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Spencer, M.J. (1984). Amplification: The Dance. J. Anal. Psychol., 29(2):113-123.

(1984). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 29(2):113-123

Amplification: The Dance

Mary Jo Spencer, B.A

The Theme of dance has been a major and continuing motif throughout the analysis of a woman now in her seventies. The image of dance when it turned up often seemed to signal a point at which a major shift in attitude was being prepared for in the psyche itself. When I recognised this I became interested in using ARAS for amplification of the images. I was already interested in the image of dance as an archetype since it related closely to material of my own. My patient gradually became interested in the process of amplification and what it added to her understanding as she went more deeply into her own material and began to know more about the process of psychological development. At a certain point she began to use ARAS for herself.

There is no time in human history when dance has not existed, and no place in all the world where human beings have not danced. It is an activity in which psyche and soma are both involved, and to dance is to be immediately and totally present, as well as to be related timelessly to our remotest ancestors who also danced.

I have chosen three of my patient's dreams to illustrate the use of amplification in clinical work. Two are quite early in her work; the third is fairly recent.

1.   I am dancing ‘on point’ before a small and appreciative audience at a social gathering. I am surprised and pleased to find myself doing so. Then I realise there is something behind me. I turn and look to see that a very tall man who is my partner has been carrying me.

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