The Third Point

In his somatic work, Sándor proposed the idea of mentally projecting an image of a “third point” between the therapist and patient, before starting the touch sequences. This third point represents a balancing element, which keeps the therapist aligned with the idea of an encompassing dynamism that is larger than the therapist-patient dyad.

It also provides a focal point to anchor the therapist’s awareness, away from his personal mind and open to the finest level of attentional process that is possible at that moment.

The idea of the third point is also a reminder of that self-organising force in each person, which has the capacity to restore the organism’s integrity through self-regulatory mechanisms of the body and psyche, and idea that is present in Jung’s (1953) concept of Self.

A similar idea to Sándor’s third point is that of “hooking-up”, proposed by Milton Trager (Blackburn, 2004). One of the major differences between the Trager Method and other forms of somatic-body therapy is the emphasis Trager put on the maintenance of a certain “state of mind” (practitioner’s mindful awareness). He discovered that this state of awareness could markedly influence the results of treatment sessions. He called this state ‘hooking-up’, meaning that the practitioner was linking up with a ‘life regulating force’ that connected the dyad therapist-patient beyond the physical level (Blackburn, 2004).

Other authors propose a similar concept about the relational field created in psychotherapy:

“A dialectic understanding of the therapy implicates therefore that therapist and patient are not alone, because there is always a third-factor present, a ‘third person’. […] What is this factor, who is this ‘third person’? Naturally, the ‘soul’, which cannot be imagined as belonging to the two other persons but consisting of a supra-ordinate autonomous reality” (Giegerich, 1977).

“Ideally, it would be helpful for [the] patient as well as [the] healer if the latter were able to stay in touch with the “intentions” of the emerging archetypes, both of patient and healer, just as an actor checks with the director or an officer verifies instructions with headquarters. We need constantly to reassess our position relative to the ordering intent of the whole, to the life will, God, destiny, Karma or the universal Tao – to that great, yet ever-present unknown” (Whitmont, 1993, p. 212).

Simply put, the third point concept indicates that the communication established within the therapeutic relationship goes beyond the “mere dialogue between therapist’s ego and patient’s ego” (Farah, 2008).

The disquiet of the ego tends to calm and transform in the depths and timelessness of the Calatonia experience. By offering an opportunity for patients to experience their inner core safely, this method promotes a steady development of resilience, motivation, self-awareness, centeredness, and in the long-run, the ability to identify one’s unique path.


Blackburn, J. (2004). Trager: Hooking Up, The Power of Presence in Bodywork. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 8, 114–121.

Farah, R. (2008). Integração Psicofísica: O Trabalho Corporal e a Psicologia de Jung. São Paulo, SP: Companhia Ilimitada.

Giegerich, W. (1978). The Neurosis or The Third of The Two. Analytical Psychology 9, 241-268.

Jung, C. G. (1953). Two essays on analytical psychology. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.

Sándor, P. (1974). Técnicas de Relaxamento. São Paulo, SP: Vetor.