A Jungian perspective on the unity of mind and body and its relevance to 21st-century politics

  • Maxine Sheets-Johnstone University of Oregon
Keywords: circle dances, collective hysteria and collective therapy, emotions, feeling, living body and symbols of the self, our mother tongue, spirit and matter


This article begins by putting basic themes in Jung's psychoanalytic in the context of present-day conceptual predilections that warrant questioning, specifically in relation to feeling and to being a body. The questioning leads to insights into the dynamic congruency of emotions and movement, to the political reality of demonstrations, protests, marches and so on, and from there to Jung's notion of a “psychic epidemic,” an epidemic that takes hold by way of a “totalitarian mass state.” At one point, Jung states that such epidemics can be mitigated only by “collective therapy.” Jung does not describe this form of therapy. On the way to specifying and describing just what practice might constitute “collective therapy,” the article focuses on what Jung specifies as the interconnected nature of the self, the living body, symbolic thought and the basic unity of psyche and body. The article's specification and description of “collective therapy” is anchored first in a real-life, real-time 20th-century description of the international power of kinetic silence. The article then documents the historical nature of that power by way of classicists' descriptions of real-life, real-time community circle dances that silently attest to the value of moving in concert.


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How to Cite
Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2019). A Jungian perspective on the unity of mind and body and its relevance to 21st-century politics. Psychotherapy & Politics International, 17(3). Retrieved from https://ojs.aut.ac.nz/psychotherapy-politics-international/article/view/603