Image operates in the body, both during wakefulness and in dreaming, as spontaneity, a kind of stream of consciousness which Schul (2015) points out is, in writing, the bodily experienced images of sensations, ideas, memories, feelings, etc. (p. 3). I think the way Halprin (2003) discusses improvisation, spontaneity, is similar (p. 119-120). When awake, the image may arrive in the body as a symptom, feeling, or movement and while asleep the body then includes the dream body as well as the physical one. Then, we may find the physical body reacting to, participating in tandem with, or reflecting the dream body. Landal (2002) says imagery is, “a mediating force between conscious though process and unconscious psychological and biological dynamics and patterns” (p. 117). The image, whether in the dream or in the body, is an encapsulated archetypal energy expression. Contained in this moment, this psyche, and this experience, the archetype finds its way into manifestation. Yet, both the body in the dream and the body awake are often disregarded as worthy messengers for unconscious contents. We are quick to ignore both the dream and the body (awake and asleep) and focus on the mind and the conscious awareness. This perspective divorces us from the embodied experience of the psyche. Landal says, “the body is actively and continuously involved in any imaging process” (p. 118) and later says body psychotherapy aims to, “surface and release embodied experiences and memories” (p 119). This gave me pause as I was reading it because release is not always the goal in depth psychological work. Being with, learning from, experiencing, enduring, engaging, assimilating, are also important and necessary elements of the work. If the goal is release, and it seems sometimes without always even engaging the image for its archetypal energy, then we are losing something valuable in this style of including the body and image. Just a thought I was pondering this week.
Halprin, D. (2003). The expressive body in life, art and therapy. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Landale, M. (2002). The use of imagery in body-oriented psychotherapy. In T. Staunton (Ed.), Body psychotherapy (pp. 116-132). Brunner-Routledge.
Schul, J. (2015). Embodied writing. Somatics Magazine-Journal of the Mind-Body Arts and Sciences, 17(3), 40-43.