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Fleischer, K. (2020). The Symbol in the Body: The Un-Doing of a Dissociation through Embodied Active Imagination in Jungian Analysis. J. Anal. Psychol., 65(3):558-583.

(2020). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 65(3):558-583

The Symbol in the Body: The Un-Doing of a Dissociation through Embodied Active Imagination in Jungian Analysis

Karin Fleischer

Jung understood dissociation as a natural state of the psyche, capable of turning defensive through development. Based on this premise, and its conception on the equivalence between psyche and matter, the present work describes the un-doing of a dissociation expressed through a chronic enterocolitis disorder. When the symbol remains closer to the body and its most instinctive manifestations, we need to descend to that level in order to let the vertical axis connection be gradually restored through the therapeutic relationship - the horizontal axis. In other words, this un-doing requires that patient and analyst follow the unconscious path proposed by symbolic expressions that gradually emerge through the patient's body and active imagination. Movement is our most primitive and fundamental experience. Many authors (Stern, Panksepp, Gallese) have agreed that, in addition to being first in terms of development, movement continues to have primacy over any other experience throughout life. This means that emotions, bodily concepts and, later, speech, evolve from a somatic basis. In the light of such neuroscientific findings, Jung's vision of the correspondence of psyche and matter will be revisited in order to portray how the analytic bond provides a context for the re-establishment of the linking/creative function of the archetype, and allows the restoring of the ego-Self axis connection by including non-verbal approaches, such as body-based active imagination, also known as Authentic Movement. Authentic Movement is an amplification of Jung's active imagination method that enables a dialogue between the ego and the diverse configurations of the unconscious. When such dialogue is grounded in the body, there is an easier access to the affective dimension stored in implicit memory. That which was relived through the body can gradually be remembered, and affects hitherto rejected, find other symbolic ways of being expressed and contained in the analytic vas.

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