Esalen Workshop: August 06 – 11, 2006

Esalen Big Sur , California



"In the original Greek, the verb Khalaó (Calatonia, 1974) indicates relaxation and feeding; retreating from a state of anger, fury or violence; opening a door; undoing the ties of a leather canister; letting go; pardoning one's parents; removing all veils; etc."

Pethö Sándor

“…A dim premonition tells us that we cannot be whole without this negative side, that we have a body which, like all bodies, casts a shadow, and that if we deny this body we cease to be three-dimensional and become flat and without substance.”

C. G. Jung, “ The Collected Works,” vol. 7, pg. 30

“But he can make no progress with himself unless he becomes very much better acquainted with his own nature.”

C. G. Jung, “An Answer to Job”

About the Method:

Pethö Sándor, MD, initiated this method in Europe during WWII, while working as a medical doctor for Red Cross in the refugee camps. At that time, the scarcity of resources limited the treatments available. To minimize the suffering of the patients, Dr. Sándor initially tried well-known relaxation techniques, such as progressive relaxation and autogenic training, to no avail. Out of options, Dr. Sándor resorted to the touch to soothe patients with complaints of depression, compulsive reactions, nervous breakdown and trauma. Dr. Sándor found out that the gentle touch of the extremities of the body and neck induced muscle relaxation and improved the patients’ mood.

Next, he experimented with sequences of light touch, and it was the beginning of his method, which he later researched and structured in Brazil . He immigrated in 1949 and in São Paulo he found the right atmosphere and receptivity to develop his method as a psychologist, combining bodywork and Jung’s theory. The method is known in Brazil as “Subtle Touch”, where a large group of professionals (psychotherapists, psychiatrists, educators, etc) has been practicing it for over 40 years.

This workshop will be a practical, hands-on experience in learning, applying, and receiving the main Subtle Touch Method (R) techniques. Its Jungian basis and ethics, as well as the clinical implications of the application of this method will be discussed. This program is designed for those interested in personal growth and professionals (psychotherapists, body workers, massage therapists, nurses, MDs, speech therapists, physical therapists, etc), whereas having mixed groups with different levels of expertise will greatly enhance the overall experience.

Because of the remarkable psychophysical benefits, these techniques are excellent tools for professionals in the mental health field to recharge, reorganize, and “plug into meditation and insight”. In a non-invasive manner, Calatonia typically elicits the patient s priorities - manifested through images, feelings, thoughts, etc. - which can be processed in verbal therapy.

Among other techniques, these will be presented:

1) Calatonia - was the first technique created by Pethö Sándor.

It is a sequence of 9 soft touches to feet, ankles and calves.

2) Fractional Decompression – applied directly on the skin, can be used in the whole body, allowing for different sequences to be adapted for each patient.

3) Several techniques for the spine, which symbolically represents our axis in life.

The symbolism of the body will be discussed.

Recent research on the properties of the skin nerve system has demonstrated the link between skin receptors for soft touch and the limbic system, emotional history, memory, etc, (http://www.calatonia.net/articles.htm). In addition, the embryonic origin of the skin from the ectoderm, which separates in later stages of the embryonic phase in nervous system and skin, endows the skin with similar properties as the brain, i.e., the skin is a ‘nervous system turned outside’, providing impressions from the environment, both objective and subjective, building a person’s sense of self, of who they are, strengthening one’s boundaries and assertiveness (Montagu, 1986; Juhan, 1998).

Although there is no promise of particular results, the most common observed effects after body psychotherapy with Subtle Touch and Calatonia (R) are a decrease in depression and anxiety, leading to stable mood; stabilization from acute trauma and crisis; decrease in physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches, insomnia, etc.); increase in self-esteem and self-confidence.

Each person responds to the treatment with Calatonia within his/her particular psychophysical makeup; however, many patients report a quite spiritual feeling of steady harmony, resilience and ability to bear opposites and conflict. As Sándor stated, “Calatonia greatly facilitates proximity to extra-rational areas of the psyche and to transpersonal realms, including that psyche wholeness center (Self), which is more than the sum of the psyche’s components. (1969)”

Recommended Reading

Jung, C. G. “The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga.” Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1996.

McNeely, Deldon A. “Touching: Body Therapy and Depth Psychology” Toronto : Inner City Books, 1987.

Whitmont, Edward C. “The Alchemy of Healing: Psyche and Soma.” Berkeley : North Atlantic Books, 1993.

Dethlefsen, Thorwald & Dahle, Rudiger. “The Healing Power of Illness: The Meaning of Symptoms and How to Interpret Them.” Element Books, 1990.

Dychtwald, Ken. “Bodymind”. New York : Panteon Books, 1977.

Conger, John P. “Jung & Reich: The Body as Shadow”. CA, North Atlantic Books, 1988

Subtle Touch Literature Available in Portuguese:

Sándor, Pethö. "Técnicas de Relaxamento." (“Relaxation Techniques”)
Sao Paulo, Brazil: Editora Vetor, 1982.

Delmanto, Suzana. "Toques Sutis - Uma experiência de vida com o trabalho de Pethö Sándor" (“Subtle Touch - A life experience with Pethö Sándor’s work.”)
Sao Paulo, Brazil: Summus, 1997.

Farah, Rosa. "Integração Psicofísica - O Trabalho Corporal e a Psicologia de Jung" (“Psychophysical Integration [Subtle Touch] – Bodywork and Jungian Psychology”)
Sao Paulo, Brazil: Companhia Ilimitada, 1985.


Phone: (831) 667-3005

Fax: 831-667-2724 (exclusively for reservations)

Esalen Institute
55000 Highway 1
Big Sur , CA 93920-9616