natalia alexandrova
Immune system is an ability of living creatures to withstand disease, maintaining their integrity and biological identity. The definition itself contains the principles of the work of the immune system: freedom, integrity, independence, individuality. From a psychological point of view, this reflects personal values such as the right to be yourself, to protect uniqueness, personal boundaries, and the right for autonomy.

From the point of view of Emotional-Image Therapy the immune system is a mechanism responsible for integrity not just of a physical body, but also a personality.
Immune system responsibilities:

- helps the individual maintain their personality and uniqueness when interacting with the outside world (therefore immune problems can be a key not only to solving psychosomatic, but also personal problems, like relationship issues, health troubles, phobias, inability to make friends, loneliness, anger etc.);

- protects body from harm of foreign bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxins;

- keeps track that parts of a body do not conflict with each other;

- identifies and destroys mutant cells that may otherwise develop into a cancerous tumor.

Immune cells are quite sensitive to an emotional state of their host. They are active in the case if the emotional state is fine, but also can loose their protective abilities if they "understand" that the life they suppose to protect don't worth it. The carrier itself is responsible for the decision if it is worth to be protected or not. In other words immune cells are most active inside a carrier that values itself as a worth of protection.


"Lazy Soldiers and an Old Witch"
Alexander was getting sick quite often the last years, so we decided to dedicate one of our sessions for discussing his immune system.

First I asked Alexander to imagine his immune cell. He sew them as lazy soldiers, like if they just had big lunch. Next to them appeared an image of a disease: an old witch wearing duds. She was throwing dirt into soldiers, but the didn't really seem to care.

This picture reminded what is called immune tolerance. It is kind of tolerance for foreign cells in a given body. Such a tolerance is typical during prenatal period, so baby's body would not reject mother's immune cells. After birth child develops an active type of immune system. Active immune system in psychological terms would be described as strong personality borders.

In this particular case client's immune tolerance was letting foreign agents live inside the body, letting them mess around.

The next step was to identify with the image of the old witch.

- Witch, what are you doing for Alexander?

- I want to eliminate him, because he wants to be eliminated. He does not care about his health properly.

Then I asked the client to check on what exactly the soldiers supposed to protect. It was bright yellow energy, covered with a glass dome. There was some mould on the dome.

I asked Alexander to identify with the image of the mould, and it shown him that the glass was not damaged, but dirty

- Mould, how long are you being here?

- For around 3 years, since Alexander stopped caring about his health.

- Why did he make such a decision?

The customer started thinking of himself when he was 20 years old. He just have returned from abroad, where he wanted to stay to leave, but unfortunately he had to come back home. He felt as a looser. At the same time started having financial problems, problems with studies, one of relatives died and a war started in his region. That was the time when he started having thoughts about jumping under a train. Alexander saw an image of himself himself wearing a light jacked during winter time, since he didn't have money to buy a warmer one.

Next he identified himself with the image of a Looser getting ready to jump under the train. This his sub-personality was standing next to a subway railways thinking "should I end this all?", felling endless tiredness and worthless. His body reaction was heartburn and nausea.

I asked him to look for an image of what is causing this body reaction. It was a black snake covered with slime and dirt. The client didn't feel neither anxiety or alertness towards the snake. He actually felt something opposite: the snake was attracting him, promising relief.

Now I asked him to identify with the snake. It told Alexander that it appeared to protect him from a feeling of being worthless. He started realising that his loved ones are not accepting him as he was, but they wanted to see convenient, successful, worth-to-be-proud Alexander. And spontaneous, risky Alexander was not something they desired to have. This was exactly the kind of Alexander, who was staring on the edge of the subway platform. So who are those loved ones who could not accept him? They were his mother and grandmother. The snake also added that it was created by Alexander himself.

Those children who didn't have an experience of being loved and accepted can cling to the hope of receiving those emotions if they try change themselves as grownups, meeting expectations of their parents. In such a case psychological separation doesn't happen usually.

So the next step was to help Alexander stop waiting unconditional acceptance from his mother and grandmother. We used a particular method of Emotional-Image Therapy: return of investments. Alexander took back his expectations of love and acceptance from his mother and grandmother. They appeared as an image of child's drawings, postcards, and other handmade presents that his parents didn't ever appreciate. He gathered all of the objects together, letting them express their feelings, and also asking them what they actually are. They transformed into child's love — it was an energy of red and yellow colours. Alexander have sacrificed this energy hoping to get parent's love. Yet he took it back, the energy entered his body though his stomach.

The client identified with the snake again. It said that the 20 year old Alexander, that is standing on the edge of the subway platform, is feeling better now and he doesn't need the snake anymore. It is always a bad idea to "throw away" images that seem to be useless or unpleasant, those can be important parts of a personality. Alexander felt that the snake belongs to him. It appeared to be his self-love, that took a shape of red-yellow-pink energy. He accepted the energy, which entered his body through his genitals. This meant it was his love to himself as a man. After that the image of 20 year old Alexander didn't want to jump under the train anymore, he wanted to go for a walk out in nature.

Then we came back to the image of his immune system. The dome with the energy in it became much more clean, the old witch was not aggressive anymore and the soldiers woke up. The client from the name of 20 year old himself let the soldiers to protect the territory, telling them there is nothing bad about being protective (Alexander was convinced that showing aggression is something undesirable, even if its needed to protect himself from outer danger).

The soldiers cheered up and clapped their hands as a respond.

I offered Alexander to collect the rest of the dirt from the glass dome. Disgusting images of dirt, slime of feces are often good, but repressed emotions or sides of personalities (for example repressed image of an inner child). Touching such a substance is an effective way to reveal its meaning, even if it is unpleasant to do. The dirt form the glass dome appeared to be red clay: the love to art repressed by client. Kneading the clay Alexander saw it turning into flowers. He let those flowers enter his body.

He instantly felt a desire to share flowers, meaning to share his need to express himself through aesthetics and beauty. People, who he shared flowers with, were becoming happy, and the amount of flowers was growing and growing. Alexander confirmed that since his childhood he had a need to express himself artistically: he used to sing, dance, perform as an actor, handmade stuff, but it all was rejected by his family.

While giving the flowers away, the old witch turned into client's mother and grandmother who were saying "we need no actors, you have to be more serious!". But Alexander didn't pay attention to them anymore, he kept giving away the flowers, accepting his own need for artistic expression. His mother and grandmother disappeared.

Next he returned to the energy in the glass dome. There was no mould on it anymore, and the energy became colourful. Alexander allowed the energy to express itself more vividly, not trying to meet expectations of others, but to be fully as it is.

Suddenly the glass dome exploded. The dome was psychologically isolating clients potential and true nature. After Alexander let himself to be as he is, not trying to meet other people's expectations, the need for having the glass dome disappeared and therefore it exploded. The energy filled the client's body, this made him feel good. He didn't see soldiers anymore, they transformed into sphere-shaped moving energy. Such an energy wouldn't let anyone undesirable through its borders.
The image of healthy immune system was build based on transforming the images, that wouldn't let it be fully healthy
Was it the only situation that weakened the immune system of the client? No, such events were happening during his lifetime, according to other therapy sessions. But the events of when he was 20 years old were the last drop that changed the balance. Alexander couldn't resist anymore the inculcations he received from his family. Both immune system and its reaction in this case did not depend much on stress itself and the strength of the circumstances that pressured him, but on the reaction-capitulation, which Alexander himself undertook. This led to the weakening health and immune system. In other words, he subconsciously programmed himself for suicide.
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