The Little Mermaid:  Psychology, Symbols and Archetypes.

The Little Mermaid: Psychology, Symbols and Archetypes.

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Using stories to reflect on our lives. This session the group will explore the story of the Little Mermaid, its symbols and archetypes.

About this event

This Session we will be discussing the Little Mermaid, its symbols and archetypal imagery.

"The Little Mermaid" is a Danish literary fairy tale written by the author Hans Christian Andersen. The story follows the journey of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea as a mermaid and her voice, to belong in the human world.

The original tale is much darker than the happily ever after Disney version. When you read ‘The Little Mermaid’ as Andersen wrote it, you discover a deeper understanding of the young mermaid and the challenges she faced when trying to gain access to a different world. It is a tale of losing community, losing a voice, denying her pain, rejecting rage and ultimately losing herself. It is a cautionary tale of sacrificing all to a wish to belong.

In Andersen's version The little mermaid has no name, even so, she stands out from her community and her beloved sisters for both her singing and her curiosity. She is much loved by her father the King of the sea. She longs to visit a world different from her own and finally when old enough she is allowed to explore. It is here she sees and rescues the handsome human prince. Having encountered this beautiful man, she becomes motivated to reinvent her life to be with him. In an attempt to do so, she visits the sea witch, who helps the little mermaid get what she wants. However, the sea witch also issues the little mermaid with a caution. In order to be in the world of men, she is told she must sacrifice her voice and more. The potion she must take can indeed split her fin into two legs, but she is warned that it will always feel as though she is walking on knives, and that she will be in constant pain. Her task will be to learn how to connect with others in this new land with no voice and in silent anguish. However she has never really experienced pain, or not having a voice, and so cannot imagine it. Interestingly it is not just an ordinary man that she wishes to marry, but a prince ( a man of privilege). Equally in stepping into this different world, she relinquishes her own privilege /princess status and becomes seen as an ordinary girl.

This is an experiential discussion group. The hope for the group experience is not to offer individual interpretation of stories but rather through the group‘s discussion, meeting our reactions, our connection to symbols, imagery and association along the way, we might enable each other to better understand ourselves, each other, our communities and some of the stories we live.

At the beginning of the session there will be a brief presentation thinking about:

- History of the Tale.

- Symbols and Archetypes

The group will then spend the majority of time sharing reflections, thoughts and associations to the symbols and imagery in the story .

Thinking about how elements of it may fit or shed some light on our own lives.

VENUE: Zoom Platform

DATE: Saturday 13th August 2022

TIME: 10 am - 11:30 am (UK)

COST: £25 per person.

These groups are for anyone interested in stories and psychology. All welcome.

The session will be run by the Clinical Psychologist, Dr Libby Nugent, BSc (Joint Hons), DClinPsy, C Psychol, AFBPs Registered with HPC: PYL18653 and BPS:175854

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