PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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282         PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
When explaining to the patient that his symptoms are not physiological, the therapist must beware of explaining his reasons except in the most general terms, for hysterics are extremely suggestible and, if they once know the signs, will produce the proper symptoms. When the symptom has been removed in this way the advantage the patient had gained from it must be discussed thoroughly, and another satisfactory solution to the conflict must be found. The realization that the symptom has merely been serving a selfish end will sometimes cause some form of anxiety state to develop, and the patient may be so miserable that he will wish for a return to his hysterical symptoms. This is, however, no occasion for alarm.
Undoubtedly it is in the domain of sex that the interaction of mind and body is most evident. Sexual thoughts and feelings produce immediate effects on the body while, conversely, changes in the body are potent factors in the stimulation of sexual thoughts and feelings. Anxiety about any of the physical functions is almost invariably followed by some change in them, but none respond with such sensitiveness as to such suggestions as the sexual. Consequently there is no field whiph yields a richer harvest to psychotherapeutic endeavour. Freud described sexual perversions as being retained infantilisms, and adds that ' the neurosis is the negative of the perversion '. Stekel, too, agrees that clinging perversions which he calls ' paraphilias ' are a neurotic to infantile sexuality.
Some cases of homosexuality are curable by means of psychoanalysis, but only if the patient is earnestly desirous of being cured, a condition which is unfortunately rarely encountered. Whenever the conditions appear favourable, however, the record of successful cases justifies an attempt.
Excellent results are achieved in cases of psychic