PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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iv               THE ECCLESIA AND PNEUMATIC THERAPY            l8l
is one of superiority to human emotions and foibles. The idea implied here, one which medicine itself appreciates, is that in every disease an emotional factor is consciously or unconsciously expressed. Mrs. Eddy recognized this point. Though this notion is couched in fantastic language, the kernel of this portion of her doctrine seems to be sound. As a psychotherapeutic method, Christian Science is too universal in its application. There is no attempt made to meet individual problems. Instead, there is proffered a blanket euphonia that is intended to cover physical and mental illnesses without discrimination. Every kind of human ill, whether it be due to emotional tensions, to dietary deficiencies, to infections, mechanical injuries or any of a thousand other causes, is assailed with ' the conquering efficiency of courage, hope and trust \ Where this formula meets with success in the field of mental diseases, it is because it deflects people's attention away from their bodies and its functions. Instinctively Mrs. Eddy sought to shunt off self-interest by turning the gaze of her followers heavenwards. ' The sick', she wrote, i are terrified by their sick beliefs ' ; and counselled calm in the presence of sin and disease. The mental relief which comes from the reassurance of a physician or from renewed interest of relatives in a patient serves to allay this inner panic that the precious body may suffer irreparable harm. The general tenor of Christian Science teaching tends to minimize the narcissistic investment which we place in our bodies and its diseases. In this respect the therapy has a value.
With all its simple-minded credulity, its mass-suggestion, and its shirking of criticism, Christian Science has at any rate placed the love of God in the forefront of its teaching. ' And therein', as Dr. Grensted86 says, ' it has been true to the mind of Christ, and some