Engaging the Emotional Self: Affect, Metaphor, and Embodiment in Analysis with Mark Winborn

This presentation will focus on affect as the most fundamental layer of human experience and the impact of that layer on the analytic process. In Jungian analysis there is significant focus on archetype and symbol as primary influences on the analytic process. However, without the engagement of an affective response to these influences, the analytic process can easily remain dry, intellectualized, and non-transformative. In 2017, neurological researchers Antonio Alcaro, Stefano Carta, and Jaak Panskeep published a groundbreaking article titled, “The Affective Core of the Self: A Neuro-Archetypal Perspective on the Foundations of Human Subjectivity.” The article makes a direct link between neurological structures, affects, and Jung’s concept of the Self. In this paper, they indicate that the “affects may be viewed as the basic organizers of the Self.”

Building on the work of Alcaro, Carta, and Panskeep (2017), this paper will incorporate contemporary research on primary affects, neuroscience, embodiment research, metaphor, and cognitive science which expand the traditional Jungian perspective in significant ways. Additionally, concepts from contemporary field theory, based on the work of Wilfred Bion, will also be included.

Affect is most readily accessed through metaphorical communication because metaphor has the capacity to bypass patient defenses, often also resulting in an activation at the somatic level rather than the cognitive level. Our affects are the “engine” for our complexes and shape how we experience ourselves, how we perceive the world around us, influence our unseen patterns of motivation, and guide the behaviors and actions we engage in.

The focus of this paper will be to provide a broader, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of how the affects, somatic experience, and metaphor interact with the more familiar concepts of archetype and symbol to shape the experience of the human psyche.

Mark Winborn, PhD, is a Jungian psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist. He is a training analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and the C.G. Jung Institute – Küsnacht. His primary areas of interest are analytic technique and the integration of psychoanalytic theories. He has published or edited five books: Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey, Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond, Interpretation in Jungian Analysis: Art and Technique, Beyond Persona: On Individuation and Beginnings with Jungian Analysts (with Lavinia Țânculescu-Popa), and Jungian Psychoanalysis: A Contemporary Introduction (part of the Routledge series – Introductions to Contemporary Psychoanalysis), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. He received the Gradiva prize from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis for the best article published in 2022 and was a finalist in 2014 for the best edited book in psychoanalysis. Additionally, he has presented papers at the past five Congresses of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2022) and is on the IAAP Program Committee for the 2025 Congress in Zurich. He lectures widely both in the USA and internationally.

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