A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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lying difficulty from which the symptoms are a way of escape has not been removed, and for this reason superficial treatment of this kind is often distrusted, however miraculous its initial effects may happen to be. Yet this is not invariably so, since symptoms produced by psychological factors may continue as habits long after the causative factor has ceased to operate.
When removing the symptom the therapist prepares the way by explaining that there is no physiological basis for the disability. He explains how disabilities may be produced by other than physical means, for example, under hypnosis. This leads on to a discussion of the variation in our abilities and powers as the result of our wishes and desires, of the way in which we can forget what we do not wish to remember, and of the headaches and other ills which may appear opportunely. Symptoms of other patients and their circumstances are carefully cited, and the patient is asked for the connection between the causes and the symptoms in these cases.
The patient having arrived, by process of elimination, at the conclusion that his symptom is psychological in origin, should now be told (if, for example, we assume he is suffering from a paralysis of the hand) to think of the fingers of his hand, opening one by one. He must on no account be told to ' try ' and move his fingers, for such trying will defeat its own object: it implies a struggle and there must be no forcing. He has simply to think of the fingers moving and nothing more and, when once movement has begun, progress will be rapid. If he will only think hard enough of the fingers opening out, the movement will take place. Firm, quiet insistence must be used ; but the therapist has to be careful not to arouse antagonism and contra-suggestion, which is easily done if the preliminary stages are hurried. Such antagonism will entirely defeat his object.