Alchemical Operations in Psychotherapy

This blog has charted my journey through a transpersonal (integrative) psychotherapy training course at CCPE in London. I am now in year three. So far this year we have had lectures on existential psychotherapyJungian Symbolism and the transpersonal theories of Michael Washburn and Ken Wilber. In the first year we had lectures on the planes of consciousness and alchemy but now the heat is being turned up on the amount of transpersonal material to cover and, in particular, alchemical operations and further expansion of the planes of consciousness.

Outlined below is material from two recent lectures on alchemical operations.

The alchemical process of transformation has been variously described, depending on who you read, as being anything from a six-stage process to a 75 stage process. However, for our lecturer Nigel Hamilton, it is possible to understand the alchemical process in terms of four basic stages, this being most useful when starting out as an “alchemical beginner” and in trying to relate it to the psychotherapeutic process.

The process can be basically described in four stages as nigredoalbedocitrinitas andrubedo and can be useful as a map in guiding client material in psychotherapy.  It is important to remember that there is never a perfect balance in alchemy. As soon as you resolve one tension of opposites there is another waiting in the wings.

The processes in alchemy include calcinatio (fire operation), solutio (water purification) coagulatio (earth operation) and sublimatio (air operation). Dream analysis can be one way of accessing this material where images can reflect a particular stage.

Read more here.

About Noel Bell

Psychotherapist in London. Check out my blog posts and more at
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