Body in Jungian Psychotherapy Essay

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Psychotherapy

The Body in Jungian Psychotherapy

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In January of 2010 I was in a car accident. I sustained injuries on my abdomen and chest area creating bruising and swelling that resulted in medical treatment. At the hospital, I was punctured so that the fluid buildup could be discharged. I was then given an anti-inflammatory steroid (methylpred) as well as Cipro which then led to the creation of the following side effect symptoms: numbness of the chest, left arm, swelling of the lips and anxiety. As a result of the accident or the side effect of the medication (I could not tell at that point), I ended up going to the emergency room twice with several additional tests to rule out other possible conditions. At one point, I informed the ER MD that previously when I had been in an auto accident, what had helped me was taking a Homeopathic medication called Arnica which helped reduce swelling and bruising. The doctor then smiled and smirked and stated that the medication he was prescribing was stronger and that if I were to take Homeopathic medication, it could either not do much for me or interfere with the treatment he was giving me. At my core, this did not sound right and I got the impression that the doctor did not have much respect for alternative treatments. However, my projection upon the doctor as the all knowing in the field of medicine and healthcare made me chose to confide entirely in him in order to expect remission of symptoms: pain and bruising, including of those newly formed symptoms as side effects from the methylpred. I was desperate as I needed to hurry up to get back to work and not leave my patients waiting for me for too long; many of them experiencing depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

TOPIC: Essay on Body in Jungian Psychotherapy Assignment

Just this past week, after my frustration with the doctors, I decided to consult my family's Chinese herbal doctor. I was desperate and despite having discontinued the medication two days before meeting with the Chinese doctor, I was still experiencing the numbness of the chest and arms, swelling of lips, anxiety and now, slight sadness. As I walked into the Chinese doctor's office, she immediately looked into my eyes and felt my pulse. All around I noticed posters of the human body marking meridian points and acupuncture points. There was a soft mellow music playing in the background and the lighting was very soothing and disarming. Her English was broken but I was able to understand what she said. One of the first things she stated that was wrong was that I was scared; "You have scare on your body." At first I thought she meant, scar. However after she repeated herself, I knew what she had meant. In the Mexican culture, there is a similar term called susto when an individual goes through a traumatic experience, the trauma gets stuck in the body. Perhaps this is better illustrated by Pert, Dreher, and Ruff: "bio-chemical substrates of emotion carry information across systems, from…mind…to…body [i.e., the endocrine, cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems] and back again. Neuropeptide receptors are not limited to the brain; they present on cells in tissues throughout the body. "Emotions are therefore a bridge between mind and body" (Shlitz, Amorok & Micozzi, 2005, p 63). I think the motorcycle accident left an emotional imprint on my chest and abdomen and the fear and dread of being too long away from treating my patients was being registered in my body. The methylpred hand only reacted to what was already present in my cells.

The Chinese doctor began to perform a massage on me she called chi gong as well as acupressure and acupuncture. When she began to work on my chest and in my jaw area, an overwhelming sense of sadness and melancholy overcame me; a lay there in tears as the doctor worked bringing me back into my body to feel these feelings and work through them. At the moment, my rational mind was through with trying to make sense of what was going on, but at a deep intuitive level, what was happening was that I had stored a lot of my own worries, pressures and stresses in my body. I also felt some of the patient's material enter me by way of images and became even more tearful. The Chinese doctor said "good," and kept on working on my body. After two hours of treatment, I left her office feeling very tired and sleepy and went straight home and slept that afternoon until the next morning. She had also prescribed me some form of mushroom root to take as tea as well as advised me to take arnica homeopathic pills if I wanted to. She did say to stop taking methylpred indefinitely and not to expose my body to any more radiation through x-rays that my body was fine.

It has now been a few days, and although I am only taking one western medicine along with the Chinese medicine, I feel better than before I even had the accident. However in retrospect and in light of the class readings, the subject of integral medicine has come up to the forefront for me in recent days. Marilyn Schlitz suggests that 21st century medicine must adopt an integral philosophy that "promotes an approach embedded in the scientific dimension that epitomizes the best in modern health care, while equally recognizing that human beings possess emotional, spiritual and relational dimensions…essential in the diagnosis and treatment…and the cultivation of wellness" (p. 3).

The lived body is a central theme in phenomenology. It is the body that one is compared to the objective body one has.

The symbolic structure of behavior is the lived body compared to the body as a thing. The symbolic structure of behavior is what makes the body human because it radically reverses the relation of what founds and what is founded. The lived body becomes the founding term. The patient who walks into the therapy room is not a mechanism in motion. He or she in gait and posture is the expression of an intentional, often unconscious, movement. The gestural body is the radical foundation of our corporeal existence, the way in which we preserve and transcend the body as thing, the way that we redesign the space of the world into stages of performance. They also show that the gestural body is a situated body and a body whose flesh is inter-corporeal and whose gestures complete them in the reciprocal of the other. This awareness and knowledge is the tragedy of illness and it is the basis for the dialectic in the transference field between what I will describe as the gestural body and the symptomatic body in psychotherapy. The meanings that are generated in the praxis of psychotherapy arise within an interactive field where patient and therapist sense within themselves the carnal equivalence of the other (Romanyshyn, ).

For Jung the reality of the psyche always included both the physical and spiritual dimensions. He set down the affinity of instinct and archetypal image in his idea that the primordial image might suitably be described as the instinct's perception of self or as the self-portrait of the instinct. The word association studies that Jung conducted were the key to his understanding of how mind and body function as a unit. He demonstrated that emotional reactions corresponded with physiological innervations. Jung developed his concept of the emotionally toned complex with functions independently of the ego. He went on to describe the unconscious complex as having a somatic aspect that locates itself in the organic body. He believed that the durability of a complex is guaranteed by its continually active felling tone. If the feeling tone is put out then the complex is put out with it (Greene, 2001).

Most therapies that work with movement and body techniques are based on the assumption that the body has a long memory. Over the years the body becomes a repository of psychic conflict and affects laden events that cannot be integrated or resolved. The body part of the psyche is shaped from the beginning by its experiences of life, particularly those that are emotionally charged. Caught in the musculature and organs, these very much alive but split off portions of ourselves cannot always be accessed by verbal methods alone, especially the early traumas that are pre-verbal and do not yet have mental representations (Greene, 2001).

Archetypal energy is thought to carry a much higher charge than personal energy. The archetype is a magnetic energy field at the core of a personal complex. The archetype itself is not visible. It is a potential magnetic field of energy onto which a person attaches an image that is eventually projected out. That energy is thought to attract or repel other creatures that come within its path. It is also thought to attract or repel the ego so intensely that it can wipe out consciousness to the point… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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