoretical comparison between the procedural aspects of both RED and active imagination by identifying commonalities and divergences between the two approaches.

This book is a unique contribution to analytical psychology and will be of great interest for academics, researchers and post-graduate students interested in the use of imagination and mental imagery in analysis, psychotherapy and counselling. The book’s historical focus will be of particular relevance to Jungian and Desoillian scholars since it is the first of its kind to trace the connections between the two schools and it gives a detailed account of Desoille’s early life and his first written works.

Table of Contents

List of figures

Foreword by Christian Gaillard

Preface and acknowledgements


Part 1

Active Imagination and the Directed Waking Dream

1 Active Imagination

2 Robert Desoille and the Rêve Éveillé Dirigé Method

3 Post-Jungian Developments on Active Imagination

4 Post-Desoillian Developments on the Directed Waking Dream Method

5 Jungians and the Directed Waking Dream: Orthodox and Unorthodox Perspectives

Part II

Jung and Desoille – a Historical Investigation

6 Theoretical Influences on Jung and Desoille

7 Jung and Desoille: Sharing Common Colleagues

8 Unacknowledged European Imaginative Therapeutic Practitioners

9 Jungians Bridging Differences with Desoillians

Part III

Comparing RED and Active Imagination

10 The Concept of Interiority and its Development in Western Europe

11 On spatial metaphors of interiority

12 Conceptualising A Theoretical Comparison of RED and Active Imagination

13 A Theoretical Comparison of RED and Active Imagination: Getting Started, Preparation of the Body and Directivity by the Analyst

14 A Theoretical Comparison of RED and Active Imagination: Transferential issues, Narrative style and Interpretation in the Middle and Final Phase of Treatment










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Laner Cassar is a clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst and Gestalt psychotherapist from Malta. He holds a Ph.D in psychoanalytic studies from the Centre of Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex, UK. He is president of the Malta Jungian Developing Group (I.A.A.P.) and the International Network for the Study of Waking Dream Therapy (I.N.S.W.D.T.).


"A unique book tracing the historical development of important imaginative approaches to psychology and psychotherapy in the wider European context of the 1900s. The book is of considerable importance to Jungian and Desoillian scholarship, since it is the first to trace the previously unaccounted connections between Jung and Desoille and their respective schools. Cassar also deconstructs Jungian approaches to active imagination, proposing a hybrid-integrated plural framework of clinical practice based on Desoille's directed waking dream. The book is an excellent resource for academics, researchers and practitioners interested in the use and development of imagination in analysis, psychotherapy and counselling."

Andrew Samuels, Former Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex. Training Analyst, Society of Analytical Psychology

"The book Jung's Technique of Active Imagination and Desoille's Directed Waking Dream Method (by Routledge, UK 2020, ISBN 9781138318700) was written by Laner Cassar, Jungian psychotherapist enthusiast of Rêve-Eveillé, who for many years has been engaged in historiographic research on Robert Desoille. He has deepened connections with other currents of psychotherapy, above all Jungian, highlighting similarities and differences with one of the few methods that, in the twentieth century in Europe, used imagination. In this book Laner Cassar delved into the biography of Robert Desoille enriching it with unknown details. He investigated Desoillian enhancements in Europe and in the world, above all the relationship with Jungians. Passion for Imagery has been the bond that has united Cassar and me since the start of our relationship. Desoille very much appreciated Jung’s studies on Archetypes and drew a further development in individuating Archetypical Chains. Desoille was above all an empiricist and he created a method which still today is referred to by other schools of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for its originality, pragmatism, practicality. However two Schools of Thought can easily be correlated with Rêve-Eveillé/Waking Dream Method from a meta-psychological point of view: Jungian School, for the anthropo-cultural extension that it developed, and the philosophical school of Gaston Bachelard, for theorizing the linguistic structure of imagery. For all three authors, Jung, Desoille and Bachelard, one can converge on what Roger Caillois affirms when he says that in the symbol there is the search for an "order", in which the spirit is seeking for a secret that nevertheless remains impenetrable: enigmaticity and contemplative wonder meet, ways of access to understanding transcendence, to an instantaneous and total vision that escapes the limitedness of words."

Milano, 27 Maggio 2020,Alberto Passerini (Psichiatra, Psicoterapeuta con l’Esperienza Immaginativa, Fondatore della SISPI – Scuola Internazionale di Specializzazione con la Procedura Immaginativa, Milano IT)


"A work of considerable and impressive historical scholarship, Laner Cassar's in-depth study of C. G. Jung's technique of active imagination and Robert Desoille's directed waking dream method facilitates a critical understanding of different approaches -- prevalent during the first half of the twentieth century -- describing a proactive, conscious engagement with unconscious material. Cassar's analysis is both fair and judicious, as he weaves for us a colourful tapestry of lines of symmetry and points of divergence. Those who read the book closely will not only be rewarded when they step back to see the masterful patterns Cassar has delineated, but will come to appreciate the depth of scholarship and care with which he has handled his materials. What is most remarkable is Cassar's ability to speak to the many 'faces' or audiences of our field, striking a balance between academic rigour and clinical utility. This is Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies at its best: critical, engaging, and highly original."

Kevin Lu, Senior Lecturer, Deputy Head of Department, Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, University of Essex


"This very documented book retraces the different sources of literature, philosophy and psychoanalysis for the work of DESOILLE and his waking dream psychotherapy, with the links with JUNG and his "active imagination".

It’s a big work on the links DESOILLLE had during his life and I strongly recommend its reading."

Dr Philippe GROSBOIS, Ph.D., former lecturer in Psychology, Anthropologist

"Publication of The Red Book in 2009 has stimulated renewed interest in Jung’s method of active imagination both theoretically and as a clinical practice. Laner Cassar carefully compares Jung’s ideas about active imagination to the work of the less well-known, contemporaneous French psychotherapist Robert Desoille’s "rêve éveillé dirigé/directed waking dream" (RED) system. For anyone interested in the evolution of ideas leading to the art and craft of working with the imagination, this book is golden as it tracks two fascinating intellectual historical trajectories with primary research that offers a substantive backdrop for scholars as well as for clinicians. Through meticulous critical thinking, Laner Cassar makes an important case for re-evaluating these early techniques as they have developed over time with potential for shifting from a traditional focus on the founder to an updated, expanded umbrella for analytical psychology that is more inclusive and points toward a relevant, creative and meaningful future. I applaud Cassar’s commitment to plurality especially his avoidance of the impulse to synthesize the two approaches so thoughtfully studied and differenntiated here and for his hopeful intention to further expand a hybridized-integrated therapeutic method of his own called "Imaginative Movement Therapy." Innovation comes into being through openness to the ideas of others in conjunction with one’s own creative reflections and study. Cassar has the skill and fortitude to move through the necessary "anxiety of influence" (Bloom) and follow-up the excellent groundwork put forward in this book to manifest new theories and clinical methods that will significantly contribute to the field of imaginative therapeutic approaches. He is an author to follow!"

Linda Carter MSN, CS, IAAP, nurse and a Jungian analyst in private practice in Carpinteria, California and lecturer at Pacifica Graduate Institute.