BJAA Winter Gathering Presentation – The Affective Charge of Sulphur and Salt in Working with Compulsion

BJAA Winter Gathering presentation with Giorgio Giaccardi.

Members' only event


The presentation with Giorgio Giaccardi will take place from 11:30am-13:00pm GMT 

Jung’s description of the alchemical symbology of sulphur and salt, undertaken in his last major work Mysterium Coniunctionis, offers a useful imaginal perspective to clinical work in the area of compulsion and its possible transformations.

In a long analysis of a patient, whose obstinate will to achieve shows the workings of sulphur at its fieriest and a dread of its coniunctio with salt, I have often found myself drawing on Jung’s ideas in search of containment for the emotional combustion in the patient’s life and its effect on me. The rarefied texture of Mysterium Coniunctionis offers a subtle anchorage, while also - it seems to me - requiring the analyst to weave in further threads following the specific patterns of each therapeutic encounter.

In the clinical work I present in some detail in this paper, I have witnessed and experienced a range of intense affects - the many colours that the combustion of sulphur can generate - whether on the verge of unstoppable creation or ruthless destruction, often of archetypal intensity. Unlike other frequent contemporary symptoms where sulphur seems to be missing (schizoid withdrawal), or if present it translates into sterile compulsion (obsessive compulsive disorders), in this patient it manifests as a remarkable capacity to generate meaningful work, which however ends up burning itself down to the ashes of psychic and physical injury.

In our ongoing work, the experience of sulphur has been lived through and has undergone a transformative relation with salt, which until then had lived a dissociated existence in a nocturnal underworld of tears.


Note: All bpf members are warmly welcome to attend, and please do stay for lunch (from 1:00-1:45). If staying for lunch, please bring something savoury or sweet to share. Giorgio’s presentation will follow the BJAA’s Business Meeting (for BJAA members only – from 9:45-11:15).

Event programme: 

9:45- 11:15: BJAA Business meeting

11:15 – 11:30: Coffee break

11:30- 13:00: Giorgio Giaccardi's presentation

13:00-14:00: Lunch


About the Speaker

Giorgio Giaccardi is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in London. He is Training Analyst for the British Jungian Analytic Association (London) and Member Analyst of the Associazione per la Ricerca in Psicologia Analitica (Milan). He has published and taught on a range of themes including the numinous, the ecstatic, the objective psyche and the exploration of symbolic processes at play in specific areas such as sexual orientation and music. He was commended in the 2014 Rozsika Parker Prize for his paper “Unconscious Processes, Instrumental Music and the Experience of the Sublime” published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy.