IAAP Photographs

Joseph Henderson : 100th Birthday

Joseph L. Henderson, M.D., was born on August 31, 1903, in Elko, Nevada. He began his analysis with C.G. Jung in 1929 and continued to work with Jung until 1938, when he completed his medical training at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. In 1941, he moved to San Francisco and began his psychiatric and analytic practice. Dr. Henderson was one of the founders of the Society of Jungian Analysts of Northern California (1950), and for the past 53 years he has been an important teacher and training analyst to several generations of analysts. [additional text follows the photographs]

As cofounder of the Jung Institute in San Francisco , he is twice its past president, and he has been influential in the professional development of many subsequent Jungian analysts in their various endeavors. He also was instrumental in the San Francisco Institute acquiring a large collection of images with their psychological commentary, which became the Archive for Research and Archetypal Symbolism, otherwise known as ARAS .

He traveled frequently to both England and Switzerland where, after World War II, he continued to see Jung and other colleagues. He was elected Vice President of the International Association for Analytical Psychology in 1962 and served only one term, finding that he preferred writing to political activity.

His writings include the following books: The Wisdom of the Serpent co-written with Maude Oakes in 1963, a chapter entitled "Ancient Myths and Modern Man" in Man and His Symbols edited by Jung, 1964, Thresholds of Initiation, 1967, reprinted in 2005, Cultural Attitudes in Psychological Perspective, 1983, a compilation of essays entitled Shadow and Self, 1990, and Transformation of the Psyche 2003, co-authored with Dyane Sherwood. He has written numerous papers on such diverse subjects as anthropology with special reference to the American Indian, relations between East and West, clinical issues related to transference/counter transference, aspects of dream interpretation, the use of art in psychotherapy, and alchemical symbolism in analysis. Dr. Henderson developed the concept of the “cultural unconscious”, which he introduced in an address at the 2nd International Jungian Congress in Zurich in 1962. This idea has evolved in to the hypothesis of the “cultural complex” which has received much attention lately in the Jungian world. In addition he has written numerous movie and book reviews.

He practiced and taught Jungian analysis and analytical psychology from 1938 until his retirement in 2005. He has been a source of inspiration and professional wisdom for many generations of Jungian analysts, and his practice has included significant individuals from many other fields of endeavor.

© Thomas Kirsch 2007.

Virgina Beane Rutter, M.S., worked to organize the celebration of Joseph Henderson's 100th birthday. Thomas Kirsch, M.D., former IAAP President, began the ceremony honoring Joe. Dyane Sherwood, Ph.D., spoke as co-author with Joe Henderson of Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis. Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., spoke as the IAAP Honorary Secretary and as author of the Foreword to Transformation. After these and other presentations, three birthday cakes ("1 - 0 - 0") were brought to Joe's table where his granddaughter, Julia Eisenman, was present as Joe blew out candles.

You may recognize many of the people in the photographs as members of the San Francisco Institute and as members of the international Jungian community. If you can provide names to go along with the photographs, please send them to me (Don Williams at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) along with an identification of the specific photograph; by holding the mouse over the image for a moment, you should see the name of the file pop up (for instance, h_joehenderson2003_50.jpg where "h" indicates the photo's horizontal alignment and the number "50" indicates the original photograph's number). The ceremony was videotaped by Naftaly Rutter.

Note: the photographs may be used freely when copyright attribution (© Donald Williams 2003) is attached.