A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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and therefore cannot base himself on a transcendental doctrine of morals, which, indeed, would be open to criticism at every point. On the other hand, he can show the patient again and again by little examples that the consequences of his behaviour, so far as it is in contradiction to the fundamental law of the community, recoil upon himself and contribute to his sufferings.
The first impression which the patient has of the therapist is usually difficult to erase. It is, therefore, highly important that it be a favourable one. The old saying that a smile is catching may well be utilized in the sick room ; a physician who is cheerful, buoyant and alert, can be a tonic par excellence for the patient. The personal appearance of the doctor should be a suitable background for the dignity and efficiency which his general bearing should reflect. Someone has put it that soiled linen, frowsy hair, and a day's growth of beard have no place in the sick room. We know that any doctor who makes a professional call when he has alcohol on his breath usually promptly loses the patient. Some would add ' deservedly so \
On the other hand, it is equally wrong for the therapist to enter the sick room in long-faced, black-gloved gloom ; the patient is already seized by numerous fears, and it is part of his duty to dispel these as quickly and v smoothly as possible. The patient should be made to feel that the doctor has come to help him, not embalm him. Some there are who jauntily and airily meet the patient with the remark, ' Why, there is nothing wrong with you at all \ Such a blunt statement is not reassuring, and except in the rarest of cases is definitely a start on the wrong foot. The fact of consultation is proof that the patient, or someone near to him, believes that something is wrong with him. Patients, in common with the rest of humanity, keenly resent having their opinions abruptly