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Events and Presentations

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Past Events 

9-11 April, 2021(online): I participated in a Roundtable  Discussion with senior music therapists in the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) Conference 2021: Open Ground: Music Therapy in Collaboration and Exchange. <https://www.bamt.org/conference/bamt-conference-2021>

Roundtable time: Sunday, 11th April, 2021: 11:20-12:35 GMT(online)

Title: Talking, thinking and playing: a conversational exploration of mutual influences between music therapy, Jungian analysis and psychoanalysis

Abstract: Music therapists have absorbed theory and practice from psychoanalysis, and the influence of Jungian and psychoanalytic concepts in recent accounts of music therapy practice in the UK is widespread. However, whilst there are some examples of collaborations between psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and music and arts therapists on the 'non-verbal' relationship in therapy, within the Jungian and psychoanalytic literature concerned with music, music therapy practice as such is rarely mentioned or considered. Furthermore, in Jungian analysis, whilst conducting active imagination with visual modalities such as spontaneous drawing, painting and sandplay is a common practice, using music improvisation as active imagination within analysis remains rare.

In this roundtable, five practitioners whose combined experience transverses music, music therapy, Jungian analysis, psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy will speak to each other and creatively explore these observations, together with possible new developments in the cross-fertilization of ideas and practice between music therapy and analysis/psychotherapy.

Keywords: Free improvisation, psychoanalysis, Jungian analysis, active imagination


Rachel Darnley-Smith (Chair) is a music therapist and a widely published independent researcher. In 2019, she was guest editor for a special edition of the British Journal of Music Therapy on Music and Psychoanalysis. Rachel previously taught at the University of Roehampton and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Professor Helen Odell-Miller is Director of the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University, widely published internationally and contributed to the development of music therapy in the UK, specifically in mental health and higher education. She was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to music therapy.

Patricia Skar is a musician and IAAP Jungian analyst in private practice in Switzerland. She has written and lectured widely on music and psychoanalysis and has developed her own method of using music improvisation with simple percussion instruments as active imagination within analysis. 

Ann Sloboda is Head of Music Therapy at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She is also qualified as a psychoanalyst and a member of the British Psychoanalytic Society. She combines teaching and supervision of music therapists with a psychoanalytic practice and is a tutor in infant observation to trainee psychoanalysts.

Julie Sutton works in a specialist NHS service and is an author, presenting internationally. A BAMT Trustee, past BJMT Editor-in-Chief, EMTC VP and NR London Head of Training, her current research speciality is improvisation. She is analytically trained, registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council.



2020: Thursday, February 5th and Friday 6th November: 13:00-16:45 (both days)

Open Seminar: "Music and Analysis: History and Practice"

We will explore the interactive field of music and psychoanalysis with regard to archetypal, behavioral and symbolic processes, dreams and individuation, including case examples. We will also discuss why music improvisation used as active imagination within analysis has not yet been generally implemented and explore future possibilities for training in its use. If there is sufficient enrollment, an experiential component in using music improvisation within analysis may be included in the seminar.   

Venue:  Stampfenbachstrasse 115, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland

For more information, please click here


For The Champernowne Trust Summer Course: "Images of Power and the Power of Images: Exploring Psychological, Ethical and Spiritual Aspects"  5th-10th August 2018

Presentation: "The Power of Music: Eros, Order and Individuation"

Today more than ever, music is being listened to in the context of audio-visual media. How are images affected by music, and how does music powerfully constellate images? In this talk, these and other questions will be examined in the context of recent brain research, music therapy and Jungian psychology, focusing on the power of music to affect our emotions and to open us to new possibilities in our lives. We will then compare the teacher-student relationship in learning a musical instrument with the analyst-analysand relationship in psychoanalysis, illustrating the potential of each experience to facilitate what Jung called the individuation process. Finally, we will explore the presenter's method of using a form of music improvisation as active imagination within analysis and in groups, including musical examples.  

Venue:  Hothorpe Hall, Theddingworth, Leics LE17 6QX    www.hothorpe.co.uk

For more information, please click here


Seminar led by Patricia Skar: Active Imagination Through Music Improvisation in Analysis

for The Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists (IGAP London)

Dates: Friday, 27th April, 2018: 7.30-9.30pm; Saturday, 28th April, 2018: 10.30am-12.30pm; 2pm-4pm.

Venue: The Essex Church, 112 Palace Gardens Terrace, London W8 4RT, England

Cost: £105 for both days

Music in analysis?  For many who see analysis as a ‘talking cure’, the thought of music improvisation in analysis is an odd or even unacceptable idea. However, Jung gave it his blessing. After meeting with the music therapist Margaret Tilly in 1956, Jung was moved to say: ‘I feel that from now on music should be an essential part of every analysis. This reaches the deep archetypal material that we can only sometimes reach in our analytical work with patients.’ Why hasn’t the Jungian world taken up Jung’s suggestion? The seminar will be an opportunity to discuss this question, as well as the many possibilities for thinking about music within the analytic context. For example, we will look at Jung’s relationship to music, the symbolism of music in dreams, and the developmental and archetypal parallels between learning a musical instrument and what Jung called the individuation process. The seminar will also be an opportunity to try out the presenter’s unique method for using simple percussion instruments as active imagination in analysis. No prior musical knowledge or performance background is necessary; none of the instruments takes any skill to play.     

For more information, please click here


7. August 2017: Presented opening lecture: “Das Ziel als Prozess: Musik und die Suche nach dem Selbst” for the Sommerakademie C. G. Jung 2017 (C. G. Jung-Gesellschaft Köln): “Ganz Ohr – Musik und die Kunst” (6.-11. August 2017).

For more information, please click here


Bruderklaus Church

Ostring 1A, 3006 Bern 

"Relationships:  Understanding Your Personality Type"

2017: Thursday, April 27th, 19:00  

Sponsored by BERNnet, Bern’s English Resource Network. Talk followed by networking apéro.


C. G. Jung Institute Zürich

Hornweg 28, CH-8700 Küsnacht ZH, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 914 10 40 

"The Matrix of Music and Analysis"

2017: Friday, February 24th: 9:30 a.m.-11:05 a.m.; 11:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m. 

This presentation will explore the links between analytic and musical processes and illustrate how music improvisation can be used as active imagination within analysis.  

For more information, please visit: C. G. Jung Institute Zurich


C. G. Jung Institute Zürich:

"Archetypes, Complexes and Self-Organization"

2016: Wednesday, November 9th: 11:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m.; 2:05-3:35 p.m.; 3:50-5:20 p.m. 

A historical overview of Jung's ideas of the archetype and complex as these concepts have evolved to the present day. 

"Active Imagination with Music in Analysis"

2016: Saturday and Sunday, November 5th-6th: 11:20 a.m.-5:20 p.m.  

An experiential workshop presenting a unique model of  using music improvisation within the analytic container. No musical background necessary.  


Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists (IGAP), London:

"Archetypes and Complexes:  From Jung to the Present"

2016: Thursday, September 22nd, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

There has always been confusion and disagreement about the nature of the terms archetype and complex in Jungian circles, not to mention non Jungian ones. A recent concern is whether Jung’s concept of the archetype and complex can be justified in terms of current scientific research, most notably that of neurophysiologists and others interested in the brain and consciousness. This lecture will review the evolution of Jungian thought about archetypes and complexes and examine the latest developments in the field, including the idea of the archetype as an emergent property of the activity of the brain/mind.  

For more information, please visit IGAP Website


International School of Analytical Psychology (ISAP) Zurich:

2016: Tuesday, September 6th and Wednesday, September 7th: 2:00-5:45 p.m.

"Active Imagination with Music Improvisation in Analysis"

This seminar will explore the theoretical and clinical links between analytic and musical processes, illustrating how music improvisation can be used as active imagination within analysis. 

For more information, please visit ISAP Website


The Association of Jungian Analysts (AJA), London:

"The Matrix of Music and Analysis"

2016: Tuesday, May 3rd, 8:15 p.m.

There is much evidence that the experience of playing and listening to music facilitates the creation of ‘inner order’ in both a psychological and physical sense. From her dual perspective as a performing musician and Jungian analyst, Patricia Skar will explore the links between analytic and musical processes and explain her unique method of using music improvisation as active imagination within analysis.  

For more information, please visit AJA Website


American Women's Club of Zurich:

"Transitioning Into Switzerland: A Jungian Approach"    

2016: Friday, March 11th, 2:00 p.m.

Arriving in Switzerland, the initial high of discovery can rapidly fade into the challenges of everyday, such as learning a new language and starting over in one’s profession while trying to make new friends and understand Swiss culture. When we’re not settling in as quickly as we would like, anxiety and depression can emerge; we might feel tempted to give up trying altogether. However, this feeling of being back to square one is also an opportunity to discover our hidden resources for growth and creativity. How do we value our own unique histories while learning to let go of old concepts, expectations and behavior? How do we reconnect to our true selves as we search for meaning and purpose in our new environment?  In this workshop, Patricia Skar will discuss the challenges of building a life in Switzerland from her own first-hand experience and her work with clients. She will explain how Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s ideas on ‘individuation’ are particularly relevant to understanding and dealing with the challenges of integration into a new culture. Other aspects of Jungian psychotherapy, such as working with archetypes and complexes, dreams and ‘active imagination’, will also be discussed. The workshop will be an opportunity to ask general questions about Jungian analysis and to explore its particular relevance to times of transition. In this context, Patricia will illustrate how she uses music improvisation as a form of active imagination in individual analysis and groups.  

For more information, please visit AWC Zurich Website