Mind and Movement 5 – Creative and Healing Facets of Coex

Apart from using coex for general purposes we can approach it with a specific situation. Maria, a woman in her sixties wanted to learn coex because she was experiencing arthritic type pains in her arms and hands. She also frequently felt depressed and seldom went out of her house. She was married, with a retired husband and children living independently. They had a very nice cottage with a garden in a country village. So Maria’s home and surroundings were not stressful, and apart from her pains and depression she was still healthy and good looking.

 From a physical point of view Maria was somewhat withdrawn. She seldom went out and was cautious in the way she expressed in her movements. She was shown how to allow spontaneous movements with her arms, something which she had never even considered before. At first she was hesitant and shy about making such movements in front of her tutor, but persisted. By the third session her movements were vigorous and began to include her whole body. At that point she stated that quite strong inner feelings of sensual pleasure, even sexuality accompanied the movements she made. This disturbed her a little, but when she had talked it over with her tutor she could accept them as her own healthy feelings being allowed to express. Over the following two weeks a rapid change occurred in her. She started going out again and enjoyed it. She bought herself a new outfit of clothes, and the pains in her arms disappeared. At the end of six sessions Maria said she no longer needed further appointments, she had found the change in herself which she had sought.

 It seems likely that Maria had been negating her own healthy flow of pleasure and energy, and it had become depressed instead of expressed. By learning to allow her being to move and express freely she found a way of changing her habits of withdrawal. Because her suppression of her own pleasure left her feeling depressed, she had begun to believe she was ill in some way. The rapid change had dispelled those feelings and reaffirmed her self confidence.

 Maria approached coex with specific problems and they were dealt with even though she did not attempt to explore causes or analyse herself. Many people will find the same applies to them also. This is because although they are not attempting an analytical approach, or ‘concentrating’ on the area of their difficulty coex itself often works at the causes of their problem automatically. In coex one is learning to use the process of self-regulation. This process is an automatic natural function dealing with imbalances anyway. So when we allow it to function more fully in coex, it may very well deal with the problem which concerns us. In any case, it is advisable to learn the general application of coex before attempting to guide it toward dealing with problem areas. This is not because one cannot guide it from the start, but simply that because it is something we learn, it is not worth trying to direct it until it is expressing fairly easily and fluidly. Once you find yourself at home with it, OR HAVE TRIED FOR SOME TIME AND CANNOT FIND FREE EXPRESSION, then try the specific methods described below.



The technique of FOCUSING described by Eugene Gendlin in his book of the same name, I find is a very helpful addition to the use of coex. Focusing seems to be an approach to the function of self regulation using certain steps. It is the steps which will be described here, as they are a great aid in looking at a specific problem or question in ones life.

 Gendlin calls the stages MOVEMENTS. I will call them steps or stages so as not to create confusion when talking about coex movement reaction. The first stage is CLEARING A SPACE. To do this you start by asking yourself what is it that stops you from feeling satisfied with life, good and happy RIGHT NOW. You need to ask yourself this and be well and ready to respond fully and honestly. Don’t hold back on any moans however small they may seem. State what they are and imagine putting them in a heap away from you, perhaps on the other side of the room. In stating your problem(s) in this way you may have just one thing you say, such as, “There’s something wrong with the way I relate to work lately. I keep destroying the very things I’m trying to create.” Or you might have a whole list of things such as, “My teeth ache a lot lately. Things would be okay if only I had a regular income. I begin to feel my age, and sometimes feel like I’m too tired to carry on. If my wife/husband wasn’t constantly pressurising me life might improve too. Yes, and also, the damn roof has started leaking again.”

 Whatever there is to say, let it come out and stack it on the pile until you can say, “Yes, if it weren’t for those I would feel okay.” Until you reach that feeling keep emptying out your difficulties, and don’t get hung up on any one of them by describing it at length. Stay reasonably detached, but don’t hold back even a small grouse.

 Gendlin describes the steps as if everyone has some sort of discomfort in their life. I wish to stress however that it may be that it is not a ‘problem’ you wish to explore, but a ‘question’. And from my experience the question can be about anything which is important to you. So you could ask: Do I have any unexpressed preferences between choosing college or university? — There is something I am missing in what this patient is telling me – what is it? — I am working on the plot for my novel about the Star Wars crisis and it needs more drama – any ideas? — My son is trying to decide a careers direction and has asked my help – what sense do I have from years of living with him? etc.

 The second step is FINDING THE FELT SENSE OF THE PROBLEM OR QUESTION. From all that you have put out on the pile, is there one which feels worse or most pressing? Is there one which brings some sort of reaction like an ache in the belly, or a sense of stickyness or heaviness. If it is a question you have asked, see if there is a feeling or body movement which arises in connection with it. You can take that one to look at, or simply choose one you want to work on. Now use the same ‘open screen’ form of observation described in chapter two in exercise three. Notice what you are feeling in yourself, then take hold of the question/problem you have chosen and notice what changes occur on the screen of your body condition. Take the question/problem as a whole, not any one part of it. Consider what your feeling reaction is to it, not what you think about it. Have the open-being condition used to allow coex.

 Gendlin’s advice is particularly good at this point. He says that one may begin to experience a lot of ‘static’ from the mind as you enter this stage. You may begin to lecture yourself about the problem – “I simply haven’t got what it takes at work. When will I admit it and give up trying to achieve something in life. It’s like a disease I’ve got.”  Or you may begin to analyse the problem – “It all started back at school; no with my dad really, when I got into that authority struggle with him. Now I keep it up with anyone who I happen to feel is in charge.” Of if it is a question – “I’ve never been able to figure this out, and frigging about talking to myself like a nut isn’t going to help.”

 Drop the mental noise away, just as you have learnt to drop away the critical faculty to allow coex. Put it all aside for a while. This is a special thing you are doing, and you have hours in which to indulge in useless theorising later. Look inside to the feelings which exist beyond words. Maybe at first there is just emptiness. Never mind, watch it to see if a shift occurs. As you watch with the problem loosely held, your inner process will respond to it out of its mass of unconscious experience. Look at the place in yourself which has not yet been verbalised to see what feeling arises in response to the question you choose to look at.

 A schoolteacher, Gerald, tried this technique just to see if it would work. He said he had no problems, was happily married, but was interested to find out if there was anything in the technique. When he got to the point of watching his inner screen he said he noticed a slight sensation in his chest. It was like a fluttery feeling, “nothing important.” He would usually have passed it by as having no usefulness and no relevance to him. When I asked him to give it attention and allow it to develop, it moved to his throat. It then became a choking feeling and he cried. His tears were an expression of feelings he never normally allowed himself. In the school in which he worked, there was so much disinterest from the pupils in what was being offered by the teachers, that it moved him deeply to see how many of the children were wasting opportunity in their life. His inner being was moved by the situation –  however, he had not previously admitted this to himself. Of course you may feel there is no point in crying about something which, although it touches the very noblest feelings in you, cannot be altered. In denigrating this part of oneself however, it is well to remember such a life as that of Dr Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered the cure for the fever (puerperal) which killed thousands of women at childbirth. Semmelweis did not dismiss the inner feelings he had when he watched women die in dozens in the hospital. His fellow doctors told him to ignore such foolish reactions. It was his feelings however, which drove him on to search for a cure.

 Gerald’s ‘unimportant’ fluttery feeling was the very way in which his non verbalised unconscious content was expressing. It is important not to denigrate such slight feeling changes or apparently unimportant movements. It is only by giving these previously ignored parts of oneself a chance to be known, that we form a link with the creative or healing response within us. Whatever the feeling situation is in this second stage, stay with it. Gendlin does not remark on the importance of allowing a movement response to the question, but this may exist even if no feeling is contacted. It may, as in Rhijn’s explanation, be an expression of the question at a level outside of feelings. By allowing movement the feelings and insight may be able to form.

 The third step is FINDING A HANDLE. You need to now consider what is the quality of the feeling or movement. Can you put a word to it that fits? The word might be something like ‘tight’ – ‘sleepy’ – ‘lost’ – or anything  descriptive which applies. Or it might be a short phrase such as, ‘looking for something’ – ‘shutting people out’ – ‘almost grasping something’. If you have become quite expressive in coex, then it might be that you have spontaneous speech or words, or an image or scene comes to mind descriptive of what you are sensing inside. Andrew, who was exploring the reason for his lack of motivation in work, and had already discovered easy spontaneous vocalisation, experienced himself saying, “Pride was my only defence.” He didn’t understand what the words meant, but let the question as to their meaning hang in his thoughts gently. He then quite quickly  had a mental picture of his father showing him his school books. His father was saying, “Look how neatly I used to write. See – no blots. Look at these drawings, how much care I took over them. Why can’t you keep your books clean and take care like that?” It was an actual memory of an event. Later Andrew contacted the feelings of humiliation he had felt as a youth in relationship with his father. He had used pride as a defence against feeling incapable and worthless. But he had stopped expressing himself in areas in which his father could criticise. This had continued into adult life. He had never put himself in a position where he could be criticised by any authority figure, which had curtailed his whole work creativity.

 Do not force your word, phrase or image to fit your response. Just try different words until you find what feels right.

 The fourth stage is RESONATING. Move backwards and forwards between your word or image and your inner feeling or movement. Do this until you sense you have made a satisfying connection. This is similar to exploring the image of the seed with body positions until you find one which fits. It is like the game one played as a child where something is hidden, then everyone shouts, ‘Cold, colder, freezing!’ as you move away, and ‘Warm, warmer, boiling hot!’ as you get closer.

 When you do manage to ‘resonate’ a noticeable change occurs in what you are experiencing. Recently a person who was working told me afterwards, “I felt really lost and incapable of understanding why my life is as it is. Then when I found the word which described what was happening in me I felt a tremendous relief. It seemed almost as if being able to clearly describe it had cleared the problem.” At this point one has not necessarily cleared the problem or found a clear response to the question, but it is certainly a step toward that. So when you can verbalise what you felt, give yourself time to respond to what arises, whether in changing feelings, movements or further images.

 The fifth stage is ASKING. When Andrew had got to the point of receiving the words, he was still not clear about what caused his work problem. He let the question as to what the words meant dangle in his thoughts without attempting to interfere with his spontaneous inner response. He didn’t let the ‘static’ and analysing process crowd in again. This is ASKING.

 It may be that this stage of response comes very quickly as Andrew’s did. Or it may take time to gradually discover the details of insight one seeks. Stay in the open receiving state however, without intellectualising, but certainly with curiosity and an asking frame of mind. The response may be in further movements, verbalisation, images or feelings. Perhaps many bits of information arise but you cannot get a cohesive satisfying understanding. Recognise that you still do not understand, but remain open. If you persist, a point is reached where there is integration, you feel, often suddenly, that at last you understand. It is not that you have simply found a likely theory, you actually have a feeling of insight and satisfaction. In Gestalt this is called an ‘Aha!’ This is because one almost shouts out, “Aha, I’ve got it!”

 Gendlin calls the sixth stage RECEIVING. This is an attitude more than something that is done. It is a stance we take in relation to what has arisen, however little. The practice of coex is a form of active respect for the process of life in oneself and its innate wisdom and creativity. It is active because one has to consciously create a receptive attitude which honours the life-giving inner forces. In successful use of coex we use the mental and physical functions which aid problem solving and our sense of social, environmental and internal activities. When we ask a question of ourselves, and allow the process of coex to respond we are listening to what this sense tells us. This sense is not as immediate or as formed as our sense of sight, for instance. After all, what we are sensing is a complex web and interplay of forces both within ourselves, as memories and biological activities, and around us as forces which are subtle – such as social pressure – but nevertheless very real. Although we sense these things, they are not at first formed into concrete visual images or intellectual concepts for our inspection. One has to listen for them, or reach out and touch as one would a gentle pulse. And this is important and fundamental in coex because, feeling that pulse, you will know you have a connection and a bond with the heart of things, both in yourself and beyond.

 We need to honour whatever arises for us. Our unconscious does not lie to us.  So whatever it presents needs to be honoured. When Andrew received the words about pride, he could not see how they related to him at all. But because he had learnt to trust his own process, he honoured them enough to continue ‘receiving’. Even then, once he had remembered the event with his father, he still had not touched the feelings surrounding that event. That came in another session. So part of ‘receiving’ is to recognise that what arises may come in paragraphs. In our first session we may receive only an introduction to what we seek to understand or deal with. We do not need to believe or blindly accept what it is. Andrew didn’t believe or accept the words ‘Pride was my only defence’. In a sense he said to himself, ‘I don’t know what this means, and I can’t see how it applies to me. Nevertheless I accept there may be some relevance that I do not yet see, so I will continue with the question – What does this mean?’ Don’t negate or throw away what you have received in your session. As Gendlin says, don’t let your negative criticisms “dump a truckload of cement on this new green shoot that just came up.” The relationship with yourself takes time to develop and expand, just like any other relationship.



After I had been using coex for a year and had a fluid response physically, emotionally, and vocally I tried using it as an aid in understanding particular questions important to me. I found that whatever I sought to understand I received a response to. Sometimes it was very little, sometimes full and helpful. Then one day, because I was working with physical education, I began a session in which I asked the question  – Is there some form of exercise which would integrate the practitioner physically and emotionally? The response was so startling I found it difficult to believe. As if from a textbook, laid out in order and sequence, I began to receive the whole set of movements described in chapter three. So much detailed information came, which I spoke onto tape and still have, that I have only given the bare bones in this book. It took perhaps ten or more sessions to receive. Many of the concepts were quite new to me. They looked at the question I had asked from viewpoints I had never considered before. Some of the information was so new to me I could not remember it even a little while afterwards. As an experiment I asked for some of the details about energy movements in the pelvic area again without listening to the tape to refresh my memory. Out it flowed once more, and when I checked one against the other, there was no flaw. For the first time in my life I felt an awe for the possibilities available to us if we connect with the unconscious.

 Over the years I found there are particular ways of working with this possibility that are helpful. Firstly your body, feelings and mind need to be capable of  responding easily. Only in this way is it possible for what is held within yourself to express to consciousness. If you are not fluid in the use of coex, then the exercises given in chapter three need to be continued until you are.

 Secondly, you need to put aside for a while what you consider to be possible or true. Consciously let go of whatever viewpoint you look at life, or the question in hand, from. If you have rigid views about politics, religion, society, or the subject you are trying to research, they act upon the formation of creative realisation just as a rigid tense body would act upon the expression of a dance. As much as possible relax them.

 Five years ago my wife, Hyone’s, brother was living at Totnes, about a hundred miles from us. We decided to visit him and drove over the open moorland of Dartmoor. On our way back we stopped on the moor for a picnic and a toilet break. Hyone realised she no longer had her glasses, but we could not remember whether she had them since leaving her brother. Hyone thought she had and we searched the car, our picnic area, and the track and place she had gone to pee. I gave up after about fifteen minutes, but Hyone searched for much longer without success. When we arrived home we checked with her brother, but the glasses were not found. Nor did they turn up in the weeks that followed. It was seventy miles to where we had picnicked, so having searched so extensively already it didn’t seem worth returning for a casual search. But we were faced by the decision – was it worth while returning to search, or should Hyone buy new glasses. As they were specially tinted they would cost about #70. We decided to use coex to ask where the glasses might be. Hyone had never used coex in this way before. As she began her body started moving and bending. She almost stopped the action with the thoughts of, ‘What possible use can this be?’ She relaxed the thought and continued, and her body went into a squatting position.

 Meanwhile I had similar negative reactions in the way of feelings suggesting this was a hopeless quest and a waste of time. I dropped the feelings though, and quickly had images of a low bank and the glasses under a bush on the bank. When we compared our experiences they tallied. Hyone’s squatting she realised was suggesting the place where she squatted to pee. My bank was by the side of that very place. We drove there that day. Under the heather on the bank of the place she had squatted to pee, slightly covered in snow, lay her glasses.

 If our already formed concepts that it was pointless to ask our unconscious where the glasses were had been allowed to dominate, we would not have been able to receive the impressions we did. Also, we each received our impressions in a different way. Hyone’s was purely in physical movement, while mine was in images. This is why I suggest bringing as much of ourselves to the process of coex as we can. With body, voice, emotions, sexuality, and mind, there is more likelihood that some part of us can express what we need to know. Perhaps, as with Hyone, the reply comes in the form of mime. So we need to be open to look for the way the reply arises. In other words, if the body acts out something in movements, and you are looking for the response in the form of mental knowing, then you may think you have failed.

 Supposing the response comes but you don’t understand it; then you need to work with the coex response just as you would with someone you were conversing. If you have not clarified what you are seeking to understand, ask for clarification and ‘receive’ the next response. If that too is not clear enough, ask again in a back and forth response. If you clarify some of what you are looking for but some remains out of reach, return to it in another session.

 Don’t forget that you are working with the very forces of creativity. Sometimes the answer lies ready made within yourself, waiting to be let into consciousness. But sometimes what you seek is on the furthest edge of your knowing, or of your ability to live or understand. To receive it you must grow as a person, you may even have to carve the answer out of unformed experience. How many creative geniuses have left their masterpiece in the world without hard work, without facing and resolving conflicts of decision, without feeling deeply? Even when the work is first done, it may need revision after revision to shape it to what the artist wants. At our own level we are all creative geniuses. Our field of creativity may be helping to grow the unfolding personality of our children. It may be in meeting the ever changing demands of a commercial market. We might be a doctor attempting a fuller insight into a patient; or simply ourselves facing the challenge of existing and surviving. Therefore if the answer doesn’t come ready made, take up the challenge of your life. If you do, you will create something with your life that would otherwise have been unsaid. In its present situation, humanity needs that type of creative genius.

 Something I have seen which often frustrates the creative potential of coex is an attitude linked with being gullible. Let me take the example of someone I will call Sally. Sally has gained a good degree of mobility in allowing a spontaneous response.  Whatever arises however, she neatly fits into her preconceived ideas. At no time does she say, ‘I don’t understand what that was about.’ This is like me saying to Sally, ‘The other day I met someone and I immediately disliked them.”  So Sally says, ‘Oh, that must be because you knew each other in a past life.’ That doesn’t bring any insight to me, and although I want to explore the event to find an understanding which I can observe to fit what happened, Sally closes herself to any further communication. In this way Sally makes her sessions of coex say just whatever she wants them to say. They express exactly what she wants to believe. They do not rob her of the supports she emotionally craves. Due to her need to feel in control, she will believe that coex is healing any breakdown which occurs in her body. For Sally this works to the extent that she copes with the difficulties of her life because of the support of her beliefs. But as far as creativity is concerned it robs her of the opportunity to stand confounded by life. She may never know the wonder of unveiling from within herself a completely new view of things. With a mind already made up, she will never find what she did not already know. It also leaves her unclear of where her boundaries are in a real sense. If she believes her body is healing when it isn’t, she will not take the creative leap of looking for something that actually works. Such a leap means that we are ready to admit our present approach is inadequate, let go of it, and open to the new. Creativity constantly demands that of us. So if we are to use coex for such an end, we must be aware of our connection with what we already accept and believe, and hold it loosely.



I began using coex partly because I was ill. I have learnt since then that I was ill because over a long period of time I had bottled up frustrations, hurts, love and tensions. As these were released or acknowledged the illness cleared. My present use of coex acts now like a preventative measure rather than a healing agent. It is like practising hygiene daily instead of trying to heal skin sores due to not washing. The tensions, the creative drives and feelings, instead of bottling up, are frequently met and dealt with. Because the prime aim of our self regulatory process is to maintain physical and psychological health, it is usually enough to use coex in a general sense, for its action to start improving our health. The homeostatic action will use all its resources if we are working with it.

 John, a 54 year old television reporter, had experienced years of illness, including T.B.. Describing his experience of coex he says:- “The body postures and movements were near miraculous to me because during the previous nine years, two serious accidents and a disease had resulted in five separate spinal fractures. For a period I had been encased from hips to jaw in a metal and leather support harness. For years I had endured great pain, and never in my prayers for help had I really hoped for the return of mobility of movement which is now shown in my childlike coex play movements.

 “The return of mobility is only one of the blessings I have enjoyed since beginning coex. For many years I had experienced consistently poor health; a lifetime of asthma compounded by T.B. in both lungs, and poor digestion with its attendant consequences, had all produced a dismal attenuation of minimal well being with serious illness. In the first four weeks of coex I felt great draughts of air pouring into my lungs. At the end of eighteen months my chest had expanded by four inches, which I discovered when I bought new underwear. My spine moved more freely than it had for years. My indigestion, with its accompanying constipation, disappeared. I am fitter than I have been for the previous forty five years.”

 Ann, a married woman with three children, approached coex from a different health situation than John. She explains her situation as follows:- “After practising coex for nearly two and a half years there are considerable physical changes of which I am aware. They are not dramatic in the sense of ‘pick up thy bed and walk’, but have come about gradually.

 “I was always a very cold person – I felt shrivelled up with cold, and wore numerous jerseys to keep warm. I ached with cold, and being thin I felt this keenly. However, I haven’t worn a vest now for a year, I am far more often warm than cold, and feel so much more alive because of this. My feet were usually cold – now even though I wear sandals they are warm. I feel so much more energy and joy of living. I feel it flow through me.

 “I used to have a permanently sore and red throat. I was often sick with diarrhoea for 48 hours at a stretch, several times each year. I feel these were due to tension. I was verbally suppressed as a child. Now if my throat feels sore I realise I am withholding my speech. The diarrhoea I think was a way of releasing tension which I no longer need. In coex I was able to release my feelings in words, and I was often led to chanting and singing. Although I am not completely released in this area yet, my voice is already lower and more relaxed.

 “Other things are that I used to tilt my head on one side a great deal, and kept my shoulders permanently raised. This was accompanied by shallow breathing and hand clenching. These have gone now, and my digestion, which was ‘delicate’ has altered too. I can digest raw vegetables and fruit skins easily, and because of this I eat and enjoy more useful foods. Yet again it happened slowly and almost unnoticeably over two years. Perhaps that is not slowly though, when I had been suffering for nearly 30 years.

 “Before I started coex I considered myself to be a ‘normally functioning person’, not a freak. I don’t know how I went on year after year imposing such strain on my system – but I did. It was not until I had used coex for two and a half years that I began to understand what real living is. Not manipulated by fears and tension. Not ‘putting on’ a self in the morning. Sometimes now I find myself off centre. But I know now when this is happening so can watch to see why. I live more fully from what I call my intuitive centre, and begin to instinctively know what I need, and follow it. Best of all though is having MYSELF, which is so wonderful!”

 John and Ann practised their coex in slightly different ways. John started by practising with the guidance of someone teaching him. He then began to practise alone at home. Ann first began coex in a group in Exeter. She then felt she needed individual help, so worked with a teacher.

 Health is not simply being able to jog for a couple of miles, or bend and touch ones toes. Our being cannot be split into neat compartments of body health and mental health. Every thought acts directly within the body, often leading it into dynamic action. When coex is working in us, it uses therapeutic tools I have never heard applied in straight psychotherapy. It doesn’t have the limitations of a theoretical school to bind it, so its action uses whatever is appropriate. This may be movements of a regular sort, posture, strange jerks, or dancing. But it may deal with our health by mobilising our feelings and mental health. Here is a description by Mark of a session of this type.

 “Started this session very quickly, singing in what sounded like a foreign language, and foot stamping. The song wasn’t coming out very well, and my right arm began to swing round and round. This seemed to lead me into bark-like sounds and from there into full African singing. I don’t think I have ever sung as noisily or as lustily as I did in this session. Gradually the singing chant became more and more forceful and fluent. I surrendered into it deeply and a torrent of words poured out. I really felt like an African Chief chanting to a great crowd of people – not just because of the sounds, but because my feelings were flowing. The chant became even more forceful, filling the hall with sound, and finally in a tremendous roar or bellow, I called out, just as if warriors had been roused, and the roar sent them on their way to battle.”

 This type of chanting is fairly common in coex. It is a well known phenomenon connected with the unconscious, often known as ‘glossolalia’, sometimes called speaking in tongues, and recorded for thousands of years. My experience of it suggests it is the way the unconscious expresses its feeling contents prior to  understandable verbalisation. So in Van Rhijn’s scale it would be an expression of level three. The streaming feelings which usually accompany this spontaneous chanting act to cleanse and balance ones inner life. I can only talk from my impression of this, but it seems to act similarly to circulation. If we sit a lot our circulation becomes sluggish. A brisk walk will stimulate circulation and help clear away waste products and activate cell growth in muscles and bones. Similarly, if our feelings are not stimulated frequently, they need this flowing activity to clear away negative feeling debris, and promote a healthy soul. In this way the many facets of our energy and feelings move into a fuller, freer expression of themselves. They feel like exercises of the soul.

 Jung says that our psyche is both male and female. The man, he shows, also has a female side to his psyche, and the woman a male side. From the above experiences it seems likely that although we may be born a white male or a black female, we also have within us the characteristics not only of the opposite sex, but also of the other racial types, as well as animals, plants and minerals. Jung says that a lot of illness occurs when the secondary sexual characteristics are suppressed, and we become unbalanced. Balance seems to be when the different aspects of our being, including the minerals in our bones, the vegetative processes in our cells, the animal behaviour patterns in our unconscious, the opposite sexual characteristics, are balanced and in a reasonable degree integrated into our waking personality.

 ’s experience is an example of how a great deal of ill health and poor functioning is caused by living with a lot of unconscious tension. Ann was a very courageous and hard worker as far as coex is concerned, and was willing to face many experiences she had previously bottled up inside herself. To give some sort of understanding of what this means I will quote Ann at length regarding one aspect of her coex. She says that “During one coex session I was deeply involved in re-experiencing parts of several of my children’s births. These experiences all centred on surgical shocks, which at the time I accepted passively, but which when I re-experienced them, were more fully understood by me to have been terrifying assaults on my body and threats to my yet unborn babies.

 “The first one was a surgical induction of my third baby and I deeply felt that as the doctor thrust a pair of scissors inside my vagina that he would pierce my baby. In coex I could feel the terror which engulfed me but which I had not allowed myself, or had not been allowed by the hospital setting, to feel and react to. This time I was able to shout and cry out -’Don’t; don’t do it, you’ll hurt my baby!’ and I let out the fullness of my feelings.

 “But the strangest experience was of my son’s birth. I had never fully understood what it meant. It was a blurred and painful memory for me, until this session, when so much was made clear. It was a Caesarean birth, followed by my sterilisation in hospital. It sounds straightforward, and technically it probably was. But a part of my being was numbed by the strangeness, the unreality of this birth. I could not feel that my son was born because I had not experienced the birth pains. I was like a bewildered animal at times, asking for him. ‘Have I had my baby?’ I asked the nurses. They looked at me very oddly – they didn’t understand. At night I got up and looked for him. I had to hold him, in order to believe.

 “After his birth he was kept from me for two days for a thorough examination. I was frantic with longing to hold him – I even made my way along the endless length of corridor to search for him – although I was hardly able to walk. In the end I was taken in a wheelchair to see him through a glass window. My whole being ached for him. In the session I screamed for him and sobbed, ‘he’s mine, he’s mine’ over and over. When I did have him I wasn’t allowed to feed him because I had recently had T.B. It was such a deep blow to my motherhood. At the time I was mute with anguish – now I released the words I had longed to say. I felt that my son had been taken away from me. Taken from my womb, taken to the examination room; taken from my breast; taken even by my husband. The nurse fed him with a bottle, flicking the soles of his feet to make him suck. I saw my husband pick him up. ‘At last I have a little son’ he said. His joy was a delight I couldn’t share. He was my fourth baby and all the other births had been occasions of great joy. I didn’t understand the clinical Caesarean birth, and all the surrounding complications which enveloped me. I felt such coldness, such a lack of understanding. It was against my nature. Against my instinctive mother longings. No one explained that this unnatural birth might bring such feelings.

 “In looking at and re-experiencing these birth traumas, I am more and more sure that during childbirth women have an extra sensory awareness, an aura of sensitivity which surrounds them and makes them alert to any threat to their baby. So when any surgical assault is made on their bodies at this time, any artificial or interfering gesture, even an injection – it is very deeply felt. I don’t think that enough is understood of the primitive, instinctive side of childbirth.

 “Six days after my son’s birth I passed out. When I awoke on my bed I was sobbing from the core of my being. I was engulfed in my crying for a long period of time – tears broke from me in waves. Then I thrashed about and screamed. At one point I was above my bed looking down on myself lying there. I let go completely. But of course I was injected with tranquillising drugs, calmed down and held down. After that I was given tranquillisers three times a day and I became a good, quiet, well behaved patient. But there was so much seething inside me, kept down – I now understand – so that only in this coex session seven years later could I see that my sterilisation had killed my creative energy – could I feel my maternal creative energy had been destroyed, tied up inside me, killed – could I understand how I resented the death of my precious pregnancies. I had flowered so sweetly during my pregnancies. Now they were gone. I even resented my husband for it, because he had agreed it as a good idea. I could no longer enjoy intercourse for the sadness hung over me – but I hadn’t understood this at the time. Outwardly I accepted it – inwardly I pined.

 “I went to a psychiatrist for treatment for deep depression after I returned home. I felt so guilty too as I could read the reproaches in people’s eyes – ‘she has a beautiful little son, and she’s depressed.’ I was given more drugs, first stimulants then tranquillisers – and told that it would pass, that time is a great healer. I learnt to live on my tranquillisers for the first five years, until I began coex and gave them up. Then after two years of coex I uncovered the truth – and I feel that although I can never give my son those things that were missing at the time, I can now really accept my sorrow and can build from there. I also feel that my creative energies are beginning to flow again in other channels.”

 In moving toward health using coex, unless your condition is a simple one which needs self help rather than professional direction, it is wise to work with the guidance of your doctor. At least check out whether your condition is directly physical or psychosomatic. If it is physical, like an infection, coex can help, but one obviously needs to follow common sense as well, such as sufficient rest and healthy diet. Coex is an expression of your own innate healing function. If it worked perfectly no one would be ill anyway. Co-operating with it increases its efficiency, but it only occasionally achieves miracles. Anyway, miracles are only the functioning of natural law which we have perhaps not yet defined.

 If your illness does not respond to coex, you need to suspect that there are suppressed past experiences which have not yet been released. Ask what it is, and be ready to work via symbols to start with. Ann took five years to unearth some of her most important tensions. It is seldom the hardest we release first. However, some ill health or difficult feelings – perhaps the largest percentage – are due to habits. Habits to do with eating, with exercise, with the way we react to situations, and the way we tangle up or smooth our inner energies. Because coex gradually expands our awareness of ourselves, these habits become noticeable. Of course, that does not magically banish them. Only your own skill and persistence in re-creating yourself can do that.



Ann’s discovery that a particular time of her life was the ‘site’ of her tension is applicable to most of us. Sometimes the cause of the tense state occurred in a period of time lasting only a few minutes. I remember a conversation with my mother about masturbation which lasted a minute at the most. Although it was short it so terrified me – with great emotion she told me masturbation would certainly kill me – that the results of it lasted thirty years. Sometimes what troubles our inner functioning has entered us over a longer period such as puberty, or the years of marriage to one partner. Or it may be the sum total of a relationship with one person such as our father.

 If we seek to release these areas of tension, one way we can approach coex is to work through our life consecutively. I am not suggesting that in one clean sweep we can remove the tensions in our life. Left to itself the unconscious tends to deal with whatever is ‘loose’ first, or nearest the surface. It jumps from one age or life period to another, backwards and forwards, clearing a bit here, rebuilding there. So when we attempt to organise it consecutively it will not completely comply as it has its own rhythms. The point of working in this way however, is to purposefully recognise that certain areas of our life may need renovating, and starting the process of bringing awareness to them.

 Therefore, what I suggest, once you are mobile in coex, is to list the moments or periods of your life when there were obvious or possible difficulties. On the list should be put any times in hospital, especially as a child away from mother; birth of a younger brother or sister; puberty; death of parent or someone very close; major accidents; difficult times of relationship with a parent or home; birth; times when you heard something negative about yourself, such as mother saying she tried to abort you. List these out in sequence and, starting from the one nearest in time work back through them.

 The way to do this is that where possible, such as with birth and operations, take the physical position connected with the situation. It doesn’t matter if this is simply your imaginative concept of what the position should be. Hold the thought of the event and let free movement and fantasy arise. Do not concern yourself with whether what arises actually took place. It may do, it may not. To test whether people do have memories of early childhood Dr. Cheek used hypnosis. While deeply relaxed his subjects were asked to remember what position their head was in at birth. Their response was checked against their medical records and found to be 100% correct. Nevertheless, it is not a wise thing to get stuck in expecting ‘correct’ memories. The unconscious often needs to release its ‘fantasies’ about some area of our life. Even though these are not actual memories, they are just as healing, sometimes more so. After all, it may not have been the event that disturbed us. It may have been our feeling reaction to it, or our imagination about it, which created misery and tension in us.

 To work wisely in this way we must not forget that only a small portion of our being is a conscious, rational, entity. We are largely a biological and feeling creature which may be tied up by many invisible but potent influences. I remember working with a young girl who had a terror of injections. When she was relaxed I suggested she remember the cause of her fear and experience the feelings of it. She allowed her spontaneous response to this, and re-enacted a scene in which she was visiting a hospital out-patients to receive an injection for an allergy she suffered. It was to be an intravenous injection, but the nurse could not hit the vein, so was injecting again and again….and again. The girl was calling for her mother who stood some feet away. The mother didn’t respond because she was held by the invisible bonds of respecting the authority of the nurse and wanting her daughter to have the injection. The girl wanted to fight and run away but was held by wanting to comply with her mother’s judgement, and not wanting to fight with the nurse. Outside of those bonds, she as a natural creature would have screamed, fought, and attempted to run away. Holding back the urges to do so created tension and fear in her. Her organism, or her being, needed to allow the urges to be expressed. Therefore, when you approach any event in your life through coex, drop what you think ought to happen, and simply let your organism express what it needs to. Perhaps it will not stick to social niceties, but that is a part of healing. There is no fear of the unsociable expression spreading beyond the session. But if you cannot allow your being to relax from all the social do’s and don’ts sometime, you are bound to build up tension.

 During each session, allow yourself to express whatever arises. If you do not feel you have completed whatever was happening, come back to what you were considering at other sessions until you arrive at a peacefulness. Sometimes this takes a number of sessions, sometimes just one. Once completed however, move on to the next event to be worked on. As already said, the reason for working in this way is to begin the process of extending awareness into parts of our experience where tension and hurt may be. Therefore, once you have worked back through your list, you can either practice coex without direction; or you may have become aware that certain areas need more work.

 Because doctors, nurses and therapists do not have unlimited time in which to work with each individual patient, the use of coex has a very real part to play within the healing techniques used today. By teaching the fundamentals of it to patients; by helping them to accept the need their organism has to express in this way, and by creating an environment in which an individual or group can use coex, a great deal can be done to reduce stress and stimulate positive health in patients.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved