Appropriately, this interview is with Literal Magazine, a bi-cultural magazine which prints the interview in both English & Spanish. 

Hillman and Jung don't necessarily agree on everything, but they are both suspicious/cautious of psychotherapy and its tenets. Jung is famous for saying he would never want to be a "Jungian", referring to the idea that his psychology was meant to dynamic and alive, not fixed or dogmatic, not following anything too specific. Hillman, too, is critical of reductive practices often associated with psychotherapy and how it translates to other cultures. LINK: Check out the interview here.

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  • Thanks, Siona. I will just add, at the risk of turning this into a "Why Hillman?" discussion (reference to the two current hot topics in the Forum--Why Jung? and Why Giegerich?), I will also add that while many have issues with Hillman's book the "The Dream and the Underworld", it actually succeeded in helping me gain a radical new perspective on phenomena around me--including dream images and other images that arise from the psyche in various ways. So, for anyone who hasn't read much of Hillman and is also interested in Dreams, I highly recommend it so you at least read it so you are exposed to his way of thinking. It will really help to understand his psychology.
  • Bonnie: You are something else. Thank you for the suggestions and the paper (not to worry-- I have an embarrassing fondness for puns and the like myself ;), and for that graceful reminder about my favorite mineral. I'll have a look through your paper tomorrow (your bee-piece was just wonderful so I'm already looking forward to more). 


    And oh! I'm working on the logistics of attending that weekend myself. Let's stay in touch as March grows closer. I'd love to meet. :)

  • Appropriately, yes! Hillman's critical view reminds me overwhelmingly of Liberation Psychology, which, as far as I know, has its roots in Latin America. (And I know: I'm sure many here are familiar with the field, if only because of Pacifica's related program.)


    I think that where Jung and Hillman meet are in their openness to, or even embracing of, an almost necessarily disruptive element of psychology. I think both would encourage and support the change and upset that often accompany deep psychological processes, instead of--as so much mainstream psychology seems wont to do--trying to ameliorate it or massage it back into the system that caused its foment. Both seem more interesting in tending to that impulse rather than settling the client / patient back into a given culture or status quo. Both, I think, would cotton more to the notion of a psycho-parakaleō (a supporting or calling forth of the soul) rather than a psychotherapy (a cure or healing thereof). 


    It's hard to compare the two men, though; the ideas of a Jung born three or four decades later would have manifested, I imagine, in radically different ways. 


    Thanks for this interview, too! I was a little surprised that Hillman didn't mention Liberation Psychology, but enjoyed the rest regardless. 

    • Hi Siona: Thanks so much for astute observations on Hillman and on HIllman and Jung. I agree with you that HIllman is definitely oriented toward Liberation Psych, and while he doesn't mention it specifically, he does give a nod to Mary Watkins who I personally feel deserves a lot of the credit for bringing Psychologies of Liberation to the mainstream (Depth) community anyway. (There is an essay by Dr. Watkins on the Articles page, by the way for anyone who is interested, and her and Helene Shulman's book entitled "Toward Psychologies of Liberation"(2009) is one of the most significant and profound I have ever read).

      I also came across a well-done article on James Hillman written by our very own Alliance member, Cliff Bostock, a few years ago after Hillman visited the Jung Society of Atlanta (view at

      And, while Hillman certainly has something of a reputation for his, errh, passion about psychology (to the extent that he apparently regularly used to fly off the handle), I also agree with Cliff that there is something about Archetypal Psych in that there is sort of an innate system of checks and balances. If the images are indeed autonomous, they serve to countercheck each other on a regular symbiotic basis and letting a little shadow out for the world to see and critique can only serve to garner general awareness and elicit a little introspection of our own, no? Meanwhile, the last time I saw Hillman a few months ago, he had definitely mellowed considerably. He is doing 2 days for the public at Pacifica in March...will be interesting, as always, to see what emerges then....

      • Bonnie: Oh, good catch on that Watkins reference; I'd missed the connection and it does speak volumes. Thank you, both for that and the linked article. 


        Will you be attending the program in March? (I hope to myself and it would be a treat to meet!) I know little of Hillman outside his various books (all of which have influenced me deeply), but I tend to view any sort of passion--positive or negative--as rooted in some sort of love, and I wish more critics would demonstrate the same respect for their subject that Hillman seems to. 


        Say more about your appreciation of Archetypal psychology, though! I'm only just beginning to explore the field myself, and I'd love to hear more of your own thoughts and musings about it. 

        • Hi Siona: Regarding Hillman's Archetypal Psych, I do really love many things about it, but as with everything, take parts of it with a grain of salt. On some level, I like the idea that dream figures and gods are autonomous entities with their own goals, needs, aims (and manipulations in many cases). I think the down side of that is that in trying to view things "mythologically" as Archetypal Psych intends, it actually can go too far where we can end up literalizing the mythological, maybe blaming the gods for things we need to own, or leaving ourselves open to projections instead of defending our psyche against "outside forces".

          I wrote a paper last year called What's Shaking? A Mythoimaginal Take on the 2010 Haiti Quake, which assesses a current event (obviously) using  HIllman's four basic tenets for Archetypal Psych (which I probably too cutely called "Temblors" in keeping with Hillman't penchant for wordplay). They are:

          1) Personifying (witnessing the spontaneous manifestation of psychic presences)

          2) Pathologizing (falling apart, allowing the suffering, ugliness, or grief)

          3) Psychologizing ("seeing through" an event to get at the psychological ground of it)

          4) Dehumanizing (getting at the radical "otherness" of the psyche)

          If you want to learn more, I recommend Hillman's book, "Revisioning Psychology" in which he details those four steps.

          BTW, I have decided to register for the Hillman event at Pacifica in March. He's just so fascinating to listen to (no matter if you agree with him or not) and I don't know how many more opportuniies there will be. Maybe I will see you there! That would be great.




  • Glad to read Hillman's nod to systems psychology. This is the touch point for depth psychology and MFT systems approaches as well as calling into focus the unique structure and influence of the culture of any psychotherapist and the other(s) in the office.
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