Calatonia and Psychoterapy

Jung understood psyche and soma as two expressions of ONE sole principle (Spirit) – an essential “pair of opposites” in mutual need of each other, for expression and being alive. According to Jung, existence of opposites created constant conflict and tension in individuals. To avoid tension and conflict, someone usually leans on one side of the opposites, compromising balance and wholeness. A chronic state of unbalance (Jung’s terminology: “one-sided attitude”) can lead to neurosis and/or illnesses. To endure tension and conflict of opposites regaining balance, one needs to be constantly ‘reminded’ of that ‘original principle’ or wholeness, experiencing it.

Psyche and body make up the first pair of opposites one has to reconcile with, in order to achieve balance. Jung believed that body and psyche possess self-regulation ability, but someone’s personal will (ego) can “override” it. According to Jung, this reconciliation between pairs of opposites should be “experienced” – but not only by comprehension or mental processes (for Jung, mental process was just a small part of the whole process). Jung recommended individuals to seek inner and unique/personal ways of experiencing psyche’s reality, because everyone is different and inner paths should not be stereotyped. He suggested using “active imagination” methods, “dreams”, expressive arts, etc. and advised against “programmed” means to find someone’s inner path – especially those practices foreign to our western minds. Therefore, self-regulation and introspection induced by bodywork can be a very effective way of reaching one’s inner self.

Calatonia is an instrument to access both, the psychological memory engraved in the physical body and transpersonal realms, through the spontaneous mobilization of the inner aspects of the patient’s psyche. It potentially operates on various levels of the complex psychophysical structure of each individual, conjuring up life experiences that later can be processed in verbal psychotherapy.

For some, such experiences are visible through physiological, or muscular reactions (seen as sensations or subtle movements of the body). For others, the effects are experienced affectively, or emotionally, (in the form of recollections, remembrances, associations, etc.). Still others, may experience changes in the state of consciousness, similar to those promoted by meditation, with the eventual recollection of images. These images have a value similar to that of dreams in the psychotherapeutic perspective, and can be utilized during therapy as symbolic experiences or metaphors.

In general, Calatonia mobilizes priority issues or a preeminent psychological manifestation in the same way that dreams occur. Those issues are ripe to be sprout into consciousness and are pertinent to the psychodynamics that the patient is experiencing.

It is at this point that we observe the self-regulating character of this type of therapeutic bodywork. The purpose of this therapy is not to correct a predetermined aspect, but to promote an experience that spontaneously triggers that which is most appropriate to balance the patient at that moment. This capacity of self-regulation is also known as the “body’s know-how”. It permits the expression of needs and the reorganization of an individual in the direction of homeostasis (equilibrium) within his/her unique rhythm and intensity.

Recomended Article: “Excerpts from Jung´s Work Related to Body and Psyche” – some of Jung’s ideas about the relationship between body and psyche.

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