As you likely have noticed, I always seem to be using images in my posts here on SkyClad Therapist. As a therapist, images play an important role in my work with those coming for some kind of assistance. Images often are able to unlock those spaces within which we have all buried things, things that don’t really go way in spite of being locked away. The images I choose come from both a conscious and unconscious place from within me. And, this is the same thing that happens to each of us when we get caught up, even momentarily, in an image. If an image brings a strong positive or negative reaction, then something deep within us has been activated. For therapy purposes, these are the images that demand more attention as they provide a key to the hidden contents.
“Symbolic images are not stored in the psyche somewhere to be released when the need arises. They occur on the interface between individual and environment, through the interaction of archetypes with perceptions and experiences.” (Van Eenwyk, Archetypes and Strange Attractors, p. 89)
Archetypes – think of the shadow, think of the saint, think of mother earth or holy mother, think of the harlot or the evil witch – these are words as well as images that evoke powerful responses from us, positive and negative responses. And the heat of those responses tell more about our inner selves than they do of the images or words themselves.
Our responses to nudity, the unclothed human is worth noting. For some the response is simple curiousity. For others it might be a scene that somehow doesn’t evoke any response as though the nudity is not significant enough to warrant a response. For a large group, perhaps the majority, it elicits a sense of discomfort and unease, one wonders where to put one’s eyes and how to respond. And for another significant group, nudity evokes over-the-top anger and rage. The same image, just an image, reveals so much of the viewer through the viewer’s response.
So what does it say when a significant and loud portion of humanity reacts with anger in seeing a mother breast-feeding her child? What does it say when a large portion of humanity reacts with lust to another woman’s breast, especially barely covered, when used for advertising purposes? Our responses are anything but rational.
A group of young men skinny dipping is viewed as simply “boys being boys” while the image of a man in midlife seen skinny dipping is viewed as a “sexual offender” who has no regard for the sensibilities of others. The images are simply images, even if those images are breathing scenes from life. The responses to those scenes, those images are the food for thought.