Matthew Harwood

Jungian Analysis, Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems

‘Each individual is a new experiment of life… and an attempt at a new solution…‘  (Jung) 



Resolving Internal Conflicts by Dialoguing with Sub-Personalities

‘Internal Family Systems’ (IFS) is all about our inner family, our ‘sub-personalities’, also known as our ‘parts’.  As Jung told us: our ‘sub-personalities’ are autonomous. This is a revolutionary understanding which means, quite literally, that they are separate intelligences. In other words, they have separate agendas, separate ways of looking at the world, and separate points of view.

One of the most effective ways of helping our clients to resolve their problems is to teach them how to access and relate to the ‘sub-personalities’ which underlie the issues in question. By treating the inner world of the unconscious as a family system, and by engaging with the ‘sub-personalities in an unbiased and compassionate effort to understand why they do what they do, the client learns that every part, no matter how negative it seems, actually believes that what it does is actually in the client’s best interest. And once the part’s positive intent can be understood by the client, and once it’s erroneous assumptions can be understood by the part, remarkable changes can be brought about.

This revolutionary new way of doing psychotherapy, pioneered by Dr Richard Schwartz, brings healing and relief from suffering. It is particularly helpful for working with the burdens carried by the survivors of traumatic, childhood wounding.

During this lecture I will show a series of video clips from an actual IFS session in order to illustrate how the method works in practice.


    How to Unlock the Meaning of Dreams

    A person’s dreams, if properly understood, are valuable therapeutic tools. They provide important diagnostic information about what is going on in the depths of the unconscious. Moreover, working with them can accelerate the progress of therapy by leading the client more quickly into the core-issues. As one well-known therapist has written: ‘Dreams translate a person’s problem into images that implicitly contain an energy that moves towards a solution.’

    This is a popular lecture which uses an extended practical example from clinical practice – the dream of a man suffering from depression and a mid-life crisis entitled ‘Flying High Over America.’ This illustrates the basic principles of working with dreams interpretively and shows how they can be applied to quickly unlock the meaning of the metaphors and get the best results.

    This lecture is both for psychotherapists & counsellors and members of the public who want to learn how to understand their own dreams, or those of their partner or friends.


    The Interface Between Mind & Body

    More and more therapists are recognising that cognitive insight isn’t enough when it comes to promoting change. Our psychological tangles have their deepest roots within the body. Unless our work touches that deeper somatic level which Jung labelled the ‘psychoid unconscious’ our clients are likely to remain stuck in their habitual patterns. We need to reach the edge between feelings & that more subtle place which lies underneath the feelings. How can we facilitate this process?

    The presentation will include brief introductions to a variety of innovative ways of working – all of which are compatible with conventional psychotherapeutic practice. All of the techniques discussed involve working with psychological problems at the somatic level (ie the ‘felt sense’). These will include Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Focusing and Pesso Boyden Psychotherapy.

    During the lecture, I will show a series of video clips demonstrating how some of these techniques work in practice.


    A Radical New Approach to Healing the Wounds of the Past

    Conventional therapy is very good at unravelling the underlying problems but its method of healing those problems (usually through the transference) is generally a slow & long-winded process. Comparatively new to the UK, Pesso Boyden Psychotherapy provides a method which is both gentle & respectful yet powerful, effective & fast.

    Primarily designed for work in groups the method can be weaved into conventional one-to-one psychotherapy with considerable success.

    Utilising the novel technique of ‘micro-tracking’ combined with the power of symbolic imagination a unique healing ‘experience’ is patiently created within the session thereby enabling the innate healing power of the unconscious to overcome the traumas, wounds & losses of the past with surprising rapidity. This in turn opens the door towards resolving stuck issues & actualising self-development. Not for nothing the method has been described as ‘speed dialling the unconscious’.

    In addition to explaining the method, I will show a series of video clips demonstrating how the techniques work in practice.


    A Psychological Interpretation of the Legend of ‘Parzival’ and his Quest for the Holy Grail

    The legend of Parzival’s quest for the Holy Grail is a tale full of psychological and spiritual insight. The motif of being stuck in the Wasteland is a powerful symbol of what it’s like when we find ourselves depressed or stuck or in a state of existential despair. Parzival’s journey is ultimately an inspiring story symbolising each person’s quest for ‘individuation’ and how to get out of stuckness and live a more authentic life.

    In this lecture, I interpret the symbolism of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s version of the legend, written at the end of the 12th century, as if it was a dream. I try to understand why Wolfram described the Grail as being a stone rather than the more conventional cup or vessel as described by other storytellers from the period. I argue that Wolfram’s version is in fact a heavily disguised initiation text with radical implications for understanding what happens to us in our lives.


    How to Understand Jung’s Concept of the ‘Animus’ 

    Many psychotherapists are aware of Jung’s concept of the ‘animus,’ but have little idea of what integrating the ‘animus’ means in practical terms and how it can help their clients to become more fully individuated.

    In the first half the lecture asks how the conventional understanding of the ‘animus’ needs to revised in the light of modern feminist thinking.

    In the second half, the audience watches a short episode from the film version of George Eliot’s classic novel ‘Middlemarch.’ This is then used as a basis for discussing how the ‘animus’ manifests in the experience of one of the central characters – Dorothea – so that the implications for modern, therapeutic practice can be elucidated.



    The Tension Between Two Ways of Being

    Dionysus is arguably the most fascinating of all the Greek Gods: revolutionary, anarchic, provocative & highly destabilising. And yet this lecture argues that all of us need to integrate the qualities of Dionysus within ourselves. The warning from mythology is: if you fail to heed him, he will drive you mad!

    This lecture is lavishly illustrated with dreams, pictures from Greek Art, and brief episodes from a modern film. It shows how an understanding of Dionysus as an archetypal image helps to explain our inner psychological conflicts. It provides us with a valuable metaphor for much that tends to be ignored, and repressed, within the psyche – at our cost!


    Commentary on the Film ‘Effie Gray’ in the Light of Jung’s Concepts of ‘Anima’ & ‘Animus’

    This talk was prepared in response to a request to contribute to a public symposium held at the Barbican in March 2014 a few weeks before the film’s public release. The director of the film, Donald Rosenfeld, formerly of Merchant Ivory, flew over from New York to attend the symposium and answer questions.

    The film tells the story of the disastrous marriage between John Ruskin, the famous Victorian art critic, and his young and spirited wife, Effie Gray, and how she eventually found the strength to get out of it against all the odds.

    As the sub-title suggests, the film provides a perfect vehicle for explaining Jung’s concepts of ‘Anima’ (in a man) and ‘Animus’ (in a woman) and what can go wrong when these two unconscious elements become enemies.

    The talk would need to accompany a showing of the film. 



    Exploring the Symbolism of ‘The Juniper Tree’ by the Brothers Grimm

    Traditional Fairy Tales are like the dreams of the collective unconscious.  Understood symbolically they are a rich source of psychological wisdom.

    The ‘Juniper Tree’ is not so well known as some of the Grimms’ cliassics such as ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ & ‘Snow White.’ And yet it is a powerful & disturbing story which can be read at many levels. It contains envy, murder, revenge – and even a dash of cannibalism!

    Interpreting the fairy story as though it were a dream – this gruesome story can be understood as being the story of an ‘intra-psychic’ dysfunctional family. It tells us much about our own inner psychological conflicts and those of our clients – and it gives us many hints as to how working with Fairy Tales can be integrated into modern, clinical practice.