Approaching Body Types from Psychological Types

We had been deeply involved in Jung's psychological types for many years before it ever occurred to us that these different kinds of psyches might be connected with different kinds of bodies. This is a blind spot I think we shared with many people avidly interested in Jung's typology. What made this question about the relationship between psychological types and body types real to us was reading a chapter on the work of William Sheldon in a book by Ralph Metzner called Know Your Type which led us to an extensive study of Sheldon's work. Reading Sheldon turned out to be an experience much like reading Jung. We would read along, trying to make sense of what appeared to be rather complicated material, and then all of a sudden we would find a passage that sparked an insight in us into the meaning of our own experience.

Sheldon's work is largely unknown today for a variety of reasons, but one of the best ways to discover it is through the perspective of Jung's psychological types, for as Jung once said: "Somewhere the psyche is living body." The thought of different body types, by which we mean body and bodily conditioned temperament types, is just as reasonable as the thought of different psychological types, and just as empirically verifiable. Put in another way, it doesn't really make sense to imagine that different psychological types are randomly related to different body types. No. Body, temperament and psychological types all look at the same human being from different perspectives.

You can learn more about the relationship between Jung and Sheldon's work through reading Jung's Forgotten Bridge, and you can learn the basics of Sheldon's work by reading W.H. Sheldon's Body and Temperament Types.

Now it is your turn to contribute to this discussion. Send us your questions and comments:

Reading: Jung's Forgotten Bridge