Art + Introspection in Psychology

Current situation of Introspective Psychology

Revival of inner research in psychology

Why remove a tool that proves to be effective—only because mandated by the Congress of Rome in 1905?

We know it doesn’t follow the rational scientific dictates and protocol parameters. But our goal is to bring back to light a deep inner research, aiming at emotional well-being. Based on results relating to people’s quality of life, the introspective method in psychology shows its effectiveness. I’ve always wondered how it is possible to move in the emotional world with rational tools—is this the most effective way to deal with our inside?

Emotions, even if fleeting and intangible, are powerful; the most eminent psychotherapeutic schools attest they are often at the origin of existential illnesses.

Introspection goes beyond the limits of rationality. It’s just when we choose to enter the intuitive world that flashes of light shine in the dark of our malaise.

Introspective Research, Introspective Art and inner well-being

Painting uses the language of emotions and sensations, a language that acts in a time different from that of words and reasoning. We should accept its natural flow without inserting the mind. Entering this state of being requires preparation and, in the beginning, silent listening and a lot of confidence in our feeling. In this way, art can become a useful tool of introspection; it helps to identify ignored parts of ourselves, censored by rational judgments.

If we have an intuitive contact with the colors and symbols of a painting, something opens up in us; we can reach hidden parts of the subconscious… It becomes easier to enter these spaces—even if we identify with that part of us that needs to rationalize or find a logical meaning. But we know from experience that understanding and solving emotional malaise is not a matter of rationality. Why do we entrust it with bringing us to emotional well-being?

I use Introspective Art in my research because I consider it a catalyst for deep emotional dynamics.

Introspective Art focuses attention on what is inside us, in the subconscious. It brings it to light by depicting it in a painting. It’s an art directly inspired by the unconscious of the artist to communicate with the unconscious of other people. Rationality does not mediate transmission from unconscious to unconscious. It passes through the observer’s defenses, establishing a direct communication between her and the painting.

Open communication makes it easier to release tensions; and then you can start introspection to achieve greater emotional well-being.

How Introspective Art works

The probable (and facilitated) opening prepares and simplifies the next steps of the search. We should:

  • analyze what is beyond the opening
  • make the most of the opening time
  • concentrate on the collection and interpretation of data, instead of striving to overcome resistances
  • understand how the mind perceives and processes visual inputs, based on experience.

This happens when people look at a painting of Introspective Art: it encourages them to reflect on what they are feeling and to be aware of themselves.

Once the contact with the painting is over, people can consider what has emerged during the process: their judgments, self-criticisms, and fears… they can dialogue with their own internal world, recognizing the feelings/emotions that the painting has aroused.

The end point is greater internal integration and a mitigation of the inner conflicts we all experience. This leads to greater well-being and an increase in the quality of life.

Antonella Giannini



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