Susan Bach


Photo © Robert Hinshaw

Susan Bach was born in Berlin in 1902. She studied Crystallography and won a prize for her doctoral thesis at Berlin University. This scientific research in combination with her deep fascination of inner (archetypal) structures were the basis for her later systematic studies of spontaneous drawings of severely ill people, mostly of children. At that point her interest drew her to the aspect of meaning-making which she deciphered at the core of unconscious processes.
Susan Bach became involved with psychoanalysis as early as the 1930s. After years in London she moved to Zurich and made close contact with C.G.Jung and Toni Wolff.

For over 30 years Susan Bach and her team of medical and nursing staff at the University of Zurich hospitals devoted their research to the psychosomatic evaluation of spontaneous paintings by severely ill patients, especially children suffering from leukemia and other cancers. She thus discovered that those pictures reflected not only psychological states and processes as had previously been well known, but that moreover they gave visible expression of the patient’s specific somatic illness in typical colors, shapes, numbers and motifs. The forecasting signs of future developments that such pictures revealed led her to the question of “inner knowingness”. And from there it was only one more step to the borders of the land of the “not-yet-known-but-knowable”. Her fundamental findings were published in 1995: „Life paints its own span: On the significance of spontaneous paintings from severely ill children“ (Daimon Verlag, Einsiedeln). Susan Bach died in Zurich in 1995.

While seeking to continue the exploration of meaningful signs in spontaneous pictures begun by Susan Bach, the FOUNDATION additionally welcomes applications from a broad variety of approaches in the fields of psychosomatic and synchronistic phenomena.

“…my personal hope is that apart from a new, fresh approach to the understanding of the spontaneous pictures of dying children, taking such pictures purposefully in their verbal aspect may reactivate and reach deeper layers, and lead us nearer to the world of the yet unknown, but potentially knowable, to the world of Inner Knowingness.”
(from: Images, Meanings and Connections, Essays in Memory of Susan R. Bach, edited by Ralph Goldstein, Daimon Verlag, Einsiedeln, 1999)