#342 – Exploring Archetypal Patterns with Jungian Analyst Michael Conforti


Michael Conforti, Ph.D. is a Jungian Analyst, and is the founder and director of the Assisi Institute. Dr. Conforti’s work has resulted not only in a training institute based on his discoveries, but also the development of a new discipline, Archetypal Pattern Analysis. He has been a faculty member at the C.G. Jung Institute – Boston, the C.G Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years served as a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Master’s Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England.

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A pioneer in the field of matter-psyche studies, Dr. Conforti is actively investigating the workings of archetypal fields and the relationship between Jungian psychology and the New Sciences. He has presented his work to a wide range of national and international audiences, including the C.G. Jung Institute-Zurich and Jungian organizations in Venezuela, Denmark, Italy and Canada. He is the author of Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings (2007) and Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche. His articles have appeared in Psychological Perspectives, San Francisco Jung Library Journal, Roundtable Press, World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, and Spring.

Dr. Conforti maintains a private practice in Vermont, For many years, he served as state-appointed advisor to the Board of Psychoanalysts. He provides his insights as a sought-after consultant to businesses, government institutions, and the film industry. He has served as script consultant on the recently released film, Pride and Glory. He has also been asked to consult on the application of field theory to the understanding and resolution of international border disputes. He was selected by The Club of Budapest and the University of Potsdam to be part of a 20 member international team of physicists, biologists, and dynamical systems theorists to examine the role and influence of informational fields. He is a recipient of the Vision Award presented by the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. In addition he has been selected as a Soci onorari by l�Istituto Mediterraneo di Psicologia Archetipica, in Catania Sicily.

Dr. Conforti is a Senior Fellow of the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland. He is currently working on a new book: When the Gods Are Silent: Awakening to Meaning and Healing.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

copyright 2013: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Once again I am disappointed with the Jung Orientation. Especially, after some excellent discussions of the more scientifically oriented brain interviews.

    My problem with Jung is the effect it has on the thinking processes of those who are seriously devoted to his writings.

    The subject of Kirlian photography is an example. Dr. Conforti used Kirlian leaf photography as proof of some kind of “soul” field . The broken leaf experiment has been debunked.

    Here is the problem. We have the internet. The days are gone when people can get away with nonsense like the “broken leaf experiment”. Even though I never heard of that experiment a red flag went up immediately upon hearing it. Sure enough it turns out to be pseudoscience.

    Belief in Jung’s teachings fogs the brain. Why didn’t Dr. Conforti even mention the possibility that the “broken leaf” experiment has problems. Did he ever research the extraordinary claims made by Kirlian?

    Chances are Dr. Conforti DIDN’T research it because it fits so nicely into what he wants to believe.

  2. Gary Eisenberg
    Posted March 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I think there is room for a broad range of different approaches to human psychology. And I also feel that it is a mistake to apply a any particular type of methodology and/or use any particular “measuring stick” in order to confirm or refute any given approach. By maintaining an open mind to as broad a range of philosophies/constructs/modalities as possible, we have the best shot at improving/enhancing the human condition.

  3. Evelyn
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Although I tend to agree with the first comment on the thread, there is a lot of truth, wisdom, drive, and warmth in this interview…and just for that I hope that Dr. Conforti will be back on the show.

  4. Richard Powell
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, the Kirlian photography story really jumped out at me too. I thought EVERYONE knew that research was a hoax.

    Never the less I found this interview brimming over with energy and rich content. I particularly liked the story of the man with the dream of the submerged wood. Of course I read something different into the imagery, and this reminded me how important it is for the dreamer themselves to make the associations.

    I had some concern that Dr. Conforti puts so much emphasis on the archetypal-apart-from-the-person meaning of the dream content, but it is a good balance to the much more pervasive ideology of a sort of religious fervor for client directed therapy. I think the HBO TV series “In Treatment” captures the downside of this approach. Still, I tend to lean in that direction, wondering at the value of too much direction from the therapist.

    Dr. Dave, I think it would be great to have Dr. Conforti back on and get to some of those questions you didn’t get to ask him!

  5. Lisa Cote
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mr. Powell about the over-emphasis on a dream image’s meaning apart from the personal context of the dreamer–it is dangerous in my opinion to dismiss the individual dreamer’s associations, and head straight to amplification: “It may feel to the analysand like deflection by the therapist of personal relatedness . . . The dreamer may feel envious of or idealize the knowing analyst or otherwise use archetypal amplification as a defense against personal feeling or affect.” (Whitmont & Perera) What if the dreamer had associated the submerged wood with a wooden trunk kept in his parents’ bedroom, for instance? I think those sorts of avenues have to be explored first. It was also seeming to me like Dr. Conforti was indicated that anything that might be deemed a “pattern” is necessarily also an archetype, or archetypal (like shaking someone’s hand)–I’d like him to clarify what makes a pattern an archetypal one, if that’s not what he meant. Thanks for the podcast. The subject of archetypes is endlessly interesting to me.

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