PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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I40        PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
the blindness that was the outcome of the vision was ' hysterical ' (employing the term in its technical sense without any disparaging connotation) ; that is to say, that no organic change in the mechanism of Paul's eyes took place as the result of an objective light of excessive vividness affecting the retina, but that the blindness was brought about by purely mental processes. It should be noted that, even if it is maintained that the blindness was due in the first instance to an objective light (cf. Acts xxii, 9, with which contrast Acts ix, 7), it does not follow that the prolongation of the inability to see until the visit of Ananias was not the result of autosuggestion. There is plenty of evidence that blindness (and, indeed, most other disabilities) initiated by physical causes may be continued unduly, and perhaps indefinitely, by autosuggestion or heterosuggestion, thus becoming ' hysterical \ This has frequently been noticed in the Great War where men have temporarily lost their sight from the effect of poison gas, and the state has continued unnecessarily owing to the belief that they would never see again.
On the other hand, Dr. Jung uo (p. 21), described a case of the girl, ' S. W.', who was i hysterically blind' for half an hour after one of the ecstasies into which she frequently went.
At Lystra, Paul himself is reported to have healed a man who was lame from birth (Acts iv, 8 ff.). The case is strikingly similar to that of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate who was healed by Peter. The man is described as suffering from a severe organic affliction ; he was ' powerless in his feet, a lame man unable to walk ever since he was born \ Like Peter, Paul looked ' fixedly ' at the patient and, in a manner reminiscent of the Gospel records, waited to see whether he had faith. Then he said in a loud voice, ' Stand erect on your feet \