Symptom as Symbol: A Transpersonal Language

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A Transpersonal Language

Authors: Barbara Somers and Ian Gordon-Brown

Series Editor: Hazel Marshall

Paintings: Pamela Allsop, creative, artist and Transpersonal Psychotherapist .
Illustrations: Ian Thorp, artist, musician, publisher and Transpersonal Psychotherapist.

Barbara Somers reminds us that from the beginning of time people have been symbol creating creatures. It’s in our art, our poetry, painting, dance, literature, and in our dreams. She believes this wonderful symbolic language is also in our symptoms of illness. They may be early warning signals of an imbalance between who the person really is – or who they need to become – and their chosen lifestyle, or the environment in which they find themselves.

I found this book very illuminating, clear and helpful in understanding people’s different personalities, including my own. It is of enormous interest and relevance to anyone who wishes to understand more about themselves, about parents and children and about relationships and complexes within the wider community. It is like a multi-faceted jewel added to the sum of our knowledge about and insight into our psyche.

Anne Baring MA Oxon, PhD, Jungian analyst, visionary, author of The Myth of the Goddess; The Mystic Vision; The Divine Feminine and The Dream of the Cosmos.

This beautifully written and illustrated book re-affirms how seeing patients’ symptoms as a symbol of their illness and exploring this with them enables the doctor, nurse or therapist to ‘get in with the client and listen to their inner and outer reality’ … our understanding of the complex and subtle nature of our health is advancing from the current Newtonian thinking into the realms of quantum energy physics.

Dr. Jonathan Meads MB, ChB, DRCOG, MRCGP

Research has delivered clear evidence of how our prevalent inner states can strengthen or undermine our immune system. Whatever else will emerge about the miracle of the body-mind, the intuitive insights contained in this book remain valid and valuable.

Beata Bishop Transpersonal psychotherapist, international speaker and workshop leader

Hazel Marshall brings us the fourth book in her edited works. If you are a therapist, health professional, or just wish to know more about how the transpersonal perspective can help enrich your own life, then you can do no better than to dip into the wisdom in these books.

Peter Merriott Chair: Centre for Transpersonal Psychology

This book will be an invaluable aid and guide for all those interested in the Transpersonal approach to life and therapy.

It answers many questions about the meaning of symbology in our life, dreams and in clients’ stories. Full of practical advice, plus case examples, woven together with the eternal wisdom of the authors.


Introduction: The Psyche and the Symbol: The art of listening; accidents do happen
Recoiling the Better to Advance: Crises; the interface; psychosomatics; dreams.
Hysteric, Depressive and Schizoid Positions: Splits; separation anxiety; clinical-labelling; counselling with a Transpersonal orientation.
The Hysteric Personality: Acting and playacting; space and boundaries.
The Depressive Personality: Clinical depression; drugs; aggression and anger.

The Schizoid Personality: subject or object? clinical schizophrenia; severe trauma; fear of relationship.
The Obsessive/Compulsive Personality: Obsessive-compulsive disorder; sexuality and aggression; perfectionism; relationship and feeling.
The Phobic Personality: Various phobias; nightmares and big dreams; case studies.
The Anxious Personality: Anxiety neurosis; counselling people in anxiety states.
Adult Sexuality: Sexual maturity; sensuality and sexuality; the nursery; the growing child; adolescence; young adulthood.
Sexual Variation: How gender may begin; guilt; tied back to the parent.
The Meaning of Illness: Ageing; illness; the language of the symptom.
The Transcendent Function: Inner alchemy; using Gestalt.
Comprehensive index for easy reference.

  • 288 pages: numerous colour and b/w illustrations
  • Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 20 mm portrait
  • Total weight: 0.650 kg