A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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habits of life of the mother determine the stability of the offspring. It is well known that certain diseases are transmitted from mother to child during intrauterine life and at birth, and it has been assumed that susceptibility to disease may likewise be acquired from the mother. After birth, at least after the child has been weaned, the influence of the mother is largely psychological. Contacts are such that ties are formed in early childhood which last throughout life. The emotional relationships with the mothef as well as with other members of the family are extremely important determinants of personality characteristics. In fact the early emotional relationships seem to determine the general patterns of all subsequent behaviour. Physical illness contributes to the sense of insecurity and its compensatory strivings, and increases the susceptibility to habits of invalidism.
Some of the influences that appear to have become hereditary actually had their source in the physio-graphical environment. This fact is especially evident in a race that does not migrate and that retains distinguishing characteristics of appearance, behaviour and habits of thought. Even when it does migrate certain racial peculiarities persist against the modifying influences of the new environment. Nevertheless modifications do take place even within a single lifetime in modes of living, manner of speech and output of energy. If an inhabitant of the temperate zone moves to the tropics he will adopt many of the habits of his neighbours. However energetic he may have been he will become more leisurely, and his offspring in various respects will follow the pattern of life of the torrid zone.
Another illustration of the influence of environment is the effect on young children of the crowded living conditions in cities. On the basis of a study of nearly