This is the simplified version of a handout prepared for a presentation at a conference for therapists working in primary care, who were interested in bringing an embodied perspective to their patients. Later this became the basis for a regular CPD workshop I was running on 'working with illness and psychosomatic symptoms'. The idea is that all of these kinds of relationship can be functional at times, but that we cannot hope to grasp the embodied and metaphorical meaning of a symptom until they all have been taken into account. I was suggesting a blueprint for an integrated healthcare system that develops interdisciplinary facilities, drawing from and integrating orthodox, complementary and psychological approaches. The underlying idea is that if there is any meaning in illness at all (a very dodgy and dubious notion in the first place, but unfortunately inescapable from a psychological perspective), than the only way of getting in touch with it is to listen to and learn to speak the language of the symptom, resembling in its communication nothing so much as a poet.