PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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312         PSYCHOTHERAPY: SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
fear is that the latter is engendered by an actual threat. A person who is suddenly confronted by a roaring automobile in such a way that his chances of escape from injury are slight, is overwhelmed by fear. On the other hand, if he is in constant fear of being injured by a motor car whenever he steps out of the house, although no automobile is near, he is in a state of anxiety. In other words, anxiety is irrational fear ; and it is a very common symptom indeed among nervous patients. It is the expression of some suppressed impulse not necessary sexual, and while it is inhibited, its presence is made known by the symptoms of anxiety which arise from the emotional struggle. Thus the patient may suffer from palpitation of the heart, temporary breathlessness, feel ' jittery ', have tremors and all the signs of so-called ' nervousness ' which are real to him yet so difficult to alleviate. Anxious patients are advised ' not to worry ', but all the advice of the sages cannot quieten these nervous symptoms.
Besides ' free association ' of ideas, dreams are of immense importance for analysis, and Freud's painstaking study has transformed them from a curiosity of folklore into a valuable method of following the activity of the unconscious. For generations dreams had been interpreted by means of stereotyped explanations ; every word or figure had had a special meaning. To dream of losing a tooth prognosticated the loss of a friend ; dreams of funerals were anticipations of approaching marriages. Dreams have always been regarded with awe. Aristotle thought they were divine inspiration ; Alphonse Daudet called them the ' safety valve of the soul', and the Talmud said in the second century a.d. : ' Thou art sick and ill at ease ? Then hast thou not revealed thy dreams to anyone.' Before Freud sought the meaning of dreams in terms of the patient's life and wishes, they