PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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xil                   WHO IS QUALIFIED FOR THE TASK ?                 443
and suffering. There is a definite connection between sin. and disease, though not in the way which many people, misinterpreting the Gospels, are inclined to think. It is important to realize that there is a vast difference between the sense of sin, or the sense of guilt, and real guilt. It is by no means the one who is most guilty who has the deepest sense of sin. Also a person may feel a sense of guilt merely because he has fallen short of a wholly false ideal. Yet incalculable harm is done because people are oppressed with a feeling of this kind. Dr. W. Brown quotes two cases to show how illness can be encouraged in this way. One is of a woman who for many years suffered from kidney trouble, passing stones from time to time. At length she decided to tell the physician her life story. Her father, who suffered from severe kidney disease, called out to her for help one night and she pretended not to hear. Next morning the father was found dead and afterwards her mother died too. Shortly after this her own attacks began. As soon as she had talked about this with her physician the attacks stopped. The other case was of a man who suffered from constantly recurring corneal ulcers. Investigation showed that he thought he had blasphemed and, knowing that the punishment for blasphemy is supposed to be blindness, the mechanism of suggestion began to work and so he became blind subconsciously. When he had thoroughly talked the matter over, the tendency to corneal ulceration disappeared 3I (pp. 166-167).
Unfortunately, especially among certain religious bodies and schools of thought, every endeavour is made to inculcate a sense of guilt even where it has been absent before. Only too frequently such phrases are heard as : ' There is no sense of sin nowadays ', or, ' We must try to stir up a sense of sin \ In many conventions and meetings the atmosphere is such as will