Psychotherapy the Body in Jungian Essay

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Many Jungians believe that in order to facilitate a patient with access to their unconscious and thus advance the individuation process, they themselves must access their own depths when treating a patient. This entails being aware of emotions, memories, symbols, and dreams that come out when treating a patient. This will often shed light on something of the patient's experience and the exclusive relationship created between therapist and patient. If devises and spoken to in an appropriate way by the therapist, patients can gain as they expand their understanding of themselves and their experience in relationship to one another (Simmons, 2010).

According to Jung, it is a power of the archetypes to impact people's lives in the most powerful feeling ways that lead one to feel linked with experiences of a spiritually moving nature. The most durable experiences of a persons life is, for the most part, created in relation to their encounters with these archetypal forms. It is impossible to know the archetypes themselves completely or directly but they can be felt by impact on people's lives and seen in their manifestations in various forms that affect us as sacred, including certain very special experiences that occur and for some, religious experience. In relation to this notion of the archetypes is Jung's idea about psychic energy in which he held that the psyche has a natural tendency to seek balance or compensation through shifts of energy between the conscious and unconscious levels of mind and body. All kinds of one-sidedness in development are rewarded by their opposite in the psyche. A good example is someone who is extremely taken with his or her self value on a conscious level and tend to experience the opposite in some other areas of life such as in dreams or in what happens accidentally in the real world (Zimmelman, n.d.).

Many people are familiar with the idea of personal unconscious. It is often defined as a repository of thoughts and feelings obtained through personal experience that exist outside of ones' conscious awareness. Personal substance is often unconscious because it is forgotten or repressed due to its difficult or intolerable nature. In addition to a personal unconscious, Jung also thought that every person has entrance to the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious consists of things that are impersonal and have never been conscious. These things are universal, existing in the psyches of all human beings. They consist of elementary forms or basic patterns which serve as the building blocks for all psychological occurrences. These forms or patterns are known as archetypes. All through history, archetypes have time and again been observed in all cultures in association with the symbols and images that are found in art, myths, and fairy tales. Some common archetypal images include the hero, the wise man, the trickster, and the mother (Simmons, 2010).

While it may be difficult to grasp the theoretical nature of archetypes, one way to think about them in terms of human experiences is as a specific psychic impulse. As an archetype exerts its influence on an individual, a pattern of behavior or a set of thoughts and feelings may emerge. The exact nature of the individual's response to the force of the archetype will largely depend on the personal experiences they have had in their life. If a therapist is skilled at identifying archetypal forces and the way that these forces interact with personal experiences, they can assist their clients to better understand the etiology of their desires, fears, and in some cases, relational style (Simmons, 2010).

It is thought that mythological, archetypal narratives are woven into the fabric of a person's body. A person's center of attention is focused from haughty cerebral watchtowers and they often fail to hear and feel these narratives and mythological fragments speak softly within the neural pathways of their beings. A person's breath is held, their sensitivities faint and fixated by limited attention. The body is alive with archetypical stories waiting to be acknowledged. Archetypes being psychic structures that contain biologically related patterns of behaviors consist of certain qualities and expressions of being. They are related to the instinctive life forces motivating the world's mythological stories (Mijares, 2002).

The ability to hear and feel the sub-personalities, fragmented self parts and archetypal forces that are related to life narratives is greatly improved by breathing practices. Breath therapies help to release the tension that is stored in a person's muscular structures. They have a powerful effect upon the psychophysiology of the breather as they stimulate the neural system. The breather then begins to experience improved energy moving through the blocks and character armoring as neural winds begin to blow (Mijares, 2002).

The connection between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems in a person's body suggests that there is a unified healing system within us. It is thought that human beings experience helplessness when under chronic stress. This is thought to mean that no expression of emotion or active behavioral response will change inescapably unpleasant circumstances or alleviate the pain of loss. The idea is that expression of strong emotion, such as anger, fear or grief, will exacerbate interpersonal tensions. The response is helplessness which is dealt with by the long-term coping strategy of repression (Pert, Dreher and Ruff,, p. 68-69).

This idea of a mind body connection in the healing process has lead to a bridge between the fields of expressive arts therapy and Western medicine. This allows for the integration of both our intuitive and rational knowledge about healing. It is also a way for expressive arts therapies to become more widely accepted and used by people who have mostly been conditioned to believe that the mind and body are separate entities that do not reflect upon one another. The life/art process is based on the premise of a direct type of movement that anyone can do. When movement is liberated from the constricting armor of stylized, preconceived gestures, an innate feedback process between movement and feelings is generated. This feedback process is an essential ingredient of expressive movement. Movement becomes the vehicle for releasing feelings that are essential in the healing process. Repressed and incongruent emotions shut down the immune system and end up causing pain and illness (Halprin an Samuels,, p. 128-133).

Art, prayer and healing are all thought to come from the same source. The energy that fuels these processes is the basic fore of life. Healing is thought to take place when the resonating body-mind spirit balances ones physiology by thoughts in the brain, autonomic nervous system balance, hormonal balance and neurotransmitter balance. Healers work with imagery by having a patient picture their illness, their healing forces and the healing process in their mind. Healing art can be used by a patient in a number of ways. The images can be viewed and allowed to change a person's consciousness, or images can be used to help a person visualize the healing process or a healed state. Another way in which art heals a viewer is by showing patients images that move them. This allows them to discuss these emotions with their families, support people and healers. This often makes them feel connected, relieves isolation and releases deep emotions (Halprin an Samuels,, p. 140).

All of these kinds of art work by changing consciousness, freeing energy and awaking the spirit in order to resonate with the body-mind. They are tools for using ritual for healing. Imagery can be the most powerful when it comes from the inner world of the person who is ill. It is direct, meaningful and sometimes more effective than other images. Images made by artists can be just as powerful in that they can transform, even though they are not personal to the patient (Halprin an Samuels,, p. 141).

The human being is a spirit minded body that in the ultimate analysis is an indivisible whole. It should be remembered that the spirit-mind-body spectrum may be experienced and expressed in great detail. It can be further understood in terms of further gradations of the mind, further gradations of the emotional bodies and gradations of the physical body. The number of bands that are within the mind-body spectrum depends on the personal experiences and expression of these experiences, as reported by various mystics, and varies from one system to another. What is important is that all the various bands within the spectrum comprise a single, unified and nondiscrete multidimensional reality. Changes, disturbances and developments in any part of the spectrum are thought to affect other parts and unification requires the inclusion of the entire system (Shirazi,, p. 238).

Consciousness is the basic structure of the psyche according to integral psychology. It is believed that the various states below waking consciousness, as well as higher meditative states are worthy of investigation as valid dimensions of human experience. It is not only important to make direct empirical observations of human experience but…

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