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Leader, C. (2015). Evil, Imagination and the Unrepressed Unconscious: The Value of William Blake's Satanic ‘Error’ for Clinical Practice. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(3):311-332.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(3):311-332

Evil, Imagination and the Unrepressed Unconscious: The Value of William Blake's Satanic ‘Error’ for Clinical Practice

Carol Leader

The images and writings of William Blake offer profound insights for the clinician in a form that clearly reveals his visionary ability regarding the unrepressed unconscious. He is particularly helpful with the work of imagination and the presence of evil concerning unconscious process. This paper explores the creative value of Blake's contribution when working with certain patients in the consulting room and for the purposes of psychotherapeutic research: he has inspired many psychoanalytic and Jungian papers in the past. However, in the world of psychotherapy, Blake's complicated but illuminating mythology has been somewhat neglected in favour of interpreting him through the lens of analytic thought. While setting this paper within an analytic frame, the writer aims to offer an overview of Blake's central concepts - particularly those concerning Satan and the state of ‘Error’ - that are revealed in their most refined form in his celebrated ‘Illustrations of the Book of Job’. A number of Blake's paintings and etchings illustrate this paper, providing an additional and vital avenue of communication through image. Clinical vignettes related to psychotic levels of the psyche illustrate the central theme.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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