Another extract from my dissertation on healing qualities in surrealist art:

In their openness, surrealists antagonized taboos and dealt with problematic matters in a therapeutic way. Psychoanalysts such as Carl Gustav Jung saw much potential for the healing of psychological problems in art. In the following the Swiss psychiatrist describes a case in which a picture could help one of his patients overcome a problematic psychological state:

“I vividly recall a case of a professor who had a sudden vision and though he was insane. He came to see me in a state of complete panic. I simply took a 400-year-old book from the shelf and showed him an old woodcut depicting his very vision. “There’s no reason for you to believe that you’re insane,” I said to him. “They knew about your vision 400 years ago.” Whereupon he sat down entirely deflated, but once more normal.” (1964, p.69)

The example shows that being aware that someone else has had similar thoughts or fantasies can evoke feelings of relief in people. It demonstrates that the recognition of archetypal patterns in a piece of art can help people overcome the fear of their own psyche.