The aim of this paper is to explore the connection between symptom and symbol in the body of women suffering from chronic pain, diagnosed as fibromyalgia. The working hypothesis has been that the symbol that emerges from the symptom in the body can bridge the gap to a deeper meaning of pain and suffering, thereby becoming the agent of change for healing of the bodymind and the experience of pain in the physical body. To explore this subject I will introduce some recent research from the field of fibromyalgia, and the concepts of agency and affect systems in the body, which are important cornerstones in my work. I will briefly present my clinical concept of ‘Form and Freedom’. From this theoretical base I give some clinical examples of what I see as an alchemical journey towards soul, presented through vignettes, images and the words of three women – Maria, Riba and Ishtar. I conclude with how I see analytical psychology taking its rightful place alongside, informing or in conjunction with, as in my case, other psychotherapeutic modalities, working in creative ways that enhance healing in patients who suffer from chronic pain.
© 2020, The Society of Analytical Psychology.

References

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