A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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ing to childhood. It is of great assistance if the patients can merely unburden themselves of their troubles. Occasionally what are known as abreactions occur, when something which has been forced down into the unconscious is vividly relived, but usually the repressed emotion is expressed and got rid of in the transference situation.
As soon as the relationship between the analytic technique and the confessional is considered, the one fact which stands out is that wherever confession is practised in the Church the priest receives the title Father. It would seem that this is no accident, and that the title has emerged from the existence of the transference between penitent and confessor. Throughout Christendom the attribute which is always associated with fatherhood is love ; but unfortunately, in the Church, one of the functions of the confessor has always been regarded as that of judge. Webb 241 (p. i), for instance, reminds us that the confessor should display the love of a father, the skill of a physician, the wisdom of a theologian or spiritual doctor, and the acuteness of a judge. The first three of these characteristics are, indeed, indispensable in the cure of souls ; the fourth, however, is not essentially Christian. Jesus Himself, from Whom the priesthood claims to derive its authority, insistently declined to exercise either the discrimination or the authority of a judge. In arrogating to himself this function the priest is in the line of descent from Peter and Paul rather than that from Jesus ; for Peter in the story of Ananias and Sapphira and Paul in that of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts, and in his attitude to the incestuous man with which he deals in i Cor., adopted the attitude of judge. There can be no doubt whatever that confession is very useful as a form of spiritual hygiene, but it should not be confused with deep mental analysis. The priest could