294 PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
questions, and there is nothing extraordinary about that, for if we take the trouble to make the search we can always find both an inward and an outward cause for any event in life/ Later he gives the example of a woman friend who was sceptical of his view of the psychological element in accidents. When he put the question about breaking a limb to her, asking her to recall the circumstances, she was silent for a few seconds, then smiled, and admitted that he was right. She then told him the circumstances, making it quite clear the accident was an attempt to hold to the moral code.
The association of neurosis with asthma has been recognized for some time, and psychological stimuli appear to precipitate attacks. An asthmatic attack may be entirely psychological in its origin ; that is to say, the whole attack may have an ' unconscious meaning ' to the patient. E. B. Strauss quotes a joke in Punch, in which a boy is found by his mother, standing in the corner, puffing and blowing. Asked why he is doing it, he replies that he is killing Chinamen, because Nanny told him that ' every time you breathe a Chinaman dies \ From a psychoanalytical standpoint the asthmatic attack might represent some similar mechanism ; that is to say, the asthmatic attack is a symbolic expression of some unconscious wish.
From superficial but detailed histories it seems that gross psychological determinants often cause asthmatic attacks. The asthmatic child is often an over-protected child ; that is to say, a child who has either been wanted over-much by the parents, who are continually anxious about it, or it is an unwanted child and the parents' over-anxiety is a compensation for not really wanting it. The anxiety is the result rather than the cause of the asthma. Maberly, in some unpublished results referred to by Neustatter,163 finds a strong power component with