A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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Psychological treatment has proved of immense value in certain difficulties of behaviour and physical disorders among children. Careful study of kleptomaniacs usually reveals complicating psychological factors. Not infrequently, in broad terms, it is affection which the child is attempting to steal. This, of course, reveals an unsatisfactory and unhappy home life. In some cases there is a compulsive element present, and the object stolen has a certain symbolic value, as most compulsive acts have. The first essential in treatment is to obtain the patient's confidence, and then, after finding the root of the trouble, to eliminate it. Often it is necessary to change the environment.
In the case of temper, it is particularly advisable to eliminate organic disease. Children should not be scolded for displays of temper, but ignored. Naturally, they must not be allowed to use their temper as a weapon to gain their ends.
Enuresis, which is a common and troublesome complaint of childhood, may be an expression of underlying anxiety, provided that organic causes have been ruled out, but is often an expression of aggression. According to the Freudians the anxiety is linked up with the child's phantasy life. Apart from this, the enuresis may be an attention-securing device; as, for instance, when it occurs at the time of the birth of another child. Further increase of the sense of guilt should be avoided, and the child should not be punished, or told that it is horrid, nasty or the like. Besides tincture of belladonna, the time-honoured remedy, glucose, has also been tried, and success claimed for it. In this connection some unpublished work of C. H. Rogerson, referred to by Neustatter,163 is of interest. He gave glucose with strong suggestions of betterment to one group of children, and peppermint water with equally strong suggestion to