Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 31–52 | Cite as

The visual matrix method in a study of death and dying: Methodological reflections

  • Ellen RamviEmail author
  • Julian Manley
  • Lynn Froggett
  • Anne Liveng
  • Aase Lading
  • Wendy Hollway
  • Birgitta Haga Gripsrud
Original Article


The visual matrix method is designed to elicit imagistic and associative contributions established collectively amongst participants in a group setting. In this article, a hard-to-reach area of experience – death and dying – illustrates the production of shared cultural images beyond individual experience. Our dual purpose was to assess the suitability of the method for this challenging topic, and to understand the ways in which death figured in the imagination of the participants. Three theorists, Wilfred Bion, Alfred Lorenzer and Gilles Deleuze, enable us to theorise psychosocial processes of symbolisation beyond cognition.


containment death psychosocial methodology reverie 



The workshop series Exploring Life Transitions in Old Age through a Visual Matrix (2014–15) was funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). We thank the invited participants for their contributions to the research.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway
  2. 2.Psychosocial Research Unit, School of Social Work, Care & CommunityUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUK
  3. 3.Department of People and TechnologyRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  4. 4.University of Central LancashirePrestonUK

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