Annette Lowe & Ariel Moy

5.5 Sensation Stimulates Emotional Response…

Infants come to know that they exist when they feel felt. Our presentation suggests that sensation stimulates emotional response at the start of life. This helps to form the bond between mother and child; a sense of ‘us’. We also suggest that when the caregiver holds the infant, the infant experiences a fundamental sense of self, of being. The experience of loving touch, of being part of an ‘us’, activates and develops the archetypal field of Mother in the child. The caregiver also develops her identity as a mother, which has both neurobiological and archetypal roots. The archetypal aspects of the mother/child dyad are elaborated in Neumann’s volume, The Great Mother. It describes countless images; she is a cave, a ship, the earth around a corpse. One concept links the images: the Mother who contains or holds. If an infant is upset, physical soothing by the caregiver regulates the child’s emotions: the child feels safe. The emotional chaos of anxiety and terror settles, the infant experiences itself again. ‘I am touched and held, therefore I am’. Fundamental to feeling/emotion is sensation (touch). Fundamental to a coherent sense of self is maternal holding. Using an arts-based research approach to maternal and child experiences of holding and being held, we illuminate the power of the mother/child ‘us’ to construct a sense of self. We will illustrate our talk with a range of imagery including a focus on the work of Australian sculptor, Patricia Piccinini in her 2021 exhibition A Miracle Constantly Repeated.


Annette Lowe graduated from the Jung Institut in 1993 and established a practice in Melbourne, Australia. She is a past president of the Jung Society of Melbourne, where she has given talks, seminars and courses. She edited a volume of past lectures for the Society, Jung Talks, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. She is an accredited supervisor, and a training analyst for the Jung Institut.

Dr Ariel Moy an art therapist in private practice and an academic teacher at The MIECAT Institute in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her doctorate entitled Maternal Holding and the Storying of the Mother/Child 'Us' in 2019, and adapted the research into a book, An Arts Therapeutic Approach to Maternal Holding: Developing Healthy Mother and Child Holding Relationships. It was published by Routledge in 2021. An abiding interest in Jungian psychology has evolved into a podcast for the C. G. Jung Society of Melbourne, now in its third season.


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