Jungian Therapy, Jungian Analysis, New York


from Jung Lexicon by Daryl Sharp

Imago. A term used to differentiate the objective reality of a person or a thing from the subjective perception of its importance.

The image we form of a human object is, to a very large extent, subjectively conditioned. In practical psychology, therefore, we would do well to make a rigorous distinction between the image or imago of a man and his real existence. Because of its extremely subjective origin, the imago is frequently more an image of a subjective functional complex than of the object itself. In the analytical treatment of unconscious products it is essential that the imago should not be assumed to be identical with the object; it is better to regard it as an image of the subjective relation to the object. [“Definitions,” CW 6, par. 812.]

Imagos are the consequence of personal experience combined with archetypal images in the collective unconscious. Like everything else unconscious, they are experienced in projection.

The more limited a man’s field of consciousness is, the more numerous the psychic contents (imagos) which meet him as quasi-external apparitions, either in the form of spirits, or as magical potencies projected upon living people (magicians, witches, etc.)[“The Function of the Unconscious,” CW 7, par. 295.]