Excerpts from Jung’s Writings Related to Body and Psyche

The symbols of the self arise in the depths of the body.

Jung, CG, CW 9.I p. 173, par. 291)


“Had loads of thoughts… This thing (Calatonia) may work through physiology,

but may be spiritual, too. I was wondering if it was one or the other…”

A client’s report after a treatment of Calatonia



Jungian Psychology and Pethö Sándor’s Method


  • Jung on Psyche and Soma Relationship

“From what has been said, it should be clear that the psyche consists essentially of images.

It is a series of images in the truest sense, not an accidental juxtaposition or sequence, but a structure that is throughout full of meaning and purpose; it is a ‘picturing’ of vital activities. And just as the material of the body that is ready for life has need of the psyche in order to be capable of life, so the psyche presupposes the living body in order that its images may live.” Jung, CG, CW 8, p 325


“…Mind and body are presumably a pair of opposites and, as such the expression of a single entity whose essential nature is not knowable either from its outward, material manifestation or from inner, direct perception. According to an ancient belief, man arose from the coming together of a soul and a body. It would probably be more correct to speak of an unknowable living being, concerning the ultimate nature of which nothing can be said except that it vaguely expresses the quintessence of “life.” This living being appears outwardly as the material body, but inwardly as a series of images of the vital activities taking place within it. They are two sides of the same coin, and we cannot rid ourselves of the doubt that perhaps this whole separation of mind and body may finally prove to be merely a device of reason for the purpose of conscious discrimination – an intellectually necessary separation of one and the same fact into two aspects, to which we then illegitimately attribute an independent existence.” Jung, CG, CW 8, p 326


“The relation between body and mind is a very difficult question. You know that the James-Lange theory says that affect is the result of physiological alteration. The question whether the body or the mind is the predominating factor will always be answered according to the temperamental differences. These who by temperament prefer the theory of the supremacy of the body will say that mental processes are epiphenomena of physiological chemistry. Those who believe more in the spirit will say the contrary; to them the body is just the appendix of the mind and causation lies with the spirit. It is really a philosophical question, and since I am not a philosopher I cannot claim to make a decision. All we can know empirically is that processes of the body and processes of the mind happen together in some way, which is mysterious to us. It is due to our most lamentable mind that we cannot think of body and mind as one and the same thing; probably they are one thing, but we are unable to think it.” Jung, CG, Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice, p 35


“…Body and a mind are the two aspects of the living being, and that is all we know. Therefore I prefer to say that the two things happen together in a miraculous way, and we had better leave it at that, because we cannot think of them together. For my own use I have coined a term to illustrate this being together; I say there is a peculiar principle of synchronicity somehow and behave as if they were the same, and yet for us they are not. Perhaps we shall some day discover a new kind of mathematical method by which we can prove that it must b like that. But for the time being I am absolutely unable to tell you whether it is the body or the mind that prevails, or whether they just coexist.”  Jung, CG, “Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice,” p 36


  • Jung’s view on the body’s role in ego formation and development of consciousness

“The body also forms the basis of what we might call the mental individuality, which is, as it were, an expression of corporeal individuality and can never come into being unless the rights of the body are acknowledged. Conversely, the body cannot thrive unless the mental individuality is accepted. ” Jung, CG, CW 7, p 296


“Consciousness is very much the product of perception and orientation in the external world. It is probably localized in the cerebrum, which is of ectodermic origin and was probably a sense organ of the skin at the time of our remote ancestors. The consciousness derived from that localization in the brain therefore probably retains these qualities of sensation and orientation.” Jung, CG, Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice, p 8


“The ego-complex in a normal person is the highest psychic authority. By this we mean the whole mass of ideas pertaining to the ego, which we think of as being accompanied by the powerful and ever-present feeling-tone of our own body. …The feeling-tone is an affective state accompanied by somatic innervations. The ego is the psychological expression of the firmly associated combination of all body sensations.  Jung, CG, CW 3, p 40


“We have seen that the ego-complex, by reason of its direct connection with bodily sensations, is the most stable and the richest in associations. Awareness of a threatening situation arouses fright. Fright is an affect; hence it is followed by bodily changes, by a complicated harmony of muscular tensions and excitations of the sympathetic nervous system. Jung, CG, CW 3, p 41


“The important fact about consciousness is that nothing can be conscious without an ego to which it refers. If something is not related to the ego then it is not conscious. Therefore you can define consciousness as a relation of psychic facts to the ego. What is that ego? The ego is a complex datum, which is constituted first of all by a general awareness of your body, of your existence, and secondly by your memory data; you have a certain idea of having been, a long series of memories. Those two are main constituents of what we call the ego. ” Jung, CG, Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice, p 10


  • Self-regulation of body and psyche

“I am not altogether pessimistic about neurosis. In many cases we have to say: ‘Thank heaven he could make up his mind to be neurotic’. Neurosis is really an attempt at self-cure, just as any physical disease is partly an attempt at self-cure. We cannot understand a disease as an ens per se any more, as something detached which not so long ago it was believed to be. Modern medicine – internal medicine, for instance – conceives of disease as a system composed of a harmful factor and a healing factor. It is exactly the same with neurosis. It is an attempt of the self-regulating psychic system to restore the balance in no way different from the function of dreams – only rather more forceful and drastic.” Jung, CG, Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice, p 190


“The dreams are the reaction to our conscious attitude in the same way that the body reacts when we overeat or do not eat enough or when we ill-treat it in some other way. Dreams are the natural reaction of the self-regulating psychic system.” Jung, CG, Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice p 123


“The body, its faculties, and its needs furnish of their own nature the rules and limitations that prevent any excess or disproportion. But because of its one-sidedness, which is fostered by conscious and rational intention, a differentiated psychological function always tends to disproportion.”Jung, CG, CW 7, p 296


“Since the psyche is a self-regulating system, just as the body is, the regulating counteraction will always develop in the unconscious. …Its regulating influence, however, is eliminated by critical attention and the directed will, because the counteraction as such seems incompatible with the conscious direction. To this extent the psyche of civilized man is no longer a self-regulating system but could rather be compared to a machine whose speed-regulation is so insensitive that it can continue to function to the point of self-injury, while on the other hand it is subject to the arbitrary manipulations of a one-sided will.” Jung, CG. CW  8, p 344


  • Body and Complexes

“…Whatever has an intense feeling-tone is difficult to handle because such contents are somehow associated with physiological reactions, with the processes of the heart, the tonus of the blood vessels, the condition of the intestines, the breathing, and the innervation of the skin. Whenever there is a high tonus it is just as if that particular complex had a body of its own, as if it were localized in my body to a certain extent, and that makes unwieldy, because something that irritates my body cannot be easily pushed away because it has its roots in my body and begins to pull at my nerves. Something that has little tonus and little emotional value can be easily brushed aside because it has no roots.” Jung, CG, Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice, p 79


The perception has thus found the way to somatic innervations and thereby helped the complex associated with it to gain the upper hand. Through the fright, countless body sensations become altered, and in turn alter most of the sensation on which the normal ego is based. … This is due simply to the fact that on the one hand large complexes include numerous somatic innervations, while on the other hand strong affects constellate a great many associations because of their powerful and persistent stimulation of the body. Normally, affects can go on working indefinitely in the form of stomach and heart troubles, insomnia, tremors, etc..” Jung, CG, CW 3, p 42


  • Body as shadow

“We do not like to look at the shadow side of ourselves; therefore there are many people in our civilized society who have lost their shadow altogether, they have got rid of it. They are only two-dimensional; they have lost the third dimension, and with it they have usually lost the body. …The body is a most doubtful friend because it produces things we do not like; there are too many things about the body, which cannot be mentioned. The body is very often the personification of this shadow of the ego. Sometimes it forms the skeleton in the cupboard, and everybody naturally wants to get rid of such a thing. ” Jung, CG Analytical Psychology – Its Theory and Practice, pg 23


“…Man stands forth as he really is and shows what was hidden under the mask of conventional adaptation: the shadow. This is now raised to consciousness and integrated with the ego, which means a move in the direction of wholeness. Wholeness is not so much perfection as completeness. Assimilation of the shadow gives a man body, so to speak: the animal sphere of instinct, as well as the primitive or archaic psyche, emerge into the zone of consciousness and can no longer be repressed by fictions and illusions.  Jung, CG, CW 16, p 239


“And indeed it is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow-side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism… A dim premonition tells us that we cannot be whole without this negative side, that we have a body which, like all bodies, casts a shadow, and that if we deny this body we cease to be three -dimensional and become flat and without substance. Yet this body is a beast with a beast’s soul, an organism that gives unquestioning obedience to instinct. To unite oneself with this shadow is to say yes to instinct, to that formidable dynamism lurking in the background. From this the ascetic morality of Christianity whishes to free us, but at the risk of disorganizing man’s animal nature at the deepest level.” Jung, CG CW  7, pg. 30


  • Somatic Transference and Counter-transference

“The unconscious is the psyche that reaches down from the daylight of mentally and morally lucid consciousness into the nervous system that for ages has been known as the ‘sympathetic.’ This does not govern perception and muscular activity like the cerebrospinal system, and thus control the environment; but, though functioning without sense-organs, it maintains the balance of life and, through the mysterious paths of sympathetic excitation, not only gives us knowledge of the innermost life of other beings but also has an inner effect upon them. In this sense it is an extremely collective system, the operative basis of all participation mystique, whereas the cerebrospinal function reaches its high point in separating off the specific qualities of the ego, and only apprehends surfaces and externals – always through the medium of space. It experiences everything as an outside, whereas the sympathetic system experiences everything as an inside.” Jung, CG, ‘Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious’ CW9i: par. 41


“A person is a psychic system which, when it affects another person, enters into reciprocal reaction with another psychic system.” Jung, CG The Practice of Psychotherapy” p 3


  • Body as situs or location of consciousness

“Children live in this form unconscious condition before they can say “I.” This world of the collective unconscious is so wonderful that children are continually being drawn back into it and can separate themselves from it only with difficulty.… With a sudden shock the child passes from this marvelous world of the collective unconscious into the sthula aspect of life or, expressed in another way, a child goes into svadhisthana second chackra as soon as it notices its body, feels uncomfortable, and cries. It becomes conscious of its own life, of its own ego… its own life begins: its consciousness begins to separate itself from the totality of the psyche, and the world of the primordial images, the miraculous world of splendor, lies behind it forever.” Jung, CG The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga – Notes of The Seminar Given in 1932, p 69/70


“Now, this third center, the center of emotions, is localized in the plexus solaris, or the center of the abdomen. I have told you that my first discovery about the Kundalini yoga was that these chackras really are concerned with what are called psychical localizations. This center then would be the first psychical localization that is within our conscious psychical experience. I must refer again to the story of my friend, the Pueblo chief, who thought that all Americans were crazy because they were convinced that they thought in the head. He said: “But we think in the heart.” That is anahata heart centre or chackra.  Then there are primitive tribes who have their psychical localization in the abdomen. And that is true of us as well; there is a certain category of psychical events that take place in the stomach.” And if one is very angry one says, “Something weighs on my stomach.” And if one is very angry, one gets jaundice; if one is afraid, one has diarrhea; or if in a particularly obstinate mood, one is constipated. You see, that shows what psychical localization means… Thinking in the abdomen means that there was once a time when consciousness was so dim that people noticed only the things that disturbed their intestinal functions, and everything else simply passed by the board; it did not exist because it had no effect upon them.” Jung, CG The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga – Notes of The Seminar Given in 1932, p 43


“When we have disagreeable thoughts or feelings, our stomachs get upset. We still get jaundice related to liver when we repress a violent anger, and every case of hysteria has trouble in the digestive organs, because originally the most profound and important thoughts were down there. So those are three localizations of consciousness that are still to be traced historically, as it were.” Jung, CG, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga – Notes of The Seminar Given in 1932, p 107


“…For instance we say, “You know in the head, but you don’t know it in the heart.” There is an extraordinary distance from the head to the heart, a distance of ten, twenty, thirty years, or a whole lifetime. For you can know something in the head for forty years and it may never have touched the heart. But only when you have realized it in the heart you begin to take notice of it. Jung, CG, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga – Notes of The Seminar Given in 1932, p 35


“The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room.”Jung, CG. CW  13, pp 54


“The divine thing in us functions as neuroses of the stomach, or of the colon, or bladder – simply disturbances of the underworld. Our gods have gone to sleep, and they stir only in the bowels of the earth. For our idea of God is abstract and remote. One hardly dares to speak of it. It has become taboo, or it is such a worn-out coin that one can hardly exchange it.” Jung, CG, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga – Notes of The Seminar Given in 1932, p 30


  • Symbolic Body – Subtle Body – Body as Vessel for Symbolic Integration

“There is in the human body a certain aethereal substance… of heavenly nature, known to very few, which needeth no medicament, being itself the incorrupt medicament.” Jung, CG, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, p114n


“…in dealing with Nietszche’s concept of the Self, one has to include a body, so one must include not only the shadow – the psychological unconscious – but also the physiological unconscious, the so-called somatic unconscious which is the subtle body. You see, somewhere our unconscious becomes material, because the body is the living unit, and our conscious and our unconscious are embedded in it: they contact the body. Somewhere there is a place where the two worlds meet and become interlocked.” Jung, CG, in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, 1988, p 441
“…the process begins no matter where, deep down or up above, but if above, you have to work down into the sarx, because the body also must be in the great mixture.  The body is an important contribution to the diamond body, the final finished product.  So, as I said, the diamond body would be merely the finished product of the primitve concept of the subtle body.” Jung, CG, in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, pp 445-456


“The symbols of the self arise in the depths of the body and they express its materiality every bit as much as the structure of the perceiving consciousness.  The symbol is thus a living body, corpus et anima, hence the “child” is such an apt formula for the symbol…’ “ the more achaic and deeper, that is the more physiological a symbol is, the more collective and universal, the more “material” it is.”  , CW 9/1, 291


“When the great swing has taken an individual into the world of symbolic mysteries nothing comes of it, nothing can come of it, unless it has been associated with the earth, unless it has happened when the individual was in the body.  Otherwise you were not there when it happened… and later whatever you experienced outside of the body, in a dream for instance, is not experienced unless you take it into the body, because the body means the here and now.” Jung, CG  Visions Seminars, Vol 2,, 473-475


  • Jung states the limitation of verbal psychotherapy. Are these hints for possible clinical applications of somatic integration?

“He (the case of an American business man) had differentiated one side of his being; the other side remained in an inert physical state. He would have needed this other side in order to “live.” The hypochondriacal “depression” pushed him down into the body he had always overlooked. Had he been able to follow the direction indicated by his depression and hypochondriacal illusion, and make himself conscious of the fantasies, which proceed from such a condition, that would have been the road to salvation. My arguments naturally met with no response, as was to be expected. A case so far advanced can only be cared for until death; it can hardly be cured.” Jung, CG, CW 7, p 52


“What is this block of ice with the red jewel in it? You see the symbolism here emphasizes the importance of the body. When a woman is wedded to the animus, she is usually lifted up into a mental sphere were she is only concerned with spiritual things, as if everything could be done by a spiritual attitude. But that is the wrong kind of spirituality, because there is a secret joy behind it at having escaped the awkward problem of the body. And this vision says that only the warmth of the body will melt the ice which contains the red jewel. A certain influence of the animus which would otherwise lift her too far into the spiritual sphere is counteracted here by the emphasis on the body, on the fact that the ice cannot be melted without it, that the body plays a decisive part in her further progress.” Jung, CG, The Vision Seminars, Vol 1 p 217


“Not infrequently the dreams show that there is a remarkable inner symbolical connection between an undoubted physical illness and a definite psychic problem, so that the physical disorder appears as a direct mimetic expression of the psychic situation. I mention this curious fact more for the sake of completeness than to lay any particular stress on this problematic phenomenon. It seems to me, however, that a definite connection does exist between physical and psychic disturbances and that its significance is generally underrated, though on the other hand it is boundlessly exaggerated owing to certain tendencies to regard physical disturbances merely as an expression of psychic disturbances, as is particularly the case with Christian Science. ”  Jung, CG, General Aspects of Dream Psychology 1916 CW 8, p 47


“A wrong functioning of the psyche can do much to injure the body, just as conversely a bodily illness can affect the psyche; for psyche and body are not separate entities but one and the same life. Thus there is seldom a bodily ailment that does not show psychic complications, even if it is not psychically caused.” Jung, CG, CW 7, p 115


  • Transcendent Function – Third of the Two – Sándor’s Concept of the Third Point

“In actual practice, therefore, the suitably trained analyst mediates the transcendent function for the patient, i.e., helps him to bring conscious and unconscious together and so arrive at a new attitude.” Jung, CG. CW 8, p 74


“ The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing – not a logical stillbirth in accordance with the principle tertium non datur there is no integrative third but a movement out of the suspension between opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation. The transcendent function manifests itself as a quality of conjoined opposites. So long as these are kept apart – naturally for the purpose of avoiding conflict – they do not function and remain inert.” Jung, CG. CW 8, p 90


“…This something is the desired “mid-point” of the personality, that ineffable something betwixt the opposites, or else that which unites them, or the result of conflict, or the product of energic tension: the coming to birth of personality, a profoundly individual step forward, the next stage.” (Jung, CG CW  7, pg. 230)


“The transcendent function not only forms valuable addition to psychotherapeutic treatment, but also gives the patient the inestimable advantage of assisting the analyst on his own resources, and of breaking a dependence, which is often felt as humiliating. It is a way of attaining liberation by one’s own efforts and of finding the courage to be oneself.” Jung, CG. CW 8, p 91


“It may not be immediately apparent what is meant by a “mid-point” of the personality.” I will therefore try to outline this problem in a few words. If we picture the conscious mind, with the ego as its center, as being opposed to the unconscious, and if we now add to our mental picture the process of assimilating the unconscious, we can think of this assimilation as a kind of approximation of conscious and unconscious, where the center of the personality no longer coincides with the ego, but with a point midway between the conscious and the unconscious. This would be the point of new equilibrium, a new centering of the total personality, a virtual center which, on account of its focal position between conscious and unconscious, ensures for the personality a new and more solid foundation… I could say the same thing in the words of St. Paul: “Yet not I live, but Christ liveth in me.” Or I might invoke Lao-Tzu and appropriate his concept of Tao, the Middle Way and creative center of all things. In all these the same thing is meant.” (Jung, CG CW  7, p 221)


A dialectic understanding of the therapy implicates therefore that therapist and patient are not alone, because there is always a third factor present, a “third person.”  …What is this factor, who is this “third person”?  Naturally, the ‘soul’, which cannot be imagined as belonging to the two other persons, but consisting of a supraordinate autonomous reality.  It is the realm of the complexes and archetypal images, of the different perspectives of understanding and styles of consciousness, and furthermore, it is also the psychology itself, in the ample sense of the word, which encompasses all of our ideas about the psyche, its pathology and therapy, and our Cosmo-vision.”   Giegerich, W, On the Neurosis of Psychology, or The Third of the Two,” originally published in Spring Journal in 1977 – Translated from a Portuguese version by Anita Ribeiro-Blanchard)


“Ideally, it would be helpful for patient as well as haler if the latter were able to stay in touch with the “intentions” of the emerging archetypes, both of patient and healer, just as an actor checks with the director or an officer verifies instructions with headquarters. We need constantly to reassess our position relative to the ordering intent of the whole, to the life will, God, destiny, Karma or the universal Tao – to that great, yet ever-present unknown.” Whitmont, EC, “The Alchemy of Healing: Psyche and Soma.” Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1993, pg 212


“The therapist’s relation to ego and transpersonal power, his spiritual orientation, will invariably affect not only how he overtly “manages the case,” but more subtly yet no less significantly, how he influences the interpersonal archetypal field. In this sense, the healing process requires the healer to share the “incubation chamber” with the patient by consciously working through his or her own simultaneously activated complexes. The purpose is a transformation process that inevitably affects both parties.” Whitmont, EC, “The Alchemy of Healing: Psyche and Soma.” Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1993, pg 197


“The healer’s function rests on the sacrifice of this personal needs and desires and upon subjecting his powers and abilities to the “intentions” of the transpersonal principle, the patient’s and healer’s Guiding Self, the entelechy*”. Whitmont, EC, “The Alchemy of Healing: Psyche and Soma.” Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1993, pg 203


“This dualism of irreconcilable opposites between right and wrong, good and evil, God and Devil, leads us not out of polarity but only more deeply into it.  The sole solution lies in that ‘third point’ from which all alternatives, all possibilities, all polarities can be seen as both ‘good and right’ and ‘evil and wrong’ at once, since they are part of the whole and consequently have a perfectly valid raison d’être, since without them the whole would not be complete.” Dethlefsen and Dahle, The healing Power of Illness: The Meaning of Symptoms and How to Interpret Them, pg 32


“With the intention of clarifying, as much as possible, Sandor’s idea of the “Third Point” (Sandor), it will be necessary to make a little digression.  In other chapters I commented on the nature of the therapeutic relationship, as understood by Jung.  Therefore, I will focus on one aspect of this issue: that which the relationship between therapist and patient goes beyond their ‘dyad’.  Or, in other words, the communication established within the therapeutic relationship goes beyond the “mere dialogue between therapist’s ego and patient’s ego.”  (Farah, Rosa “Integração Psicofísica – O Trabalho Corporal e a Psicologia de Jung”. Sao Paulo, Brazil: Companhia Ilimitada, 1985 Translated from Portuguese by Anita Ribeiro-Blanchard)


Some published Jungian Analysts who integrate Bodywork in Psychotherapy

Anita Greene, Judith Harris, Deldon Anne McNeely, Marion Woodman, Joan Chodorow, Arnold Mindell,  Jacqueline Gerson, Renate Oppikoffer, Tina Stromsted