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Akhter Ahsen, Ph.D. is a therapist with a vision. This vision translated into the formulation of Image Psychology, spanning the disciplines — psychology, clinical and experimental, philosophy, literature, mythology, sports and learning — and the publication of over 30 books in the field. Dr. Ahsen’s work in imagery, specifically the eidetic image, began in the 1950’s and has continued through this new millennium.

The 4th American Imagery Conference.
Joseph Campbell and Akhter Ahsen

In the late 1970’s Dr. Ahsen founded and is the editor of  The Journal of Mental Imagery, a prestigious scientific journal which deals with imagery and its advancement of human consciousness. At that time he also founded the International Imagery Association, a not for profit organization, which promotes conferences, seminars, workshops to further a similar aim. In 1980, at The 4th American Imagery Conference, sponsored by the IIA, Joseph Campbell, the noted mythologist, related to the audience, “I am a storyteller about mythology, a synthesizer, while you (Ahsen) are an originator.”

Akhter Ahsen and Joseph Campbell met casually one day on the Sarah Lawrence campus where Campbell was a Professor for many years. Joseph Campbell was already a very well known lecturer and author in his field, although the meeting preceded the Bill Moyers’ interviews with him on mythology which brought the topic into millions of homes throughout America. (This series still remains one of Channel 13’s most popular ever.) Joseph Campbell was a genuine human being whose eyes lit up when telling a story and who had a lightness to his demeanor which reflected a spirit of connectedness, a life force that had spontaneity and playfulness in it. When Dr. Ahsen, at that time not known to Professor Campbell, rung him up at Sarah Lawrence and asked if he could come over and read him a piece of his work, Campbell said, “Sure,” unaware that Dr. Ahsen would be over in just a few moments as Ahsen’s Image Institute was only ten minutes away. Within a few more moments Dr. Ahsen began reading from Manhunt in the Desert, a work that Joseph Campbell would later write in the introduction: “You did not write this; you received it.”

Ernest R. Hilgard and Akhter Ahsen
at Stanford University

Over the years Dr. Ahsen has been associated with men and women of distinguished stature in their fields. Dr. Ernest R. Hilgard, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University and past President of the APA, has stated regarding eidetics, “The principles of this approach rely on bright visual images and the feeling of ‘reality’ they project inside the mind, so that the inner and outer realities are bound together in the body of a single image operation...(one becomes aware) of the fascination inherent in imagery, the tricks that it can play with consciousness, and the benefits that may lie in its understanding and use.”

The two men discussed many issues in psychology over the years and Dr. Hilgard, Senior Associate Editor of the  JMI’s distinguished International Board of Editors has also said, “Akhter Ahsen, a psychologist active as a clinician, experimentalist and theoretician ...As Ahsen’s study established important links between various constellations of the myth, a far-reaching clinical interpretation of the underlying motivational principles emerges. Ahsen invites the leader to enrich the concept of the image well beyond any prior concept he or she may have had.”


Akhter Ahsen and Gloria Steinem
Akhter Ahsen and Tahmina Dultana

In 1990 when the IIA was co-sponsoring the Conference, “Women in Psychology,” along with Lioness, an organization concerned with feminine consciousness, Gloria Steinem met with Ahsen and was most supportive of the movement, stating, “By distracting the surface of the mind and using imagery...allows us to re-enter past experiences, and understand unexamined emotions.” Continuing its interest in feminine psychology, the IIA, in 1999, sponsored a luncheon with Tahmina Dultana , the Prime Minister of Women’s Affairs in Pakistan, who talked about her passion of women struggling, achieving — struggling, not achieving and struggling — throughout the world. This luncheon's agenda called for an emphasis on International Rights for Women. Dr. Ahsen’s many books have dealt with feminine consciousness from Eastern and Western perspectives — from Greek and Hindu mythology to current modern times. His philosophy accentuates the development of women as critical to forming a new world consciousness that advocates the rich beauty of the image within that binds us not only to the feminine, but to humanity as a whole.

Dr. Karan Singh and Akhter Ahsen at
New Mythology of Consciousness Conference

Finally, on June 21, 2001 Dr. Karan Singh, world renowned scholar and previous Ambassador to the United States, chaired Dr. Ahsen’s first in a series of workshops, “Black Horse at Midnight: New Mythology of Consciousness” in New York City. To quote Akhter Ahsen from this event: “Out of the vast velvety darkness of midnight emerges the shadow of a horse captured in the lens of the all-encompassing telescope of the mind’s eye. This glimmer in consciousness is a primordial imprint much like the first waves that rippled and flowed through the gases of a young universe. Rooted in the beginning of time these waves are the seeds from which all consciousness blossoms and flows.”

Akhter Ahsen’s rich mind continues to flow, the scientistic and poetic, merging and playing with imagery that advances human consciousness in the world today. With the philosopher’s wit and wisdom we are indeed graced to have his presence and his vision which is revealed in his many written works and in his lectures and seminars.

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